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Old 11-19-2008, 05:26 PM   #1
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How to Soundproof the Wooden Floor?

hey i live in a 2 story house and i live on the 1st floor and my uncle lives on the second floor. however when the people on the second floor walk around i hear the creaking and thumping on the 1st floor. is there any way to fix this? any way to dampen the sound? any way to make it more soundproof? if you have any real methods of solving this problem please post, thanks in advance!


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Old 11-19-2008, 11:46 PM   #2
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In a nutshell, about the most effective thing you can do is install a thick carpet with a thick, high quality underpad on the 2'nd floor of the house. If it were me, I would use a heavier commercial underpad that you will find takes more force to compress than the standard foam chip residential underpads. It also seems to me that a cut pile carpet would absorb more energy than a level loop carpet like a Berber, but that's just a SWAG (Scientific Wild Assed Guess), maybe take home some carpet samples and find out whether the cut piles work better than the level loops or vice versa.

Basically, when a person walks, it's the impact of their heel on the floor that makes the floor move, and that movement of the floor creates a sound wave that you're hearing downstairs. But, you hear midrange sound frequencies much better than you do low frequency sounds, so midrange noise is going to seem louder to you than low frequency noise.

By installing a cut pile carpet with a thick underpad, much of the impact energy of the footstep is going to be absorbed by the compression of the carpet and underpad, so the floor won't move AS MUCH, and that means the amplitude of the sound wave produced by the floor movement will be smaller (pronounced "quieter"). However, and perhaps more importantly, because the impact on the floor won't be sudden (like it is with a hard heel on a hard surface floor) but more gradual (as the carpet and underpad compress), the movement of the floor in response to the footstep will be slower and the resulting sound waves produced by the floor will be of lower frequency. The idea here is kinda like coating the clapper in a bell with foam rubber both to help absorb the impact of the clapper on the bell and to lower the frequency with which the bell vibrates in response.

Basically, noise reduction has traditionally been accomplished in one of two ways; by increasing the mass of the separation, or by physically separating components within walls and ceilings. The latter involves building double walls between rooms so that the movement of one wall doesn't cause the movement of the other, or by installing resiliant mountings between the wall studs and the drywall. Resilient mounting of the ceiling drywall to the ceiling joists would also work, but it would involve tearing down your existing ceiling or installing new drywall under your existing ceiling, neither of which is often practical. And, of course, making the floor or ceiling heavier in your case isn't practical either.

You don't need to read the rest, but if you want to learn more about noise transmission through buildings, within one evening of reading you'll know more than 99% of the general population about it.

Go to the General Discussion forum and go back to October 15 of 2008 and look for a thread entitled "Sound Dampening Advice Needed". Read my post in that thread and it will give you a good basic understanding of how sound travels through walls and floor/ceiling constructions. Note that in that discussion, the context is that the source of the noise is not direct impact, like someone walking on a floor or pounding a nail into a wall. It would be more like a loud stereo, or conversation or machinery operating.

Here is a link to that thread:
Sound dampening advice needed

Now, here's a web page from Australia that also discusses noise in buildings due to impact on floors and wall (like foot falls):

Finally, for a much more authoritative discussion of the subject, there has been research done on reducing building noise by changing the methods of construction, and you can find a good discussion of that subject here:

People who buy older houses often don't like the fact that they have plaster on their walls and ceilings which they perceive as being more difficult to repair than drywall. They don't realize that it's that heavy plaster on their walls and ceilings that make older homes quieter than new ones being built today. In fact, it's the movement toward lighter building materials that's resulting in noise complaints in newer hotels, motels and apartment blocks. The advantage in building with heavier materials is that you get a quieter building.


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Old 11-20-2008, 11:23 AM   #3
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Sounds like an Uncle just may get a ton of area rugs for Christmas?
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