Soundproofing a floor doesn’t necessarily need to be saved for only the most serious soundproofing projects. I’ve lost track of the amount of times I’ve been to visit a friend in their apartment and have been able to hear their neighbor stomping around upstairs!
When it comes to soundproof carpets and flooring materials, the market is pretty saturated. However, most products don’t perform to the desired levels, and if you don’t know what to look out for then you can end up wasting lots of money.
Luckily, there are still plenty of excellent options to help you reduce noise levels traveling through your floor. In this article, I look at the best soundproof carpets and flooring materials, along with the general types available and the most important things to look out for.
Types of soundproof flooring materials available
- Carpet itself isn’t necessarily soundproof, but a thick shag carpet will do wonders for noise levels. Thicker is better, but for truly soundproof carpet, you’ll want to combine it with soundproof underlay.
- Soundproof carpet underlay. All but the cheapest carpet underlay will do something to reduce noise levels, but there are also plenty of soundproof versions available.
- Mass loaded vinyl. This is one of the heavy hitters in the soundproofing world. It’s thin but very dense, which is perfect for sound absorption. It’s particularly effective for use under carpets because it’s so thin.
- Sound deadening floor insulation. This stuff you’d actually put around the floor joists, so under your flooring, and it does the same job as insulating a stud wall. The dense material prevents sound waves from echoing.
- Acoustic floor tiles. Much like normal acoustic tiles, these help to reduce echo and reverberation. While this doesn’t completely solve the issue, they do still make a big difference.
In this article I’m going to focus on the more practical and less invasive options, so I won’t be looking at things like floor insulation. However, if you’re planning a full-gut of the room, including ripping up the floor, then I’d definitely recommend throwing some insulation under there.
What to look for in soundproof flooring materials
- Thickness/density. In soundproofing, mass is your best friend. Mass helps to absorb sound waves and makes it harder for them to pass through an object. Therefore, thicker is always better.
- Sound Transmission Class (STC). This is a numeric rating applied to products to show how good they are at soundproofing. The higher the number, the better the product is at attenuating noise. Look for this wherever possible.
- Impact Insulation Class (ITC). Impact noise is the biggest issue with flooring, particularly hardwood, and the ITC shows how good the flooring material is at reducing this problem. Again, the higher the number, the better.
Just be aware that not every product (not even all the good ones) will have a visible STC or ITC rating. If you can’t easily find this, then go with thickness and also look at customer reviews. There’ll be plenty in there that’ll give you frank and accurate information about the product’s performance.
Best soundproof carpets and flooring materials
After extensive research, I’ve compiled a list of the 9 best soundproofing carpets and flooring materials. Here it is:
- Soundsulate Mass Loaded Vinyl
- QuietWalk Laminate Floor Underlay
- Dynamat Car Soundproof Mat
- Stalwart Foam Mat Floor Tiles
- Protech Ready-Insulated Laminate Flooring
- Roberts Quiet Cushion Acoustic Underlay Material
- Cleverbrand Neoprene Carpet Roll
- FloorMuffler Ultra Seal Underlay
- FatMat Self-Adhesive Sound Deadener
Now, lets look at each of them in detail.
1. Soundsulate Mass Loaded Vinyl
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What better place to start than with one of the most effective soundproofing materials? Mass loaded vinyl is perfect for any soundproofing project, as it combines incredible density with a workable product.
This roll is 4ft wide, 50ft long, and ½ inch thick. It weighs around half a pound per square foot, which means this roll is around 100lbs. There’s enough on here to cover most floors, but the measurements are easily scaled for bigger rooms.
One of my favorite things about mass loaded vinyl is that it’s surprisingly easy to work with, and this one is no exception. You can easily cut it to size with a craft knife, and it doesn’t need sticking down under the carpet. Its own weight should remove any curve from the material pretty quickly.
On the surface, this product might look quite expensive, but you get plenty on a roll. What’s more, mass loaded vinyl is never cheap, but it’s very good at what it does. For me this easily mitigates any concerns about price against performance.
- Mass loaded vinyl is one of the best products for soundproofing because you get density without thickness.
- It hardly adds any depth to your carpet, and is easy enough to lay yourself.
- A single roll should be enough for most rooms.
2. QuietWalk Laminate Floor Underlay
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This stuff is designed specifically to soundproof laminate floor, which is incredibly helpful. What’s more, it’s made from recycled materials and is completely free from toxic and harmful chemicals and unpleasant odors.
A roll of QuietWalk provides you with 100 square foot of underlay, which is plenty. It’s suitable for a range of different laminate types, but the company also makes other versions, so you should be able to find one suitable.
The underlay is around 2mm thick, which might not sound like much, but it’s also quite dense. It has an IIC of 71 and an STC of 66, so as you can see it does a pretty good job.
In fact, one of the best features of this underlay isn’t even related to its soundproofing ability. It has a special moisture lock feature that prevents water vapor from seeping into the laminate, which stops it from buckling or rotting. This means that, providing everything is laid correctly, you’ll get much more wear out of the floor.
- This underlay has reasonably good IIC and STC scores, and is backed by plenty of positive customer reviews.
- It’s reasonably inexpensive and a single roll with cover plenty of floor space.
- QuietWalk offers great soundproofing for a range of hardwood floors, which are notorious for their noise levels.
3. Dynamat Car Soundproof Mat
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While this product is technically for use in vehicles, I’ve never had a problem using it in my soundproofing projects. After all, it does a great job, and because it’s designed for use in cars, it can be squeezed into much smaller gaps.
A single pack of Dynamat contains nine 18 inch x 32 inch sheets of Dynamat, which should give you plenty of coverage. The product is slightly thicker than underlay, being around 2 inches thick, but this can still be usable in flooring projects.
Dynamat is made from a product called butyl rubber, which has many of the same properties as mass loaded vinyl. It’s incredibly flexible and easy to work with, and even has self-adhesive backing. This obviously makes it much easier to lay.
The product is also designed to insulate heat, which is an added bonus when it comes to laying flooring. Plenty of heat lost in a house is through the floor, particularly if you’ve got a large void under the house. So not only will Dynamat block sound, it’ll keep heat in too.
- Dynamat has excellent sound deadening properties, and is another custom-designed product.
- Easy to work with, and can be laid very quickly.
- Manufacturers claim Dynamat can reduce noise pollution by up to 10 decibels.
Read my review of dynamat in which I explain how effective it can be.
4. Stalwart Foam Mat Floor Tiles
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These foam floor tiles are the sort of thing you’d find in a gym or mechanics, and although they’re not the most attractive thing in the world, they’re possibly the cheapest and quickest solution.
The major advantage of these floor tiles is that they can be put over your existing flooring, and so are much less invasive. What’s more, this means you can only use them when needed, rather than making permanent additions to your home.
After all, not everyone has the money or the ability to rip up their floor. Something like these floor tiles would be ideal for those living in apartments or rented properties.
The tiles are made from lightweight EVA foam, which is excellent at absorbing sound waves and impact noise. They’re also water resistant and provide an extra protective layer for your flooring. The tiles have an interlocking design and are non-slip, so you shouldn’t have any concerns about safety.
- Lightweight EVA foam tiles are a useful and temporary solution if you can’t rip up the existing floor.
- The company also make foam tiles designed to sit over carpet, which do exactly the same job.
- Interlocking design makes them easy to lay, and they’re also easy to store.
- These tiles do a great job at absorbing sound waves and impact vibrations.
5. Protech Ready-Insulated Laminate Flooring
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If you’re starting your project from scratch, then something like this extra thick laminate flooring can be a useful solution. It’s around 3 inches thick, and comes with its own acoustic underlay already fitted.
The laminate flooring is a simple click-lock construction, meaning you can lay a whole floor in next to no time. It has a 2mm thick acoustic underlay fitted that’s made of EVA rubber. As I mentioned above, this is great for soundproofing floors.
One thing I particularly like about this product is that the laminate has 0.7mm thick layer to protect against scratches. This layer also offers UV protection, meaning the laminate won’t get bleached by the sun.
When it comes to soundproofing, this laminate is pretty effective. Its sheer thickness, and the addition of EVA rubber underlay, mean it does a great job at blocking impact noise. This is made all the more impressive by it being hard flooring.
- Plenty of sizing options, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding a bundle that’ll give you enough coverage.
- Product comes with either a 20-year commercial warranty or a lifetime residential warranty.
- Thickness and mass of the laminate do a great job at reducing impact noise from people walking across the floor.
6. Roberts Quiet Cushion Acoustic Underlay Material
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This product is another underlay specifically designed to reduce impact noise, and it definitely does a great job. It uses something called progressive foam technology, which is just a fancy way of describing the way the foam is made.
Essentially, it means that the foam in the underlay is designed with a cross linked pattern, which is surprisingly good at absorbing sound waves. What’s more, it also provides excellent moisture protection.
A roll of this underlay covers you for 100 square foot, which should be enough to cover most rooms. While it’s not particularly thick, it makes up for this in its construction, and still does a great job of blocking sound.
My only major critique of this underlay is that it’s almost impossible to lay it flat. This obviously makes installation quite difficult, and I found I had to weigh it down overnight before laying the floor on top. This adds an extra step that isn’t really helpful.
- Progressive foam technology is ideal for blocking noise and protecting your flooring from moisture.
- This makes it suitable for use in high humidity/flood prone rooms, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements.
- Has an IIC rating of 69 and an STC rating of 67, which is pretty good.
Read the full review!
7. Cleverbrand Neoprene Carpet Roll
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Neoprene is an incredibly versatile material, and is what wetsuits are usually made from. You might then be wondering what this is doing on a list of the best soundproof flooring materials, but you’d be surprised how much of a difference it makes.
Neoprene is similar in structure to EVA foam, but it more spongy. This means it does a great job at absorbing impact noise and is suitable for laying under floors. At around 0.7mm thick it won’t make that much difference to the floor.
While this might not sound like much, it makes up for its lack of thickness in its density. The reason neoprene is used for wetsuits is because it’s an excellent insulator of heat, and this is also true for sound waves.
Much like with mass loaded vinyl, to install it you simply unroll it. You shouldn’t need to secure the neoprene down, as the weight of the floor will be enough to keep it flat. It’s generally limp enough to lie flat when it’s unrolled anyway.
- Does a surprisingly good job at reducing impact noise under hardwood floors.
- One of the more cost effective options on the market.
- Won’t be as effective as dedicated soundproofing materials, but it’s definitely a place to start.
8. FloorMuffler Ultra Seal Underlay
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FloorMuffler is another leading brand in the world of acoustic underlay, and when you look at this product it’s easy to see why. The company makes a variety of densities, but this one is the thickest and best performing.
It’s made from closed cell polypropylene foam. All this means is that it’s a very dense material that prevents sound waves from easily passing through its structure. This is exactly the same as how mass loaded vinyl works.
This acoustic underlay is incredibly easy to install and you won’t encounter any problems with it not lying flat. It also has a moisture barrier that’ll protect your floor from warping or rotting.
When it comes to ratings, FloorMuffler is probably the best performing on this list. It has an IIC rating of 74 and an STC rating of 73, which is pretty impressive. If you’re looking for a hard-hitting soundproof flooring product, then this is the one for you.
- Isn’t exactly an entry-level price, but its performance more than justifies the extra cash you’ll be spending.
- Products has a lip and seal locking technology that makes installation a breeze.
- 100% recyclable and non-toxic.
9. FatMat Self-Adhesive Sound Deadener
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Much like Dynamat listed above, this product is designed for use in vehicle cabins. However, it’s ideal for laying under carpet to make it soundproof because it’s a very easy product to work with.
The mat is nearly 3 inches thick and is made from butyl rubber. This dense material has excellent sound deadening properties, and the mat also provides excellent heat insulation. I find this is always a bonus when it comes to flooring.
Unlike Dynamat, FatMat comes in a roll. This might be more helpful for people with larger rooms, but I generally find the individual sheets easier to work with. However, you can buy FatMat in rolls that cover up to 200 square foot, which makes it a more attractive option to some.
The mat has a self-adhesive backing, meaning you can lay it pretty easily and it’s not hard to cut it to size. The mat not only blocks and absorbs sound waves, but it also deadens vibrations, which can be a particular issue in apartments.
- Flexibility in the amount of product you buy makes this an attractive option for those with large rooms.
- Installation is a breeze and you don’t even need glue or nails!
- FatMat provides excellent sound deadening, but also insulates against heat.
Some final thoughts
When it comes to finding the best soundproof carpet or flooring materials, your pick should be based on your individual needs. You might want to reduce sound transfer into another room, or simply improve acoustics in this room.
Whatever your reason, I recommend shopping around and researching plenty of different products to find the one that suits you best.
Thanks for reading! Also check out my recommended products for soundproofing.
A lawyer never retires. So I would just say that I am not as active as I used to be. Now I simply dedicate myself to fishing, my hobby, and my grandchildren. For Business Finance News I write about legal aspects of mortgage policies, mostly regarding the rights of policyholders. I also have articles about personal injuries.