How to Soundproof Floors in an Apartment?

Living in an apartment is a great option for people on a budget. You get some well-deserved privacy and plenty of space to make your own.

However, even apartment life comes with its own downfalls, and excessive noise is one of them.

Since apartment buildings and complexes have lots of people living within a small boundary, it can get quite noisy.

People often consider soundproofing their apartment to help with this, and we’re here to show you how to get it done.

How to Soundproof Floors in Your Apartment

The walls may have ears, but it is your floors that are mostly responsible for noise traveling to your apartment.

All sounds from people walking in their apartment, sitting on a creaky rocking chair, or even a dog thumping its tail against the floor are likely to enter your apartment.

It can make things quite frustrating, especially when you’re trying to sleep or studying for an upcoming test.

So, why not consider soundproofing the floors in your apartment? The options mentioned below will limit, if not completely eliminate, the sound is transferred to your rooms.

Let’s have a look!

Install Carpeting and Rugs

The easiest and perhaps cheapest trick to soundproof your apartment is by bringing in carpets and rugs.

Think back to middle school science classes when we learned that carpets absorb sound. That is the logic we’re applying here as well!

Carpets and rugs work best if you have tiled or wooden floors. That is because these are hard structures, and sound waves pass through them easily.

Adding soft materials like carpets will make your floors dense and prevent sound from traveling across.

You can further maximize the soundproofing ability of these carpets by installing an acoustic underlayment (more on this later) underneath.

However, do keep in mind that carpets and rugs need to be cleaned frequently. They can become a hub of dirt, dust, and gunk if left unclean, which would be terrible for your health.

Also read: Cost to Replace Carpet in Apartment

Get Mass-Loaded Vinyl Sheeting

One of the best ways to soundproof your apartment is by adding extra mass on the floors.

Mass-loaded vinyl sheeting does this perfectly to block out any unwanted sounds from your home.

Mass-loaded vinyl sheeting is installed over your existing floors to reduce impact sounds.

It can cover every inch of the flooring, including the corners, making it one of the most effective soundproofing solutions for apartments.

You can start by sticking these MLV sheets on the first layer of your flooring. Since the sheets are highly flexible, they can easily be installed without hiring the services of flooring experts.

As you make your way through the apartment, make sure that each sheet overlaps the other with at least an inch of space.

This is the best way to prevent any ’empty’ spots that could reduce the efficiency of your soundproofing efforts.

Once you’re done, you will notice that the MLV sheets add an ample amount of mass to the floors.

Therefore, they have a dampening effect that blocks out sound waves.

Install Acoustic Underlayment

Acoustic underlayment is the process of adding a thin layer of flooring to the subfloor. This additional flooring works well if you have tiled or carpeted floors.

You can also use it for laminated floors.

Underlayment works as a barrier to sound, vibrations, and vapor.

Since it blocks sound transmission, it works well as a means of soundproofing your apartment.

The material used for acoustic underlayment is made up of dense recycled fibers that absorb sound and moisture.

Hence, the sound waves are unable to enter your apartment.

There are numerous other benefits of installing acoustic underlayment as well.

Firstly, since it serves as a vapor barrier, it will prevent moisture from damaging your floors.

This can be exceptionally useful if you have engineered wood or hardwood flooring.

Additionally, underlayment provides consistency to your existing floors. This ensures a smooth, even finish.

Try Out an Acoustic Rubber Mat

If you aren’t too fond of the idea of installing underlayment, we have another option for you!

Carpets and rugs will reduce the intensity of noise entering your apartment. However, they are not enough to block out the sound completely.

That is where underlayment or rubber mats come in to lend a helping hand.

Using rubber mats under your carpeting is a subtle way to soundproof your apartment.

That’s because these mats are thin enough to go unnoticed while also working well to block out sounds.

The rubber material is flexible and dense, which prevents airborne sounds from crossing into your apartment.

Even the most basic and cheap rubber mat will offer you some form of soundproofing!

Damping Compounds

There are many different damping compounds that also have a sound-blocking effect in apartments.

You can easily find these compounds, like Green Glue, at your local hardware store.

Damping compounds usually come in a glue-like consistency.

They are supposed to be applied in-between the plywood, or whatever building material is used in your apartment.

As the name suggests, these glue-like compounds have a damping effect on the flooring.

They are applied like caulk and reduce the transference of sound from the external environment into your home.

Damping compounds actually convert incoming sound waves to heat. These heat waves are then radiated out and expelled back into the outer environment.

The only downside of damping compounds is that they only work when they are applied between two solid surfaces.

Therefore, these compounds are best suited for use during apartment construction or renovations.

Install Cost-Effective Cork Tiles

Cork tiles are not only a cost-effecting option for your flooring, but they do wonders to block out external sounds too!

Cork is an excellent soundproofing material.

Therefore, it can easily be used above or below floorboards to prevent your neighbor’s noise from disturbing the peace of your apartment.

Installing thick cork tiles will soften your flooring.

So, you can easily install 12-inch cork squares all across your floors, much like push-in boards.

One of the biggest benefits of cork tiles is that they look aesthetically appealing.

So, even if you leave the floors without any top layer or cover, it will work well.

However, you will need to be careful if you’re installing cork tiles in your bathrooms or the kitchen.

Cork isn’t waterproof, so it is best to have underlayment or a rubber mat to prevent exposure to moisture.

Use Floor Mufflers

Floor mufflers are also a kind of acoustic underlayment that can be used on laminate as well as solid hardwood floors.

They are made of heavy-duty foam composite which acts in a similar way to fiber underlayment.

Floor mufflers also block out sound, vapor, and moisture by absorbing it.

The reason that floor mufflers stand out is that they are hypoallergenic. This can be quite useful if you suffer from allergies or live with people who do.

Moreover, floor mufflers have a self-sealing mechanism, so you can install them rather quickly.

You won’t need to purchase any additional adhesive materials if you choose to get floor mufflers.

Important Things to Know Before Soundproofing an Apartment

Here are some of the things you should know before working on soundproofing floors in your apartment.

Impact vs. Airborne Sound

Putting it simply, there are two ways in which sound transfers through apartment floors.

Since your goal is to reduce this transference, it is important to understand how sound travels.

In residential buildings, there are two different types of sounds.

  • Impact Sound
  • Airborne Sound

Impact sound is also called structure-borne sound. It occurs when an object has an impact with a solid structure of the building, thus creating a sound.

This impact results in all sides of the building structure vibrating. These vibrations create sound waves which travel through the building structures and enter your apartment.

Think of a kid bouncing a ball in the apartment above you.

The sounds you hear are impact sounds as they are caused due to an impact on the building’s structure.

On the other hand, airborne sound is exactly what the name suggests. It is any sound that is transmitted by the air and into your apartment.

This could be anything from your neighbor’s dog barking, the radio in the lobby, etc.

Airborne sound is responsible if you’ve been facing trouble sleeping because the apartment upstairs has the TV volume turned up!

Most buildings have strict regulations regarding airborne sounds.

Therefore, you can always lodge a complaint with your landlord if you’re facing trouble with the neighbors being too loud.

However, when it comes to limiting impact sounds, you will need to soundproof your apartment.

Just go over the options we’ve mentioned above and pick one that is the most feasible for you.

Do remember to consider how invasive an option is, what it costs, and if it is allowed in your apartment beforehand.

Above and Below Soundproofing

Another important thing to consider before soundproofing your apartment is the area to be soundproofed.

If you are installing new floors, it is best to soundproof the apartment from above.

This offers you optimal soundproofing performance as the rooms above and below the new material both receive their benefits.

However, if you don’t plan to install new floors, you will have to soundproof them from below.

For existing floors, the best way to soundproof your apartment is through insulation.

Soundproofing from below is usually not as invasive.

It only requires the installation of noise-eliminating materials that minimize sound vibrations and prevent any transfer of noise into your rooms.

You can also use resilient channels or floor joists to keep the impact noise from entering your apartment.

Lastly, Rockwool works well against airborne noise, stopping it from transferring into your rooms and disturbing your peace.

All the best in soundproofing your apartment!

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