cork flooring question for condo

Discussion in 'Cork Flooring Q&A' started by hung8582, Nov 17, 2014.

  1. hung8582

    hung8582 Member

    Hi, I need some expert advice. I live on a second floor condo with hardwood flooring. My neighbor downstairs constantly complains about the noise. So what I'm planning to do is install new cork flooring with new cork underlayment. Since I want to save some moeny and do it myself, I really want to solve problems ahead of time. So my question is,
    1.Should I remove the perfect fine hardwood I have now and lay the new floor?

    2.Or can I keep hardwood, place the underlayment on top and install it that way? The only problem i see are the doors need to be under cut to compensate for the extra height(they are hollowed doors, that means i would have to fill the bottom once its cut).. and add quarter mouldings to cover the seams.

    3. Is it possible to tape the cork underlayment with tape rather then gluing or nailing it?

    thank you for the help.This is my first time doing flooring , but i am handy and always prepare myself in advance.
    any advice is greatly appreciated!

    btw, the new flooring will be floating..if that makes any difference between the two choices.
  2. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    I wouldn't add height, how was hardwood installed? Gluedown?
  3. hung8582

    hung8582 Member

    the hardwood are nailed think in the long run it'll be better for me to rip out the hardwood?
  4. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Couldn't you put some area rugs and runners down, was the hardwood not installed in compliance with condo association standards?
    I would hate to see a nice floor covered or doors and jambs cut high for down the road when both may be removed.
    Great job in doing your homework prior to any decisions.
    Standby I think you'll get a great compilation so you can make a reasonable decision.
    What areas, the whole condo? Would the fridge fit back under the cabinets, dishwasher blocked in? I believe there's about a 1-1/2" fill piece on doors at bottom.
  5. hung8582

    hung8582 Member

    its just going in the living room and two bedroom. kitchen is ok, i took out the linoleum and installed new tiles. I didnt know better back when i first moved in..i had someone installed new hardwood but never specifically ask for cork or rubber underlayment.wish i was smarter back then! they did put a sheet of underlayment, but i dont think it helps with any sound proofing.

    I read thru the condo guide book, it only says that 70%-80% of the floor needs to be covered by some type of carpeting(which the area rug comes in to play). my overall hardwood coverage is about 700sqft.

    but i know i still create way too much noise for my downstair neighbor. I hate to be the loud neighbor upstairs so im trying to come up with the best solution to help with the situation.

    the hardwood is indeed still very would suck to see it ripped out. but which ever gives me the best sound deaden result. i'll do it.

    and thank you for your support.. im hoping to build some knowledge and skill set from this!
  6. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    What is the noise? Hard sole shoes, pets,the tile it would seem to make more noise than hardwood. Transitions would have to be thought out if you go with floating.
    Stephanie would be the go to person for cork. Highly regarded by me, and her peers I'm sure.
  7. hung8582

    hung8582 Member

    i think the complaint is mostly about the footstep from our dog and wife..and me. I know the neighbor also feels whatever impact i make onto the floor, like if i drop something or move my furnitures. so basically anything i do, they can probably hear it.

    Can I not use a T moulding for the transition? floating works differently when it comes it this?

    How do i reach Stephanie? I have soooo many questions...
  8. Hidie Ho! A cork floating floor + 6mm cork underlay (1/4") should offer a Delta IIC rating (this is the new fangled way of 'rating' acoustic flooring) of 20.0 dB. To offer an explaination of what that means: a 'good' acoustic floor is considered Delta IIC 14.0.

    In a regular house, installing this over top a hardwood floor would be no problem. The problem you have in an appartment = floor heights/door jams/counter tops.

    When it comes to installing a cork floating floor over cork underlay, you have the ability to loose lay the cork sheets (underlay) without using adhesive. If you are using "rolls" of cork you are going to have a hard time keeping this in place without some form of adhesion (the rolled cork curls making it a bit of a prig to work with)...but it can be done.

    I've seen 6mm cork underlay (1/4") + 11mm cork floating floor (7/16") installed directly over top hardwood. It would be a shame to rip it up if it is in good condition. I guess you have to decide which is easier to work with: an extra 3/4" cork floor (much higher than the tile in kitchen/bath); trim doors and rehang OR rip out the hardwood and lay as much cork as you can.

    The hardwood isn't adding very much to the acoustics...but it is adding some. The cork will take up 75% of the foot steps...but some will be left over. It is still a "hard surface" floor...but much quieter. Cork "eats" the higher frequency sounds, like the human voice, phone ringing, TV noise, etc. It is "OK" at the lower frequencies...such as the "thud" of foot steps. You may still have to keep some of those rugs in be prepared.

    If you have the floor height at the kitchen and the bathroom (ie. heavy build up of floors/tiles = MORE than 3/4" high) then go ahead and float EVERYTHING over the hardwood (doors can be dealt with at that time). The transitions/T-mouldings can be jury-rigged to work with a very deep floor.

    If you DO NOT have the floor height (ie. everything was done properly and your tiles currently match the hardwood floor height), then you should remove the hardwood (such a shame I know) and then install the cork.

    It can be very difficult to get things to work with 3/4" floor height difference...many people feel that is too much of a step down and are greatly bothered by it.

    Any other questions I would be happy to help out with.
  9. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    Stephanie to the rescue!!
  10. hung8582

    hung8582 Member

    WOW!! Thank you Stephanie!!! you are the best!!

    so im home now trying to evaluate both scenario.

    1. Taking out the hardwood..will give me the most advantage, i can add in as much as cork (maybe even 1/2") as i want and would not run into issues with mouldings, jambs and transitions. Con: just a bit more work..

    2. I can only add on additional 3mm cork underlayment without shaving the doors. I jsut did a test, adding 3mm of paper to the sample plank. i can easily open every door without any issues...except one closet door!..
    with 3mm underlay, the floor stays flush with the marble molding outside the bathroom. I think a T molding would work right?
    the issue is the kitchen..its flushed with the floor right now, adding another 3/4" ,like you said, will give a nice high bump. theres no good solution to this right?
    so basically, i save tons of work..but dont know if 3mm will give me the improvement i need.

    have any of you ever use rubber underlayments? ive been doing some research, theres a website that claims a 2mm rubber has the same effect as a 6mm cork underlayment. is that true?

    right leaning towards ripping out the me the most promising result i want....sad to see my hardwood go..:(
  11. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    The neighbor could move :)
  12. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Sound absorbing ceiling? Is there such a product?
  13. hung8582

    hung8582 Member

    haha, i dont think moving is an they just moved in. I guess the last owner couldnt take it anymore..

    i heard people adding cork to the ceiling too. well at some point, there's only so much i can do. if adding this cork wont work then i think its up to him to come up with something...earplugs or like you said...move.
  14. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    I saw in one home where they added a felt board under the sheetrock in the ceiling for sound deadening, I guess it worked.
  15. Rubber underlay is an option...but perhaps one you want to avoid if possible. Rubber often has an odd smell to it which gets worse on warm days. There have been reports of rubber having an odour for up to a year. Anyone with asthma will know this to be a problem.

    The rubber underlay you would want to look at = 4mm. The 2mm rubber should be equal to 3mm cork. That means 4mm rubber = 6mm cork. The fun part begins when you see the PRICE of 4mm rubber. The 4mm should start around $3/sf...and go from there.

    I've also heard reports (through the grape vine...nothing substantiated...but still) that rubber underlay + cork backing on the floating floor = STRONG smell. We don't know why...but it probably has something to do with the chemical reaction between petroleum products and wood (a rubber backed mat will discolour hardwood, lino and vinyl...probably in the same classification of chemical reaction). Again this is unsubstantiated...but the rumour is out there.

    As for 3mm isn't going to take you where you need to go. The "rating" for acoustics = 6mm cork underlay. Because you already have a solid floor in place, you could give the 3mm cork underlay a theory you have enough density in your floor to make up for the lack of thickness in the underlay.

    As for acoustic ceilings (the neighbor...not the hardwood floor owner) the "best" option is 5/8" acoustic drywall mounted to an existing ceiling/drywall (using the "green" adhesive) as the binder. A 12" drop down acoustic ceiling FULLY STUFFED with acoustic insulation (Safe and Sound, Roxull, etc) will offer 14 dB. The 5/8" acoustic drywall (when installed properly) = 18 dB.

    You can see the benefit of 6mm cork + cork floating floor. It offers the same (or better) acoustic insulation (floor ceiling assembly) as a HIGH END drop down acoustic ceiling...and much easier to install.

    If you have the floor height to work with 3mm underlay + cork floating floor ON TOP OF the hardwood, then feel free to give it a shot. If you are careful about installation, it is possible that you can (if it doesn't work out) remove everything, rip out the hardwood and reinstall the cork with a thicker underlay in the event that it doesn't work.

    If you can do it, remove the hardwood and use 1/2" cork underlay (should cost you $2-$3/sf) and install the cork floating floor. This would rank as a LUXURY CONDO installation. At that point...there can be NO MORE discussions from down've done everything physically possible to reduce the neighbour's annoyance.

    With that type of ammo in hand (on your get the idea), any more complaints and you can start working the "harassment" angle. Many "down stairs" neighbors have issues with foot steps when carpet is removed. Carpet's ONLY benefit is footsteps. It lets everything else through...but neighbors are used to they don't complain about TVs...'cause they are "used to" this noise.

    Once you have your MASSIVE cork floor installed, you can prove to your building manager that you have gone above and beyond. Then the problem falls on the neighbor to "deal" with their own issues.

    If your apartment was empty for any length of time...that means the neighbor is having issues with any noise...and it isn't you/your is the neighbor. And if it was empty for a while...then you have ask what drove the old owners to sell/move.

    I hope this helps.
  16. hung8582

    hung8582 Member

    Thanks Stephanie!! You definitely helped! I can't thank you enough. I owe you big time!!!! I think I have enough information to keep the job going. I will update you guys with pictures once I have everything ordered and in place. this should take place in the next couple of months.

    love this forum!

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