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Old 09-10-2010, 12:08 PM
 
119 posts, read 421,594 times
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Question Wood floors and a Sound-proofing question

We are planning to install wood floors on the 2nd floor and are worried about noise. The 2nd floor has kids bedrooms & a game-room.

1. Which underlayment offers best sound proofing capability if installed below the wood floor? Can you mention specific brands/stores where I can buy such material?

2. What would be better from a sound-proofing perspective: low-cost hardwood floor or high-cost laminate? My budget permits a max of $3/sqfoot or thereabouts for material.

Thanks
Carol
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Old 09-10-2010, 12:19 PM
 
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At $3/sf, you haven't even covered the cost of a decent flooring material, so you'll have to take what you can get with regard to soundproofing.
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Old 09-10-2010, 12:35 PM
 
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Default Need to be more specific...

I assume currently the second floor is carpeted. Carpet is veery very effective in both preventing sound from being transmitted AND keeping the carpeted room quiet / free from echoes.

If you are considering a true hardwood floor that is mechanically fastened to the subfloor (generally with flooring staples that effectively nail it in place...) you must understand that the room will NEVER be as quiet as carpet. There is also a good possibility that more "impact noise" will be transmitted through the structure to rooms below / adjacent. Underlayment is generally not done for that sound control in that kind of application. Neither roofing felt nore rosin paper are very effective in isolating noises.

If you are contemplating a floating floor of engineered hardwood or laminate you would need to use an underlayment. Even with the highest quality underlayment the room it self can still be VERY echo prone / hollow sounding. To some folks that hollow sound is worse than any benefit that comes from isolating the transmission of impact sounds and frankly that isolating is generally just a bit betteer than typical mechanically fastened hardwood anyhow... Not a good solution.

Suggestion? If want hardwood that is a nice upgrade. If you are worried about noise invest in thick / heavy area rugs and get the kids involved in selecting them so they sit on them and do not rumble around the rooms.
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Old 09-10-2010, 12:41 PM
 
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Chet, thanks for the detailed reply. Frankly the only reason I am replacing the 2nd floor carpet is because my kids have Asthma. I am told that nailed/glued hardwood offers better sound proofing than a floating type hardwood floor. Nailed/glued hardwood hence do not even need underlayment. Is that correct?
Carol
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Old 09-10-2010, 12:57 PM
 
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Default Like I said,depends on what sounds you mean...

The nailed down will transmitt the sounds of impact through the subfloor so if the kids are tap dancing or dribbling a ball are jumping around you are going to now about it. The standard practice among most wood floor manufacturers and installers is to have a layer of rosin impregnated paper or roofing felt but that is not for sound control.

In cases where the decision is made for asthma or other air quality issues hardwood wins out. Even the best manufactured type floating floor may have high levels of VOCs and that is exactly what you want to avoid for air quality issues.

You can get the materials for a bargain floor at less than $3 sq ft, but installation and a finish that has good air quality ratings (either when cured or through installation...) might be impossible to do on that budget.
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Old 09-10-2010, 01:42 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan and Sometimes Orange County CA
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Take off your shoes. Problem solved.
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Old 09-10-2010, 10:07 PM
 
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When i had a second floor home ;even with good insulation there is no stopping the noise really. So we had bound area rugs put in.
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Old 09-11-2010, 09:24 AM
 
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Laminate has a loud, hollow sound, IMO.

It is important that the sub-floor be secured to the joists well rather than the very sloppy way most contractors use their nail guns today.

As has already been mentioned, rugs, shoes off, will help. Actually I think the sound of noise upstairs is comforting (to a degree). It is when kids are silent one has to wonder what mischief is afoot.
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Old 09-12-2010, 06:36 PM
 
119 posts, read 421,594 times
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Thanks for the tips. I went to the local Home Depot & here is what I found:
- Prego Laminate (10 mm) was less than $3/sq foot & within my budget. 8 mm was even cheaper
- The only hardwood I could afford was bamboo at $1.7 / sq foot
At Home Depot, I was told that Laminate with an Underlayment (red carpet like stuff) which sells at $0.60/sq foot will help reduce noise.
Now I am not sure if I should go with Prego Laminate or the Bamboo hardwood.
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Old 09-12-2010, 09:57 PM
 
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I will just tell you that the quality of laminate flooring vareies alot mostly with price form waht i learned from a friend who owns a flooring business. he unlike amny think that a good liminate makes perfect sense for some people.
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