Loud floors can be annoying. Some types of floors are more prone to echoes and other loud noises than others. However, one way to reduce noisy flooring is to use an underlayment between the subfloor and flooring material to bring noise to a minimum. Some types of underlay are better than others, but cost may help determine your choice.
Most laminate floors have a foam underlayment that helps in the reduction of noise. The best economical type of underlayment for noise reduction is an upgraded or higher quality foam pad that generally exceeds the standards set by the manufacturers that make standard foam underlayment.
This foam is usually thicker and is specifically engineered for sound reduction. It comes in a variety of different name brands and may differ somewhat in terms of features. For instance, some will have an attached moisture barrier as an added benefit.
An alternative to upgraded foam is cork underlayment. Cork is also used under laminate flooring and often reduces noise as well. Cork underlayment is superior to foam underlayments of all types, but is usually cost prohibitive. It should be used in instances when maximum sound reduction is necessary.
One step down from cork, is foam underlayment that contains a film on the underside that serves as a moisture barrier. This upgraded foam underlayment is typically higher quality than the standard underlayment used by many contractors. It is made from a variety of types of foam and is available in several thicknesses.
The standard underlayment used by most builders and contractors is a foam pad that is approximately 1/8-inch thick. It does not provide any real noise abatement beyond a miniscule echo reduction. The hollow sound made when walking on a laminate floor is generally made on floors with this type of underlayment. It is the most economical, but not the most effective solution for reducing sound.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images