Of all the issues that can arise within a home or an interior, unwanted noise is perhaps one of the worst. Whether it is noise entering your home, causing disruption, distress or sleepless nights, or noise exiting, causing embarrassment or a loss of privacy… preventing unwanted noise either way is on the top of many homeowners’ priorities.
It is perhaps a little known secret that oak flooring can actually be utilised as a measure to prevent the unwanted transmission of noise, if it has been properly prepared. This is an all too often overlooked area, so in order to help you choose the right combination for your own personal situation, we have created this guide.
It will provide you with a number of noise reduction solutions for your Oak Flooring, but before beginning, you have to know what noise you aim to combat, so let’s identify this first…
Identify Your Noise:
There are a number of techniques, tips and tricks that can be utilised to good effect in order to provide sound-proofing and noise reduction for your oak flooring. The technique which is of most use to your situation depends largely on the type of noise problem that you are trying to solve. Here are some questions to consider about the kind of noise you may be experiencing:
- Is your intention to reduce the noise that is travelling from an upper floor downwards, or to reduce the amount of noise that is travelling from a lower floor upwards?
- Is the noise problem impact noise, airborne noise, or both?
In order to gain a deeper understanding of soundproofing for oak flooring, let’s explore the four main aspects of soundproofing in more detail.
The Four Main Aspects of Soundproofing Oak Flooring:
Any solid object is able to provide a degree of sound blockage; but obviously the specific amount of blockage provided depends upon how dense, thick and heavy the object is. The deployment of mass is a strong solution when trying to resolve noise related issues that are attributed to airborne sound. Airborne sound includes voices, but mass is not as effective for resolving impact based noises like footsteps. This is because impact based noises are actually transmitted through the building’s structure or the mass itself.
Damping is the process of limiting the length of a sound and therefore quietening. Usually in order to achieve best effects for oak flooring a damping compound is utilised under the oak flooring itself. For example our Sika Silent Layer Mat Underlay, which is capable of providing sound deadening qualities to a 16 dB reduction. If using the floating method, and underlay with high dB rating can be used. Often damping compounds work as they are able to transfer the sound energy into heat, resulting in an abrupt end to the sound.
In order for damping to be truly effective, it should be utilised in conjunction with two stiff panels; the subfloor and the oak flooring itself for example. These two layers are usually then combined together with screws in order to form a “Constrained Layer Damping System”. Once this has been created, when sound hits the system it will then create shearing forces beneath the stiff panels. These panels then create friction in the dedicated damping layer, and this energy is thus converted into heat.
Of the four aspects included here, damping is by far the single most effective at the prevention of low-frequency noise, such as unwanted noise pollution from the “booming beats” of a neighbour’s party or the steady rumble of construction machinery.
Unlike some of the other aspects, to decouple sound will involve more aspects than simply the oak flooring. To demonstrate, the process of decoupling is designed to prevent specific sound which uses the building structure for transmission. The process of decoupling involves the introduction of gaps into part of the building’s structure itself. This then prevents the sound vibrations from continuing throughout the building and spreading.
For best effects, decoupling should be achieved during the building’s construction. This can be accomplished by staggering the stud beams, therefore the two wall panels are two separate sets of studs. This is opposed to both walls being utilised by the same stud and therefore connected by them.
However, decoupling can also be accomplished subsequently, and can be achieved through the deployment of resilient sound clips and a furring channel, which can be done when you are changing the flooring.
Of all the four elements here, decoupling is the least frequently utilised when compared with the other three when soundproofing is deployed in an existing structure. Additionally, the process must be carefully considered and then installed correctly. This is due to the fact that in worst case scenarios, decoupling can actually make the occurrence of low-frequency noise worse, because a new resonance chamber can be created.
Of all the four aspects listed here, absorption is the single least effective, although it still has its part to play. An example of an absorption based noise reduction measure is loosely packed fibreglass insulation. This can be laid underneath flooring between floor joists in order to prevent noise pollution upwards or downwards as required. When deployed, absorption based measures provide only a small amount of additional soundproofing.
Which Measures Are Best For Use In My Interior In Conjunction With Oak Flooring?
The short answer to this question is, if possible, to use all four. This is because each of these methods works independently of, and differently to, each other. To demonstrate, if plenty of mass based noise prevention measures have been utilised without the support of damping prevention measures, significant improvement in overall noise prevention will be enjoyed once some damping measures have been deployed.
Therefore, if you already have attempted to install some noise prevention measures with your oak flooring but it is currently not meeting the desired level of noise reduction, consider which of the above four aspects is missing in your system.
For further information about the noise reduction measures available for use with oak flooring included within our product range, or to discuss your specific requirements, a member of our dedicated customer service team can be contacted by calling: 0800 043 3073.
Email enquiries can be sent to us at: email@example.com.