Apartments are the residential staple of any big city, and more Australians are moving towards the apartment lifestyle. And why wouldn’t you? There’s a lot to be said for living in a designer space that’s low-maintenance, affordable, and close to all the action! But there can be one problem: noise.
High density living can mean high volume neighbours, which gets old quickly. Luckily, there are some quick and easy things you can do to improve it, and flooring is one such example. With some strategic choices you can soundproof your apartment and enjoy peace, quiet, and privacy. Here’s how.
If you haven’t laid carpet before, you may not be familiar with underlays. Underlays are essentially what sits below your carpet to improve its comfort, and help it settle evenly. But there’s another thing underlays can do: absorb sound. If you choose a thick foam underlay, you can drastically reduce the sound that comes through your floors. They’re especially popular in older apartment buildings with original timber floors. Floors of that nature often have gaps, which means that sound gets through, and any carpets that are laid can be uneven. With a thick foam underlay, you can address both problems at once.
If tiles are your preference, then fear not, there are still underlays for you! They’re a little different to carpet underlays, though, and that’s mostly because tiles are much heavier, and require a lot more effort to lay. Soundproofing tile underlays usually come with different adhesive properties to carpet underlays, and that just helps the tiles set more firmly, so that there’s no movement between them. Any movement could crack the grout, which would destabilise the tiles and allow more sound through too.
Sound proofing pre-existing floors
If you have floors that you’re happy with already, you probably don’t want to go through the hassle of ripping them up to lay soundproof underlays. That’s understandable, but it does limit your soundproofing options a little. Generally, we would recommend laying a soundproof underlay before re-carpeting your floors. But if that’s not an option, you can use rugs to dampen sound over areas where it’s especially reverberant. Not only will that aid with soundproofing, but it will also liven the place up a bit, and help you create a visual focal point in your living space.
General sound proofing tips
There are also things you can do around the house to lessen the sound more generally. Take your windows, for example. A lot of noise comes through your windows, and taking steps to prevent that is one of the best ways to soundproof your apartment. Double glazing, in tandem with soundproof underlays, can keep almost all of the street noise, neighbourhood noise, and the occasional loud music out of your apartment. But that just depends how seriously you take your peace and quiet – double glazing can be expensive, after all!
Finally, let’s talk about acoustics. Although it might seem like a lot of your apartment’s noise comes from outside, there’s a fair chance some of it comes from within. Many modern apartments come with loud tiled floors, which echo underfoot and can make sounds seem louder than they actually are. Acoustic underlays are a great way to dampen that. But if you’re looking for a short term option, rugs and even furniture placement can all make a huge difference.
So do some experimenting, and see if you can use the tools you have to improve your apartment’s acoustics. If not, it might be time to look at some flooring-based solutions.