Is Laminate Flooring Noisy? +5 Tips To Reduce Noise

Even though Laminate flooring is one of the most used types of flooring these days, many worries if lamiante flooring is noisy when compared to other options. But does it really have to be? Let’s find out.

Laminate floors can be noisy for several reasons, such as incorrect or improper installation, uneven subfloor, improper expansion gaps, low quality of the underlayment, moisture, and the type of flooring.

Lots of people are asking if laminate flooring is noisy. Some people would even consider laminating alternatives because they’re worried about the noise level. But what if I told you there is no need to change? In fact, you’d have the exact same problem with most flooring types.

Does the Laminate Flooring Cause Noise?

Laminate flooring does cause noise due to several reasons, such as the installation or the quality of the padding used. The noise can differ in type and volume based on several factors. Noise in laminate flooring can be heard almost immediately after installation, or it could also take months or years of wear and tear. 

Why Is Laminate Flooring Noisy Upstairs?

Many factors cause noisy Laminate flooring. Some of them can be easily avoided, while others are not. Some even say that it’s almost inevitable to have noisy Laminate floors, but that’s a matter of opinion. Here are some of the prominent ones mentioned below.

  1. Uneven subfloor/improper installation

Perhaps, the most common reason why laminate flooring is noisy is because of improper installation. If the subfloor does not match the flat tolerance, then your laminate flooring planks will tend to move when you walk over them. Any kind of pressure will result in wear and tear, which will inevitably start making popping and cracking noises.

  1. Improper expansion gaps

Depending on the humidity and temperature of where your laminate flooring is stored and afterward installed, it will be prone to expansion and contraction. If temperature and humidity rise, the planks will expand, and logically the opposite when there is a decrease in humidity.

Therefore, they must be installed with expansion gaps so the planks have room to contract and expand easily. This also means there needs to be enough room between the walls and the planks. 

If they’re installed too close to walls or doors, the planks won’t have space for expansion, that is, if you know how much your laminate floor expands. They’ll only be able to move up and down, and the planks will buckle or bend, leading to noisy floors. 

  1. Low quality of the underlayment

Even if you have invested in fully soundproof laminate flooring, installing it directly over the subfloor is still bad. Direct installation on the subfloor is like asking to have noisy flooring. This is where underlayment comes in.

However, you should note that the underlayment’s quality or thickness can also make a difference. A foam underlayment will provide a padded layer for quieting the noise when you walk on laminate flooring upstairs. 

  1. Type of flooring 

There are different types of laminate flooring that you can find, and some tend to be noisier than others. Soundproof laminate flooring is less likely to be noisy. However, they are not entirely soundproof. 

Secondly, some laminate flooring has to be glued down, while others come with an interlocking mechanism. If the flooring is not glued properly, it will move when you step on it, resulting in squeaking and popping noises. Likewise, a damaged interlocking mechanism can also cause the laminate floor planks to move every time there is some pressure, which means it will cause noise. 

On the other hand, if you do glue it down, you might have problems with expansion and contraction because laminate flooring needs to be able to move. This is also why it’s called a floating floor.

  1. Moisture

Another reason why your laminate flooring is noisy could be because of moisture. If there is excessive fluctuation in the temperature, especially during the summer, and humidity, then your laminate flooring may start to swell or damp. That is if your laminate flooring didn’t mold due to moisture build-up, which you should check.

It might feel bouncier or softer as opposed to when you installed it. This could be because it has already used up the expansion gap but has no more space to move. Therefore, it moves up, and the floor starts making noise when you step on it. 

How To Reduce Upstairs Laminate Flooring Noise?

You can reduce upstairs laminate flooring noise once you have identified the cause. Then it becomes easy to fix the problem. Some tips are mentioned here for your assistance.

  1. Prepare the subfloor correctly.

If your subfloor is uneven or dirty, it will cause noise in your laminate flooring. And this means there’s not much you can do except redo the entire installation process again. 

The planks will have to be removed, and the subfloor prepared properly. You need to ensure that it’s free of all types of debris and dirt, even and smooth. Depending on the type of subfloor, you should ensure it matches.

The flat tolerance. For instance, in the case of a concrete subfloor, a flatness of 1/8 inches, or 3/16 inches, is needed in a 6-foot or 10-foot radius. But this can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so it’s best to ask.  

  1. Add proper expansion gaps.

When you are installing your laminate flooring, you should ensure that it has the proper expansion gap. The standard rule to follow regarding the expansion gap is to leave it at about ½ inch. 

Nonetheless, it can vary for every manufacturer because it depends on the material used to produce the laminate planks. Secondly, it also depends on the temperature and humidity at the site of the installation. 

  1. Get good underlayment

Always ensure that you install high-quality foam underlayment under your laminate flooring upstairs, as this can help prevent any noise. The underlayment should at least be ¼ inches thick. 

The thicker the underlayment, you will have to worry about noise. In addition, choosing underlayment made from a denser foam can also come in handy for eliminating noise upstairs and making the floor softer to walk on.

  1. Invest in the right type of flooring 

There is a huge variety of laminate flooring to choose from, but you should do your homework and invest in the right type. You can get soundproof laminate flooring, which is created to block all kinds of noises, including creaking, popping, and hollow sounds.

If you invest in glued laminate flooring, ensure a strong adhesive is used for gluing purposes. This will ensure that the laminate flooring planks stick to the floor and don’t move when you step on them.

With laminate flooring that is installed via an interlocking system, you need to ensure there are no faulty planks and they have been installed properly. You can also sprinkle talcum powder between the joints or cracks and then tap it with a hammer. 

This creates vibrations, allowing the powder to migrate between the planks. You can check out the below video to learn how to do it. The powder works as a lubricant, so the floor will not squeak or make any noise. 

  1. Address any moisture issues

Try to regulate the temperature and humidity of the room where you have installed laminate flooring. This can prevent moisture which leads to noisy floors. For example, you can use a dehumidifier in the winter or AC in the summer to ensure there is adequate moisture. 

Lastly, and probably one that is the most basic yet most important, is not to forget to acclimate your laminate flooring before installing it and let it settle afterward, as this ensures it’s used to the temperature and humidity. 

What Are The Best Alternatives for Laminate Flooring?

  1. Carpets are considered the best noise-reducing and comfortable flooring types. But, they require maintenance and can sometimes be on the expensive side. 
  2. Vinyl plank flooring can also be a very good option, as it’s durable, scratch, and water-resistant. 
  3. Hardwood flooring is also a good choice, but not every type of hardwood is suitable, so some research is needed. 


What Type of Flooring Is Best for Upstairs?

Carpets are considered the coziest and most suitable flooring for upstairs because they can absorb sounds. They can also be found in a wide range of colors, textures, sizes, and styles, so they can easily work for different preferences. 

Is Laminate Flooring Noisy to Walk On?

Laminate flooring is not noisy to walk on when it’s properly installed. Initially, this flooring type did create noise, but now it’s designed to be soundproof. If it’s making noise, then it means there is an issue in the installation that needs to be fixed. 

Can You Have Laminate Flooring Upstairs?

Yes, there is no problem with installing laminate flooring upstairs. In fact, it’s considered one of the best options available for upstairs because it can now muffle noise significantly and is also easy to maintain. It’s also scratch-resistant and durable, which makes it a good choice. 

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