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My kitchen is so LOUD

I'm starting a cosmetic kitchen re-do, and just took down the old wallpaper, and the valances in the adjacent family room. The kitchen floor is tile (which I'm keeping) and I haven't decided on countertops yet, but they of course will be a hard surface.

I can't help but notice already how LOUD and echo-ey the rooms are. I don't want to put back heavy drapes or wallpaper, so am I doomed to have a LOUD kitchen? Will I get used to it? What do the rest of you do to help deaden the sound?

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  1. I empathize, our kitchen is relatively large w/20 ft. ceilings and hard surfaces everywhere. If I had it to do over again, I would have put in cork floors to deaden some of the sound. It is very loud. I'm looking forward to other responses.

    1. Are you really & truly determined to keep the tile floors? Personally,I hate tile kitchen floors...they're noisy & they're hard on your feet. The best kitchen floor I ever had was rubber...quiet, easy on the feet, dropping a glass doesn't always mean breaking a glass...warm in winter, cool in summer...great looking & easy to clean/maintain...

      here's some info on rubber that will also give you an idea of how it looks


      PS: I also like the idea of cork ... looks good & sounds good...

      8 Replies
      1. re: fauchon

        I had seriously considered switching to cork, but the floor guy came out and said something like "I just want you to know that putting cork on your floor is the same as wood, since cork IS wood" (I had told him I didn't want wood in my kitchen - had it once and with the cats slobbering out of their water bowls, me spilling things, it really took a beating).

        I also was REALLY looking at the cork pattern I liked (a neutral beige) and I loved the natural pattern of that sort of distressed look, with the grey grooves. But I got to thinking, what happens to all the dirt that will spill into those grooves? Wiping a flat surface is one thing, but I'm looking for low maintenance.

        I've never heard of rubber floors so I'm off to look at your link now - thanks.

        1. re: Eujeanie

          We are just about to have Pirelli rubber flooring installed in our kitchen. It's the indestructible stuff you see in airports and other high-traffic areas. It has slightly raised circles and it comes in tons of cool & interesting colors.

          1. re: Eujeanie

            Some cork flooring products come with a layer of vinyl or acrylic over the top. Smooth surface to clean up and you don't have to seal it. I just put a cork-laminate floor in my kitchen last week. So far so good.

          2. re: fauchon

            I really like the rubber floor idea- I was joking about it the other day when I saw the display for garage rubber floor mats at Lowes-lol. As it is right now, I have ceramic tile that I loved when I bought my house, but the addition of anti-fatigue mats sure takes away from the look- but they make it bearable to stand at the counters for any length of time. Now just to find some place that carries it in a decent variety other then primary colors and I'll be all set....thought I guess this means I have to figure something else out for a very large walk through dinette adjacent to my kitchen, as I'm not sure how rubber flooring would do in there. Any thoughts since you lived with a rubber floor?

            1. re: anniemax

              I had the rubber floor flow through the kitchen into the dining room & foyer...it united the whole area & looked very elegant....also you can put area rugs on top of the rubber floor & that looks good, too.

              1. re: fauchon

                Which rubber floor did you use. I've been searching for flooring and installers for 6 months in the dallas texas area and have found NONE.

                1. re: LANAWA

                  You might also consider cork flooring...elegant, easy maintenance, QUIET...just google cork flooring for lots of info...lots of colors, styles...also available in "floating flooring"...quick to install....

                  here's more about rubber flooring:

                  Tile, linoleum, hardwood, and laminate┬Śthese are the options that immediately come to mind for kitchen flooring. But what about rubber?
                  Rubber flooring already has a presence in residential kitchens in the UK and Australia, but in the States, the material is probably most familiar in a public or commercial context: on stairs and in gyms, bank vestibules and bus aisles. Rubber is used in those instances for its durability, slip-resistance, and ease of care, all of which are key characteristics for kitchen flooring. Also, because it is less rigid than other options, rubber flooring is more shock absorbent, a benefit to your feet and, perhaps, the occasional dropped drinking glass.
                  Rubber floors are also relatively inexpensive and uncomplicated to install. While other materials crack, gap, and loosen when installed on sub-flooring that is anything but perfectly even and level, rubber, with its flexibility, is much more forgiving. In many cases, it is necessary to do little more than remove the existing flooring┬Śno leveling or floating required. Then it is just a matter of cutting the rubber tiles (rubber flooring comes in rolls or tiles, but tile is generally better suited to use on a residential scale) to fit and sticking them in place with an adhesive. And though manufacturers' instructions stipulate that the whole floor should be rolled over with a massively heavy professional roller after installation, in order to ensure adhesion, in my experience, thoroughly rubbing the tiles into place and then rolling the corners and seams with a wooden wallpaper-seam roller has been sufficient.
                  But what about appearance? Available in a broad range of colors and surface textures, from smooth, warm browns to geometrically patterned primary colors, rubber floors can be integrated into just about any type of kitchen decor.
                  Practical, functional, and attractive, rubber flooring deserves wider appreciation. Check out rubberfloors.com and norarubber.com for more information.

                  1. re: LANAWA

                    I believe it's Pirelli. Same as the tire makers. I believe they have a web site.

            2. Oh, some other things the floor guy said - "you'll have to get different kitchen chairs, your casters are not wide enough and they'll constantly be digging in"..."If we take up the tiles I don't know what the sub-floor is like, that could add a zillion dollars to the project"..."heaven forbid your dishwasher should have a leak"...if the floor guy is saying these things, no wonder I was so discouraged.

              1. Try putting a runner under your feet at the sink and work area. A small valance at the windows will help too, if the room has a window.

                However, every time I take down curtains and wall art, all of the rooms sound loud because nothing is there to absorb noise. This may just be a temporary condition. It would happen in any other room too.

                1 Reply
                1. re: RGC1982

                  Floor runners or a suitable sized/shaped area rug is an excellent idea. You need sound absorbing material covering as much surface area as is reasonably possible and, without knowing the specifics of your remodel, rugs are an excellent way to accomplish that. Small investment, get something that can be easily cleaned or replaced. Not only will you be adding a sound absorbing material but you'll be covering tile, probably the most significant source of echo in the room.

                2. I have wooden floors at the business end of my kitchen and ceramic tile in the dining end.
                  The wood is more comfortable to stand on and is easy to maintain. My old dishwasher had a slight leak and the boards cupped a bit. When I got the new dishwasher and it all dried out they went back to normal. They have been in place for over 17 years now and I have no complaints.

                  1. Good design can help a lot, and poor design can makes bad sounds much worse. The big things are parallel surfaces -- two walls that are similar length that face each other are going to ALWAYS have an echo effect. Breaking up the walls so that one has cabinets with wood doors and the other has a the fridge or another surface helps.

                    Sturdier windows helps too, as the glass is a terrible source of sound reflections.

                    Little things can help a lot -- hinges and glides that prevent doors and drawers from slamming shut help, the cushy dots help, well designed nylon glides on chairs and stools help, drawers with liners and dividers help quiet pans, silverware and gadgets.

                    Few architects that do residential work give consideration to acoustics, but those who work on commercial spaces often work with consultants. Some can model the space with software that simulates the noises and even suggest changes to improve things. I have seen cases were increasing the size of "volume" ceilings and/or slightly altering the geometry make a noticeable improvement in the acoustics of a room, often with little hard reconstuction -- furring out one wall or portion of wall takes almost nothing to move the drywall from parallel to angled. This can really eliminate of lot of the echos.
                    If you don't want the whole floor to be resilient you can get "work mats" made out for commercial kitchens. I've seen these actually sized to fit a specific area (like in front of stove or sink) and trimmed out with commercial style retaining pans. Very helpful for sounds, not too mention a godsend for tired legs and aching backs.

                    1. You will become accustom to the volume of "your" new kitchen. My new kitchen seemed loud the 1st week, but it's not anymore. My kitchen's volume accelerated raising the ceiling (it's now 18 ft.) with the use of marble counter/work tops, marble floor, lacquered cabinetry, opalescent glass doors & stainless accents. One of the BEST DETAILS that my architect devised was RECESSED BOSE SPEAKERS so tiny that it's difficult to know they're even up in the ceiling along with the tiny pin point halogen lighting (both made a huge dramatic difference). I play music 24/7 - usually public radio, but whatever the mood is, which depends on what's cookin in the kitchen, the beautiful music adds volume, but takes away the clatter echo; in fact, right now, I'm listening to Manning Sherwin's "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square." Another great addition was replacing my loud Bosch dishwasher (it was 14 years old however) with my new Miele Optima Series - it's an incredible machine, it's nearly noiseless.