How Can I Reduce the Noise from Wood Flooring?

If noise pollution is an issue it is one best tackled prior to purchasing a wooden floor as it can affect your selection.

First be aware that solid wood floors need to be fully fixed to the sub-floor and cannot be installed as a floating floor so any sound proofing must be carried out under the sub-floor i.e. uplifting the existing floorboards/ply board and fitting a sound proofing material. Then re-fit or install a new sub-floor prior to installing the solid wooden floor on top.

The best choice of flooring with sound proofing in mind is either Laminate, engineered or Multiply engineered oak flooring as all of these floors can be installed as a floating floor meaning they can be installed on top of a sound proof underlay, which will reduce impact and airborne sound.

Subfloor Diagram

These underlays are installed over the top of the existing sub-floor, most are loose laid and rely on the weight of the product to hold it in place, the new flooring is than installed either using a glued tongue and groove fixing or a click system.

There are a number of sound reduction underlays available on the market all offering different properties and levels of decibel rating (dB), the cost of these products also varies considerable. When choosing your underlay, consider the following:

  • Who occupies areas below, is it part of your own property or a neighbours. If it’s your own property than a more cost effect underlay offering good sound reduction qualities should be ok, if a neighbour occupies the area below you may want to consider a sound reduction underlay of a higher specification to ensure the maximum amount of noise is reduced.
  • The thickness of the underlay can vary, 2mm being the thinnest. The level of sound reduction usually rises with the thickness of the underlay, this needs to be taken into account when considering doors heights and adjoining floors.
  • The use of rugs and soft furnishings can add the reduction of airborne sound as it helps to absorb noise.
  • Wearing slippers, socks or going bare foot will reduce the impact noise when walking across the floor.
  • Presuming that your sound reduction needs is to reduce the sound travelling down, consider fitting wall mounted speakers, where this is not possible a layer of thick rubber laid under the speakers will reduce some of the impact noise.

If this section has left you with more questions than answers check out our sections on concrete sub-floors and wooden sub-floors.