Q: Is there a way to dampen noise from hardwood floors upstairs?
My wife and I want to put hardwood floors in a house we just bought. We are definitely going to do the downstairs and we would both like to do the upstairs. But, I keep having flashbacks of my old San Francisco apartment building, where you could hear ever step someone took upstairs. Is there a product or a type of hardwood floor that can help solve this issue?
This is good advice if you are looking to lessen or eliminate the annoying squeaking you experience when walking through your home. However, if you are looking to eliminate the click clack of traffic on the hardwood floor above you I would recommend installing an Easy Step or Floor Muffler type underlayment beneath the flooring. This type of underlayment acts as a sound barrier and has a higher Delta rating(test that determines the decibels aborbed by the underlayment) than even the 1/4" cork type underlayment used in high rises while being only 3/32 thick(2mm). It comes in easy to install rolls of 100-200 sf and typically runs between $65-$89 per roll.
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Damping and, or eliminating a noise or noises is subjective. Basically the thicker the base the more dampening achieved to that one side of the structure.
Typically soundproofing may achieve some satisfaction but is not absolute with louder creeks and crackling noises.
Wood joists age and become brittle typically causing main traffic areas and pivot-points to more deflect, most weakening smooth fasteners, and producing more noise.
Other causes, found more in new construction, can include movement of attached fittings, or pipes, and etc. that rub across joists and other objects that are under the flooring or subfloor material.
Most commonly the cure for noise is identifying where the noise is coming from, and nailing it down with a serrated type fastener until the noise is gone. If noise still persists, subfloor may have to be opened up to solve the problem. Staples with double-sided, chiseled points can only add to the problem down the line.
Deflection typically equals what three people can produce standing in the same location.
More dramatic solutions may include reinforcing the joists and, or substructure.
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