Many people consider only the inherent beauty of wood flooring in Vancouver homes, as well as how easy it is to clean and maintain. Very few ever give a thought about how the wood flooring will sound. How does it affect the noise levels in your home? If you’re a singer or musician, how will your music sound? The answers to these questions depend greatly on the type of wood flooring you have and how you installed it.
Type of Wood Flooring
Homeowners generally have 3 basic options for wood flooring.
- There’s laminate flooring, which is made from wood fiber with a surface of hard melamine resin. It can look like wood, stone, or any other type of surface you like, because you can print a design on the tile.
Since this material is light and the surface is hard, it’s generally the noisiest type of wood flooring. You can cause a ruckus when you run or jump on it. Various noises including voices, music, and TV sounds, can echo.
- Engineered wood is made much the same way as plywood. This process combines layers of wood together under heat and pressure. As the surface is more resilient, it doesn’t cause as much noise as laminate.
- Hardwood is the most expensive, as it’s both durable and elegant. It’s also great for those who hate too much noise, as the wood can best absorb sound. However, you can find some hardwood flooring that can also offer a very rich echo.
Keep in mind that these are still generalizations. The sound quality of the laminate and engineered wood will also depend on the brand. The many types of hardwood can also have different acoustics and noise levels as well.
How you install your wood flooring also affects the sound and noise levels in the room.
- One common installation method is called a floating installation. This is placed over an existing floor, and generally, you won’t even use fasteners or an adhesive. Instead, the floor panels are snapped together because they have uniquely designed edge joints.
This method is the loudest of all installation types. Walking on this floor makes a lot of noise, and it creates lots of echoes too. Floating installs are often used for both laminate and engineered wood flooring.
- Another method is to glue the wood down onto the floor with adhesives. This method is only possible if the floor underneath is very secure, such as if it is concrete. This method still results in significant levels of echoing, though walking on it isn’t as noisy as the floating install.
You can only glue down solid hardwood and engineered wood flooring. For laminates, it doesn’t work.
- Stapling or nailing the flooring is the last of the basic installation types. This is the method that makes the least noise. It doesn’t allow for a lot of movement that can make noises, but it does let the floor vibrate with the sound the sound waves are absorbed by the flooring.
Options and Alternatives
If you are using laminate flooring and acoustics are also a relevant factor, you may want to put in an underlay with an acoustic foam topper. This will absorb sound so noises don’t echo, while the material also provides a cushion to reduce walking sounds.
You can also use cork flooring if you want. However, it’s not quite as beautiful and durable as hardwood. Stapled solid hardwood remains your best bet for best sound if you really want just wood flooring in Vancouver.