Jump to content

Wood flooring or carpet.


Recommended Posts

Hi All, I have the luxury of having my own music room. Kids moved out.
I have a 5.5 meter frontwall by 6.5 meter long room. Frontwall will be speakers. Console with equipment on the side.
Behind me a desk for my Computer and my photography work.

I am now at a point where I have to consider hard woord flooring (with a rug) or a carpet with under felt. 

This room is on first floor above a garage, and has a concrete slab.

I prefer not to have carpet. I think it might make music too dull, plus we are in a hot weather conditions.


Another question is the ceiling. I am fitting bulkheads around with a square of perforated ceiling in middel (2x2 meter). Is that good or bad idea?
I am based in Africa so I do not have acces to all the fancy sound specialist here.
i would appreciate some comments.

I have a Klipsch Cornwall 4 with Cary amp.

Edited by Hedrus
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My vote is for carpet. The more hard reflective surfaces you can avoid, the better. And there is no way that carpet alone will "overdamp" a room. I had a thin berber carpet in my listening room and when I replaced it with a high pile carpet, the acoustics improved.


Wood flooring certainly looks nicer than carpet, but if acoustics are the first priority, don't go with the wood.



  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The recommendations are mixed so far here in the replies. I would choose a beautiful wood floor. Randy mentioned the hygienic benefits. It looks much nicer. I'm no expert but you should keep an eye on the subfloor of the wood floor. I once had floating screed under a wood floor in a room. It absorbed some of the bass energy, which was negative. I don't know how to do it properly.
Carpet looks boring in my view and it can quickly make everything sound dull and overdamped. I would choose a real wood/hardwood floor...with an acoustically correct subfloor. Then you can customise the room visually and acoustically with the number and thickness of beautiful carpets. By the way, the mid-range and high-frequency horns do not radiate so strongly onto the floor and under the ceiling. They usually only have a dispersion angle of 60 degrees. 
I can't help you with your question about the ceiling. But a photo would be very helpful, and other members will certainly have the knowledge and willingness to share it with you here. Personally I always find slightly underdamped much better than slightly overdamped, it kills the sound.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When thinking about the acoustics of a room in a typical home, it's important to keep in mind that the room is "small", when compared with a nightclub or concert hall.  This means that the sound will be bouncing all over the place, to the ceiling, the floor, and of course the walls.  This is why smaller rooms need bigger horns, because the bigger horns can do a better job of directing the sound.  No matter how good the horns are, the sound will still be bouncing off the back wall.  This is where bookcases can really help the acoustics.  It's not all about damping out reflections, it's also important to diffuse the sound.  


Large flat surfaces are to be avoided.  You'll notice that in large concert halls with a reputation for good acoustics, the box seats usually protrude at odd angles, rather than being tucked neatly along the side walls.  In the same way, your ideal listening room will have a certain amount of clutter, to minimize the effects of the flat walls.  Those flat walls, arranged at right angles to each other, are what cause echoes and "bad" reverb.  You can buy "skyline" sound diffusers to put on your walls, which look like a white plastic 3D model of a city, with buildings of every different height possible.  Some of these diffusers are big, like 4'/1.22 m. x 6'/1'83 m., and they're not cheap.  However, a bookcase or bookshelves that are mostly full of books can accomplish the same thing at a lower cost, assuming you don't have to go out and buy a couple of hundred new books.  The books will be different heights, and some shelves will have books of different widths, meaning deep and shallow sections, which helps to diffuse the sound.  All those uneven surfaces will help to greatly reduce echo, especially "slapback" echo.


As for carpet, keep in mind that the thickness of the carpet dictates the longest wavelengths of sound that the carpet can absorb.  If the carpet is 1"/2.5 cm thick, it can absorb sound waves of up to 1"/2.5 cm in wavelength.  Sound waves of 2.5 cm/1" have a frequency of 13.5 kHz, so that is the lowest frequency that the carpet can absorb.  A carpet that's 1 inch/2.5 cm thick is pretty plush, and yet it can only absorb very high frequencies.  For deep bass notes, with wavelengths of 10-20 ft/3-6 m., the carpet will be completely unnoticed by the sound waves.


That's why bass traps are so big and odd-looking.  The bass sound waves are very long.  The carpet can't over-damp a room, it can only reduce some echo.                                                      

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would go with a wood floor with a large rug, or smaller rugs. Our current house has wood floors. The music room was a two car garage, and the previous owner installed an industrial carpet (very tight loops), probably 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick. It's also a large room with 9 1/2 ft. ceiling. Audio is great but vacuuming the carpet is a pain.


The living room is about half the size with standard 8ft ceilings. It has a large (about 9x12) Persian rug/carpet. That room sounded great when I had LaScalas in it, the larger room sounded even better.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd be primarily concerned with how the flooring will react with the concrete foundation. Concrete does

pass some moisture. If the moisture is trapped under the hardwood, might the hardwood absorb some

of that moisture and eventually warp? Same holds true for any underlayment beneath the hardwood



With carpet, I'd be concerned with mold as moisture permeates through the concrete and gets absorbed

by the carpet padding or carpet itself.


Ask these questions of a flooring expert before you buy.


Of course, none of this has to do with acoustics! I think Islander has it covered above. I personally don't care

for the sound of a "live" room so I would vote for carpet to absorb reflections, and all those non-parallel surfaces to diffuse/diffract

the sound.


What is this bulkhead/perforated ceiling you are referring to? Can you show us a picture of something similar? My only complaint about

room treatments is they tend to not look aesthetically pleasing. I don't want a room to look like a lab or acoustic chamber.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



Just to throw in another option for you to consider:


Vinyl plank flooring with a plush area rug!


If you are worried about floor flexing/moisture/bugs/etc. over the garage, vinyl plank flooring is awesome.  You can lay down a plastic moisture barrier and do the floor yourself.  I did it in 1/3 of my basement and it's super easy and looks great, not like the vinyl of the past.


I wish I would have used it on my main floor, as I used 3/4 cherry flooring and, as beautiful as it is, it was expensive and almost 75% of it is covered with an area rug and other furniture.


Here are the pics from my basement (I would recommend a less cheesy area rug... this was an old thin rug that now servers as bedroom duty in one of the basement bedrooms):




Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used to work as a janitor and would clean carpet regularly with heavy duty industrial extraction machinery.

Even so, when that carpet would get pulled up and replaced, there was an absolutely disgusting amount of filth that was left beneath the carpet.


Go for the hardwood floor.

put a washable rug down and work on the rest of the room acoustics.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...