Clamp to suppress floor joist noise transmission?

MLF1March 4, 2012

We are remodeling our 84-year old house. We have a main house unit and an attached in-law unit.

There is significant and annoying foot traffic noise transmission between the units through the floor joists.

Is anyone aware of a "clamp" that could be applied to the floor joists in the crawl space, to stop the sound transmission at a specific location along the joist? I'm imagining something that performs the same function as plucking a guitar string and a finger prevents the vibration from traveling the entire length of the string.

We are also investigating carpeting, and extra soundproofing in one area that has a new floor. We'd like to avoid the expense of removing and replacing pretty and functional high-quality 84-year old wood flooring.


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If the floor joists run continuously from the main house to the attached unit, any 'clamping' would probably just change the frequency of the impact sound transmission; if they don't run continuously, bracing the joists in both sides to the nearest joist is recommended . A floating floor above the existing floor or a new engineered subfloor, such as Quietwood, would likely be effective, but you would lose the antique flooring.

See also: "Guide for Flanking Sound Transmission in Wood Framed Construction"

(GW does not accept pdf links)

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 7:15AM
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Ah, better yet, a Guide from the same authors:

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 7:22AM
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Thanks very much, Worthy - I'll check these out.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 12:33AM
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If the joists are continuous from one unit to the other over a crawl space you might build a new supporting wall under the dividing wall that would absorb some of the structure borne sound and also create a barrier for air borne sound in the crawl space.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 10:00PM
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You can also install solid blocking under the party wall between the joists to break up the sound path.

Stopping airborne sound is not usually all that hard.

Stopping conducted sound (like footsteps on a floor) is significantly harder.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 10:53AM
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You may also want to look into installing MLV (Mass Loaded Vinyl) under the joists. The MLV should absorb much of the vibration travelling through the joists. As brickeyee stated, conducted noise, or impact noise, is tough to deal with.

Another solution would be to put a sound deadening underlayment atop the new floor, like Impact Barrier.

Here is a link that might be useful: Impact Barrier

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 12:08AM
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