Soundproofing original pine floorboards
Can I soundproof my original pine floors?
Occasionally customers contact us to enquire about soundproofing their original wooden floors. We understand the pressures behind this question. Most people are delighted when they discover original pine wooden floorboards hiding under their carpets. With the cost of building materials skyrocketing this seems all the more like a gift that must be exploited. If it can be salvaged, sanded and oiled, then why not? But particularly for customers in flats this does not resolve the persistent noise issue, with sounds of everyday living (including footfall, conversations, TV and music) disturbing neighbouring properties. Sound travels easily through wooden floors, so adequate soundproofing is a must. Naturally, the mind wonders if the original boards can be lifted, filled with sound insulation, re-fitted and then sanded and oiled.
Here is a recent example from a customer
Customer message: Soundproofing original wooden floorboards
Surely this is possible? On paper it is. Technically it can be done but in most cases it is not a profitable investment. Here’s why.
Sanding original pine floorboards.
The original pine floorboards sanded and painted.
Requires significant preparatory work
As with all flooring projects the room needs to be cleared. This seems simple but it can be difficult to achieve in small well furnished flats and customers often underestimate the effort involved. If needed we can help you to move, stack and wrap your furniture with a protective covering.
Secondly the skirting boards will need to be removed to provide access to remove the floor boards which were installed underneath. Once the floor is finished the skirting boards need to be refitted if possible or replaced. If refitted, expect some damage and be prepared that a lot of filling and re-painting will be needed to make the skirting boards look good again.
Most people are delighted when they discover original pine wooden floorboards under their carpets.
Skirting boards need to be removed to access the floorboards installed underneath.
Expect some loss
Bear in mind that original pine floor boards can be over 150 years old. There will inevitably be some damage as these are lifted up. The clasp nails in the joist need to be carefully picked out and this will result in some cracks or holes. Even with the right tools and experience there will be many weakened or even snapped boards.
Chicken wire is placed under the joists to support the mineral wool.
The space between the joists is filled with mineral wool, here it is used for thermal insulation.
Knauf insulation is used here as acoustic insulation to benefit the basement beneath.
Blue joist hoods are used for additional noise protection.
Limited life span
Victorian pine floorboards were never intended to be the finished floor. Many floors have rust stains in the wood caused by rusting iron nails in the floor. As the walls in these older properties were usually damp, the outside edges of the flooring was painted in tar to protect it from rotting and they still have these thick black borders.The original boards were suspended over joists, so as the wood takes on moisture it expands and contracts, leading to gaps between the boards. These can cause draughts, leading to a cold room. Also as pine is a softwood, it marks and dents more easily. In summary, these floors were never intended to be on show and were merely a practical, economical sub-flooring material. Sanding the floor reduces the thickness and affects the structural integrity and it won’t remove all the imperfections.
Original pine floorboards often have small gaps between the boards.
Pine slivers are used to fill the gaps.
Consider the cost
If you like a shabby chic, rustic look, then you may be content with the final look of the refurbished and soundproofed original pine floor. In many cases we find the cost of salvaging and soundproofing original floorboards overtakes the cost of getting a sound proofed new floor which will last in a good condition for many more years to come.
The original pine floorboards have been refurbished.
A closer look at the refurbished original floorboards.
This original floor had been sanded three times already and could not withstand the weight of a grand piano.
The customers decided to replace the floor with new wooden boards.