lowering the impact sound of a wood floor

I get asked regularly how to lower the impact sound of ‘wood floor coverings’. By ‘wood floor’ I’m referring to solid and engineered floors. The advice in this article is aimed at people that haven’t yet installed their floor and are considering the effects of sound..

My advice is brief and straight forward. It’s very much designed to steer you between the two main types of installation method.

If you don’t already know, let’s quickly look at the two main installation methods available. The manufacturer installation guidelines of your particular wood flooring should always be followed.


The first and very common method is by means of ‘floating’. This basically means installing your wood floor on top of an underlay. Often the way the floor will be fixed is not directly to the underlay, but via a click system or joining the boards together using pva adhesive.

Please note, using this method of installation with a solid wood floor is not recommended, unless the specific manufacturer gives guidance to do so.

Fully fixed or bonded

Fully fixed or fully bonded refers to directly attaching the wood floor to the sub-floor by means of adhesive or mechanical fixing i.e. nails or screws.

Please note, using this method of installation with some engineered wood floors is not recommended, unless the specific manufacturer gives guidance to do so.

Best method to lower impact sound

As I said, my advice will be brief and straight forward, so let’s cut to the chase. By far the best method to greatly lower the impact sound of your wood floor is to fully fix/bond the flooring to the sub-floor.

Using this method will hugely lower the impact sound as vibration from foot traffic is absorbed through the whole structure. That being the floor covering and the sub-floor. In other words, there is no or minimal break between the layers.

When a floor is floated, this can lead to room for vibrations to travel, often resulting in a clacky sound. A simple analogy to this being a drum.

Please don’t take me wrong. I’m not saying that one is better than the other. There are certain times where floating a wood floor is favourable due to sub-floor conditions, time, and general cost of both the potential preparation work required to directly bond a floor and the actual additional time required to do so. Everything must be considered on its own merits.

There are underlays (when floating) that will greatly help against vibrations, but I have to be honest and from experience gained through my time in the flooring trade, I will always lean towards direct fixing/bond when part of the job brief is to keep impact sound to a minimum.

If ‘floating’ your floor is starting to look like the preferred option, here’s a guide to wood floor underlays that may be of some help.

As always, please feel free to leave a comment or ask a question in the section below.

© Copyright 2016 Wes, All rights Reserved. Written For: Fitmywoodfloor

I am a Pergo trained professional installer of 20 years. I've been up close and personal with lots of floors and have the knobbly knees to show for it...Should you have any questions or comments please feel free to add them below. Thanks for taking the time to call by and I hope the information you've found has given you some insight!........................................................................................................................................................................“When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in the site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network, amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.fr, amazon.de, amazon.it, amazon.ca, affiliate window network.” This statement is to comply with current internet regulations regarding transparency to consumers.

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