But can you soundproof a room with a carpet? Will carpeting help with soundproofing the room? Carpets can help reduce the sound of footsteps by 26 to 35 decibels. Their soft, fibrous surface can effectively absorb and disperse sound and reduce overall noise by 30% to 70%. They reduce the number of reflecting or bouncing waves in your room and reduce issues such as flutter echo or standing waves.
A bare floor, be it tile, hardwood, or vinyl, makes 8 to 12 times more sound than a carpeted one. You can understand this better once you know how carpets work to reduce noise.
Editor’s recommendation: for soundproofing, a thick rug like the Mohawk Home Felt Rug can actually be a cheaper option than getting the complete floor carpeted. Check it out here on Amazon.
What Type Of Carpet Is Best For Soundproofing?
Carpets can reduce a considerable amount of noise from a room since they cover one of the widest surface areas of the room. There are many kinds of carpets, some better at blocking sound and some not so much.
You must know what is the best carpet for soundproofing that will single-handedly, or in combination with some other soundproofing items, soundproof your space.
You need to make sure the carpet you pick should have three key qualities, i.e., a good STC (Sound Transmission Class), IIC (Impact Insulation Class), and density.
STC and IIC both are ratings that have been set to compare the amount of sound transmission a certain object allows through it. The higher the STC and IIC, the better. STC should be above 50 and IIC above 45. For density, the more the merrier!
One of the best materials for soundproof carpets is wool. Wool has fibers distributed all over it in different lengths and incredible variations of diameter, crimping, and shape. The distribution is dense and each fiber being of different size, length, and diameter has a different resonating frequency.
This means that all the woolen fibers together can absorb higher frequencies of sound than a carpet that has uniform fibers over it. Wool carpets can reduce up to 40% of the noise in your space. And if an underlay is used, it becomes more efficient.
How Does A Carpet Soundproof A Room?
Sound travels in the form of vibrations. Sound energy vibrates (or tries to vibrate) air, solids, or liquids with the same frequency as theirs. To stop or reduce the transmission of sound, you need to reduce these vibrations.
Soft surfaces absorb more sound as opposed to harder ones that simply bounce the sound waves back into the room. Soft carpet surfaces can absorb vibrations from the sound by suppressing them midway and restricting further passage.
Regardless of the kind of carpet used, all of them are incredibly fibrous. The softer its surface is, the better it can absorb sound. Carpets have small air pockets as they are woven or knitted. These air pockets between the fiber groups and fibers trap air molecules that are carrying sound and cause them to dissipate all their energy.
The lowered vibrations of the air molecules dampen the sound and make your room quieter. Carpets are great at soundproofing because of their composition. You can enhance the soundproofing ability by adding underlays, tufts, or more fibers under your carpet as well.
What Kind Of Noise Can Carpets Help With?
Carpets are dense. They can help with reducing both impact noise as well as airborne noise. You must understand the difference between the two kinds for better comprehension of the comparison.
Impact noise refers to the sound that is produced and transferred through objects. The footsteps you hear from the floor above, or the sound of an object hitting the roof, noise from water pipes or lifts are all examples of impact noise.
Airborne noise is the noise that travels by air. Car horns, kids playing in the street, noise from neighbors, traffic, and other such sounds from the surrounding environment are all airborne noise.
Carpets cover the floor with thick, tightly knit fibers to dampen the effect of impact noise coming from the structure of the building. You can also add underlays to the carpet to add another layer that will absorb sound.
Moreover, the fibrous surface takes in all the unwanted sound waves and reflected waves from the room. You can use the carpets to enhance the quality of sound in your room as they can easily reduce echoes.
Types of Carpet Underlay For Soundproofing
There are two of these:
Mass-Loaded Vinyl (MLV)
Editor’s recommendation: when it comes to MLV, you really can’t go wrong with the one sold by Soundsulate. It has an STC rating of 20 along with a decent price point. Check it out here on Amazon.
One of the best soundproofing materials is mass-loaded vinyl or MLV. It has a dense, mass-filled composition that works incredibly well for an underlay.
It comes in the form of thin sheets that can be layered one upon the other for as much soundproofing as required. Although the material itself has an STC rating of only 27, its ability to stack up without taking much space makes it worth it.
MLV will dampen impact noise traveling through the structure of your building and the carpet above it will handle the airborne noise. You can put two layers of MLV under a thick wool carpet for best results.
Felt underlayment can also absorb a great deal of sound. This is the best choice for an underlay if you have engineered wood floors or laminate flooring.
This kind won’t do great when put directly under a carpet. However, if you like to frequently play with the décor, add or remove carpets or rugs, but still want to soundproof at a certain level, you can use felt under the wooden paneled floors.
This material has an IIC/STC rating of 66/67, which is more than enough to block external noise.
Carpets help with soundproofing in the cheapest way possible. Instead of re-doing the walls or floor of your apartment, you can simply lay a soft, fibrous carpet on the floor.
They won’t only dampen noise, but will also eat up all the extra sound clutter (echoes and reverberations) from the room.