It's no secret that a hard floor can be a loud floor. Hardwood flooring is beloved for its beauty, charm, and longevity, but less so for the echoes it sends bouncing through your home. There are ways to fix this, such as adding soundproof materials underneath the floor, or covering your beautiful hardwood planks with rugs and carpet runners, but you might be ready to try something else entirely. Here are some of your options:

  1. Carpet. This is the most affordable, most effective, and most obvious way to soundproof your home, but it comes with some drawbacks. Carpet absorbs sound, but it also absorbs a lot of other things: dust, dirt, pollen, and anything that gets spilled on it. Cleaning a carpet is more complicated than cleaning wood or tile flooring, and this can be frustrating if you have children or pets.
  2. Cork. This wood-like material, made from tree bark, is an increasingly popular alternative to hardwood and costs about the same. Cork is softer, making it a more comfortable option for the kitchen or other areas where you may be standing for long periods of time. Also, since harvesting bark doesn't mean killing the whole tree, cork is environmentally friendly. Like hardwood, cork flooring comes in many different colors and textures, so tailoring it to the rest of your home is easier than you might think. Just don't go overboard and put it in your basement—cork is prone to rotting.
  3. VInyl planking. A modern, 3D-printed option, vinyl planking looks like wood and feels like wood, but it sounds more like carpet. It's also easier to clean and repair, and its durability rivals that of hardwood. All of these things have made vinyl planking a popular option for apartments, where noise complaints and damage from renters are common concerns, but it's an increasingly popular choice for homeowners as well. It is more expensive than carpet but cheaper than hardwood. Plus, you'll spend a lot less on repairs, since replacing a damaged vinyl plank is easier than throwing out your whole carpet.

Carpet wins the title of “most quiet flooring,” but that doesn't mean it's the best flooring, and it certainly isn't the only kind. Whether you have allergies and asthma, or you just don't like the way carpet looks, you don't have to choose between a home that looks good and one that sounds good. You can have both, and you don't have to burn a hole in your wallet to get it.

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