SOUNDPROOFING: What Can I Put Underneath New Carpet To Make Things Quieter?

Q: What can I put underneath new carpet to boost floor soundproofing? My father recently sent me an old article of yours about a rubber soundproofing sheet material made especially for this job. Trouble is, I can’t find a source of supply. My carpet will be installed over old hardwood. I understand that there are more effective soundproofing solutions than underlay alone, but I can’t do anything more than this right now.


A: The company you want to contact is National Rubber Technologies, and their floor product is called QuietDown (800-387-8501). There may be other similar products made by other firms, but I know for sure this one works. The rubber sheeting they make is highly effective at reducing medium frequency noises from people walking and moving furniture. If you want to reduce the transmission of voices, TV and audio from one floor to another, consider lead sheeting as well. Yes, even very thin sheets of lead block sound amazingly well. Canada Metal (800-665-1332) is one place that sells rolls of thin lead sheeting especially for soundproofing purposes. A 1/64-inch-thick layer of the metal offers the same sound blocking effect as 6 inches of solid concrete. Amazing but true. When the metal is encapsulated behind wall or floor coverings, it’s completely safe.

Click above to download printable illustration

Soundproofing of floors doesn’t just happen on top, it can also happen underneath. If you’ve got access to open joists in an unfinished basement, you can do a lot to boost the sound resistance between levels of your home. Click here to download a detailed cutaway illustration of the best floor-to-floor insulation strategy. It’s part of my online basement finishing course