Is your neighbor constantly knocking on your apartment, complaining of all the noise you are making?
Maybe you have noisy kids that jump up and down, a treadmill in your workout room, or even a loud stereo that is causing way too much noise for your neighbor below.
If you want to soundproof an apartment floor, you first need to figure out what you are doing that is causing all the noise.
You then need to locate where that noise is being generated from. Once you have isolated the problem area, you are ready to dive into this small project.
If you are an apartment owner looking to soundproof your apartment’s flooring, then this will still apply to you. T
The methods I will be providing are very effective, whatever the occasion is.
I have done a lot of research on this topic to bring you 6 easy things you can do to soundproof an apartment floor.
1. Install Acoustic Underlay Underneath the Flooring
The acoustic underlay must be installed beneath your floor. This means that in order for an underlay to work effectively, it must be placed underneath tile, wood, concrete, or carpet.
There are many different types of underlay available, and will vary depending on the type of flooring you will be installing it under.
Acoustic underlay is very effective at sound deadening because they are installed underneath the flooring, which means it absorbs the leftover sound and impact that your flooring is not stopping.
Cork Board Underlayment
This Cork Board underlayment was mainly designed to be placed inside drawers and cabinets but can also double up as a floor underlayment.
It is one of the cheapest floor underlayments you can purchase.
If the cork board is installed underneath your flooring correctly, then this product will do a great job at reducing heat and noise transmission.
There is also no need for any type of adhesive since this product comes with adhesive already on it for easy installation.
Quiet Cure Ultraseal Acoustic Underlayment
Ultraseal acoustic underlayment is another example of a great product to soundproof the floor of an apartment. This item actually doubles up as a moisture barrier as well as a soundproof barrier.
This underlayment is best suited to be installed underneath concrete or wood flooring. Installing this will effectively create moisture and sound barrier underneath your floor. It is also mold and mildew-resistant, as well as hypoallergenic.
Installation is pretty simple because the material is very flexible and self-sealing. Here is a video showing a quick installation of both the Quiet Cure and Floor Muffler underlayments.
Floor Muffler Underlayment
This underlayment can be used on wooden and concrete flooring. The product is made up of a dense foam composite material. This item shares the same traits as the Quiet Cure underlayment.
It is also moisture and soundproof as well as hypoallergenic. The manufacturer also claims that this is the best underlayment on the market. It was also rated as one of the best underlayments for footfall noise.
This product is backed up by the high number of positive reviews it has on amazon, so it seems safe to say that this product is very good at what it claims to do.
Click here to check out the current pricing on amazon for this product. Installation is also pretty simple since the material is very flexible and comes already with adhesive on it.
How Effective Are Acoustic Underlays?
Acoustic underlays are very effective when it comes to basic foot noise and pounding.
There are other stronger items on the market that you can use or add to the underlays to give it even more sound-dampening.
The best thing to remember when it comes to soundproofing is that density is king.
You can have the best underlay or vinyl in the world, but if it is very thin, then it will not have many sound-dampening properties.
The best thing to do would be to install underlays in conjunction with a thicker sound-deadening material like mass-loaded vinyl.
2. Mass Loaded Vinyl
This mass-loaded vinyl is a great option to use to sound deaden apartment flooring. This is a lot stronger than a basic acoustic underlay due to its thickness and density.
It is effective for many types of flooring and can also be used on many other projects as well.
This 1/8″ thick vinyl can be used for cars, bathrooms, bedrooms, apartments, studios, and many other projects.
It is very dense and weighs about one pound per square foot which is why this is so effective.
This product is made up of a dense rubber-like material that excels at sound dampening. Installation with this product is a little more difficult since there is no adhesive on it.
You will either need to tape the product in place or staple it.
You simply unroll the vinyl, cut it to size, remove the adhesive backing, and stick it on your designated area.
It can easily be cut into different shapes and sizes, which makes this very versatile for problem areas like corners or small gaps.
If you really want to soundproof your apartment floor, then I highly recommend pairing this product with an acoustic underlay for maximum sound deadening.
3. Install Carpet Padding
Carpet is one of the most popular materials used when installing flooring in an apartment.
It’s not too expensive and is fairly easy to install compared to wood flooring. Carpet padding is a padding that is installed underneath your carpet.
Carpet padding has many benefits, and soundproofing your apartment floor is one of them. The padding also helps with thermal insulation and makes your floor softer to walk on.
Most apartments may already have carpet padding installed underneath the carpet, but if yours does not, then I suggest you have it installed.
When choosing carpet padding, don’t skimp out on the price. The thicker and denser the padding, the better it will be at soundproofing and insulation.
If you install thin carpet padding, then it won’t have much benefit to soundproofing or have many shock-absorbing benefits.
Choosing the Best Carpet Padding for Your Apartment Floor
As I stated earlier, do not skimp out when it comes to the carpet padding.
Padding is the structure that will hold your entire floor together. It is the meat and bones.
Using cheap padding will mean that your floor will not be able to hold up due to a weak structure.
If you plan on doing all the work involved with replacing or installing new carpet padding, then it would be the best idea to make sure the padding will be effective at soundproofing.
There are a few different traits you need to look at when purchasing carpet padding. These include the thickness, density, and type of padding.
Thickness of Padding
You will want the padding to have an adequate amount of thickness (height) based on the type of carpet you are installing. Using the thickest padding possible isn’t always the best idea.
There are some carpets that may be damaged if the padding is too thick due to having too much “give” when you are walking around on the carpet.
Thicker padding may also not be as durable as a thinner pad, and anything over 8/16″ may cause problems during installation.
The sweet spot that most carpets call for is 7/16″. The best way to find out what size padding your carpet will need to go into your local home improvement store and talk to a customer service representative.
Density of Padding
Thickness and density may sound like the same thing, but they are actually quite different.
You can have a thick pad that has very little density, which means that it will flatten like a pancake when stepped on.
On the contrary, you can have a medium-thickness pad that will only flatten a tiny bit when stepped on, and this is purely affected by the density.
Think of density as how much material you can stuff into one spot.
A good example of this is the trash can in your home. Once the trash starts reaching the top, you can either throw it out or try to smash it down to compact all the trash.
This is you effectively creating density and weight. You can expect pad density to be 3-10 pounds for the most common types of carpet padding.
A good rule of thumb to remember is a heavier pad will be better for soundproofing and will also last you a lot longer than a pad that isn’t as dense.
If you want your carpet padding to last over 9 years, then it is recommended to purchase a pad with a density of at least 8 pounds or more.
Types of Padding
Foam Pad – Foam padding is usually the padding that comes with your carpet for free. Foam padding is probably the worst option you can use when trying to soundproof the floor.
As I mentioned earlier, padding is the meat and bones of your floor, and if you use cheap foam, then don’t expect your floor to last more than 3-4 years.
Frothed Foam Pad – Do not get this padding confused with normal foam padding. Frothed foam is the complete opposite of regular foam padding.
This is a very durable carpet padding and will easily outlast your carpet, but at a steep price.
Rebond Pad – This is probably the most common type of padding used by most homeowners. It is durable enough to last for many years, and it won’t break your wallet.
The main thing you need to watch out for with this type of padding is the warranty on your carpet. Using this padding may render the warranty for your carpet useless.
Memory Foam Pad – This is similar to the memory foam that is used for bedding. As you can imagine, memory foam is excellent.
It excels at absorbing impact, which means that it will excel at soundproofing your floor. There are a few things to consider before purchasing memory foam.
Memory foam is a squishy type substance. Over a prolonged period of time, the constant squishing can end up damaging your carpet.
Flat Rubber Pad – This is the most durable type of carpet padding available. Good for up to 20 years.
For a more detailed guide on carpet padding, you can check out this carpet pad article, where I found a lot of my information.
I found this great video tutorial showing how to install carpet padding if you have never done it before.
4. Use Rug Pads
Rug pads are a convenient option when it comes to soundproofing a floor. This method does not require you to pull up your existing floor which makes this option very practical for somebody that cannot change out their floor themselves.
Placing a rug pad underneath a rug will help prolong the life of a rub as well as your floor.
There are a few pros and cons when using a rug pad. They are very effective at absorbing sound. There is no doubt about that.
The main issue I see here is that it will only soundproof an area where you will have a rug. There is no rule that says you must place a rug on top of these, but they are pretty ugly if just left out in the open.
In my opinion, these would work great in high-traffic areas where there is a lot of running or jumping, like in a toddler’s room.
You can place a large floor mat in the room with this underneath and have the entire floor soundproofed. Placing these in your living room and underneath all your rugs throughout your home will also work pretty well.
This is a good cheap fix if you do not want to tear open your floor and install subflooring materials like underlays or other forms of soundproof padding.
5. Use Interlocking Floor Tiles
Floor mats are another great way to help minimize the sounds going through your floor.
They are also easy to use because it doesn’t require you to pull up your existing flooring in order to use them.
Simply place these on top of your floor in the most problematic areas in your house.
If you have a treadmill in your bedroom that is causing all the noise, then you can simply install thick floor mats underneath it to absorb all the impact and noise.
This will also work well if you have kids that are constantly jumping up and down while they are playing. You can designate a playroom for your kids that is filled with rugs or floor mats.
Interlocking floor mats work great for shock absorption but don’t work too well for sounds like music or a home theater room.
Do Interlocking Floor Tiles Work?
Floor mats like these ones from amazon are similar to what a gym will use for their weight rooms.
These ones are specifically good because they are 1/2″ thick which is perfect for sound deadening.
Most interlocking tiles are only 1/4″ thick and do not work nearly as well. These are the ones that you usually see in a toddler’s playroom.
Installation is also fairly straightforward. You just need to purchase enough square tiles to fill the room or area that you want to sound deadening.
They easily lock into place like a big puzzle and are very sturdy. If these floor tiles are able to stop an echo of a 110-pound dumbbell echoing through a gym, then there is little that they won’t be able to handle inside of your home.
The best part about these is how easily you can replace, move, or uninstall them at your leisure.
If you only need them out for certain times of the day or for certain situations, then you can just keep them stored away in a closet when they are not in use.
6. Install Cork Tile Flooring
Don’t forget about your bathroom, kitchen, or other areas that have a hard walking surface. It isn’t always practical to install big tiles or floor pads in these areas, so this is where cork tiles come in handy.
Cork tiles are mainly used in areas like the bathroom and kitchen but can also be used in living rooms and bedrooms.
These tiles are waterproof and slip-resistant, which makes them a great option for a kitchen, bathroom, or even a home office.
Cork tiles are an on-flooring solution to soundproofing rather than sub-flooring. This means that cork tiles will replace your existing floor.
You can find these tiles at your local home improvement store.
Cork tiles work a little differently than carpet or interlocking wooden floors. Cork tiles are actually glued to your floor and require a pretty demanding installation.
I found this video to be very helpful if you plan on doing this on your own.
There are many different avenues you can take when it comes to soundproofing an apartment floor.
Many of these options will either boil down to if you are the owner or just someone that is renting.
Any type of option that requires you to replace or remove existing flooring will most likely need approval first from the landlord.
If you are a DIY enthusiast, then it makes the most sense to go ahead and install new flooring or add padding or underlays to the existing flooring.
If you are not the do-it-yourself kind of person, then it may benefit you the most to use other options like floor mats and floor pads that are placed above the surface of your floor.