How to choose a material for floor soundproofing?

21 of February '22

When we've had enough of noise in our apartment, it's time to think about how to remedy it. If we are replacing the floor, a great way will be to add a special layer that will reduce the transmission of sounds. So what material will be suitable - we check.

What is a floor underlay?

Underlayis the layer between the subfloor and the top layer of the floor. It is usually made of rubber, cork, felt or foam. There are floors that have an attached underlay of this type in their construction. However, if the material used for our floors does not have it, it is worth investing and enjoying proper sound insulation of the apartment or house. It adds warmth and softness, and more importantly, extends the life of the new floor.

What to look for when choosing a material?

Noise in an apartment is a very touchy subject. A room can be soundproofed in many ways. However, it is worth starting with the walls, ceilings and floors. There are many parameters to consider when choosing the right material to help quiet the floor. These include, for example:

  • Sound Transmission Class (STC) is a value that determines how well a material reduces airborne noise. A higher value means better noise reduction.

  • Impact Insulation Class (IIC) is a value that determines how well a floor kit handles impact noise. The logic is the same, the higher the value, the more effective the material.

  • Thedensity and thickness of the material play an important role in soundproofing. Mass is extremely important when we are talking about insulation, so it makes sense to opt for thicker and denser materials to achieve the best possible performance.

These parameters are of great importance because they change when different materials are combined with each other.

Podczas układania podłogi warto zastanowić się nad dodaniem odpowiedniego podkładu

When laying the floor, it's worth considering adding the right underlayment

© Marco Verch Professional / Flickr

Types of floor soundproofing materials


This is one of the most popular materials widely used for both thermal and acoustic insulation, as it is very effective and the cheapest. It is a durable and lightweight material. There are many different types of foam. The most effective option is to combine it with other materials such as vinyl, for example. Foam is already available on the market in various forms. The most popular of these are interlocking foam tiles, which are laid in seconds.

Cork backing

Corkis an all-natural, non-toxic, rot-resistant product that offers excellent thermal, acoustic and vibration insulation properties. For this reason, it is increasingly widely used in construction. One of its disadvantages, unfortunately, is the lack of vapor barrier.

Rubber underlay

Rubber is a great choice for wood and concrete substrates and is very easy to install under almost any floor. It provides excellent protection, reducing the risk of cracking delicate materials. Such an underlay is often made from recycled rubber products, so it's also environmentally friendly!

Felt underlay

Felt backing is most often made from recycled materials, so it is also an environmentally friendly product. It is often denser than foam, so it not only absorbs sound very well, but also insulates the house and cushions steps very well. Some felt underlays have a built-in vapor barrier for added durability. Felt underlay can be used under a variety of flooring types, including hardwood, laminate, vinyl and others.

Development: Dominika Tyrlik

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