Have you ever been in an apartment where it sounded like a bowling competition was going on above you? Or walked into a business and heard your every step echo through the room?
These problems can all improved by choosing acoustically-friendly flooring. Here, we’ll cover the best soundproof floors and how to improve the noise level of your current flooring.
What Rooms and Areas Benefit Most From Noise Cancelling Floors?
Soundproof flooring is particularly beneficial in the following areas or situations:
- Multi-story homes or apartments
- Offices and businesses
- Hospitals and aged care facilities
- Karaoke rooms
What Are the Different Types of Sound?
There are two types of sound that can cause an issue: transmission sounds and impact sounds.
- Impact sounds are a result of things hitting the floor such as footsteps or dropped objects.
- Transmission sounds are a result of television, music, or conversations going through the floor.
Certain floors are good at reducing both transmission and impact sounds, but that is not always the case.
What Are the Different Sound Ratings?
Impact insulation class (IIC) is a measure of how much a particular flooring material reduces sound impact. A higher number equates to higher sound reduction.
Here is a basic breakdown:
- IIC 50 is the lowest rating since it has the least absorption quality when it comes to impact sounds. Examples include stone and tile.
- IIC 60 equates to medium impact sound absorption quality. Examples include woods, some vinyls, and laminates.
- IIC 65 has a high level of impact sound absorption. Examples include carpet, certain vinyls, and cork.
Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC)
The Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) refers to the amount of noise that a material absorbs from the surrounding room. A high Noise Reduction Coefficient reduces background and ambient noise, meaning sounds closest to you will be clarified.
Carpet boasts the highest NRC rating. Cork, rubber, and certain types of vinyl also have very high NRC scores. Tile, hardwood, stone, and bamboo are toward the bottom of the scale for sound absorption.
The Importance of the Base
While the actual flooring material is important when considering sound transmission, it only accounts for the top layer.
Other factors that affect sound transmission include the underlay and subfloor, plus sealants and adhesives used during installation.
Underlay has multiple purposes depending on the flooring material. Popular underlay uses include adding another layer of insulation against moisture and temperature, but it can also be used as an additional layer for absorbing sound.
Along with reducing heat loss, insulation between the floor of a room and the ceiling of the room below plays a key role in softening noise.
Best Flooring Materials For A Soundproof Room
If noise cancelling floors are a top priority for you, here are some of our top choices for the most soundproof floors:
Carpet (and Carpet Tiles)
Along with reigning supreme as the warmest flooring underfoot, carpet is also one of the quietest flooring materials. This option — also one of the least expensive — results in very little noise when walked on by adults, children, and pets. It also reduces ambient sounds in a room.
However, carpet, and carpet tiles, can flatten and wear down in the long run depending on the amount of foot traffic it endures. They also need to be cleaned and vacuumed on a regular schedule to prevent dirt from piling up deep in the fibres.
Luxury Vinyl Planks
Along with being durable, virtually waterproof, low-maintenance, and soft underfoot, some high-quality luxury vinyl planks offer a less-known benefit: peace and quiet!
Acoustically-friendly floors offer a more peaceful experience for a variety of situations and settings. High-quality luxury vinyl planks offer a cushioned, flexible surface that can be a solid option for sound reduction. If noise reduction is a top concern, look for luxury vinyl planks specially developed to soften noise.
Our NFD Soundless range of acoustic vinyl planks are specifically designed with unique noise deadening technology to create a more peaceful space.
Additionally, these NFD Soundless Acoustic vinyl planks feature a durable construction intended to stand up to high traffic and wear. The fibreglass reinforcement layer and anti-slip backing offer additional quality and confidence.
The sound insulation technology and durable qualities of the NFD Soundless range are complimented by a selection of 12 beautiful, natural-inspired colour options ranging from light, airy colours to rich, elegant options.
Laminate floors do a somewhat poor job of absorbing transmission sounds. However, laminate flooring can be a fairly good choice for sound reduction when paired with a high-quality underlay. Underlay increases comfort, adds stability, and reduces the hollow sound of footfalls on the floor.
Floor thickness is a somewhat minor aspect when it comes to noise, but it is worth considering a thicker option when buying flooring if noise reduction is a priority for you. The more material the floor has, the more sound will be decreased, even if the flooring you choose is not particularly great at reducing noise.
Tips For Soundproofing Existing Flooring
When it comes to improving the acoustics of existing flooring, you have two options: add something on top of the existing floor or add insulation in the ceiling.
Adding a rug is a simple, affordable way to reduce impact noise. Rugs are also an easy way to change up the entire look of a room in an instant and add an overall warmth to a room.
The best places to add a rug would be in high traffic areas (hallways and entryways), large rooms, and under furniture. To further increase a rug’s ability to reduce impact noise, consider using a rug pad. Along with insulation against sound, a rug pad helps prevent the rug from slipping and protects the rug.
Need Help Finding the Best Noise Cancelling Floor For Your Space?
The right flooring choice can completely change the atmosphere and function of your space, especially when it comes to sound.
Whether you are interested in the quietest flooring, how to choose between light and dark floors, or which flooring material would suit your home best, our dedicated team is here to help you every step of the way.
Please feel free to contact us for guidance at any point in your process of choosing flooring. We can help you sort through the pros and cons of each flooring option and connect you with over 200 professional tradesman (or offer tips on DIY installation) when it comes time to install your flooring.