Can You Tile Over Soundproofing? (What Experts Say)

Several issues occur when it comes to installing floor finishes. However, such issues come more often if you want to install tiled floors over soundproofing. 

You can tile over soundproofing. However, some issues may arise since the movement in the floor can result in cracking in both the tile grout and adhesive. For this reason, acoustic underlayments can cause movement on the tiled floor.

Can You Tile Over Soundproofing

There are some factors that you need to consider in terms of tiling over acoustic flooring. Fortunately, there are certain types of acoustical underlayment that work very well with tiles. 

Also read: Do Soundproof Tiles Work Well For Floors, Ceilings & Walls?

Can You Tile Over Soundproofing?

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For many people, soundproof flooring is necessary. Such is especially true for establishments where there is a lot of foot traffic. However, you may have to deal with a number of problems if you want to use tiles over soundproofing. 

So, can you tile over soundproofing? The simple answer is yes. However, there are some factors that you need to consider before starting with the installation. For instance, using the wrong acoustic underlayment for tile flooring can cause disaster to your project.

The primary issue when it comes to tiling over acoustic flooring is the movement in the floor. This movement can result in cracking in the tiles’ adhesive and tile grout. 

Moreover, you need to install tile flooring by panels. For this reason, it will require a solid and supportive base. If your floor’s acoustic underlayment consists of a rubber-like material, you should not top it with tile flooring. Some underlays are flexible, so each tile will move, especially if there is a lot of footfall. 

Can you tile over soundproofing? Yes, but that depends on the type of acoustic underlay that you have.

What Type Of Acoustic Underlay Will Work With Tiles?

Impact sound happens when hard objects, such as shoes, dropped things, or furniture, hit your floor. If the floor does not have anything that can absorb sound, the sound waves will spread, multiply, and echo within the entire room. 

That said, flooring is always better when it can muffle impact sound. Such is especially true for homes and other establishments that are multi-story. 

However, people with tile flooring find it challenging to look for acoustic underlay that will work perfectly with tiled floors. 

If you are asking, “can you tile over soundproofing,” the most straightforward answer that you will get is yes. However, you need to note that only certain types of acoustic underlayments can accommodate tiles. 

Moreover, here are the underlayment types that will work well with tiles:

1. Cement Board

This type of underlayment is cement pressed to form a board shape. Each board has a stabilizing mesh on the surface to help it withstand impact. 

However, it is crucial to note that a cement board is not waterproof. Meaning water can seep through the board and everything that is behind it, causing mold and rot. 

To prevent damage, you will need to add a layer of waterproof underlayment if you want to use a cement board on areas where water is always present. 

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Stable

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Not waterproof
  • Brittle 
  • Hard to cut

If you use cement board as an underlayment, you need to wear protective equipment when cutting it. The reason is that it can release carcinogenic silica dust when cut. 

2. Flexible Tile Mats

Flexible tile mats are plastic mats that have a synthetic fiber backing and a raised pattern. The fiber backing allows the underlayment to adhere to the subfloor better. 

Can you tile over soundproofing? Only if the soundproof underlayment does not move when it receives an impact. 

But what makes flexible tile mats highly suitable for tiled flooring is their crack isolation membrane. This factor absorbs some movement and flex, which prevent your tiles from moving and cracking due to impact. 

In addition, this floor underlay also has integrated in-floor heating. Meaning the flexible tile mats will prevent heat loss. This way, you will no longer have to install a heat layer at the top of the tile mats. 

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to cut and install
  • Waterproof
  • Thin
  • Prevents tiles from cracking

Cons

  • More expensive than cement boards. 

3. Coated Polystyrene

EPs or Extruded Polystyrene is a closed-cell foam with high density. Using it as an acoustic underlayment for tiles will work very well as it has a concrete and mesh coating. Because of the concrete coating, the tiles will not move when it receives an impact. 

Moreover, polystyrene underlay works with every type of glass, ceramic, and stone tile. It is also durable since the closed cells of the foam core make the material 100 percent waterproof.

Pros 

  • Mold and mildew proof since it is waterproof
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to cut and install
  • Acts as floor insulator

Cons

  • Expensive

How To Soundproof Tiles: The Alternatives To Acoustic Underlayment

Hearing noises when people are walking can be disturbing. Such is the reason why many people choose to install soundproof underlay under their tile floors. 

But what if you already have your tile floor installed? Is there any way to make it soundproof?

Fortunately, not only can you tile over soundproofing. Instead, you can also apply soundproofing materials above your tile floor. 

Here are the materials that you can use to soundproof your tiles:

Install Carpets

One of the most effective solutions to unwanted impact noise is a good carpet. 

Carpets are soft, so they can quickly absorb impact noise and vibration. For this reason, using it in areas with a lot of foot traffic will help you make your room less noisy. 

Apply Acoustic Rubber Mat

A rubber mat is dense. For this reason, it can dampen impact noise. So, if you installed carpets above your tile floor but the impact noise is still distracting you, you can install a layer of rubber mat under the carpet.

That way, your soundproofing solution will become denser, allowing it to absorb more sound waves.

Sources

  1. Bob Vila, The Best Tile Underlayment Options, https://www.bobvila.com/articles/tile-underlayment/, accessed October 14, 2021. 
  2. Lee Wallender, Underlayment For Ceramic Tile Floors, https://www.thespruce.com/best-subfloors-to-use-for-laying-tile-1822586, accessed October 14, 2021. 
  3. Sound Transmission And Flooring Types, https://www.builddirect.com/learning-center/home-improvement-info/sound-transmission/, accessed October 14, 2021. 

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