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Learn How Soundproofing Hardwood Floors Works – Guide

Technically, you cannot make your house completely soundproof since sound waves can have wavelengths of several meters and can travel through micro gaps and partitions. However, identifying the type of noise prevalent in your surroundings and soundproofing hardwood floors by adding mass and decoupling can help to some extent.

soundproofing hardwood floors

Hardwood floors can become a nuisance without carpets, rugs, or any other soundproofing material. 

While they are less noisier than the more affordable laminate flooring, a hardwood floor can hardly block impact and airborne noise. Hence, you will have to resort to installing an underlayment, using green glue sealant, inserting deck screws, and other soundproofing methods. 

So, to make your task easier, I have discussed some of the best methods of hardwood floor soundproofing

How Soundproofing Hardwood Floors Works 101

Types Of Noise

Types Of Noise

To choose the right soundproof flooring, you must understand the types of noise you are dealing with. Although there are various categories of noise all around us, I’ll be talking about the two categories that are most prevalent - airborne noise and impact noise.

1. Airborne Noise

This type of noise travels across the room, like the sound of your TV, pets, crying children, etc. Hardwood floors are not essentially soundproof, so airborne noise is bound to travel further distances and create an echo. 

Generally, soundproofing airborne noise in a room with hardwood floors is difficult. You can get started by adding furniture, curtains, carpets, and more. 

2. Impact Noise

Impact noise is created by objects coming in contact with the bare floor. Most impact-style noises are sounds created by feet stomping, dropping something on the floor, etc. It is no surprise that if you have children and pets, your house is more prone to impact noises. 

Interestingly, it is easier to prevent impact noise despite its loud nature. Hence, hardwood floor soundproofing is recommended, especially if you live above neighbors. 

soundproofing a floor and ceiling layers diagram

Common Soundproofing Methods

1. Adding Mass

Adding more mass and density to objects, walls, floors, etc., allows them to absorb sound more effectively, thereby reducing noise in a room.

2. Sound Absorption

Using a soft material to cover weak spots in a noisy room can help reduce impact noises. Hence, thick carpets, blankets, curtains, etc., are recommended as easy soundproofing solutions.

3. Sound Damping

Using damping materials can reduce the oscillations of the soundwave, keeping noise levels at a minimum. 

4. Creating Distance

Creating physical distance can help reduce the Sound Pressure Level and loudness of sound. However, this is just a concept and not a practical solution when it comes to soundproofing homes and living spaces that obviously cannot be moved!

5. Decoupling

Sound waves can travel through multiple layers of an object. Decoupling hampers the direct contact between such layers, breaking the path of sound waves. As such, the noise level can be decreased dramatically. 

How To Soundproof Hardwood Floors

How To Soundproof Hardwood Floors

1. Use Green Glue On The Hardwood Floor

If removing and reinstalling the wood floor is possible, consider using a green glue soundproofing compound. This is one of the most common soundproofing materials that can be used between your subfloor and the new wood floor. It helps dampen flooring noise that can travel through the various layers of your wood flooring.

I especially recommend green glue to amateurs and DIY enthusiasts since it is easy to use, thanks to the tube and bucket packaging. Also, you don’t have to apply the adhesive compound in any particular pattern. Just use it generously to cover every part of the existing floor. 

Besides, you can use green glue for soundproofing walls or attaching multiple layers of soundproof drywall. In fact, I highly recommend this soundproofing material for noisy apartment buildings with paper-thin walls.


Although green glue is easy to use, ensure that you are quick and stick the required layers while the glue is wet. Plus, you must wait for about a week for the glue to get completely dry and provide effective sound reduction.

2. Lay A Carpet Or Rug On Wood Floors

Using a thick carpet is the easiest way to reduce impact noise, as it acts as a barrier between the falling object and the hardwood floor. And although hardwood floors are quite attractive, preventing you from using fancy rugs and carpets, I highly recommend using both or either of the two. Both are made of soft material and hence, absorb sound effectively. 

Moreover, you can always remove or change them according to the decor of your room, making them a highly customizable soundproofing solution. The fact that they are available in various shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns makes them all the more suitable for rented homes and apartments.


Consider adding a carpet or rug under speakers, music players, TVs, etc., to create a soft surface for effective noise reduction and tone softening. 

3. Insert Deck Screw 

This method requires a bit more effort, but I think it’s worth the resulting peaceful and quiet environment. Right off the bat, you’ll require a deck screw, a bit driver, and a drill bit with a countersink. 

Start by analyzing any weak spots or areas that may be producing squeaky sounds. Then remove the top flooring to reveal the subfloor. Only focus on problematic areas and not the entire floor. 

Now, employ a drill bit with a countersink and drill pilot holes on the squeaky surface. Ensure that the bit is slightly smaller than the screws you choose for this soundproofing project. 

Finally, nail down hardwood floors in position and insert the sharp tip to gently screw wherever required. Repeat the process for other squeaky areas as well.

4. Opt For Hardwood Floor Underlayment

In case of new construction or renovation, I suggest planning well in advance and installing underlayment under the hardwood floor. The underlayment creates a soft surface for the hardwood floor to rest on. Owing to its soft materials, like foam and cork, most types of underlayment can prevent both impact and airborne noise, making it ideal for soundproofing floors.

Of course, installing hardwood flooring underlayment will add to your construction costs, but I think it is a small price to pay for some privacy. 

5. Install Rubber Mats

Laying rubber mats is yet another effective way to soundproof floors, especially the existing floors in your child’s room. Alternatively, you could add natural rubber mats to pet areas or your personal workout room. Basically, they act as a buffer on hard surfaces like wood flooring and reduce noise levels.

Much to every homeowner’s delight, you can get a rubber mat in any color, size, shape, and design you want. Not to forget, they are easy to clean and maintain.

Moreover, when choosing a rubber mat for your kid’s playroom, you can opt for a colorful puzzle-piece style variant. They not only reduce sound but also prevent children from getting hurt, thanks to the softness of the material. 

On the other hand, heavy-duty rubber mats are ideal for a workout room as they absorb both the blow and the impact of the noise on your hardwood floors. So, whether you run around or drop heavy weights on the floor, a good quality rubber mat is essential to prevent damage to you and the floor.

How Much Does It Cost To Soundproof Flooring?

Unfortunately, there is no exact cost estimation for soundproofing floors. The cost largely depends on the type of soundproofing materials you use and their price per square foot. You can search for square-foot calculators online to get an estimation of the overall cost. 

If you’re on a budget and deal with more impact-style noises than airborne sounds, I suggest getting rugs that will cost approximately $100. Of course, the price may vary depending on the rug choice and the number of rugs you’d want to have in your room.

On the other hand, if you want to totally soundproof a room or apartment, depending on the size of the space, you may have to shell out $500-$2,000. Further, if you’re planning to renovate the space or any type of new construction, it is best to install soundproof flooring beforehand to reduce future expenditures. 

Do You Have Soundproof Requirements?

Another point to consider before starting a soundproofing project is to check the building codes of your city or locality. The building codes throughout the United States are mandatory for the residents to maintain privacy and comfort. 

Note that some building code inspections require field tests before issuing a certificate of occupancy, while others rely on design recommendations and specifications from the architect. Since purchasing or renovating a property is a huge investment in itself, I highly recommend ensuring that you’re following all the rules and codes. Doing so will save a lot of your time, effort, and money in the long run.

Why Is Soundproofing Difficult?

Sound waves travel through the tiniest of gaps and often through various surfaces, making soundproofing a tricky task. Moreover, there are different pitches and frequencies of sound vibrations all around us. Some may be soft and travel short distances, while others may travel longer and create louder noises. 

For instance, you must have noticed how shrill children can sound or how loud dogs bark. This is because their sounds are high-pitched, which is often perceived as louder than lower-pitch sounds. However, low-pitched sounds can be transmitted through longer distances, allowing us to hear them even from far away. 

Not to forget, oftentimes, we hear sounds but have no idea where they are coming from. This is another reason that makes it difficult to completely soundproof a room.

Soundproofing Hardwood Floors Conclusion

Soundproofing Hardwood Floors Conclusion 

Out of all the methods discussed above, the cheapest noise control solution is to add more furniture and soft materials to the room. Especially if you have a shared wall with your neighbors, it is best to use larger pieces like a bookcase to block sounds like people talking, electronics, etc.

I also recommend using multiple soundproofing methods together for the best result. You can even combine soundproofing with sound masking and sound insulation projects to further improve the sound quality in your space.

Lastly, I suggest checking out my guide to “Soundproofing A Room For Music” for more information on soundproofing.