There is a misguided belief that wooden Concrete Staining Patterns are cold and noisy. This idea stems from the fact that original wood floorboards in older badly insulated houses were in fact cold and draughty. However this was in the days of cellars, coal fires, gapping floorboards and solid walls.
These days you will find that wood flooring can be warm, quiet and resilient to walk on. Flooring now comes with tightly fitting tongues and grooves that do not shrink and gap. Engineered and solid wood flooring now comes tongued and grooved on all four sides of the board that make a surface that is impenetrable to draughts In the case of a solid wood floor laid directly onto joists, the 20mm thickness of tightly fitting solid oak will give far more insulation than pine.
The noise generated by the sound of foot traffic over a wood floor is greatly reduced by correct installation methods. Using a sound reducing underlay will also give good benefits and make the floor far easier to live with.
The difference in sound of a wood floor compared to a laminate floor is also a factor in deciding on a quiet floor. Laminate flooring is backed with an HDF (high density fibre board) a very stable but hard material that will exaggerate the taps of steps rather than absorb them. Real wood flooring on the other hand more readily absorbs the tapping of footsteps. The reason being that wood flooring has more natural sound insulation and when installed properly the sound is minimal.
When installing an engineered board the standard installation method is to float the floor by laying it on top of the structural sub-floor. This creates a gap between the two floors so it needs something in between to soak up the noise. This is where the underlay is used. The underlays range from a basic 1.5mm foam which can soak up. Higher up the scale are the high-density sound deadening wood floor underlays which have been proven to give high acoustic properties and Keep the noise down to an acceptable level. These underlays can reduce the sound going through the floor down to 22db, which is extremely good. Generally the price dictates the quality of the underlay and the more expensive, the higher specification.
Remember, the better underlays reduce noise levels the most. However always use an underlay that is specifically made for wood flooring. Carpet underlay for instance will be too springy for wood flooring, making the joints weaken
These are usually about 1.20m x 0.80m and are loose laid over the floor with staggered joints in the opposite direction to the intended direction of the new wood flooring. Try to avoid the fibreboards that are made from recycled cardboard and paper. Although cheap to buy, these tend to be extremely absorbent, so a small amount of moisture will soon cause a big problem. The polystyrene or closed cell polypropylene boards such as Depron or Strata will provide better leveling, thermal and sound reducing properties as well as being waterproof.
Sound Deadening Underlay
These are between 4mm and 6mm thickness in a roll width of about 1.20m, these underlays will be extremely effective at reducing the amount of noise that travels through the floor making them ideally suited if you are installing in an apartment building. Cush-n-Wood made by Ball & Young is a good high specification product that is relatively inexpensive. Also look at Unisound underlay, or Transit Sound underlay manufactured by Unilin who make the Quick-Step ‘Uniclic’ laminate flooring.