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Soundproofing for Engineered Wooden Flooring – Does it Work ?
Many years ago, in another life, I used to work as a sound recording engineer so, how I ever ended up in the wood flooring business is still a mystery. But here I am many years later and, instead of listening to nonsense about whether the singers slightly off key or, the drums are too loud for the vocal track etc. etc., I'm listening to all sorts of techno babble regarding soundproof underlays for engineered wooden flooring. First of all, allow me to apologise to all the customers that have called Turgon over the years only to be put through to me when the question of soundproofing arises. My arsenal of information on this subject has now been reduced to the same 3 words. I know before I even open my big mouth that I'm going to sound like a parrot, but I just cant help myself. So, in an unprecedented move, I am now going to tell you everything you need to know about soundproof underlays for engineered wooden flooring here in this article.
They don’t work.
And we really don’t need to get into any technical stuff here, because the facts are the facts. They don’t work. None of them. If they did work, then Hameed and Inam Faidi would not have had to waste over £140,000 suing their neighbours over a noisy wooden floor. Why didn't they call us ? Why didn't they seek my expert advice? After all, I would have only had my 3 words of technical information to impart on the entire team. It won't work. Could have saved them a fortune.
But maybe I'm being a little unfair here because what I really mean is that they can work if you install them properly. But as nobody bothers, I'll stick with my first assumption. Let me try and give you some sensible advice on this really important topic. If you've read some mind boggling and impressive statistics from the manufacturers of soundproof underlays i.e. ''Our underlays have a rating of 28db rating on 6 billion kilotons of pressure applied by an Alien with football boots on, rated to ISO 500000 and conforms with blah blah blah. Its all nonsense. First of all, most of the statistics you get will have been derived from lab testing, so that's useless. Unless of course you live in a lab. And secondly, none of the testing I have ever read about actually involved putting an engineered wooden floor on top of the acoustic mat. Because once you put a wooden floor on top of any soundproof underlay, its probably going to half any acoustic rating you’ve read about.
However, one of the main problems really is everybody's expectation of what a soundproof underlay is going to achieve. Not much I'm afraid. It certainly wont stop the impact noise made from high heel shoes, or little Johnny running over your head with his football boots on. If you really want to soundproof your flat so your neighbours aren't going hear the heavy impact noise made from shoes etc, you’re going to have to spend a lot of money. If you're serious about it speak to an acoustic engineer/consultant, and they will be able to give you an idea of what you should really be doing to your flat to insulate it effectively. And it wont just involve throwing a soundproof underlay down then sticking your wood floor on top, I can assure you.
But there is one thing you can do, that doesn't cost anything, is good practice from a floor point of view, and will keep your neighbours deliriously happy.
Take your shoes off.