Hi Bunhouse. I am not from Tait housing? not sure where it is. I am interested in the problems of laminate flooring. At this juncture, it seems those in the forum, etc have not answered the question (s). It would help because I am putting together some data on specific causes and looking at establishing whether there is something we could do about it. I know it is a big issue but it has to be qualified first, hence the questions posed. Thank you.
The answer to your questions are pretty obvious aren't they? Hard floors make more noise than carpeted and transmit more noise than carpeted. It is basic acoustics.
As people have said the way it is controlled (aside from making a request of your upstairs neighbours) is via restrictions in the leasehold - worth checking when you buy/move in. My old building had a clause in the lease requiring carpet/soft flooring. My new one does not, which is good from a style and maintenance point of view since we have large open plan rooms and they work well with hard floors. Not so good from a noise point of view.
Laminate flooring is certainly practical and wipe-dry, doesnt get the moth and doesnt hold nasty marks from people spilling their chilli con carne. It IS noisier than carpet,and I must say I've never asked the people BELOW me if they hear me (as I live on the top I'm not the one who's going to be disturbed) and I will indeed ask them. Furthermore, I think it rather depends on the age and type of your building. Ours is solid concrete and very sound proof, but an older building with only wooden floors might be very echo-y. Ithink it's horses for courses.
The size of the rooms and how the floors are supported also has an impact. Lots of the warehouse/school conversions in SE1 will have large wooden floors supported by RSJs with big spans, so they can act like massive drums and provide little attenuation for noise. New builds tend to have smaller rooms and more concrete, which dampens noise.
A new tenant has moved in above us and has laid laminate flooring contravening the lease. We will be discussing this with him to let him know how it is affecting us. Living under a flat where laminate is installed without acoustic soundproofing, where the laminate is butted right up against the skirting/walls and where the construct of the building means the upper floor and the ceiling below are one piece means that every sound is force fed into the flat below. Ours is a purpose built flat and the noise from above is at times very invasive (toddler running around at 11pm).
Krystian, in answer to your questions:
a) The noise nuisance from upstairs can affect us greatly. Sometimes it is not possible to even relax and watch a film because of the disturbance. And walking around above us at 5am with what sounds like hob nailed boots but is probably high heeled shoes leads to a disturbed nights sleep.
b) Prior to the laminate flooring it was quieter.
c) Now the noise is amplified. I'm sure they don't realise how bad it is and rugs do not help.
d) The footsteps (with or without shoes) are the most disruptive. Those with a heavier step are obviously louder and a toddler running around is significantly distracting. Anything dropped on the floor is amplified below and chairs/tables can be heard being scraped along the floor.