When you think of home, you think of a place where you can be at peace. If your home is a loud one, though, you might want to find a way to dampen some of that noise. Whether you want to do something across the whole house or just a single room, you can create a peaceful space. But where do you even start in your attempt to quiet things down around you? Does carpet absorb sound? We researched this to find out!
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Adding or changing your carpet can effectively reduce noise in your home or space by between 30% and 70%. Carpet absorbs ambient noises and reduces echoes by keeping sound from bouncing around your rooms. The fibrous nature of carpet causes it to rap and disperse sound waves, unlike a hardwood or concrete floor that allows the sound to bounce off of it much easier. This leads to an overall reduction in volume, harshness, and echoes around the home.
In the rest of this article, we will be detailing how carpet reduces noise, discussing the best types of carpet to reduce noise, and other options and additions for soundproofing and noise reduction. We encourage you to read on to get a full answer to how carpet absorbs and reduces sound.
How Does Carpet Dampen Sound?
If you've ever stood in front of a massive speaker or a very loud place, you know you can literally feel sounds vibrating through you. Sound is transmitted mainly by the vibration of air molecules. Carpet can reduce the vibration of sounds, ending up suppressing them. This is because of both carpet materials and makeup.
Carpets incredibly fibrous regardless of type. This is just because of the nature of carpets as a fiber woven object. The increased surface area and air pockets in between fibers and fiber groups in the carpet traps air molecules and keeps them from being able to vibrate freely. Thanks to this, all sounds are dampened because of the lessening of air molecules vibrating.
Different fibers, tufts, and underlays on the carpet all have different resonating frequencies as well. In the same way you can feel very loud sounds, sound waves transfer to the materials around it from air molecules. The differences in length, material type, and numerous fibers in carpets cause sounds to become dampened and suppressed by carpet because of this property.
If you're worried about adding carpet because of the stairs in your home, check out our article How Long Does Carpet Last On Stairs?
Best Types of Carpet For Soundproofing
When you're looking at the best carpets for soundproofing, you need to focus on a few key things. The top three will be density, sound transmission class (STC), and impact transmission class (ITC). Density means the carpet has more mass and fibers, which is important for absorbing sound waves. STC and ITC are ratings awarded to carpets that allow you to compare carpets when it comes to noise reduction when you're out shopping on your own.
One of the best types of carpets for soundproofing is wool carpet. Wool fibers in a carpet like this have incredible variation in length, diameter, shape, and crimping. In addition to this, the fiber distribution in wool carpets is usually also dense, meaning these variations happen even in small sample sizes. The differences listed in wool fibers cause each fiber to have a different resonating frequency, meaning it absorbs a much higher number of frequencies and sounds than a carpet with uniform fibers.
For carpet materials, wool is your best option, on its own being tested to reduce noise by over 40%. However, it is important to remember that the underlay for the carpet will provide a large portion of the noise absorption. High performance felt underlays will cushion floors and reduce noise. Any inclusion of mass loaded vinyl will have a huge impact on sound quality. The felt provides even more fibrous material for sound dispersion. On the other hand, the vinyl is incredibly heavy and dense, stopping quite many sound vibrations.
Outside Versus Inside Noises
If you live on a busy street or in a noisy area, you might also want to help reduce some of that outside noise. The same way, carpet reduces noises inside the home; it helps dampen outside noises. While your walls are the main suppression, a carpet will still block those sounds.
What Can You Put In A Room To Absorb Sound?
Absorbing sound within a room is actually simpler than one might think. Everything in a room has sound resonate through it. Like carpets versus hard floors, having soft and dense objects in a room will reduce the noise. For this section, we will go over some things you can put in a room to absorb sound.
Blankets and rugs are one effective and generally cheap way to reduce sound. A shaggy rug will absorb the most sound, but any kind will help absorb sound while adding a room accent. Hanging blankets or even keeping them in the room will help. Whether you have a blanket with a design you like or some sort of tapestry to hang up, they can help absorb sound in your room.
Pillows or Throws
Lay plenty of pillows or throws on your bed or furniture. The soft materials will help absorb sound and deafen the room. For wood furniture, adding some sort of fabric will reduce their tendency to bounce noises. Consider seat cushions on chairs and tablecloths on any tables. If you need ideas for arranging throw pillows, check out our article How To Arrange Throw Pillows On A Corner Sofa Or Sectional Couch?
Sound-dampening foam tiles attach to your walls. Foam tiles come in several shapes and sizes. Painting them or buying more expensive tiles with light effects allows you to add some flair to your room without taking up much space and absorbing sounds. Another option for the walls is to apply a fabric wallpaper if your budget allows for it.
Building a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf is another great way to absorb sound. While it may seem old-school, having a full bookshelf adds a ton of mass to a room. All of that mass will absorb and dissipate sound waves, helping you create a quiet environment.
One more tip to quiet a room is to install weather stripping on your doors. Normally the rubber liner is only on exterior doors to keep out moisture, bugs, and dust. However, adding this to your interior doors will help you soundproof your rooms by lessening outside noises.
What Is The Best Carpet Underlay For Noise Reduction?
The best all-purpose soundproofing material mass loaded vinyl (MLV). MLV is incredibly dense and heavy. While not made specifically as an underlay, MLV works incredibly well at absorbing sound regardless of its use. While it only has an ITC/STC rating of 27, this material can be stacked to maximize its sound absorption. MLV is a common noise dampener on pipes, inside walls, and inside of vehicles. The best use of MLV in flooring is to go underneath a carpet.
Felt underlayers work well to absorb sound. This type of underlayment dampens sound underneath laminate flooring and engineered wood floors. Do not try to put this type of underlayment underneath a carpet, as it is not made for that. Roberts makes a great felt underlay with an ITC/STC rating of 66/67.
Floor Muffler offers a great underlayment for wood and concrete. Their Ultraseal Underlayment has strong moisture and mold barrier to protect your flooring. This underlayment is even 100% recyclable. Boasting the highest ratings on this list, Floor Muffler Ultra Seal has an ITC rating of 74 and an STC rating of 73.
Remember when looking for the underlayment to check the ITC and STC ratings and consult a professional regarding which types of underlayment are going to work best for the flooring you intend to choose. There are numerous underlayments to choose from, made of all types of materials. Make sure to do plenty of research, as well as check out the above options before buying.
What Is The Best Flooring For Soundproofing?
When you compare floorings, make sure not to forget about the ITC and STC ratings. Generally, a rating of 60 is considered superior sound reduction, while a rating of 70 is considered nearly soundproof. This is especially helpful when you install flooring on a non-ground floor. A higher rating will keep you from hearing every single step taken above you.
Which flooring is the best is a difficult question to answer. With proper underlayment and decor, even a wood or laminate floor can be made quiet. The best soundproofing options would generally be a combination of the best sound absorbing flooring, underlayer, and decor.
One of the best flooring combinations for soundproofing is a wool carpet with a wool underlayment. Try to use a cut-carpet instead of a looped type because it has a more open surface and absorbs more sound. Wool carpets with proper underlayment reduce noise by anywhere between 50% and 70%.
Does Carpet Absorb Sound?
Carpet is one of the best sound absorbers available. A carpeted floor will reduce sound volume, echoes, and harshness in any room. If you're looking to create a peaceful place in your home or reduce some of the extra noise, so it's easier to hear, then adding carpet to your home or room is a great way to go.