Whether you have a two-story home, a duplex or someone living below you, many homeowners want to know how to reduce noise for their neighbors. Keep reading for 15 ways to choose flooring, windows and walls that will soundproof your home.
5 Ways to Reduce Noise with Your Flooring
- Choose your flooring carefully. Carpeting and cork are the best for low sound transference on their own. In fact, cork has wonderful sound-deadening properties that can help reduce noise!
- Accessorize. If you have or want hardwood flooring (or another hard surface floor), a fun option is to use area rugs and play mats. In addition to reducing floor noise, this allows you to customize your space over and over again as the area is used in different ways.
- Choose underlayment effectively. If you’re installing your floors, use underlayment that will help reduce noise. There’s a wide range of sound-deadening underlayment; the material and thickness you choose will make a difference. It’s also worth noting that if you own a condo, your HOA will almost always have specific requirements for the sound transfer ratings for flooring. Be aware of this and have your flooring contractor keep it in mind when planning the install so you comply with the HOA guidelines.
- Build in some space. If you’re building a new home, keep in mind that the amount of space between the ceiling and the floor above it makes a difference. Unfortunately, a lot of apartments and condos reduce this space to reduce building costs, which ends up increasing floor noise.
- Make an effort. Remember there are things you can do day-to-day to help reduce noise. Walk lightly. Think about the shoes you’re wearing (e.g. high heels vs. sneakers) or remove them when you’re indoors. Talk to those below you to find out what they actually hear. There may not be anything else you can do to limit floor noise, but even letting them know you’re aware and concerned can make a difference.
In our last post we shared how you can choose sustainable flooring for your home by opting for eco-friendly hardwood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. But choosing reclaimed and/or FSC-certified floors isn't the only way to 'go green' at home. A sustainable home extends to the materials you use in installing, refinishing and cleaning your hardwood floors, and the effect those materials have on your indoor air quality.
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Your Home
Before you can improve your home’s indoor air quality, you need to understand how volatile organic compounds (VOCs) relate. VOCs are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Because organic chemicals are widely used as ingredients in household products like paints, varnishes and many cleaning products, the concentration of many VOCs are up to ten times higher indoors than outdoors. This is why it’s important to carefully choose the products you use in your home.
Do you know you can have eco-friendly hardwood floors that are made from standard hardwood varieties? When it comes to sustainability in your flooring, there is a wide selection to choose from including recycled, reclaimed and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified possibilities.
What is the Forest Stewardship Council?
The Forest Stewardship Council is an international not-for-profit organization that sets standards, finds solutions for existing bad forestry practices and promotes responsible management and sustainability of the world’s forests. By purchasing products with their label, consumers are supporting environmentally responsible management of one of the Earth’s important resources.
The FSC was founded in 1993 after conversations surrounding the Earth Summit in Rio the previous year. As the question, “What is sustainable forestry?” had emerged globally due to the increasing demand on natural resources, a group of loggers, foresters, environmentalists and sociologists came together to change the dialogue about and the practice of sustainability and forestry worldwide.
Are you familiar with the Arts and Crafts movement, also known as the American Craftsman style? A type of home design that harkens back to the end of the 19th century, the movement encompasses handcrafted quality and local natural materials in addition to originality and simplicity.
About the American Craftsman Style
In addition to showcasing the skills of local artisans, the Arts and Crafts style notes the rise of the middle-class family. Homes created during this movement have no need for servants' wings (as Victorian-era houses often do), and therefore feature a floor plan that integrates the kitchen with the rest of the main floor. In fact, American Craftsman-style homes were the first to feature breakfast nooks for the whole family to spend time in the kitchen together.