Understanding Impact (footstep) Noise

Impact noise - like footsteps on the hard-surface floor above you - is one of the most common, and most challenging forms of noise to deal with. The best product for handling impact noise is carpet and a thick pad underlayment. For a big upgrade use our premium soundproof carpet underlayment which utilizes sound barrier bonded to a closed cell foam. Not only will this dramatically reduce footstep noise, it will also block airborne sounds between floors. That combination outperforms all other possibilities.

For situations where carpet isn't an option, the information on this page should get you started.

Impact noise should be dealt with at its source.

Perhaps the most important thing that you should know about dealing with impact noise is that it is best to treat it at its source - the floor. Take a look at the two pictures below - one showing a situation using Green Glue in just the ceiling, and one showing a situation where Green Glue is also utilized in the floor.

Just treating the ceiling below can have a huge impact on path 1, and help with path 2, but does nothing for paths 3, 4, or 5. You see, once noise is in a structure, the low damping of common building materials allows it to move wherever it wishes, and sound moving around through a structure has a tendency to find its way to where you don't want it to be.

Also, it doesn't reduce the amount of noise that is generated from the impact at all, as the floor has not been improved.

The same basic principle applies to any sound proofing product applied only to a ceiling - it is not nearly as effective as treating the noise at its source.

Treating the floor with, in this case, Green Glue, on the other hand, as a vastly larger effect. Every path - 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, is mitigated. The damping action of Green Glue dissipates the vibration quickly as it tries to move along these paths, and the potential for problems is greatly reduced.

Additionally, the damping action of Green Glue will reduce the amount of noise that is actually generated by the impact. This not only reduces noise in the room below, but also in the room above, giving your home a more luxurious feel.

Whether Green Glue, carpet, an underlayment, or a combination of those, the best solutions for impact noise deal with the problem at its source.

Check out our other Sound Control Articles.

Customers Questions and Answers

1) Mama: I have a noisy neighbor that make it their mission to run and walk constantly at all hours day and night. Their floor is my ceiling. I rent so it is hard to have the landlord on board. Is there anything I can do without renovating my flat? I can't get any sleep because of this. I have a noise machine which drowns out her ugly voice but I still hear the sound of her incessant walking on my head. Any help you can give me will be appreciated!!!!! Does this stuff work? How much would this run me?

Trademark Soundproofing Reply:

Without renovating your flat the only thing you can do is to have your neighbor put down carpet and use our sound control carpet underlayment.

2) Rags: There's noise from when the people above my basement apt. walk up and down their stairs. (Their stairs from 1st fl. to 2nd fl. are above my basement stairs to the 1st floor). Could I apply Green Glue to a MLV and stick it to my ceiling below their stairs?

Trademark Soundproofing Reply: That would be a waste as the Green Glue will not help out. You can use just MLV however this is an impact/vibration sound and difficult to eliminate as the stairs are directly connected to the framing.

3) Tired Eyes: Hi, Our entire building have wooden flooring (not hardwood). I am on the topmost floor, but I can hear footprints whenever our neighbor next door or even downstairs, and its keeps ma awake. What can I do in my apartment to reduce this noise ? Thank you.

Trademark Soundproofing Reply: Unfortunately not much. See if the neighbors can put some carpet with heavy padding down.