Is there a solution to reduce sound transfer on old pine floors?

Question Icon
Posted by: from Ottawa
4/25/2014 at 10:00:42 AM

I live in a semi-detached (side by side) home which is over 100+ years old. When the kids next door run, esp. upstairs, the noise transfer is terrible. I do not hear voices/sounds and it is otherwise very quiet. The biggest issue is the upstairs, which is original pine floors and areas of carpet overlay. I understand what is happening, but my question is how difficult is this to address the noise transfer and what are my options. It sounds like the kids are running directly above me and is pretty unbearable.

I'd like to give the neighbors some suggestions (thicker underlay, new floors, etc) but what can I do on my side of the house to address this? I do not want to invest large amounts of time and money if the noise reduction is minimal, I am looking for a solution (other than moving).

User Icon
Date/Time4/25/2014 at 2:39:46 PM

Essentially you need to break the connections that carry the sound. I cannot think of many solutions that include the words quick and inexpensive, beyond loading your place with sound absorbing materials, like cardboard egg cartons, which will help slightly with the air born sound waves, but will do nothing for the loudest and most obtrusive, physical hard paths, like framing members, wall and floor finishes, etc. So without building a second layer that is essentially unattached to the first layer, and stopping the vibrations before they get to your side/space, there is little, that I know of that can be done.

Sound travels through waves, which are essentially vibrations, it is very hard to stop a good vibration (hehe) without separating the layers. So if I struck a tuning fork, it would vibrate and hum, if i did that in a vacuum, there would not be any sound, because there would be nothing for the waves to travel upon. So if a kid jumps on a finished hardwood floor, the vibration spreads to the structure because it is all touching. So if you can have the structure not touch and then absorb the sound waves before they reach any other path, you should in theory deaden all sound.

I hope that makes sense, I kinda rambled there.

User Icon
Sandra in Ottawa
Date/Time4/25/2014 at 2:53:11 PM

Thanks Shane for your explanation. What I wanted to know is if this can be addressed on my side of the house and how? I didn't say I would not spend the money, only that I did not want to spend alot of money if the solution was not effective. Is it a matter of ripping up all of the floors and addressing the joists, new floors, adding insulation, floating ceilings, severing the wood in between the houses, etc none or all of the above?

What do you mean by 'break the connections that carry the sound'?

Thanks for your time!

User Icon
Date/Time4/25/2014 at 3:35:13 PM

The best thing in my opinion is install sound proof insulation on entire ceiling above where you hear the noise. I did this before and works. It big demolition job entire ceiling dry wall.

After install all insulation new dry wall in entire room where you have the noise it will helps but about the stairs noise need see live the problem to find solution for you.


User Icon
Date/Time4/26/2014 at 8:35:05 PM

I would agree with Manny. Remove the drywall and properly insulate the ceiling/floor. One of the best sound proofing insulations on the market today is open cell 0.5lb spray foam. This is generally not a cheap remediation but is definitely an effective, sure solution to your sound problem.

Best of luck!

EcoTek Spray Foam

Search the TrustedPros directory and discover the best contractors in your area.

Find your home service pro
Great renovations start with a great contractor.

Since 2004, TrustedPros has been helping homeowners find the right contractor for their home improvements and repairs.

Post Your Project

Within hours you'll be comparing offers from top-rated professionals. It's free to post and you're under no obligation to hire.

Trustedpros Inc. does not warrant the accuracy, completeness, safety, legality or usefulness of any Content, or Whether Content is Current and up-to-date, and TrustedPros Inc. Shall have no liability whatsoever with respect to your use or reliance upon any content or for content being removed or otherwise ceasing to be available. Please refer to the terms and conditions of use of this websites for more details.

Get quotes from top-rated contractors