Sound can be disturbing – whether the sounds are coming from outside, upstairs, or even another room, unwelcome sounds can have a significant impact on our quality of life. Indeed, during new home construction and even renovations, we often put a lot of effort into sound treatment to prevent noisy external environments from impairing our sense of peace and calm at home. Decisions about insulation, windows, doors, and even flooring usually consider the impact of sound. With that in mind, let’s take a moment to learn a bit more about how sound works and the best flooring for sound control.
The Best Flooring for Sound Control – Goals of Sound Control
The structure of your home – the walls, ceiling, and flooring – can all have an impact on how sound is experienced. Some materials absorb sound, others reflect it, and still others act as a conductor for sound. When it comes to sound control our goals are usually to reduce the amount of sound transmitted between rooms and floors and to eliminate distracting noises in order to improve sound quality in your home or in a room.
We generally achieve these goals by choosing wall and ceiling materials to prevent sound travelling between rooms and flooring materials to prevent sound travelling between floors.
So then, when you are choosing flooring for your home, it is important to choose flooring that will mitigate the transmission of impact noise and airbourne noise. As you may have already guessed, impact noise is that which is created by impact on your floors; this includes the sound of footsteps, toys, vacuums, and other items that interact with your floors. On the other hand, airbourne sound is usually created by people – think voices, music, televisions, and computer games. When choosing flooring to control sound, you must consider how rooms are used in your home and the likelihood of impact or airbourne noise.
The Best Flooring for Sound Control
Now that we know a little bit about sound, we can start to think about choosing flooring for sound control. Some of the best flooring options to mitigate sound include:
- Composite timber
Carpet is well known for absorbing sound which is why it is often used in apartment buildings, hotels, and even offices. Still, not all carpet will behave the same and we usually recommend high pile carpets or those with thicker pads because they will be better at absorbing sound and preventing it from travelling between floors and rooms. However, carpet may not always be the best choice because it can be harder to maintain and keep sanitary.
Cork flooring is increasingly popular in recent years because it is sustainable, attractive, and comfortable. Another benefit of cork flooring is its sound absorbing properties which makes it a great choice for underlay in your home. Cork flooring is commonly applied in commercial properties, but it has a tendency to stain which is why it works best as underlay in residential applications.
Often referred to as wood plastic composite, composite timber flooring is durable and easy to maintain. This waterproof flooring material is also excellent when it comes to reducing impact noise. Plus, composite timber features a layer that insulates against sound while also preventing the growth of mold and mildew.
Rubber flooring is an especially popular flooring choice when it comes to sound control. Because it absorbs sound so effectively, it is most often used in industrial and commercial spaces including schools, hospitals, and gyms. If you are looking for an excellent acoustic flooring material for your kitchen or home gym, rubber flooring is non-slip, durable, and resistant to mold and mildew.
Finally, vinyl or luxury vinyl flooring can also be a great choice for sound control because they can easily be installed with a sound-absorbent underlay. Vinyl tiles and floors are affordable, versatile, and durable and can be applied in many rooms of your home.
If you’d like more information about the best flooring for sound control, contact our team of flooring experts at Floor Coverings International. We carry a wide range of flooring options and we can help you make the best choice for your home no matter your goals.