The best flooring for sound reduction

The best flooring for sound reduction

When choosing a new type of flooring for your property, a range of factors will help to determine the best fit for your needs. Different types of flooring come in varying styles, patterns, and finishes to suit the interior aesthetics of the property, but qualities like durability, water resistance, and sound reduction also vary between materials.

We’re going to delve into the best flooring for sound reduction.

What features contribute to noise reduction

Various features of flooring materials will contribute to its noise reduction qualities:

Thickness – Thicker materials absorb and dampen sound vibrations more effectively than thinner ones.

Surface texture – Textured surfaces can help scatter and absorb sound waves, reducing their intensity, whereas smooth-surfaced materials can reflect sound waves, increasing noise levels.

Underlayment – High-quality underlayment can absorb sound vibrations well, significantly enhancing the sound reduction of the flooring as a whole.

Installation method – The way the flooring is installed can affect its sound insulation qualities. If the flooring material is not directly attached to the subfloor, such as floating floors, the sound reduction may be greater than flooring that is directly glued or nailed down.

Some flooring materials are specifically designed and tested for their sound reduction capabilities. A sound transmission class (STC) rating will indicate the product’s effectiveness at reducing airborne noise, and an impact insulation class (IIC) rating shows its ability to reduce impact noise.

You may be interested in sound-reducing flooring for a range of reasons.

Sound-reducing flooring for residential properties

For residential properties, noise reduction between floors may be a priority, whether to reduce sound traveling between floors of the home or to appease your downstairs neighbors in an apartment block. Sound-reducing flooring can also provide a greater sense of privacy on a single home level, minimizing sound transmission between rooms.

Rooms where high-quality sound is important, such as entertainment rooms, home theaters or music rooms, can benefit from flooring with good sound reduction as reduced echoes and reverberations will enhance the overall acoustics of the room. Sound-reducing flooring can also be more comfortable underfoot due to extra padding or underlay, which is often an important factor for flooring at home.

Sound-reducing flooring for commercial properties

Flooring with good noise reduction can also benefit commercial properties, which are often subject to building codes and regulations regarding noise control. Reduced noise in a work environment can aid concentration and productivity among employees and create a more pleasant and professional environment for clients and customers. Minimizing the amount of sound that travels between rooms or offices can help protect sensitive information in settings where confidential conversations often occur.

Reduced noise levels can help to prevent accidents, which is very beneficial for businesses such as fitness centers, childcare facilities, or educational institutions.

What is the best flooring for noise reduction

Here are the most popular flooring solutions ranked in order of their sound-dampening properties.

1. Carpet

Carpet is one of the best flooring choices, where sound reduction is a priority. Its fibers act as sound absorbers, trapping and dissipating sound waves that bounce off hard surfaces, and the soft surface of the carpet dampens impact noise from footsteps and furniture movement. The exact level of sound reduction offered by a specific carpet will depend on its fibers and style.

2. Vinyl

Vinyl flooring offers the best sound reduction of any hard flooring material, making it the ideal choice for applications where noise reduction is a priority but carpet is a less favorable option. Thicker vinyl flooring products tend to have better noise reduction qualities, and some products are engineered with specific acoustic properties to enhance sound reduction. Most types of vinyl can have their sound-dampening enhanced with certain underlay and installation methods.

3. Laminate

Laminate flooring doesn’t offer a significant level of sound reduction on its own, as it’s a hard surface material that doesn’t absorb sound well. Thicker laminate material may offer better noise reduction, but this can also be enhanced with specific underlay and installation techniques.

4. Hardwood

As another hard surface material, hardwood flooring doesn’t offer strong noise reduction qualities as standard. Similar to laminate and vinyl, sound dampening can be increased by opting for a thicker material, specialist underlay, and specific installation methods.

5. Engineered wood

Engineered wood absorbs even less sound than hardwood flooring. If you opt for engineered wood flooring, look for a product that offers a thicker uppermost wear layer, as this can help reduce noise. Once again, choose a sound-reducing underlay and installation method.

6. Tiles

All types of tiled flooring, from ceramic and porcelain to natural stone, cannot offer strong sound reduction qualities. Often, with a reflective surface, tile can increase noise within a room due to sound waves bouncing off its surface. Installing an acoustical membrane underneath the tiles and using flexible grout can help enhance the noise reduction of tile flooring.

Sound reduction is unlikely to be the only deciding factor in your new flooring choice. Check out our handy comparison guides for different flooring types to make an informed decision about your new flooring:

Whatever flooring you choose, always have it installed by a professional to extend its lifespan and ensure optimum safety.