Noise & sounds

Carpet: the best floor covering to fight unwanted noise

Noise and sounds are a burden in our everyday lives. Learn more about the benefits of textile floor coverings in living and working areas to reduce sounds and noise.

Carpeting helps to avoid unwanted noise

Noise is one of the most pervasive pollutants today. Noise from road traffic, airplanes, construction works creates the audible litter that is routinely transmitted through the air.

  • Excessive noise levels affect mental concentration, becoming an obstacle to normal activity. At extreme levels, they generate pain and loss of hearing.
  • Noise disturbs the sleep, reducing vitality and concentration. It creates stress, inducing hormonal change and increasing the production of cortisol and adrenalin.
  • It leads to nervous, digestive and cardiovascular diseases. It reduces the hearing.
  • A study conducted in Berlin has shown that the risk of heart failure is increased by 30% for people living in noisy streets. (Source: UBA, Press Release 19/2004)

How to keep friendly neighbours

Neighbour impact noise becomes a problem once it reaches excessive levels. Impact noise from footfalls is a quite unique problem as the exposed dwellers feel they are unable to avoid it. This then creates a strong lack of control feeling over their own environment, even though the person upstairs may be carrying out normal living activities.

Impact noise from adjacent dwellings may act indirectly as a catalyst towards detrimental health through a variety of mechanisms. The extent of the effect on health and well-being is dependent on an individual’s sensitivity, health profile, circumstances and perception of, or control over, the noise problem.

Non-auditory effects of domestic noise are identified as:

  • sleep disturbance
  • activity disturbance
  • annoyance
  • emotional response

Activities such as resting and listening to television/radio are the most common noise-disrupted activities and this unwanted noise may cause feelings of anger, depression and fear. Thus, noise transmission between dwellings increases tensions between neighbours and can lead to disputes, at times even physical assaults.

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Of all flooring materials, carpet is the number 1 noise killer

The choice of the right floor covering can make a crucial contribution to air sound proofing. Indeed, carpet strongly reduces sound reverberation because it absorbs over ten times more airborne noise than any other flooring material. By creating more quietness, carpet considerably enhances the feeling of well-being.

Impact Sound absorption with carpet

Carpet absorbs more sound from neighbours than any type of hard flooring. Sound transmission through floors is an important issue, and impact (footfalls) accounts for 60% of all complaints in relation to household noise studies. And then there are other sources of domestic noise, such as technical installations: elevators, water pipes, etc.

How impact noise is transmitted Impact noise is mainly transmitted through the floor but it can also reverberate through the walls.

How impact sound is transmitted

Impact sound is mainly transmitted through the floor, but can also reverberate through the walls.
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Sound level and duration

With carpet, the generated sounds are lower than with hard flooring, and the duration of the reflected sounds is shorter. Carpet also reduces the sounds produced within the home:

  • It absorbs the sounds that bounce off the walls and furniture.
  • It absorbs the sound of foot traffic.
  • It creates a “soft ambiance” conductive to lowered voices.

(Source: The building performance centre, Napier University, Edinburgh, 2004)

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Download information sheet: Reducing noise & sounds with textile floor coverings

Download our information sheet on this topic as a PDF here.
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