How Sound Travels through a Floor

Serena Mat™ Flooring Underlay is your noise control solution for residential floors.These days most people want to remove carpet and pad from their floors. The build-up of dust and dirt makes many want to go to a hard surface that can be cleaned more easily. This is fine, except it makes the person below very aware of what you’re doing upstairs.

Typical sounds that travel through the floor and into the ceiling below are footsteps (impact noise), voices, stereos, barking, and even loud appliances. Noise (vibration) can easily transfer down through the floor / ceiling framing. Soundproofing the floor of your condo, townhouse or apartment can significantly reduce or eliminate this noise intrusion and make your living space more peaceful and quiet for yourself and those around you. Before we recommend a system to block the noise, let’s find out what you’re up against.

Footfall Noise

Impact Noise is a Soundproofing Problem

Soundproofing Problem – Impact Noise: Impact noise, also known as footfall noise, occurs with an actual physical impact on the floor above. Might be a footstep or a chair dragging on the floor. Impact noise can also be from objects being moved or rolled across the floor, or vibrations such as those from a washer or dryer.

The simple fact is that treating impact noise is much more difficult than treating airborne noise. The significant difference between the two is the amount of energy produced per square inch. Illustrated below is a comparison of energy produced by airborne noise and impacted noise.

An actual foot striking the floor results in an enormous amount of energy per square inch entering and exiting the floor assembly.

A recording of a footfall strike played through a speaker results in very little energy entering and exiting the floor per square inch.

The actual impact noise is therefore much more of a problem than airborne noise.

How Serena Mat Works

Compare the springs on the right. The first spring is in a resting state and uncompressed. If we apply energy to the top of the spring it compresses, then will oscillate up and down until it comes to rest expanding all the compression energy. Serena Mat™ behaves just like the spring.


  • A ball or foot hits the floor.
  • Initial Impact Compression. Example Foot Noise.
  • Oscillation occurs with floor assembly

All of this takes place in a fraction of a second. Serena Mat™ Flooring Underlay uses a proprietary blend of recycled rubber with different density (Durometer) material to broaden the effective frequency range of isolation.

Because of the need for oscillation to reduce the impact, we have to take care not to insert screws and nails that will lock the movement of the mat and reduce oscillations. Nails and screws will partially reduce the performance.

This entry was posted in . Bookmark the permalink.