A good percentage of floors are made out of concrete. This type of floor, in particular, has a high level of mass, which makes it one of the best soundproofing materials as far as airborne noise is concerned.
High mass materials, however, make for terrible insulators against impact noises, which is why you probably need to learn how to soundproof a concrete floor if you have downstairs neighbors.
From people walking around the house to pets running about and furniture being dragged around, impact noises can be extremely irritating, so much so when these elements come into contact with a bare concrete floor.
Thankfully, however, there are many different ways to soundproof concrete floors, and for the most part, unlike the case in wooden floors, they don’t call for redoing the entire floor.
Tips on How to Soundproof a Concrete Floor
Since concrete floors, unlike wooden floors, are pretty much set for the duration of their lives, the best recourse you have when it comes to soundproofing them has to do with the addition of layers.
This doesn’t mean layering more concrete, no. It means adding other forms of materials on top of the concrete floor. Some of the best items you can use to make your concrete floor more soundproof include:
Carpets and Rugs
Since impact noises are the primary concern when it comes to concrete floors, the simplest and most cost-effective way to soundproof against that is to lay down a rug or two. The reasoning behind this is simple: impact noises come about when you or an object in your house comes into direct contact with the concrete floor, which, as we have seen, is an excellent conductor of this kind of noise.
Therefore, to prevent it from conducting these noises, we do the same thing we do with electrical wires – insulate them. That is where rugs come into play. By simply buying a carpet and laying it over your concrete floor, you will have created a barrier between whatever objects (yes, even you and your family members) would be causing the impact noises and the floor. This is essentially your noise insulator.
The idea is to go for tightly woven carpets. These tend to dissipate the impact better than thinner options. The best part is that, in addition to soundproofing the concrete floor against impact noises, carpets and rugs go a long way in reducing the overall echo in the room, which is only a small part of the noise problem but a part nonetheless.
Use a Rug Pad
As already mentioned, thicker carpets with tightly woven fibers work best when it comes to impact noise reduction. The problem with this approach is that sometimes, this kind of carpet might cost more than you are willing to spend on it, or you might have a perfectly fine yet thinning carpet that you don’t want to replace.
Thinning carpets don’t absorb as much impact and therefore don’t act as an effective soundproofing material.
One of the best solutions to both of these problems is to simply buy a rug pad. This is a less fancy carpet that acts as an underlayment for your carpet.
What this means is that you don’t have to replace your thinning carpet. You can just lay it over the rug pad and combined, it will get the job done. The best types of rug pads have non-slip properties, which ensures your carpet doesn’t slip off every now and again.
They are also often thick enough to act as a very good soundproofing material. They don’t look as good, and that’s why your carpet goes on top.
Try Rubber Mats
If you aren’t too keen on the idea of using a rug pad as a form of underlay (maybe you find them too thick or just unsightly), the next best option would be to use rubber mats. There are several good reasons why rubber mats make excellent underlay for your carpets:
- They are flexible enough to absorb any impact thus all but eliminating impact noises effectively
- They are often thin enough to completely disappear under your carpet, therefore, eliminating that whole “unsightly” nature of rug pads
- They are dense enough to cut out any airborne noise that could get through the concrete
One of the best things about having reliable rubber mats as your underlayment and sound insulation is that they don’t have the inherent weakness that most carpets and even rug pads have – gaps in the woven material.
These gaps, although tiny, do let some sound slip through, which kind of reduces their level of effectiveness as far as soundproofing and sound deadening goes.
Furthermore, rubber mats are inherently non-slip, which goes to making your floor boards that much safer for your kids and even yourself.
Note: Another viable alternative to a rubber mat for your flooring would be interlocking floor mats, which can be fun to lay down and have almost all the same properties as rubber mats, including sound reduction.
The only issue is that these interlocking floor mats have that inherent weakness that comes with the fact that they are interlocking, which means there might be some small but present spaces between those points.
Other than that, they come in a wide variety of colors, which make them perfect for soundproofing the concrete floor on kids’ rooms.
If you own the house, then you have a few more options at your disposal. You could choose to go the “construction” route and lay a whole new layer of flooring on top of your concrete floors.
Granted, this often works best when you have wooden floors, to begin with, but even with concrete floors, you can put on an additional layer of tiles, which will then be covered by rugs. While at it, ensure to use a sound deadening material like Green Glue to add an extra layer of soundproofing between the original floor and the new tiles.
Additionally, you could go for anti-vibration mats that are to be used in specific areas such as under the washing machine or any other electronic that could cause vibrations and thus noise while being operated.
These are just some of the most cost-effective ideas of how to soundproof a concrete floor. The best part is that many of these options are quite affordable and can be implemented almost instantly.