Tired of hearing footsteps and voices from the floor above you?
There are multiple ways to soundproof your flooring. This article will focus on reducing noise with carpet.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- general information on sound dampening flooring
- is carpet good for soundproofing?
- what to look for in carpet and padding to reduce noise
General information on sound dampening flooring
Before attacking the problem of noise coming from the floor above, it helps to understand sound dampening. How does it work? And what works best?
First off, there are two types of noise that go through floors:
- Impact noise: This is hearing footsteps or anything else that directly contacts the floor.
- Ambient or air noise: This is noise from music and voices going through the floor.
It can sometimes be difficulty to find, but every type of floor, padding, and any other material has ratings for noise reduction. There are two types of ratings.
- IIC or Impact Insulation Class: The higher the IIC, the more the material reduces impact noise.
- NRC or Noise Reduction Coefficient: The higher the NRC, the more the material reduces ambient noise.
You might think that if a floor has a high IIC, it also has a high NRC, but that’s not always the case.
Usually, to reduce impact noise you want a softer material. Think like a soft carpet pad. This reduces the force of the impact, and that reduces the noise.
To reduce air noise, you want something that is heavy or a lot of material. Sound waves have difficulty getting through a dense, heavy material.
So how does carpet fit in?
Is carpet good for soundproofing?
Carpet is the best floor for soundproofing, but flooring can only do so much to block noise. Carpet will reduce footstep noise a lot, but it won’t reduce voice noise as much.
The best time to address an issue with voices going through the floor is during construction. Insulation between the floors is typically the best way to stop air noise.
But since you’re hear, you’re probably past the construction phase.
If the noise isn’t too bad, carpet may do the job (and it will be your best option as far as flooring goes).
If this noise is more than you can handle, carpet might take the edge off, but you’re likely going to need to do more. There are companies that specialize in noise reduction. They can come out and likely add some type of insulation between floors.
Now, let’s dive into what we need to look for when buying carpet and padding
How to buy carpet and padding that reduces noise
Remember when we talked about the two types of noise that can go through floors?
The good thing about carpet is we can cover both of these. Here’s how:
If you’ve ever read my guide on how to buy carpet, you might recall that there’s a specification that I think is deceiving. It’s called total weight. It’s a bad and misleading measurement for carpet durability.
If you can’t find the total weight, you can also use face weight, but it’s not as good of a measurement. The problem with face weigh is it only tells you the weight of the carpet fibers and doesn’t include the backing.
But it turns out it’s a good measurement for determining sound resistance. The reason is total weight is just as it sounds… it’s the weight of the carpet and backing. More weight = more material = more air noise reduction.
What about sound proof pad?
Carpet padding is a big reason why carpet is great against impact resistance. So what pad should you get?
I thought there may be a big difference in different pads, but there really isn’t.
Almost all carpet pads perform similarly.
This means you can go with rebond or memory foam pad. I’d try to avoid fiber pads or rubber padding if impact noise is part of the issue (the would work fine… and maybe even better… for air noise). If you’re looking into padding, I recommend check out my guide on the best carpet padding.
Captain’s next steps:
So now you know about soundproof carpet. Here are the steps I recommend you take next:
- If you’re considering other flooring options, read my guide on soundproof flooring.
- If you plan on buying carpet, check out my guide on buying carpet to get the best deal.
- If you think flooring isn’t going to fix your soundproof issues, consider hiring a soundproofing expert.
Anything else you want to know on soundproof carpet? Let me know in the comments below.