Author Topic: Changing floor, best way to improve noise isolation  (Read 11004 times)

smoss28

  • Guest
Changing floor, best way to improve noise isolation
« on: March 11, 2012, 06:53:24 PM »
Hi Randy,

     I live in a 4 story condo building (wood construction).  All units have resilient channel (not the good kind though) on all ceilings. Units have laminate tile and laminate looking "wood" along with carpet. Standard carpet pads and foam under laminate. Noise control is just hardly adequate right now.  I will be changing my bathroom from floating laminate to real tile.  Adjoining the bathroom is laminate, but will one day (next year) be changed to floating bamboo (1/2" or 3/4" not sure).  For the tile project I plan to use ditra because it is easier and should allow better noise isolation since nothing is screwed in. What should I use under the ditra?  I can't use MLV since the ditra gets affixed with a layer of thinset.  Also, when I do the bamboo I want keep the heights roughly the same.  I plan to use an underlayment called Floor muffler, but should I put MLV under it?  I want to improve impact noise within reason since I will be replacing carpet with bamboo.  Also STC noise is just ok.  I can hear people if they yell, but normal conversation can't be heard.  Any thoughts?  I want to keep the floor thickness within reason.   ;D  Our bylaws say all hardwood floors have to have area rugs covering 80% which helps a lot when people wear shoes, but not perfect solution.  I can call you this week if that helps 

smoss28

  • Guest
Re: Changing floor, best way to improve noise isolation
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2012, 07:04:11 PM »
One more thing.

I was thinking of putting down MLV first, then another layer of either backer board, or wood.  Then maybe the ditra system.  The issue is, I know it's bad to screw down the board and I can't just leave it floating and affix the ditra with thinset to a board not screwed down.

Another thing to add, is that I am the association president and people constantly ask about changing the carpet to hardwood.  I am trying to be the guinea pig and figure all this stuff out so we can implement these methodologies for everyone else.

To be more specific with the current noise level.  I can only hear voices if they are loud, 2-3 people yelling or laughing loud. I can hear high pitched noises, squeeky drawers sometimes.  Also, one person upstairs had a very noise squeeky bed and I heard all sorts of interesting noises  :o  Once she got a new bed it completely stopped.  I had never heard these types of noises in the 5 years I lived here before.  The noise is naturally frequency based and she must have had a really old bed or something.

I can hear Impact noise especially if people wear shoes or walk very heavy.  It's only really bad when they are not on the area rugs.  The laminate we have is the cheapest stuff you can buy.  It has a very very thin type of noise. I know other laminate is better and the floor muffler really seemed to help when I looked at the demonstration in the store. Basically I believe the builder did the bare minimum to isolate noise.  It works, but it's not perfect.  By the way, all units have crown molding in the living rooms... with resilient channel  ::)  I know there is no space between the crown molding and sheet rock.  From reading these boards I know that is bad. 


whatismisophonia

  • Guest
Re: Changing floor, best way to improve noise isolation
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2012, 03:38:15 AM »
I ain't Randy, but I am a very sensitive person who's done a fair amount of soundproof research; and according to that research, you're never gonna get a hardwood floor to be as good as carpet (wish I could understand why carpet just plain isn't good enough for so many people, especially when they know they're gonna have to put up with eachother).  I am a part of an on-line support group for sound sensitivity, and I've heard over and over again how someone thoughtlessly removes a carpet and puts down a hardwood floor which becomes murder on the people below.  You, however, are taking the time and effort, not to mention the money to do a good soundproofing job (and I greatly respect that), but the only way to soundproof that bastard is with a professional floated floor soundproofing system, not some thin foam or any thin material of any sort.  An alternate solution would be to go with a soundproof product like the dimple mat used for hardwood floors, though it probably still won't be as good as the carpet, and you may end up having to fork over the money to attach a second layer of drywall with damping glue to the ceiling below.  However, if you went that way, it would greatly improve the ambient noise situation as well.  This is my understanding:  Your resilient channel works off the principle of decoupling.  Damping glue works by reducing a material's ability to hold a vibration that comes into it; because they work off of different principles, together they create a synergistic effect.  Not only that, but the glue will help make up for any 'shorts' (places where screws may have gone through drywall, through the res channel and a little into the joist) in the system, which commonly occur.

smoss28

  • Guest
Re: Changing floor, best way to improve noise isolation
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2012, 01:54:50 PM »
Thanks for the response.  I completely understand what you are saying.  I have actually been reading through these boards on and off for over a year.  I haven't decided about changing the carpet over to hardwood in the living room but it would be nice.  I was hoping by taking a few steps I could get the hardwood to at least equal the performance of the standard carpet I have now.  I thought the bylaws prohibited hardwood but it turns out they only prohibit nailed down wood.  Other people in the building want hardwood and they think they can't get have it...   ;D  I am trying to be the guinea pig and see what can be done before everyone finds out they can start putting it in. 

Currently the upstairs apartment has cheap laminate (very tin like noise) and carpet.  I can hear the boom boom when someone walks heavy on both the carpet and laminate.  Laminate is worse.  Our bylaws do say 80% of the hard surfaces need area rugs.  So when someone steps on the laminate with shoes it is naturally louder, than the area rug or carpet.  I am thinking what we have now in the laminate areas is the worst and we can only improve from here.  I realize I am neglecting the fact that I am expanding the area of hard surfaces.  The laminate upstairs is above my bedroom so no carpet going in their kitchen.  I am the only apartment that has a kitchen above a bedroom (my unit is slightly different).

Hardwood is much better for my allergies.  I do understand it is easier to improve the noise isolation when choosing carpet versus hardwood.  If I stick with carpet, and the people upstairs decide to go to hardwood that's a bad situation.  For argument sake, if they can have it, why not I..   ;D  It gets very complicated.  I am trying to find out options for the entire building. 



Randy S

  • Senior Soundproofing Technical Specialist
  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 789
    • Super Soundproofing Co
Re: Changing floor, best way to improve noise isolation
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2012, 04:34:55 PM »
You can come close, but unfortunately it will not be the same as carpet with out addressing both above and below.
You are more than welcome to contact me directly and we can discuss your options.
1-888-942-7723 ext 104

 
Randy Sieg

Super Soundproofing Co
www.soundproofing.org
888-942-7723
Ph. 760-752-3030
Fax.760-752-3040

gregfleming

  • Guest
Re: Changing floor, best way to improve noise isolation
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2013, 06:35:48 AM »
The carpet with carpet pad will help to improve noise isolation without having to buy any sound isolation products. The performance of carpet with a thick pad is nearly equal to a rubber underlayment installed under a wood or tile floor.

Randy S

  • Senior Soundproofing Technical Specialist
  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 789
    • Super Soundproofing Co
Re: Changing floor, best way to improve noise isolation
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2013, 03:59:50 PM »
well I'm not sure what your trying to say here, but carpet and padding is the best for reduction of  impact noise and there is no system out there today that can equal that reduction for a wood or tile floor.

Underlayments beneath carpet and padding usually is to block airborne noise and improve on impact.
 
Randy Sieg

Super Soundproofing Co
www.soundproofing.org
888-942-7723
Ph. 760-752-3030
Fax.760-752-3040

smoss28

  • Guest
Re: Changing floor, best way to improve noise isolation
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2013, 03:26:17 PM »
Also, I don't think my upstairs neighbors would be all that excited about installing carpet and padding in their kitchen!!!  Not all rooms lend themselves to carpet.   ;D

Randy S

  • Senior Soundproofing Technical Specialist
  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 789
    • Super Soundproofing Co
Re: Changing floor, best way to improve noise isolation
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2013, 04:23:20 PM »
Therefore not all rooms will ever achieve the same value of reduction..unfortunately even with the best systems available today. So, with that being said,  peoples expectations about impact noise reduction have to be with in reason. :)

Just keeping it real :))
Randy Sieg

Super Soundproofing Co
www.soundproofing.org
888-942-7723
Ph. 760-752-3030
Fax.760-752-3040

smoss28

  • Guest
Re: Changing floor, best way to improve noise isolation
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2013, 07:54:05 PM »
Yes, exactly why I am looking to move.  I doubt any improvement will be good enough. 

The boneheads that built my building decided to put my bedroom under the kitchen for the unit above mine.  They didn't do that in the rest of the building.  Wonder why!!!  Although, after talking to my neighbors, apparently having a bedroom above you allows you to hear squeaky bed frames when certain activities take place.  Pick your poison I suppose. 

The moral of the story is a properly built building from start is the only real solution. 

johnbergstromslc

  • Guest
Re: Changing floor, best way to improve noise isolation
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2013, 03:11:38 PM »
Sounds like your building was probably built before the 1980's, before STC isolation values were codified in the building code... 

They don't build 'em like they used to - and that's a good thing!  Newer buildings pay much more attention to quiet and sanity.

smoss28

  • Guest
Re: Changing floor, best way to improve noise isolation
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2013, 09:18:14 PM »
Sounds like your building was probably built before the 1980's, before STC isolation values were codified in the building code... 

They don't build 'em like they used to - and that's a good thing!  Newer buildings pay much more attention to quiet and sanity.


Not exactly.  My building was built in 2006.  They did a half ass job of sound reduction.  All they did was to use RC1 in all the ceilings and went ahead and fastened the walls to the ceiling with tape and mud.  Then installed crown molding in the living rooms.  No consideration for allowing the ceiling to flex.  I did cut the ceiling from the walls in one small bathroom and caulked.  The ceiling now moves.  That room went form the worst to the best in terms of impact isolation but it's still only a minor improvement.  Putting your ears to the wall you can hear a lot from upstairs. 

The building was built with laminated I beams (fairly new).  From some reading and my own experiences I tend to think the I beams can cover great spans without support.  For example, my building is 2 apartments wide.... maybe 50 to 60 feet.  I don't think there are any structural supports in that span, just interior walls.  That just leaves more room for flexing.  Most of the sound in the apartment is a distant and constant booming sound as people walk on the thin laminate floors.  The sound is so low in frequency that you almost feel it internally.  Hard to explain, but covering your ears does practically nothing to stop the sound as it's almost felt.  Actually it sounds EXACTLY as someone has a subwoofer powered on with no audio signal.  Then you plug in the RCA cable and get that small thud.  That's the sound.  To give you an example, if my head is resting on the arm or the couch and someone walks across the floor upstairs, I can feel the vibration through the back of my head!!  So the structure noise is actually moving from upstairs right down into my floor and up through my head.  Craziness.    I actually think an older building would be better in this regard, but probably worse at other frequencies. 



 

whatismisophonia

  • Guest
Re: Changing floor, best way to improve noise isolation
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2013, 11:40:21 PM »
One thing I think is going to help a lot is when dampened drywall becomes the norm (in the year 3000).  What is the NEW drywall that’s instantly become the norm now?  Lightweight Toughrock -___________-  It’s like, you gotta be $#!+in me.  People have been complaining about paper-thin walls forever, and in response we now have EVEN LIGHTER wallboard???  Sold for the SAME amount of money as the original???  Cheap@$$ people with no morals.  Communication will never be enough; people have to be willing to have a spine + a brain attached to it.

“While each of us is selfish, we are not merely so. Our own happiness requires that we extend the circle of our self-interest to others - to family, friends, and even to perfect strangers whose pleasures and pains matter to us.”  –Sam Harris

To me it just seems like... I don't know... logic?

Anywho, one thing you might do is put some foam padding under the legs of your chairs, couch, and bed to help with that LF vibration.  Also, get a box fan for your bedroom.  Not only will it produce a white noise, but by attaching a ductwork filter over the back side of it, you have an instant filter for your allergies.  People can and probably should have tile for bathrooms, but not only for your comfort but for their's as well, people should have washable rugs on much of the bathroom floor (that cold cold bathroom floor...) regardless. 

smoss28

  • Guest
Re: Changing floor, best way to improve noise isolation
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2013, 02:13:54 PM »
One thing I think is going to help a lot is when dampened drywall becomes the norm (in the year 3000).  What is the NEW drywall that’s instantly become the norm now?  Lightweight Toughrock -___________-  It’s like, you gotta be $#!+in me.  People have been complaining about paper-thin walls forever, and in response we now have EVEN LIGHTER wallboard???  Sold for the SAME amount of money as the original???  Cheap@$$ people with no morals.  Communication will never be enough; people have to be willing to have a spine + a brain attached to it.

“While each of us is selfish, we are not merely so. Our own happiness requires that we extend the circle of our self-interest to others - to family, friends, and even to perfect strangers whose pleasures and pains matter to us.”  –Sam Harris

To me it just seems like... I don't know... logic?

Anywho, one thing you might do is put some foam padding under the legs of your chairs, couch, and bed to help with that LF vibration.  Also, get a box fan for your bedroom.  Not only will it produce a white noise, but by attaching a ductwork filter over the back side of it, you have an instant filter for your allergies.  People can and probably should have tile for bathrooms, but not only for your comfort but for their's as well, people should have washable rugs on much of the bathroom floor (that cold cold bathroom floor...) regardless.

I would agree light weight sheet rock does seem like a ridiculous idea.  I think noise will continue to be a bigger and bigger issue and will push more requirements. People are slow to change.

Thanks  for the suggestion on the box fan but I am a bit past that point.  I always sleep with a big air filter on.  It has 4 settings and I now sleep with it on 3. I tried sleeping with it on it's highest setting but I slept through my alarm the next morning.  :o  Even with the filter on 3, the impact noise is so low in freq. that it cuts through the white noise somewhat.  The filter does help a lot though.  I know I wouldn't be able to sleep in that room without it. 

The vibration through my couch isn't an issue, just demonstrating how bad my particular problem is.

johnbergstromslc

  • Guest
Re: Changing floor, best way to improve noise isolation
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2013, 10:38:01 PM »
One thing I think is going to help a lot is when dampened drywall becomes the norm (in the year 3000).  What is the NEW drywall that’s instantly become the norm now?  Lightweight Toughrock -___________-  It’s like, you gotta be $#!+in me.  People have been complaining about paper-thin walls forever, and in response we now have EVEN LIGHTER wallboard???  Sold for the SAME amount of money as the original??? 

Dampened drywall will be more and more common as the patents for it expire, which certainly won't take 987 years.  Probably still going to cost a lot more than a regular sheet, though...

'Lightweight' drywall is somewhat of a misnomer.  The stuff is not radically lighter - only about 25% less.

The problem in most partitions is not the density of the materials, it's the decoupling and absorbtion, or lack thereof.

Smoss, it sounds like you have a great white-noise machine solution there...

 

anything