Floor soundproofing can get quite tricky especially if you are working from an existing finished wood or tile floor. It is always best to remove the existing finished floor and start from the sub floor, however, if your old finished floor is wood, then you can soundproof directly over top of it..
The most common issue with a floor is the transmission of impact noise (footfall) to the people below. There are methods for treating this problem from the ceiling below, but we will discuss them at another time. For now we will discuss soundproofing the floor above in a condo or apartment application.
There are many expensive soundproof floor under lays on the market today and most consist of a dense recycled rubber material. As a rule these flooring under lays are quite effective for stopping both airborne noise as well as giving you excellent impact protection, however due to their density and their shear weight these products are often expensive to purchase and expensive to ship.
The reason is that they come in tile form due to their rigidity. Thus they are palletized and shipped out via common carrier trucks. Depending on the number of sq feet you are covering, the shipping alone for these materials can be astronomical.There is a realistic and economical alternative to these expensive soundproof tiles. The alternative is also a recycled rubber product, but not so dense that it cannot be rolled into an easy to ship roll. The material I am referring to is a product called Impactless™.
Impactless™ is sold by the professionals at Soundproofing America, Inc. www.soundproofingamerica.com or www.yahoosoundproofing.com where you are able to purchase this product online.Impactless™ is an economical alternative to the more dense and costly rubber tiles and it will stop both the airborne and the impact noise from traveling down to the neighbor below. This rolled floor underlay is very economical at $1.50 per sq ft it is basically the same cost as the 1# mass loaded vinyl. The more dense tiles cost anywhere from $3-$5 per sq ft and as mentioned before the shipping can be astronomical.
There are a lot of soundproofing companies out there telling their customers that mass loaded vinyl (MLV) will work to soundproof a floor. If applied properly MLV can help with airborne noise, but it is just not effective at all for stopping impact noise which the concern of most people who soundproof their floors. The Impactless™ roll is also much cheaper to ship, generally $35 for a 108 sq ft roll as compared to $70 and up for mass loaded vinyl. Impactless™ is one of the best-kept secrets in the soundproofing business. When you are looking to soundproof an upper floor on a budget look no further than the American Impactless™ floor underlay. Until next time, this is Dr. Bob…out!!