How to Soundproof a Floor for Cheap [Including Flats]

Man soundproofing a laminate floor

Last updated: January 3, 2020 at 22:08 pm

There’s a few reasons why you should consider soundproofing your floors. Either:

  1. You’re neighbours are noisy
  2. You are noisy
  3. Sound is travelling internally within your house

Lucky for us, there’s various ways you can soundproof floors. So if you fall into one of the categories above, keep reading our full guide for what products and materials you’ll need to start and finish your soundproofing journey!

Why You Should Soundproof the Floor

To properly soundproof you need to establish what type of noise you’re working with. This allows you to choose the best soundproofing for your needs.

There are two main noise categories:

  1. Airborne
  2. Impact

Airborne noise travels through the air. Common causes are things like the TV, kids shouting, music and barking from dogs.

Impact noise is harder to contain as it travels through the structure of a house (can also be referred to as structure borne sound). This includes footsteps, banging and dropping things.

Either way, once you establish what type of sound is is causing the noise, you can choose which soundproofing solution is best for you from the ways below.

4 Easy Ways to Soundproof Floors

1. Carpets and Rugs

The easiest soundproofing you can achieve is using carpets and rugs to reduce airborne noise and muffle impact noise. There are carpets designed for soundproofing which offer increased thickness.

Airborne noise is talking, TV etc and impact noise is footsteps and dropping things

Underlay can also be used in conjunction with carpets to increase soundproofing. Underlay is used to protect your floor, but some can also improve soundproofing. Soundproof underlay generally has these main features:

  • Thick – usually more than 10mm
  • Rubber – made from high density material like sponge rubber which absorbs
  • and Tog – higher than 2.5g

If you already have carpet, consider upgrading to a denser, thicker one using high quality underlay.

2. Install a Fake Floor

A fake floor is the most effective way to soundproof a floor, but it’s also the hardest to pull off, the most expensive and the most work. You’ll also need to hire someone to do it for you, unless you’re comfortable with big DIY jobs.

Essentially, a fake floor is an extra floor on top of your existing one which can be packed with multiple layers of soundproofing to fight even the noisiest airborne and impact sound.

3. Install MLV – Mass Loaded Vinyl

MLV has been specifically designed for soundproofing purposes and can be used on floors, walls and ceilings. It can be used anywhere, and simply needs cut to shape and installed.

Usually with a Db level of around 30, it’s a great DIY solution for soundproofing the floor yourself.

MLV can be used on it’s own, but for aesthetics it’s best to use it as an under layer with laminate or carpet on top. If you use this with soundproof underlay and thick carpet explained in No.1, it will block most, if not all, airborne and impact noise.

It is very heavy because it’s so dense, and most tape won’t stick, so installing it with either nails or glue is best. Nails can cause slightly more noise then glue because they can cause echo, so a soundproof glue would be ideal.

4. Other Ideas

If you’re soundproofing a small area or a child’s playroom, interlocking floor mats can work wonders.

Floor mats are easy, cheap to install and convenient… but may not look the most professional. Floor mats can be bought for about £20 so they’re one of your cheaper options.

These are made from very thick rubber and are designed to stop children hurting themselves when playing. But since they’re so thick, they are great for preventing impact noise (like dropped and throwing toys about) from making it through the floor.

Interlocking floors mats are most effective on top of laminate or even concrete, but can be used on carpet for additional cushioning.

Soundproofing Floors in Flats

Flat with laminate flooring

Whether you’re on the 1st or 17th floor, learn how to soundproof the floor of your flat the easiest way possible.

There are three main floor types we will cover; concrete, wooden and carpet. You’ll most likely fall into one of these categories to give you the best shot of soundproofing your flat floor.

If you don’t own the flat, make sure to read over your lease or contact your landlord about doing improvements. If you do own it check with your local council about the law regarding soundproofing in your building.

Building Regulations and the Law

You will be limited by building regulations (and potentially your lease) which we’ll cover now. The same document covers the legalities when soundproofing the ceiling in your flat… it’s called Resistance to Sound: Document E.

Building regulations for soundproofing, or the official title of “Resistance to the passage of sound” explains what soundproofing measures have to be in place for houses and flats.

Regardless of what building regulations state, always check your lease first. If you rent, then the property is not yours. Any soundproofing work undertaken could be deemed a permanent altercation which is not allowed in most leases.

Concrete is a Little Tricky for Soundproofing

Concrete floors in flats is tricky because you can’t lift them or alter them in any way (realistically). The best way to soundproof concrete floors is laying carpet and/or using soundproof mats to prevent impact noise. Airborne noise shouldn’t be a problem for concrete floors.

Wooden Floors in Flats

Wooden floors are easier to soundproof than concrete, and you have a few more tools available. As with concrete, thick carpet and soundproof underlay can be used on top of the wood to dampen any airborne or impact sound.

This would obviously mean you’d lose the benefit of a wooden floors however. Although, if you’d ever like to revert back the carpet can easily be lifted.

In Conclusion

For soundproofing floors you certainly have a few options. From a completely fake floor on top of your existing one and MLV, to more traditional methods like carpet/rugs or interlocking floors mats.

Remember:

Always check what type of noise you’re trying to block, and select the best soundproofing method to deal with it. Impact noise will require more substantial soundproofing than airborne.

If you have the budget and the commitment then a fake floor will give you the best results. Other than that, MLV is the next best easy DIY solution.

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About the Author: AJ

Hi, my name's AJ! I write about living a quieter life, soundproofing tips and recommending the best quiet products here on Quiet Living.