Tile floors are classy and have become increasingly popular, but they also happen to be very a common cause for floor soundproofing problems. Before your downstairs neighbor complains about you practicing jiu jitsu at 4 in the morning, let’s get the soundproofing right from the start!
Why Should You Soundproof Your Tile Floor?
In the past few years, many homeowners have been opting to tear out their old nasty carpet and replace it with tile floors due to their aesthetic and ease of maintenance. However, carpet offers one of the best ways to stop impact noise from transferring through the floor into the room below you. This means that if you install tile floors without properly soundproofing, your downstairs neighbors will hear you every time you take a step, drop something, or rearrange furniture. And I doubt they are going to be very happy about that!
Many condos will have IIC (impact isolation class) requirements for the floors of their buildings. IIC is essentially a measurement for how well a floor-ceiling assembly blocks impact noise. Most condos will require the IIC to be at least 50 or even 55.
To determine the IIC rating of your floor, feel free to contact us with your construction information, and our experts will be able to compare it to our previous projects to give you an estimate! Check out our guide on the cost of soundproofing a floor as well.
Stop Sound From Traveling Through Your Tile Floor
When you are installing tile, you must install an underlayment on the floor before you put the tile down. The best performing option is a rubber underlayment like our UnderBlock. The underlayment will decouple the floor from the building’s structure, basically to cushion any bumps and hijack the energy path for impact noise. The added density also will block airborne noise, making for a quieter living situation for you and your neighbors.
Impact vs Airborne Noise
Before we carry on, we will briefly go over the type of noise you are dealing with from your floor. When soundproofing, we deal with two types of noise: airborne and impact. Examples of airborne noise are people talking, music, or dogs barking. Impact noise is sound energy traveling through a physical object, caused by things like footsteps, hammering, or knocking on a door. When noise travels through a tile floor, the biggest problem is typically impact noise.
UnderBlock Rubber Floor Underlayment
UnderBlock is the best option available for soundproofing your tile floor. UnderBlock rubber underlayment is made of thick rubber that is great for blocking both airborne and impact noise. We recommend the 10mm thick option as it will provide excellent soundproofing for both airborne and impact noise. 10mm thick is also the perfect spacing to compensate for the carpet pad being removed if you are replacing a carpeted floor.
UnderBlock is essentially a one-stop-shop for soundproofing your tile floor because it adds a lot of density to the floor and also decouples the new flooring from the floor-ceiling assembly.
Another thing that makes UnderBlock a great option for soundproofing your floor is its easy installation. To install it, simply roll out the mat on your subfloor and cut out the right dimensions. You won’t need to use an adhesive, although you can if you want to. Use acoustical sealant around any cutouts or penetrations. Once UnderBlock is properly laid out on your floor, place your tile directly on top of it.
The only exception to this installation method is if the tile you are using is a very thin vinyl flooring (VCT). Because some vinyl tiles are so thin (a giveaway is if they roll up), we recommend installing a wooden subfloor over the UnderBlock and then installing the vinyl. If you have questions on your specific flooring tile, contact us!
Tile Floor Acoustical Issues
Standard drywall or concrete walls are reflective surfaces in terms of sound quality. And while carpet has absorptive properties that help reduce echo in a room, tile floors do not. If you are replacing carpeted floors with a tile floor, in some situations you will run into acoustics issues after the install. To improve your room’s acoustics, you should invest in acoustical materials such as PolyZorbe or one of our other acoustic panels.