carpet vs. hardwood- sound qualities


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Old 12-07-07, 04:56 PM
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Question carpet vs. hardwood- sound qualities

Question... I recently purchased a townhouse on the 3rd floor and I would like to install hard floor (laminated, engineered parquet, real parquet - don't know, you tell me; currently laminated sounds like a good choice). Installation of hardwood floor on anything above first floor requires HOA board approval and board does not seem to be too excited about the idea (I talked to one board member only, will go to a meeting soon). Do you have any recommendations (and are there any arguments at all, maybe I'm just wrong and neighbors downstairs will be greatly annoyed)?
What I found so far is that there are two characteristics, STC and IIC that are important and with proper sound proofing hardwood floors should be comparable to carpet. However, all references I found so far are pretty vague and I couldn't quite understand where do get specific information about materials and characteristics. Is this the right direction and are these characteristics generally available from manufacturers, testing labs, etc.?

Thank you
 
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Old 12-08-07, 06:13 AM
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Just a personal observation, but if I lived below you I would scream bloody murder to the board not to allow it. Unfortunately the only TRULY effective way to find out how bad the sound transmission will be to the downstairs neighbor would be to let you install it and find out, but then it's too late to undo it if the noise is unacceptable. Among other things, the subfloor construction and underlying support would play a big part, so any "rating" would still be theoretical.

Sorry, just my $.02 worth.
 
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Old 12-08-07, 03:12 PM
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Well, as I said I am not an expert but from what I read so far there are sound quality characteristics that allow estimation with pretty reasonable accuracy, for example (don't hit me, this is not a research, just first google hit) http://www.acousticflooring.com/ - this estimates IIC as high 50s, which is more than average carpet (~50). Again, this is just my understanding so far and that's why I need help figuring this out

Another interesting reference: http://www.ifloor.com/flooringexpert...uction_is.html
 
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Old 12-08-07, 06:24 PM
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Okay, got it; I'll temper my response some. With the high-tech underlayment you may very well have a net GAIN in sound-deadening. The TOUGH job is going to be selling it to the association, most of which are not real keen on sticking their necks out in a circumstance like this.
 
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Old 12-08-07, 09:04 PM
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Wink

That's where the research/asking on forums comes in . So far I found some random references to IICs and that it seems to be possible but I need help putting all that together into a convincing argument.
 
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Old 10-12-08, 08:26 AM
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I recently purchased a condo and am in the same boat. I will be presenting a proposal to the homeowners association and have just started doing research so that I can win over the other owners to allow laminate flooring. How has your research been going? Have you come across anything new?
 
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Old 10-12-08, 01:09 PM
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Short story: I lost. Basically, my HOA board wasn't really interested in working out the best deal as much as they were interested in not having to think. I had a "letter of demand" from a lawyer requesting a "sufficient justification" and stuff and all they said was "well, per our rules board approval is requried; it won't be given and we don't have to explain why". This is likely wrong but beyond this I would have to start a brawl with them (letter to all home owners, taking HOA to court, etc.) and I wasn't interested in that so... Everywhere I could I have hard wood, all other places I have carpet.

On the research, I couldn't find much. From purely empirical thought exercise I'm afraid that if you are comparing any carpet you would install today (with padding), it won't be matched by any hardwood installation with under ~1'' of cork (primarily because of impact sound problem; when you drop something on hard wood /or just walk/ it's much louder). Now, what's reasonable or required is a separate question.

Good luck in your HOA fight, let me know if you find anything interesting. I would still like to overturn this rule.
 
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Old 10-12-08, 05:48 PM
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i am the vice president of my HOA. i tried to block hard floors in anything other than the kitchen, on the upper floors. i was knocked down. i would be pi$$ed if my upper nieghbors were stomping my ceiling. so you have to look at the other side of the story.
 
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Old 10-12-08, 08:16 PM
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condo-owner,
I hear you. However I feel that this idea of "it's hardwood so it must be loud" is (or might be) wrong. Basically, in my opinion (and from what I found so far), correct question isn't "is hardwood floor louder" but "how much padding should be used with hw floors for them to be isolated to an acceptable level. I am not a sound specialist but I feel that there must be a level of padding that will provide isolation comparable (or superior) to the carpet. How much (1/2'', 1'', 1.5'',not cork but rubber, etc.)- I have no clue but I am pretty sure information about this can be found. Otherwise, if proper sound isolation is not achievable I agree with you 100% but then wouldn't it be easier to have something to point to and say "look, here is a research that says that no reasonable amount of padding can provide good sound isolation"- this would cut down the debate, save time, $$ and emotions. BTW, IIRC STC characteristics of floor padding can get to very good level very easily (it's comparable to carpet even at 1/4'', I think). IIC is a different story but still I couldn't find the info
 
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Old 10-12-08, 09:02 PM
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Saying no wood on a floor because you think it may be loud doesn't seem right to me. I would think an intelligent HOA manager would at least do some research about what is allowable and reasonable for owners.

Quiet Walk is an underlayment that specializes in sound deadening. In fact they have done extensive testing in mutilevel units. Here is the info on sound deadening:

Sound
Sound Transmission Loss: The sound-insulating property of a partition element is expressed in terms of the sound transmission loss. ASTME90-97, ASTM E413-87
Sound Transmission Class: (STC) = 54.
Impact Sound Transmission: The method is designed to measure the impact sound trans-mission performance of a floor-ceiling assembly in a controlled laboratory environment. ASTM E492-90, ASTM E989-89
Impact Insulation Class (IIC) = 58.
Field Impact Insulation Class: Field conducted test using standard IIC methods. As tested over 8 post-tension concrete sub-floor with no ceiling assembly.
(FIIC) = 60.

Also when installing a wood or laminate floor (in this situation) you would want to have a 1/4" wide cork striping along any walls. This eliminates the floor touching a wall and sending vibration through the walls to other units.

This works and any HOAs that do not allow wood have not been made aware of the advances in sound retarding. Or have had an owner do wood that was not educated on how to do it properly.
 
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Old 10-12-08, 09:14 PM
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Arkon,
At the risk of contradicting my own points, from what I have read, carpet with underlayment has STC and IIC ratings 75+ (and more often than not 80+) so I am not sure how 54-60 numbers would impress HOA board...
Some links (since I'm posting anyway...):
http://www.ifloor.com/flooring-exper...uction_is.html
http://www.ifloor.com/flooring-exper...ratings_1.html
http://www.ljservicesgroup.com/ljsg/...stepimpact.pdf

Cheers!
 
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Old 10-13-08, 07:20 AM
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These requirements have been around for a long time, since carpet was made available at a competitive cost, so it was approved for homes and getting a loan. Once they saw the noise difference between wood floors and carpet in multi-level housing, carpet became mandatory, for noise reduction and conflicts between up and down stairs tenants.


There is a lot more to meeting sound transmission requirements, then just the undercushion, as Arkon pointed out. There is more to it then corking the perimeter, too.
 
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Old 10-13-08, 11:48 AM
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Carpets Done Wright,
I hear you and I have nothing against these requirements. However, from what I understand advancements were made not only in prices of carpeting but also in underlayments for hardwood. Basically, if you have any information (from any decent source) about impossibility to achieve decent isolation for hardwood floors, please post it and this question will be answered once and for all. I have not heard anything like that.

As to requirements... I have not found anything in the building code that would say that carpets are required (otherwise there would be no need to have these rules on HOA level). Maybe I am missing something and maybe it is indeed impossible to have hard wood floors with good sound isolation and any studies to that extent would be appreciated.
 
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Old 10-13-08, 06:45 PM
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well. around here, nearly everyone does their own wood installs = click floating from the big box stores. so that means, regaurdless of the rules, they do it how they want. so if you are unfortunate to live below someone that desided to glue it down. the hoa may not care.
 
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Old 10-13-08, 07:07 PM
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you better be dang sure your HOA doesn't care before installing something against the rules. My HOA already had two condos cover their hardwood/tile floors with carpet, in one case it almost got to court.
Again, I will be the first one to agree that any installation should be done in a way to least inconvenience people around you (well, to an extent, but whatever). Question isn't whether you should be able to do whatever-the-hell-you-want-want-cause-it's-your-darn-condo. Question is whether hardwood with enough padding is just as good (or better) than carpet and how much padding would it take for that to be true.
if anybody has any good references, they would be appreciated. If somebody else wants to tell me I'm an arrogant people hating moron that doesn't care about people who live below me... Well, I can't stop you but read the thread first- it's not what's being discussed/argued.NO NO NO
 

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Old 10-14-08, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by gverig
Arkon,
At the risk of contradicting my own points, from what I have read, carpet with underlayment has STC and IIC ratings 75+ (and more often than not 80+) so I am not sure how 54-60 numbers would impress HOA board...
Some links (since I'm posting anyway...):
http://www.ifloor.com/flooring-exper...uction_is.html
http://www.ifloor.com/flooring-exper...ratings_1.html
http://www.ljservicesgroup.com/ljsg/...stepimpact.pdf

Cheers!
The only thing to keep in mind is who is doing the testing. Several companies do there own testing and put out there numbers with no independant testing. There are ways to manipulate the results. I have been in a meeting with manufacturers that discussed this very thing. So when i recommend Quiet Walk i have seen the actual test results from their independant. I trust their numbers.
 
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Old 12-06-09, 08:06 PM
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Please Please Please Do not Install

As a person who is currently living under a person who installed hardwood floor and they did a floating floor and spent more money on trying to make it quiter. Well it does not work. Now that the installation is complete it has been a complete nightmare. I can hear them walking CONSTANTLY!!! When they wake up, when they go to the bathroom, when they take a shower, when they talk loudly, when they move furniture, when they vaccum.... Supposedly they have area rugs and walk in barefeet. I am miserable. My once beloved condo is now hated. Don't do it. Really! I am so strong in this stance that I would even be willing to have you call me so you can actually hear it.



Just do not do it.
 
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Old 06-19-10, 01:38 AM
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here are some sound insulation rating

Here are some sound insulation rating (estimates) of different types of flooring.
Carpet still comes as best.
(Sorry for being 2 years late.)
Click on the url below.
-regards
Impact Insulation Class (IIC) Information by FindAnyFloor.com
 
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Old 07-15-10, 06:37 AM
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Laminate in my home on two levels and...

We had laminate installed professionally in the family room and living room in fall of '07 and '08 . Both of these two rooms are on the ground level. The under padding is thick. We had friends live in the basement in late 07 and early 08. They mentioned they could hear me in the mornings, but that could have also been the tile which goes from the front of the house to the kitchen in the back.

My computer and beer fridge is the basement and I don't hear that much noise when the rest of the family is above me in the family room watching TV.

Right now we are installing laminate in two of the bedrooms upstairs. One room is completed. The padding is really thin, unlike what we acquired two years ago. We settled on the thinner material for cost. When we shopped for floor, we were asked where we lived (private home/ or condo) and when we mentioned our home, the vendors suggested the thinner padding.

So after this weekend, I can tell you how much a difference the padding makes as I will have different sets of thickness on two different floors.
 
 

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