I recently purchased a top level condo with floating bamboo floors. My HOA doesn't have any rules around hardwood floor installation and I think that whoever installed these floors didn't put a very good underlayment down.

Because of this issue I've been having many fights with my downstairs neighbors about the noise levels. We've finally reached an agreement to split the cost on fixing the problem. But I'm not really sure whats the best way to address this issue.

I was thinking that the best option might be to just have the floors torn up. Lay down a nice sound proof underlayment like cork. And then have wall to wall carpeting installed.

Is this a solid way of reducing noise for our neighbors? Does anyone have good suggestions for this type of problem? The noise I am trying to reduce is mostly impact noise from walking around and I really am just concerned about finding the right solution.



I am okay with just putting carpet down in place of the bamboo. I don't really mind carpet and I think it will make a big different in terms of audio noise in addition to the "contact" noise of just walking around. From the comments it seems like if I tear up the hardwood floors. Put down a good foam underlayment and lay carpet on top that should be enough? Cork won't help much past that point?

Update 2

I already have area rugs in most of the rooms. But still hear noise when stepping on the creaky parts of the floor.

2 Answers 2


We are assuming here that the noise is caused by hard shoes on a hard surface as opposed to a structural defect that causes the floor to creak or snap under the weight of foot traffic. I think you are on the right track here. If you want to stay with a hardwood type floor, as opposed to carpet or vinyl, There are several sound rated underlayments for use under engineered hardwoods. Please, don't say the word laminate flooring or we will not be friends!!! It is not unheard of to use two layers of the closed cell foam backers. An alternative that might be a good compromise solution is vinyl plank or foam backed vinyl flooring. There are some very good looking vinyl products that look very much like wood or tile. I have been using a foam backed vinyl sheet product from Tarkett in many of my apartments that looks so much like real tile, folks have to get down on their knees to check it out. The nice thing is that my cost is only around $1.00 per square foot, a bargain. Some of the new vinyl plank products look more like real wood that real wood does! The last suggestion is to ban shoes in the house and issue soft fuzzy slippers to all residents!

  • Along with what you suggest shirlock, there are lead impregnated vinyl sheets available that are made specifically fore sound deadening. there are 2 thicknesses, 1/16" and 1/8". They are named LV1 and other products by the supplier we used, soundsense.com/products/acoustic-separation
    – Jack
    Mar 14, 2014 at 13:02
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    Along with the mass-loaded-vinyl sheets described, another option would be for your downstairs neighbor to pull down their ceilings and re-mount them on resilient sound insulating channel. In essence, "float" their ceiling.
    – mac
    Mar 14, 2014 at 20:06
  • @ jack, I get similar stuff at Lumber Liquidators. Mar 14, 2014 at 21:40
  • Thanks for the comments. I think I'm pretty set on carpeting. The current floors were not evenly laid and are 8 years old, so they creak a lot when we step on them. We don't allow shoes in the house and even with that there is noise. From what I'm hearing, it sounds like if I do a foam layer with carpeting on top, that should be enough. A layer of cork would not be needed in this scenario? Mar 16, 2014 at 19:00
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    If the existing floors creak, be sure to tighten them up or remove them as they will creak even with carpet over them. Mar 16, 2014 at 20:50

Before you tear up the floors, which is messy and expensive, how bout getting an area rug (they can be cheap at Target, etc.)?

If the area rug works, then you know the problem.

My concern is that the frame of the building is such that the noise is not related to the type of floor material. The sound may be transferred through the joists and walls.

  • I already have area rugs on most of the floors with rubber pads underneath them. Even with that the floor boards make noise =\. Mar 17, 2014 at 17:12
  • Ok, if the noise problem is sqeaks - and not footsteps, then either converting the floating floor to a non-floating, by nailing or screwing, could solve your problem. I have, in fact, nailed down a bamboo floor (in the edge) - it still makes a crack sometimes because the floor itself is a bit soft. You can use long screws, at an angle (pre-drill) to hold floor boards down tight.
    – user19347
    Mar 17, 2014 at 17:22

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