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Impact noise occurs when an object collides with another object, and you usually hear it from the floor above you. It could be footsteps, a chair sliding across a wood or tile floor, or an object falling on the floor. Impact noise travels freely through a structure and through air pockets. The diagram below illustrates all the pathways that impact noise travels through when a ball hits a bare floor.


The best way to protect yourself from impact noise is to stop it at the source, before it has a chance to travel. Here are some tips:

  • Carpet and Pad. By absorbing most of the energy caused by a falling object, a soft carpet and thick pad cushion are perhaps the most effective tools in controlling impact noise, especially at mid- to high-frequencies when noise can be at its most annoying. In many cases this is all you need to take care of impact noise problems from above, however this solution is less effective for isolating low frequency noise. It’s important to note that carpet and pad will do very little to reduce airborne noise.

  • Resilient Underlayment. Resilient underlayments made from recycled rubber mats, rigid fiberglass, foam, cork or other materials have much the same effect as a carpet and pad. By absorbing energy they are effective in reducing mid- to high-frequency impact noise. If the underlayments have mass (i.e., rubber) they will also provide some benefit for airborne noise.

  • Resilient Mounts. Hanging resilient channel, or Green Glue Noiseproofing Clips (or other modern sound clips) or spring ceiling hangers from the ceiling can greatly reduce the impact noise from the floor above. Installation of such products will always require removal of the existing ceiling to avoid the triple leaf effect.

  • Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound. Applying layers of Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound to the floor above is extremely effective at damping impact noise. The compound dissipates the vibrations caused by sound waves as they move through a structure. The compound is applied between two rigid materials (for example, OSB subflooring), and unlike other noiseproofing options, it reduces noise at all frequencies.

  • Insulation is Important. To help reduce noise from traveling between walls, you should always include insulation in ceiling cavities. There is no need to use dense insulation, however; this only adds unnecessarily to your costs and is no more effective than standard insulation.


It’s important to stress that the best way to reduce impact noise is to contain it at the source, as illustrated below. In the diagram at left, Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound is applied to the ceiling but not to the flooring above. When the ball hits the floor, the compound reduces the noise that comes into the room below through paths 1 and 2, but sound is still able to travel through the other pathways (3, 4 and 5) because the energy of the sound is not contained at the source. When the compound is also incorporated into the flooring, as illustrated in the diagram at right, noise is significantly reduced in all five sound pathways.



Interior Noise

Are you jolted by the sound of footsteps from the room above? You’re not alone. Footsteps are the number one noise complaint of homeowners. But it’s not the only interior noise that can ruin the peace and tranquility of your home or office

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Exterior Noise

You might be as quiet as a mouse, but the world outside is a noisy place. There’s traffic, a passing jet engine above you, or even that annoying blare from your neighbor’s lawn mower. A lot of the most bothersome noise occurs at low frequencies—the type most difficult to isolate.

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Flanking Noise

The diagram above illustrates how noise travels from one room to another. Direct noise is represented by the red arrows-- the straight line from the noise source through the wall to the adjoining room. But even more noise enters the adjoining room through indirect pathways like floors, air pockets in ceilings, ductwork, etc.

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