Top 10 Ways on How to Soundproof an Apartment Floor

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Floors are often the most neglected part of any home soundproofing project. We tend to deal with the most common culprits like windows, doors, and walls but often forget that impact sound can be a nuisance for those living on the floor beneath you.

And since floors mainly transmit structure-borne sounds (noise transmission through vibrations), most of the traditional soundproofing methods won’t be highly effective.

Additionally, living in an apartment has restrictions. You’ve probably signed a contract with your landlord, and most contracts don’t allow structural changes to the building. In a situation like this, you’re left with a handful of options, and choosing an effective one can be a daunting task.

In this guide, I have compiled some of the most effective methods to soundproof a floor in an apartment.

1. Use Interlocking Floor Mats

One of the easiest and cost-friendly ways of soundproofing your floor is using interlocking floor mats. A good example is ProsourceFit Puzzle Exercise Mat.

If you have been to a nursery school, then you have probably come across mats that look like puzzle pieces.

These mats are suitable for minimizing noise passing through the floors so that you can use them for your apartment.

Interlocking floor mats are available in various designs and even texture. The edges are designed in such a way that the pieces easily connect.

Interlocking floor mats are easy to clean and also safe, considering that they are made from antibacterial materials.

Besides, these mats are easy to install. All you need to do is start laying the first piece from the corner of your apartment as you move towards the other sides.

Installing them is fun because it’s like playing the jigsaw puzzle.

The main downside of these mats is that they are not that effective at deadening noise, unlike other products.

How to Soundproof an Apartment Floor

2. Acoustic Floor Underlay

Acoustic flooring underlay is a product designed to eliminate impact noise, hence preventing sound transmission from the flooring to the rooms below. Floor underlay is available in rolls or single sheets which are laid flat on the floor and installed between base structure of a floor and the finished floor surface.

Depending on the kind of flooring being used, the flooring underlay can be glued in position or nailed in place. This method is much easier and cheaper when there is no covering layer on your floorboard. However, that doesn’t have to worry you if you have a carpet or tile. You can easily pull them out and install your preferred underlayment.

If you are making this a DIY project, you must first ensure your floorboard has no protrusions such as nails or any other object. The floorboard should also be evenly leveled.

Once everything is okay, you will need to choose the right floor underlayment for your flooring. For instance, if your apartment has vinyl flooring, you will need the ultra seal underlayment. Then roll out the acoustic underlayment with the adhesive side facing down and ensure the underlayment covers wall to wall.

Use nails to secure the underlayment to every edge of the floor properly. Also, make sure you cut the excess material on every edge floor. Repeat the whole process until the entire floor is covered.

To ensure the floor underlayment is sufficient, you can install acoustic mats as the final piece.

3. Use Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV)

Using Mass loaded vinyl on your floor is another easy way of soundproofing an apartment floor.

MVL is useful for blocking and preventing sound from leaving a space. The material is also good at containing sound vibrations because it acts as a reflective barrier.

MVL is commonly installed as a carpet underlayment for the house or the apartment. All you need to do is lay it down then, to enhance its effectiveness, add a layer of rubber on top of it before installing your desired floor.’

When done, place a dense carpet on top of it. The additional material that is the carpet and the rubber will strengthen the sound deadening properties of the MVL layer.

The rubber provides a density that ensures that sound doesn’t pass through it. The fibers in the carpet absorb some of the excess noise.

All three materials provide mass that is the critical component for noise reduction materials. Use this MVL for your apartment because it is thin and odorless. It is also great for various areas, including the garage.

Floors are often the most neglected part of any home soundproofing project. We tend to deal with the most common culprits like windows, doors, and walls but often forget that impact sound can be a nuisance for those living on the floor beneath you.

And since floors mainly transmit structure-borne sounds (noise transmission through vibrations), most of the traditional soundproofing methods won’t be highly effective.

Additionally, living in an apartment has restrictions. You’ve probably signed a contract with your landlord, and most contracts don’t allow structural changes to the building. In a situation like this, you’re left with a handful of options, and choosing an effective one can be a daunting task.

In this guide, I have compiled some of the most effective methods to soundproof a floor in an apartment.

4. Install Cork Flooring

Just as the name suggests, cork flooring is a product tracing its origins from the bark of a cork oak tree. Cork is a naturally occurring material used to create flooring products after its compressed under high pressure into sheets bonded together with resin.

Cork flooring is remarkable for its tolerance to damage from impacts and pressures, which is one of its defining attributes. Due to its cellular composition, which consists of millions of minute air pockets, cork flooring exhibits “memory” that enables it to tolerate foot activity and the stress from furniture legs (preferably with felt protection), returning to its original form after impact.

The air pockets within the cork flooring sheets help absorb impact noise from furniture, falling utensils, and stomping noises from leaking to the floor below. It’s also perfect for installation in areas prone to echoes and other ambient sounds, such as hallways and foyers.

Besides soundproofing, cork flooring is also a good insulator. Due to its cellular nature, cork flooring allows warmth to be trapped inside, making your floor warm even during cold seasons.

The air pockets within the cork flooring also help with safety. Since the product is approximately 50% air pockets, these small compartments can act as natural shock absorbers, preventing injuries in an accidental fall.

5. Rubber Mats

Rubber mats are crucial safety floor equipment to improve underfoot comfort, relieve stress, reduce slipping, and absorb impact. Rubber mats can be used in various settings and applications, including factory or stable flooring. They are popular owing to their longevity, simplicity of washing, and low maintenance requirements.

You’ve probably seen rubber mats in your local fitness center. They help in creating comfort and absorbing the impact of heavy gym equipment. Through this, they help reduce airborne and impact noise and enhance underfoot grip when walking around equipment.

Rubber matting is also used in an industrial setting to reduce fatigue, where workers spend most of their day standing. They reduce standing fatigue and increase underfoot cushioning.

6. Install Floor Joist Isolators

Joist isolators are U-shaped sound-isolating products manufactured from medium-density thermoplastic material. They are purposely designed to isolate structural noise transmission and vibrations.

Floor joist isolators enhance a floor’s Impact Insulation Class (IIC)  and sound transmission class (STC) by decoupling the floor from the structural supports, which reduces sound transmission, especially low-frequency sound transmission.

Floor Joist Isolators are installed on floor joists to physically separate floor surfaces, such as substrates, off structural support structures. They are cost-effective for reducing noise and vibration through floor or ceiling components.

Floor Joist Isolators are ideal for projects utilizing the “Box in a Box” or “Room in a Room” building techniques commonly used when constructing a home theater or music room.

  • They are also great for:
  • Broadcast studios
  • Home theaters
  • Recording studios
  • Band practice rooms
  • Any space that uses the box in a box or rom in a room construction method.

7. Resilient Channels

Resilient channels are affordable for reducing sound transmissions through ceilings and walls. As sound waves travel through walls and ceilings, they are dampened as the channels create an extra distance between the wall and the insulation.

Resilient channels are available in either one or two legs and are attached between the joists or studs and the drywall. Below is a picture showing how these channels are installed in a ceiling and wall situation.resilient channels installation on the ceiling

The installation process is relatively simple. A screw is bored into the wooden studs or joists through the channel. The channel’s “legs” face the studs. The channel’s flat side is then drilled into the drywall.

However, resilient channels are not genuinely reliable because of their saturated variations on the market. The original design, which was tested and proven to reduce noise transmission, no longer exists. This led to the creation of varying designs from different brands, which are never standardized.

The most common and effective alternative is sound isolation clips, commonly known as sound clips. They are paired with resilient channels to help improve the overall acoustic effectiveness of resilient channels.

8. Floor Over the Existing Floor

Building a floor over the existing floor will help add more mass which is one of the four principles of soundproofing. However, there are several factors that you should consider before adding one flooring type on top of another. Depending on the new floor type, it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Even if the flooring you select can be installed above the preexisting floor, you must consider other factors. First, you must inspect the existing floor’s integrity. If the existing flooring is attached to the subfloor and in excellent shape, it may be possible to install new flooring on top. But, if the existing floor is damaged or worn or the subfloor requires repair, you will have to remove everything and start from scratch.

It’s also important to understand how the new flooring should be installed. Should it be nailed or glued down?

If it requires glue, you will need to understand the type of surface the glue sticks to, as some adhesive won’t stick to existing cork tile floors or vinyl sheets unless an underlayment is installed first.

9. Carpet Padding

Wondering how to soundproof your apartment floor with some home enhancement tricks? Why not consider Carpet padding?

Besides bringing comfort to people’s feet, carpet padding is also used for soundproofing purposes. Carpet padding is available in various designs, textures, and even thickness.

The thicker the carpets padding, the better the chances it has at absorbing and minimizing noise.

Carpet paddings are usually placed below a carpet even though they are very efficient on their own.  To make things easy for you, measure the size of your carpet and use the measurements to purchase the right carpet padding.

If there is heavy floor traffic in your home, you will have to install a carpet with a rubber foam underlay before installing the carpet padding. This is because a carpet with an open-cell form underlay wears out easily on heavy use.

To install the carpet, roll it on the floor and ensure it reaches the ends of your apartment floor. Then cut it at the edges and use nails or glue to secure it properly.

One of the best carpet paddings to use, which is also easy to install, is the Premium Grip Rug Pad. The premium grip rug pad more durable and also slip-resistant, unlike the other carpet padding.

Even though this is an easy DIY project, you will need the help of a friend to install the padding because of its heavier weight.

10. Adhesive Compounds

If you are looking for a soundproofing method that doesn’t involve rolling out carpets, then soundproofing compounds is right for you. Soundproofing compounds such as Green Glue are good at reducing noise between surfaces.

You can apply the glue between your floorboard and the floor underlayment. The adhesive nature of the glue makes it unique for securing objects and reducing noise.

The compound is very safe to use, so you do need the help of a professional. It is odorless and also environmentally friendly.

Before applying the green glue, ensure the subfloor is clean, free from any protrusions such as nails. The subfloor should also be moisture-free.

Purchase the right amount of glue depending on the size of the area you wish soundproof. Carefully read all the instructions and the precaution in the manual.

Use a caulk gun to distribute the green glue on your subfloor evenly. Then place your preferred underlayment or a fiberboard on top of the glue.

Then install your preferred flooring followed by a carpet. The glue will take the utmost 30 days before reaching its peak performance for minimizing noise.

Soundproofing compounds are known to be very effective at reducing noise. They are also easy to clean.

Final Thoughts

Soundproofing your apartment floor is a simple process that’s both inexpensive and easy to accomplish. Above are some of the methods you can implement right now without changing the structural design of your rented apartment. Have you tried other methods not listed in this guide? Please let us know in the comment section down below.

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