When you’re working at home, chair noise is an unfortunate reality, regardless of how well made the chair is. Chair noise can be addressed differently, starting with changing out the casters on your office chair to make them less noisy.
Some people use a mat to reduce chair noise, but is it effective for reducing chair noise?
Using a mat helps in reducing chair noise. The mat adds a soft layer on the floor, absorbing the impact noise caused by the chair’s movement. By using a mat under the chair, you’re allowing the mat to absorb and disperse the sound waves, hence less chair noise.
In this article, I’ll go into how you can soundproof chair noise. I’ll also explain noise types, the different kinds of sound-absorbing materials available, and the best materials for your chair mat.
Soundproof Chair Noise
Chair noise is not only irritating for whoever is living downstairs; it can make your life uncomfortable as well. While the chair casters and the floor itself will absorb the sound to some extent, they’re insufficient to reduce chair noise.
To soundproof chair noise, you need to understand what kind of sound you’re dealing with to address the issues effectively. You need the right methods and materials to ensure the noise is dispersed right where it’s produced, rather than transmitting further.
Airborne vs. Impact Sound
When it comes to soundproofing, it’s important to understand the differences between airborne and impact sound.
As the name suggests, airborne sound is sound transmitted through the air directly. Examples of this kind of noise are the sounds of traffic or radio playing in a house across the street with the window open.
In all these cases, the sound waves are carried in by air. The soundproofing needs to be at the window or door level to address this kind of noise, addressing gaps through which sound can filter in.
Impact sound is also known as ‘structure-borne sound’ because this is sound transmitted through the building. The sound waves reverberate through the walls and floors of the building. Chair noise is a type of impact sound, as are footfalls or construction noises within the same building.
Sound decreases in volume the farther it travels. So when it travels double the distance from the source, the power of the sound waves reduces by half. Because of this property of sound waves, the best place to address impact noise is at the source — that is, the floor.
When you add sound absorbent materials to the floor, the extra padding absorbs the sound waves and disperses them. Because of this absorption, the sound waves lose power and don’t travel as far.
Regardless of the type, simply adding an extra layer of material over the floor and under your chair like a chair mat will help reduce noise. But to reduce noise even further, ensure your chair mat is made up of sound absorbent material.
Reduce Chair Noise With Sound Absorbent Materials
Sound absorbent materials function by absorbing sound waves, converting sound energy to heat, and dissipating it. It dampens the pressure of the sound waves, preventing them from traveling very far.
Since the material absorbs the sound waves, naturally, the thickness of the material influences its capacity to dampen sound; the thicker or denser the material, the better it’ll be at reducing noise.
The porosity of the material is also important. Porous materials have air gaps, allowing sound waves to hit the air molecules, vibrate, and lose energy, dampening the sound even more.
So, among the best materials for soundproofing are soft and natural materials like:
- Coco fibers
Do Rubber Mats Absorb Sound?
A natural material, rubber is both affordable and excellent for soundproofing.
Rubber mats absorb sound. The dense, soft nature of rubber allows it to absorb sound very well. Rubber cushions the impact noise of footfalls and movement of heavy equipment or furniture very well.
Because of this cushioning, it’s used extensively for soundproofing in industries, gyms, and recording studios.
Best Mat Materials To Reduce Chair Noise
Chair mats come in various materials, but rather than getting something wooden, which would reflect sound, you should get material that absorbs sound to reduce chair noise.
The best chair mat materials to reduce noise would be rubber and thick polycarbonate materials like PVC. These materials are soft, dense, and porous enough to ensure that chair noise is addressed at the source.
Glass is a popular material for a chair mat, and while it does absorb sound, it has a limit. The maximum frequency that glass can absorb is 400Hz, which may be insufficient for moving chairs.
Are Chair Mats Worth It?
There are multiple uses of a chair mat.
Chair mats are worth it. Not only do chair mats add a sound-absorbent layer that reduces chair noise, but they also protect your floor from damage. Moving chairs can cause damage in the form of regular wear and tear as well as dents. Using chair mats helps prevent this damage.
Chair mats can also help reduce static buildup.
Over carpets, chairs might be difficult to move, and that’s where chair mats come in, offering a smooth surface to move on. Using chair mats is naturally helpful for anyone using an office chair but is especially useful for people who rely on wheelchairs for mobility.
Thick carpets not only make it difficult to move office chairs but limit the movement of wheelchairs as well. Chair mats over carpets are an excellent way to address this issue. You can even get transparent ones to ensure that the carpet is visible.
Chair mats are an excellent way of reducing chair noise. They absorb and disperse the impact noise of the chair moving on the floor by converting the sound waves to heat energy, especially if they’re made of sound-absorbent materials like rubber or PVC.
Chair mats are also useful for improving mobility on thick carpets for office chairs and people on wheelchairs.