And what can we do to alleviate it?
In new builds, soundproofing material with the ability to dampen sound waves can be placed between the flooring and the load-bearing structure of the floor. The soundproofing system is placed underneath the screed so that you create a “floating screed” at least 4 cm thick. This solution is the most widely adopted because it is easy to install, pretty effective, quite cheap and it is easy to design using special acoustic prediction software.
In these types of cases, MAPESILENT by Mapei is the ideal solution for newly constructed buildings to achieve a level of soundproofing against footstep noise in line with the legal requirements set, for instance, by Italian Ministerial Decree 5-12-97, and that can reach the higher levels of acoustic efficiency (Class I and Class II) specified in the new Italian standard UNI 11367 regarding footstep noise.
And when carrying out renovation work?
In the case of renovation work on existing buildings too, where you do not intend (or it is simply not possible) to remove the old flooring and screed, Mapei proposes MAPESONIC CR, a compact (2 or 4 mm thick) soundproofing membrane that is placed directly over existing cementitious substatres or old flooring before installing new ceramic, stone, multi-layered wood or resilient flooring.
Can the type of final flooring help with soundproofing?
Absolutely. Surfaces covered with carpet, resilient material (such as rubber, PVC or linoleum) and wood have a positive effect on the reduction of footstep noise transmission. No type of flooring, however, is sufficient to comply with the legal limits or to have a significant effect on reducing the transmission of noise, unless it is combined with an adequate soundproofing system.