Sound barriers for wood flooring

Q: I am a floor sander/installer in SC. I have a client that wants a nail down floor (5-inch cherry), but also wants a sound barrier. From reading through your site, most of the suggestions involve floating or glue down floors.

I was wondering if you have any suggestions in regards to nail down floors?

A few other sites leave me thinking that cork might be a possibility, however, I thought I would inquire as to your opinion.

A: Fortunately, I haven’t had to be involved in jobs requiring a great deal of technical know-how regarding soundproofing. All condominium buildings have some requirement for a noise dampening layer, generally cork.

From what I have read, if you puncture such a sound membrane, regardless of what product it is, with a nail, for example, you will lose some of the products ability to muffle sound. The noise will travel along the steel nail shaft. There is more info about this at accutech. I think that is what the product is called. Do you ever get the NWFA Hardwood Flooring Magazine? It doesn’t cost anything. You only need to ask for it, and you get a free subscription. It does contain good articles. But I really like all the advertisements. It helps me know what products are out the

P.S. Another sound insulating layer I see in the latest NWFA magazine. Dodge-Regupol Inc., has rolls made from recycled rubber. Regupol QT it is called. Hope that helps. Now I have to look it up.

Help with soundproofing

Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors: We just purchased a new house just outside of Toronto. The subfloor is particle board. We have to choose between carpet and hardwood flooring. I have two concerns.

Is it possible to put something overtop the particle board before putting down carpeting or hardwood to help with soundproofing?

Someone suggested that we nail the particle board with deck screws to prevent the floors from creaking after the carpets are installed. Is this a good idea? Is it better to put in the cheap carpeting, let the house settle, fix the creaking, then tear up the carpet and replace it with good wood in a few years?

Allergens are also a problem and I realize rugs and carpets will aggravate dust mite allergies. What do you suggest?

A: I would not recommend installing hardwood over particle board. In this case, I would recommend screwing 3/8 spruce plywood overtop of it, and into the joists. If you intend to install carpet, it would not hurt to screw down the particle board. As it stands now, it is probably nailed to the joists. Particle board does not hold nails very securely.

Soundproofing is usually accomplished by installing cork or another synthetic sheeting for that purpose, and then put the floor of choice on top of it. The cork would be glued down with parquet adhesive. If my aim was to install hardwood, then I wouldn’t take the side route of putting carpet down first. As long as there is no excessive moisture in the house, the concrete foundation and floor are cured, etc., then you can go ahead with the hardwood. But you should install plywood first.

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Noise sound insulation

Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors: I am in a condo and want to put in a hardwood engineered floor. There is some concern about noise sound insulation. What is the best product to use? How should it be installed?

A: Fortunately, hardwood manufacturers have kept pace with demand to provide appropriate products for installation in condominiums, with their concrete “subfloors”. There are a number of products to choose from, besides solid wood parquet, which is glued down. There are also laminated products, built like plywood, with a few layers of wood running in different directions, then with solid wood (say oak, but could be other species).

Some are meant to be glued down, while others “float”, which means the tongue and groove is glued together on each panel, to hold the floor together, but otherwise is just sitting on the concrete floor. There is a foam pad which is to be used under these floors. (Some versions of this floor do not require gluing the tongue and groove together, but have special joints that click lock each panel to the next and can be disassembled.

The absolute best product I have ever worked with comes from a company in Quebec called Boa-Franc, producing their mirage line. I believe this product comes in 2 widths and several species and colors. 3.5 or 2.5 inches by 3/8 thick. This is an engineered product but offers a solid wood surface that is practically as thick as the wear surface on 3/4 inch plank. It is glued down on concrete.

In the case of sound transmission, most condominiums, that I am aware of, require cork sheeting to be installed first. If you were to go with the mirage engineered floor, you would have to use a mastic adhesive such as Franklin mastic 711 which is about $150 per pail, covering about 200 sq. ft. for both the cork and the top flooring. If you went with a floating floor, and the condo required cork, the cork could be installed with a quick dry parquet adhesive. It should be rolled with a weighted roller to make sure of a good grab between the cork/floor and the adhesive.

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Soundproofing in a condo

Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors: I have recently purchased a condo in a building that is around 100 years old. Under the old carpet are planks of wood that over the years have become uneven and also, I believe, let a lot of unnecessary sounds come through from below. I would like to have my floors redone so there will no more uneven floor and soundproof a little in the process. What do you suggest here?

A: There are 2 products I know of that are used to buffer sound regarding wood floors. Cork is one. There is also a synthetic product, for which I have a brochure in my truck. It is a bit more expensive than cork. However, I don’t see this doing you any good, since this material is glued to the subfloor, prior to installing the finished wood floor! I doubt you would want to pull up your floor, just to install a sound resisting product.

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