3 Best Soundproof Underlayment For Nail Down Hardwood Floors

Nailed-down hardwood floors are elegant and have cost-effective installation but it has a few downsides too. The squeakiness and loud footstep noise on these floorings can cost you peace. Hence, soundproofing nailed down floors is unavoidable.

Luckily, there is an easy way around it, and that is using soundproof underlayments. Because of nails in hardwood floors, there is more sound transmission to the subfloor that creates noise. The underlayment can help you lessen that noise by simply not letting sound waves hit the subfloor directly. It all depends on the absorption quality of the underlayment. A bad one can cost you both time and money.

To help you find the right one, we have reviewed the 3 best soundproof underlayments for nailed-down hardwood floors. Read on to find out their pros and cons.

Top Picks For Best Soundproof Underlayment For Nail Down Hardwood Floors

Here are our top picks for best options for underlayment of nail down hardwood:

The Floor Muffler Ultraseal Underlayment
(best overall)
2mm thickness
Propylene foam material
Moisture protection
73 STC rating
74 IIC rating
Very easy installation
Highly durable
QuietWalk Plus Underlayment
3.1 mmFelt material
Vapor barrier
66 STC rating
71 IIC rating
Easy installation

Best Soundproof Underlayment For Nail Down Hardwood Floors

Finding the soundproof underlayment specifically for nailed-down hardwood floors is quite difficult as most of the products are not compatible with this type of flooring. Few underlayments that are for hardwood, are recommended only for engineered and not for solid hardwood flooring. Therefore, we did thorough research to find out some of the best underlayments for soundproofing wooden floors.

1. Floor Muffler Ultraseal Underlayment

The Floor Muffler Ultraseal Underlayment is another product that can solve nail-down hardwood problems. It has a commendable STC of 73 and an IIC rating of 74. This makes it a perfect option for soundproofing wooden floors as it is good for reducing both impact and airborne noises. 

Moreover, this polypropylene foam-made underlayment is also water-resistant. Therefore, it can protect your wooden flooring from moisture and increase its life. Also, you can use Floor Muffler for various types of floors including engineered, solid hardwood, and laminate floors. 

Furthermore, the installation process is very easy, you just have to slightly overlap to add another layer. Pricing is reasonable too, if you compare it to the benefits, which makes this product apt for soundproofing your floors.


  • Best for soundproofing
  • Adjustable for every type of flooring
  • 2mm thickness
  • Propylene foam material
  • Moisture protection
  • 73 STC rating
  • 74 IIC rating
  • Very easy installation
  • Highly durable


  • Expensive

2. QuietWalk Plus Underlayment

QuietWalk Plus Underlayment is second best on our list, as it goes with every type of floor and suits for nail down hardwood floors too. This 100 sq. ft roll of underlay is composed of felt from recycled fibers that make it acoustic. QuietWalk Plus can easily eliminate the airborne and impact noise by absorbing the sound energy. 

It is a quality product that will also help you in the removal of the squeakiness of hardwood floors. Moreover, it will protect the solid hardwood flooring from moisture through its vapor barrier. 

The QuietWalk might sound too expensive but its durability justifies the price. Easy installation is yet another great benefit of this underlayment. All you require is to unroll the QuietWalk on the subfloor and place your wooden floor over it. This will not only make your floor soundproof but will also prolong its life.


  • Suitable for all types of floors
  • 3.1 mm
  • Felt material
  • Vapor barrier
  • 66 STC rating
  • 71 IIC rating
  • Easy installation
  • Durable


  • Not as durable as floor muffler ultraseal
  • Tough to cut 

3. STEICO Wood Fiber Flooring Underlayment

STEICO wood fiber flooring underlayments are sheets of cork-based material. Cork is considered an eco-friendly substance that you can easily recycle. So, if you are conscious about the environment you should consider this one.

If you only want to dampen the noises a bit STEICO wood fiber underlayment is for you. It is suited for both glue and nail-down hardwood floors as it provides a rigid and frictionless surface. Moreover, it can help you level the uneven subfloor. 

However, it is not water-resistant and can absorb some moisture. The one-off thing about this product is, though its price is slightly lesser than QuietWalk Plus, it seems a bit too pricey for the benefits it offers.


  • Suitable for laminate, vinyl, engineered, and glue/nail down hardwood
  • Compressed cork
  • Recyclable and eco-friendly
  • Easy-to-install rigid sheets
  • 50 STC rating
  • 55 IIC rating


  • Not water resistant
  • A bit expensive
  • Average for soundproofing

Buying Guide: How To Find The Best Underlayment For Nail Down Hardwood Floors?

There are three things that you need to be absolutely careful about before purchasing an underlayment for your nail-down wooden floors. These are material of underlayment, STC rating, and IIC rating of the product.

Material of Underlayment

The material of the underlayment determines whether it is suitable for nail-down hardwood flooring or not. A variety of materials is used for composing soundproof underlayments. However, for a soundproof underlay for wooden floors, there are 4 popular materials. These are felt, rubber, cork, and foams. 


Felt is the most common underlayment material that works for hardwood floors too. These are effective for both sound control and for the protection of flooring from moisture. By placing a felt underlay you can easily nail down the wooden floor and make it soundproof.


Rubber underlayment is also a viable option for soundproofing hardwood floors. As rubber is flexible, it has a great ability to block sound transference. Even for nail-down floors, it can easily absorb the noise and vibrations. Moreover, the installation of rubber underlayments is pretty straightforward and as it is water-resistant, it protects the wooden flooring. 


Though in the market, cork underlayments are not a go-to option for soundproofing, these work fine for absorbing the sound energy. One of the best things about cork is – it is an eco-friendly and anti-microbial material. In addition, you can use a cork underlay even on an uneven subfloor surface and it will balance it out. However, one drawback of cork is, it does not provide protection for moisture.


Foam is another very effective sound-absorbing material for underlayments. For nail-down hardwood floors, this type of underlay can help in deadening both airborne and impact noise. The hollowness of the wooden floor creates echoes of footsteps that can be controlled using foam underlayment. 

These foam underlays often come with vapor barriers. Therefore, if you are choosing this type of underlay, look for a moisture protection layer.

Sound Transmission Class (STC) Ratings

STC ratings are crucial for selecting an underlayment or any soundproofing material for that matter. STC ratings determine the airborne sound reduction capability of a product. The higher the STC of a product, the more effective it will be in reducing airborne noises. The minimum acceptable STC rating for a wooden floor is 40.

Impact Insulation Class (IIC) Rating

Likewise STC, IIC ratings cannot be ignored either as these are related to the impact noises. Impact noise creates vibrations and can easily transmit through the building structure especially when there is hardwood flooring. Therefore, you must seek the underlayment with a higher IIC rating. The minimum acceptable IIC rating for a room is 50.


Why does nail-down flooring need underlayment?

Since there are plenty of nails providing a medium of sound transmission between the floor and the subfloor, underlayments are required to contain the vibrations. By placing an underlay you can minimize those vibrations and noise. Also, through an underlay squeakiness of nail down hardwood floor can be removed.

Does underlayment reduce noise?

Yes, underlayment can reduce noise. It is composed of sound-absorbing material like, felt, cork, foam, rubber, and wood fiber that work as sound insulation. It creates a gap between the floor and subfloor and absorbs the effect of the sound waves that are being transmitted through nails. It can minimize both footfall and airborne noise.

Can you soundproof hardwood floors?

Yes, soundproofing wooden floors is a bit time-consuming and costly but it is possible. Some of the best materials for soundproofing a hardwood floor are, underlayments, floor joists, carpets, rugs, and rubber floor mats. Underlayments work best in providing insulation between the subfloor and the wooden floor that stops the sound vibrations.

Final Thoughts

Having nail-down hardwood floors can create a lot of noise problems for you. Fortunately, placing underlayments is an easy process that will help you in soundproofing the wooden floors. An added benefit of underlayment is it being water-resistant, which can safeguard the hardwood floors.

All you require is the knowledge of the right underlayment material for nail-down hardwood floorings. Moreover, you also have to consider the STC rating to check the effectiveness of the material to absorb the airborne noise. Likewise, to check the impact noise-absorbing quality, you need to consider IIC ratings.

We did thorough research to find out what is the best underlay for soundproofing wooden floors. The high duty Floor Muffler Ultraseal Underlayment with an incredible STC/IIC rating of 73/74 is our top pick. The runner-up on our list is felt fiber-composed QuietWalk Plus, which prolongs the hardwood flooring lifetime. Then the cork-based STEICO Wood Fiber Flooring stands at third, being an environment-friendly underlayment.