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I am about to replace the carpet in my dedicated music room and I'm not certain what to use. The room is in the basement and the floor is concrete.
I had decided to go with hardwood, based primarily on looks and it sonic qualities, but then I wondered if a vinyl floor might be a better, and cheaper, alternative. I believe I have read (maybe on this site) that a vinyl floor has very similar sonic qualities but I'm not certain of this.
So, does anyone have any opinions on the qualities of hardwood vs vinyl?
Suggest Carpet in a basement concrete /slab on grade situation.
As the simplest cheapest less trouble prone setup.
Usual Vinyl looks Cheap IMO and the Better more realistic /convincing stuff costs like tiles :-)
Laminates are often of Sawdust board which reacts badly to moisture.
IF you must use wood then a subfloor needs be fitted.
There are Several proprietary brand subfloor systems available.
That said a Sonics are easier with carpet flooring
I have decided to go with vinyl. It's tougher than wood or laminate and some of the current designs look just like wood.
I installed floating, interlocking vinyl-plank flooring a couple of years ago in one of our bathrooms - it was a little tricky to get a tight fit, but it worked out fine. It looks just like wood - to me anyway! ;-)
I'll take the fake wood any day.
It looks great and is ridiculously easy to clean.
"To Learn Who Rules Over You, Simply Find Out Who You Are Not Allowed to Criticize."
Vinyl Composite Tile, Armstrong Excelon, around 75 cents per square foot for material. Hands down over concrete.
Never, ever use real hardwood over a concrete floor no matter what the salesman and/or the hardwood manufacturer tries to tell you! You will never overcome the moisture problems inherent in this combination.
I know several people who have ignored this advice much to their disappointment. The only remedy is to throw the whole hardwood installation in the dumpster and start from scratch. A high quality engineered hardwood MIGHT be okay, depending on the amount of moisture that wicks up from the concrete, but I'd never take the chance. Not in a million years!
Stick with a top quality laminate that mimics real hardwood, or some of the new hardwood-looking tile products that have pretty recently hit the market. You'd be very surprised how these tiles look just like hardwood. This would be my choice, if I were you. Just add some area rugs to help dampen the reflected sound and you'll be home free.
From personal experience. Lay thick mil plastic over the concrete. Then lay 3/4" tongue and groove 4' x 8' plywood down. It must be secured to the concrete. We used a Hilti gun. Then lay tar paper over the plywood. Lastly install your hardwood flooring. Yes, you will have to cut the bottom of your doors. Never had any problems. It's not cheap and takes a lot of work, but it can be done. :-)
Some of the top-of-line stuff is very nice and can be hand in patterns
that look like tile or hardwood. It's also a lot cheaper and easier to
maintain. Have it professionally installed.
Spend all the money you save on some nice oriental rugs - from Iran.
Don't buy rugs made in China or India or Pakistan.
Thanks for the suggestion. I have linoleum in the basement bathroom and it looks very much like real tile. I would imagine it has the same sonic qualities of wood or vinyl. Certainly worth considering.
Well, I am not sure of the difference between Linoleum and Vinyl Tiles, except that one is in the form of little squares that are easy to install oneself.
I am also not sure that the self-stick vinyl tiles are long lasting or not, as our garage seems to get some water infiltration during heavy rains, so had to re-glue the tiles down, which is not recommended procedure.
The garage is one of the better sounding rooms, though. The concrete floor helps greatly, as well as the pitched ceiling. That was two pluses, but I doubt if the flooring over that makes much of a difference, except that I DO NOT care for wall-to-wall carpeting. A throw rug is a far better choice both aesthetically and sonically.
I had always heard that you want to stay away from hard floors because of poor sonics. Is this not true? I have seen pictures of dedicated music rooms where a reflective floor was covered with area rugs, especially in front of the speakers....
Personally, I would rather have a carpeted floor. I have been in a couple rooms with hardwood floors that did not have enough area rugs and the sound was a mess from bouncing around.
I have found that very good quality laminate is much less expensive than hardwood (except maybe bamboo) looks good and can be installed easily on concrete floor, provided it is sealed and even. You have heard my room in Kanata. Reflection control is via astute use of area carpet. I will be doing probably the same in my new home as it is too dead with ceiling tile and carpet!
Thanks for the advice.
This room is quite heavily treated, particularly the ceiling which is quite dead. I put a few sheets of plywood on the floor in front of the speakers and was really surprised (shocked, really) on the tremendous improvement in midrange clarity and the bass. I thought the top end would get a little hot but, if anything, it is actually smoother and less fatiguing. It is now clear to me that I had overdamped the room and that removing the carpet is the way to proceed. Nevertheless, I do expect to use an area rug or two.
You can dye and then wax it and it can look really good.
You could do it yourself, though it is not easy - more time consuming than difficult and with the money saved buy a large wool rug.
Putting wood over concrete requires sleepers - you will lose height in the room. I like the idea of being able to monitor the floor - moisture, etc. which will be trapped under your wood floor.
The dyed floor will look better than any vinyl I am aware of.
We have wood flooring over concrete in our bedroom. There are no sleepers. The wood is tongue and groove and was installed over a vapor barrier. The floor is glued board to board and "floats" which means it is free to expand and contract independently of the concrete.
We did have to have our slab tested for moisture by the installer before they would warranty the floor. The vapor barrier under the concrete has to be intact to prevent moisture from coming through the slab. We were okey. Apparently some homes are not.
I have no experience with basements as we don't have those where I live. They may be too wet for wood installation.
There is also tile available now that looks like wood.
If your primary concern is sonics, there's not all that much difference between hardwood floors and vinyl. Both are quite reflective as compared to, say, carpet, and can assist in promoting comb filtering. If it were my audio room, and regardless of the choice between wood or vinyl floors, I'd certainly plan on using area rugs at the points of first reflection at the very least. Better yet, use an area rug that covers the entire listening area between the listening position and the speakers. Actually, from a sonic standpoint, I'd use carpet, but that's just me. If, however, your interest is limited to a floor type vs cost decision, that is not really an audio decision and then its buyer's choice.
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