Car Floor Insulation

Installing Automotive Floor Insulation and Replacing Carpet Padding

Installing Automotive Floor Insulation and Replacing Carpet Padding

Attention all lovers of big engines, purring exhausts, and oversized tires - we know your secret... Every day you walk out to your driveway and admire your car. You love the face your friends make when they hear you rev up for the first time. You love to look out over the cars around you as you sit up on your custom wheels. But love comes at a price, and sometimes, you wish you could just have a quiet highway ride.

It’s ok, this is a safe space. If anyone understands the joy and tranquility a quiet cabin can bring you, it’s us. And as much as you love what your car is capable of, you wish you didn’t have to hear it all the time.

Well folks, there is a solution. Whether you just want a quieter ride for those long drives, or you want to get more out of your car audio system, soundproofing the floor of your car is a surefire way to get rid of road noise and that dreaded exhaust drone.

Attention all lovers of big engines, purring exhausts, and oversized tires - we know your secret... Every day you walk out to your driveway and admire your car. You love the face your friends make when they hear you rev up for the first time. You love to look out over the cars around you as you sit up on your custom wheels. But love comes at a price, and sometimes, you wish you could just have a quiet highway ride.

It’s ok, this is a safe space. If anyone understands the joy and tranquility a quiet cabin can bring you, it’s us. And as much as you love what your car is capable of, you wish you didn’t have to hear it all the time.

Well folks, there is a solution. Whether you just want a quieter ride for those long drives, or you want to get more out of your car audio system, soundproofing the floor of your car is a surefire way to get rid of road noise and that dreaded exhaust drone.

Where's the Noise Coming From?

The only thing keeping you from driving your car like Fred Flintstone is a thin piece of carpet and a large sheet of metal, a material not known for its acoustic properties. You’re closer than you may realize to the road you’re driving on and the various moving parts of your vehicle.

Road Noise

Although we all dream of driving the smooth blacktops we see in car commercials, the reality is our daily lives don’t look like that. Rougher roads cause vibrations which move through your car and can be heard throughout your cabin. Not to mention the debris that is constantly being thrown at the bottom of your car, even worse so if you find yourself on gravel, dirt, or heavily salted roads.

Car Noise

There’s a lot happening underneath you as you drive. The exhaust is purring, the drivetrain is spinning, the wheels are rolling, and don’t forget about the sound traveling down from the engine and the turbo. The job of these parts are to help propel your car forward, and generally speaking the more powerful they are at that job, the louder they become.

How to Soundproof the Floor of Your Car

When you’re talking about soundproofing your car, there are two goals - minimizing the noise your car creates AND stop more noise from getting in. To do both you’ll need to create a sound deadening layer and a sound blocking layer on the floor of your car. This is one of the more difficult areas to soundproof, so be thorough as you’ll only want to do this once. The average car floor is about 35-45 sq ft; be sure you have enough material before you start.

STEP 1: Prepping Your Car Floor

Remove everything, I mean everything. Start with the seats, and then carefully disassemble the center console. Use this opportunity to vacuum and find those headphones you dropped under your seat last year. Next slowly remove the carpet and disconnect wiring as needed. Pay attention to how far your carpet extends, this will determine how much of your trim or paneling you’ll need to remove. Lastly clean the space thoroughly, there’s probably a lot of gunk or loose change that’s gotten trapped underneath everything.

INSTALLATION TIPS

Thoroughly wipe down and clean the sheet metal with denatured alcohol. Damplifier Pro is very sticky on its own, but doing this step will increase the bond strength of your sound deadening material.

STEP 2: The Sound Deadening Layer

Since sound is ultimately just vibrations, sound deadening material works by damping those vibrations. The parts underneath and around your car are moving a lot, which causes vibration, The stronger the vibrations, the stronger the sounds waves that travel through the metal and inevitably into your ears. Applying the Damplifier Pro sound deadening mat to the floor of your car will go a long way to minimizing noise.

If you’re driving a much older vehicle you might have a nice flat floor to work with, but most likely at this point you’re staring at a car floor full of curves, divots, and bumps. Obviously this is done to accompany the mechanics, but it makes your job a little bit harder. Leave your material out in the sun for a few minutes to make it more pliable, then apply firmly to as much as the floor as possible with a hand roller. You want to cover at least 60% of the metal, with a focus on the flatter, less structurally sound surfaces.

INSTALLATION TIPS

Pay special attention to the transmission tunnel as that tends to be the loudest area underneath your car.

STEP 3: The Sound Blocking Layer

Now that you’ve minimized the noise coming from your car, the next step is to keep noise from getting in with an automotive sound barrier. Mass loaded vinyl is a dense material designed to keep sound from getting through. Be thorough with coverage; you want to cover as close to 100% of the floor as possible. Seal all gaps with foil tape to keep sound from leaking through any gaps in your barrier layer.

Since the sound blocking material is thicker, clearance may be an issue around certain areas like seats or mounting points. If you run into this, you can trim down the foam side to thin out the material. DO NOT cut away from the vinyl, as that’s what’s blocking all the noise.

INSTALLATION TIPS

Apply mass loaded vinyl as far up the cabin side firewall as possible to add firewall soundproofing and block out engine noise. Luxury Liner Pro has a high r-value, so it'll also add heat insulation to keep out engine and exhaust heat.

Check out our Vehicle Build Packages for all of the material you need for your Sound Deadening and Sound Blocking layers sold at a bundled discount.

All Second Skin products are made of high-quality, fire-resistant materials with safety in mind. Our sound deadening mats are 100% butyl rubber (no asphalt!) and are proudly manufactured in the US.

Car Too hot or cold? Upgrade the Carpet Padding

If you’re concerned about temperature control inside your car, or worried that you don’t have enough clearance for mass loaded vinyl, Heat Wave Pro is an excellent alternative. This automotive jute carpet padding acts as a thermal insulation blanket surrounded by two layers of reflective foil. It can replace your worn out carpet pad or upgrade the carpet underlay if there's insufficient or ineffective material.

Although Heat Wave Pro doesn’t block sound as well as our Luxury Liner Pro, it’s a lighter, OEM-style material that also has a high r-value and low cost per square foot. It's an effective solution for withstanding high temperatures, reflecting radiant heat, and keeping your cabin comfortable.

Soundproofing the floor of your car can be difficult, but it will give you the most bang for your buck and ultimately go a long way towards a quieter car ride. Remember to take your time and cover as much of the floor as possible. When you’re done, you’ll get to enjoy the best parts of your car without having to hear them. And when you do want to hear that engine rev, you can always crack a window.

Learn More with Our Ultimate Car Insulation Guide