There are many reasons why someone might choose to invest in sound deadening floor mats as a viable alternative to permanent DIY soundproofing methods that are both costly and require a lot of effort.
To rid your household of unwanted noises, you’ll usually get a selection of very specific soundproofing elements to choose from. This is if you're not planning any major alterations to your home like installing soundproof panels or coating your existing walls in sound-absorbing paint.
In this regard, sound deadening floor mats present a cheaper but surprisingly effective alternative to any substantial and permanent changes to your home. Over the next few minutes, we'll try to find out more about why these mats are so sought after and why they represent such a good long-term investment.
How Do Sound Deadening Floor Mats Work?
A sound deadening floor mat is a mat that you lay on the floor and cover with a rug or carpet. Comprised of soundproofing materials, this mat will absorb any sounds that you might make from moving around the room.
Usually made of rubber, these mats may vary in size and mostly deal with airborne noise or any unwanted vibrations that you might get either from elements inside the room or from the outside.
On a related note, know that rubber floor mats also work well for cushioning your floors. Perhaps not as effective as traditional rugs, but the rubber construction certainly helps by adding an extra layer of protection for your floors.
What are Sound Deadening Floor Mats Made of?
Although there is little variation between sound deadening floor mats in regard to their general purpose, they may very well differ with respect to their material construction. As such, soundproof floor mats can be made of felt, rubber, or a combination of the two.
- Felt Soundproof Floor Mats - Felt is considered a good soundproofing material because of its dense fiber construction which creates frictional energy that dissipates sound energy to an impressive standard. Not just that but felt also enjoys great elasticity, which makes such a rug very easy to set up virtually anywhere.
- Rubber Soundproof Floor Mats - A bit more common than the felt versions, rubber soundproof floor mats work by adding extra mass to the floors, thus reducing sound vibrations and airborne noise to a great extent. At the same time, the rubber construction helps make your floor more comfortable by adding an extra layer of coziness.
Bear in mind that both felt and rubber floor mats can sometimes use an adhesive component to stick firmly to the floor, which is most common for car-oriented sound insulation kits.
How Effective are Sound Deadening Floor Mats?
As far as noise reduction goes, sound deadening floor mats are a no-brainer, at least when compared to any of the traditional alternatives. Provided you spread out the mats throughout the entire floor in a calculated fashion, you will be able to reduce floor noise considerably without making any permanent changes to your household.
On average, even a low-end floor mat will reduce unwanted noise by 6 to 7 dB or even more depending on the positioning of the mat. This will have a more substantial effect on apartment floors that are getting unwanted noise both from within the room and from underneath.
It should also be said that people who employ sound deadening floor mats for their cars and trucks enjoy much more success than those who make use of them for their households. Then again, a car-oriented soundproof mat may differ ever so slightly in its construction when compared to a mat intended for home use.
How Much Does Construction Matter?
Even though most soundproofing mats are available in felt or rubber, some incorporate a hybrid of the two along with several other unique elements. For instance, most sound deadening floor mats incorporate a dense base layer, usually made from flexible elastomeric materials.
The way these mats are built ensures that sound energy from outside the house will have a tougher time penetrating your floors, especially when paired with other forms of acoustic floor underlayment like dense rugs or carpets.
Depending on how they're built, some of them will also accommodate furniture better than others, which makes it easier for them to blend in. Not many people know this but furniture is also great at absorbing unwanted sounds, so you should try to place furniture strategically throughout the house.
Different Types of Noise
The sound of unwanted noise can be quite disturbing if left undealt with, but you should understand that to maximize your floor soundproofing efforts, you must first understand what type of noise you're dealing with.
- Impact Noise - Impact noise is created when objects make contact with a surface, either in the form of an object falling to the floor or through the impact of footsteps. It is important to understand that impact noise can travel through hard structures that propagate the sound to some extent.
- Airborne Noise - Unlike impact sound that travels through material surfaces, airborne noise travels through the air in the room. Whenever the noise hits any hard surface, it will either be absorbed or blocked depending on the thickness of the structure and the intensity of the sound.
Either way, it’s obvious that soundproofing floor elements will help with both impact and airborne noise, which is where a sound deadening floor mat comes into play.
Bear in mind that sound travels just as well through walls as it does through floors, so any floor mat setup we install will have to be paired with a soundproof wall for best results.
How Do We Measure the Effectiveness of Sound Deadening Floor Mats?
When determining the overall effectiveness of any sound-deadening element, we employ a unit of measurement called Impact Insulation Class (IIC). This is professionally calculated with the help of a tapping machine that gets placed in one area and a receiver placed in another.
Whether we're talking about foam floor mats, felt, or rubber, they each have a different IIC value that varies depending on the mat's construction, size, thickness, and shape. Bear in mind that a higher IIC value means that a specific mat is better at dissipating impact noise in an environment.
Alternatives to Soundproofing Floor Mats
Although you are advised to use a specially crafted soundproofing mat for best results, there might be a couple of alternatives you can explore if you have limited resources.
For instance, acoustic underlayment represents a good choice for anyone who prefers a thinner alternative to rubber mats. In this respect, they are similar to felt mats in their effectiveness, and they are a lot cheaper overall.
You can also use regular carpet or thick rugs instead of soundproof underlayment, but you're going to need to fully cover your floors with them to get a fraction of what a sound deadening floor mat will offer.
Keep in mind that hardwood floors make a lot of impact noise and that they require very thick acoustic covering, either in the form of a floor mat or any other form of acoustic underlayment.
The Versatility of Soundproof Floor Mats
When setting up a sound deadening floor mat arrangement, remember that if the mat is rubbery, it can be used as a cushion as well as a dampening tool. Because rubber is less porous, it possesses a higher capacity to absorb sound.
You should also understand that rubber mats can have a decoupling effect if installed properly. In this particular setup, both sides of the mat vibrate independently, thus reducing the overall vibrations at floor level.
Because these mats enjoy a soft material construction, they can also be used as a foundation for multiple upper layers of a different soundproofing element. Some people prefer to install a thick underlay under the mat so as to offer an extra dampening barrier.
Are Foam Floor Mats a Viable Solution?
Compared to rubber, foam mats tend to offer a reduced dampening effect. That said, they are still more effective than carpets or rugs alone. As far as IIC ratings go, they are almost twice as soundproofing and dampening.
It should be said that foam adds a certain degree of cushioning to hardwood or concrete floors on account of its soft texture. The only issue here is that it can sometimes be a little too soft, which makes walking over it feel a little weird.
Although we don't recommend it, some people have also taken to using gym mats on account of their foam construction, which does work to some extent albeit in a more reduced capacity.
All Things Considered
Considering how practical sound deadening floor mats can be when compared to unconventional soundproofing methods, the investment is certainly warranted.
For best results, you should pair a soundproofing floor mat with several other soundproofing elements like panels, windows, or special curtains. A sound deadening floor mat is considered essential for any quiet room you might want to set up.
These mats are easy to come by, affordable, and surprisingly effective given their simplistic design, and very comfortable to use.