The best soundproof flooring choices for a quieter life
Whether you’re trying to relax or get that important piece of work done, finding peace and quiet isn’t always easy. One way to encourage a work and relaxation-conducive environment is to consider the acoustics of your business or home, and your choice of flooring. Hard floors are durable, easy to clean and look fantastic but you might not realise they can also provide some of the best soundproof flooring options. There are plenty of soundproof flooring products on the market but the trick is in finding the right one for your home or business. If you’re looking for the best flooring for soundproofing, or advice on acoustic soundproofing, keep reading; you’ve come to the right place.
How sound travels
If you’ve been experiencing disturbance it is probably caused by either impact sounds (contact) or transmission (airborne) sounds. For example, annoying footsteps or cupboards closing are impact sounds but conversations or loud music are transmission sounds. The good news it that soundproofing materials can help you with both of these but you’ll need to choose the right floor for the job.
When it comes to soundproof floors, impact and transmission sounds each have their own efficiency rating. For impact sounds you need to look at a floor’s IIC or Impact Insulation Class. As an example, IIC 65 will represent floors that have a high level of impact sound absorption. These include carpet but installing vinyl floors and cork floors can be just as effective. For transmission noise you need to look for a soundproofing floor with a high NRC or Noise Reduction Coefficient. The highest of these is carpet but some vinyls and rubber soundproof flooring also score highly.
Floor types for improved soundproofing
When choosing a floor for your home or workspace, soundproofing isn’t the only consideration. You will of course also want your floor to suit your design ideas, and offer a high level of durability for its proposed use. There are pros and cons to each type of flooring, and getting the balance right when it comes to soundproofing will depend on the level of importance you place on noise reduction. We take a look below at the soundproofing abilities of four different popular types of flooring.
- Carpets offer a certain level of soundproofing but are far more effective when combined with a good quality underlay
- Laminate floors on their own don’t offer good soundproofing for either impact or transmission noise but they can be laid with acoustic soundproofing
- The cushioned nature of vinyl flooring can reduce sound but this will depend on the thickness and quality of the vinyl
- Real wood flooring can be very noisy and transmit both impact and transmission noise. It can however be fitted with soundproof floor matting
Some of us like loud music and constant chatter but usually only when we choose it. In a domestic situation, it is often other people’s noise that causes disturbances and sometimes arguments. With more of us working from home than ever before, soundproof floors are becoming a sought-after factor when it comes to selling a property. For example, soundproof flooring for apartments is really important if you want to avoid being aware of your neighbour’s activities and moods.
Soundproof floors for flats
If you live in a flat without soundproof floors or work in a similar environment, there is a high chance you’ll experience noise interruption. This is usually unintentional but over time it can sometimes become a problem. Flooring choices to avoid in multi-storey environments include those with low IIC and NRC scores. For example, hardwoods, bamboo, tiles and stone floors are all good conductors of sound and won’t be great choices in areas where noise reduction is required.
Soundproof floors in open offices
Open plan office spaces can be great for communication and team working but, for those who prefer a quieter working environment, the noise of colleagues can be an unwelcome distraction. By encouraging a noisy work experience, you might risk higher stress and lower production levels for your employees. Noise-friendly, hard flooring solutions such as high-rated vinyls are easy to maintain, relatively hardwearing, and can go a long way towards creating a quieter working environment.
You might also like to consider acoustic flooring options such as soundproofing underlay, which can be laid underneath your chosen flooring, and can even be used on stairs. Soundproof floor mats can be installed underneath a wide variety of floors, and offer effective noise protection.
Soundproofing existing floors
Usually the best way to get effective soundproofing results is to make the right flooring choices in the first place. Chat to the experts and you might find that soundproof flooring costs are lower than you think. However, if you need a quick, temporary solution, or are working on a tight budget, there are a few ways you can soundproof your living or working space.
- Carefully place thick rugs and mats to reduce the sound of footsteps and noise below you
- Use soft furnishing such as cushions, curtains and blankets to deaden sounds
- Replace solid floors with carpet and a good quality underlay
These soundproofing results will offer some level of solution to noise problems but it’s definitely worth considering a new floor for attractive and effective results.
As our working environments evolve, and more of us find ourselves working from home, the requirement for effective soundproofing is set to increase. The good news is there are plenty of soundproofing solutions out there. By far the best way to determine the right choice for you is to talk to the experts. At Indigo Floors we offer professional product advice and expert installation, as well as a top class maintenance and aftercare service. For a free, no-obligation quote, get in touch with us on 020 8959 2629 and talk to our team today.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE ROYAL NAVY – Part of a £1.25m fit out of a major new exhibition for the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRM) at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
Indigo Flooring were tasked with completing the complicated layout of some 1,500 m2 of Marmoleum flooring with a water jet cut world map inlaid into the floor and Jet cut map of Great Britain vertically installed onto two swing doors, with various hand cut contrasting inlays leading the public to important exhibits throughout.
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