When it comes to cosying up your home, you can’t beat a carpet. But did you know that in addition to comfort and a stylish finish, a carpet can also help soundproof your space? Sleep plays a vital role in good health and wellbeing, particularly for the very young or elderly, and carpet is a particularly good sound absorbing solution if you live in close proximity to others. So, if you live in an apartment block, conversion flat or terraced house, have noisy neighbours or annoying surround sounds, read on to find out everything you need to know about carpet sound insulation.
First things first. Sound absorption uses damping materials to reduce noise from resonating and echoing in a room, while soundproofing is used to block sound inside a room or keep noise out, for example from a neighbouring flat or other side of the wall in a terraced house. Carpet is an excellent sound absorber and can reduce the sound of footsteps by 25 to 34 decibels.
Despite what you may have heard, you cannot use glue, eggboxes, paint, wallpaper, foam, pillows or a large mattress pushed up against a wall to soundproof it – this is ‘fake news’. However, experts agree that laying a thick carpet can help to absorb some of the noise impact in a room to reduce reverberation and echo.
Carpets are effective in reducing both impact noise – the sound of footsteps and movement, as well as noise from water pipes, electrical equipment and lifts in apartment blocks – and airborne noise from outside. Laying a carpet will reduce sound reverberation and absorb ten times more airborne noise than any other type of flooring.
Carpet underlay is another great weapon to fight unwanted noise – and very much cheaper than having your home professionally sound-proofed. Carpet without underlay will also work, just not as well, so it makes sense to buy the best soundproof carpet underlay you can afford.
Soundproof carpet underlay, which people also refer to as sound absorbing carpet underlay, can greatly improve the performance of carpet in deadening noise in a room. There are several types on the market including PU (polyurethane) foam, crumb, sponge rubber, combination and felt.
PU foam is the most popular choice, made from recycled foam off-cuts, available in a variety of thickness options and offering high comfort and performance. It can also be recycled after use. Felt is another environmentally friendly option, made from recycled fibres including wool and synthetics to give it a firm finish with excellent thermal insulation.
For best results, keep the following in mind:
Carpet is an excellent sound absorber and can reduce the sound of footsteps by 25 to 34 decibels
Carpets are effective in reducing both impact and airborne noise
Carpet underlay can greatly improve the performance of carpet in deadening noise