If you are buying a property to renovate and rent out to tenants you need to consider their comfort. Building expert Jeff Howell recommends ten solutions for soundproofing
Any soundproofing work is best carried out before anyone moves in to the property to avoid causing later inconvenience. There is no avoiding the fact that our lives are so much noisier and hectic than they were 50 years ago. It’s so common these days for one household to have multiple Television Sets, Radios, Game Consoles plus one of our often noisiest past times – dogs. If we have teenagers living at home this may extend to musical instruments such a drum kits. Imagine moving into a new home and discovering that your neighbours enjoy all these hobbies.
Fortunately there are so many soundproofing products and solutions on the market these days that can help to reduce noise travelling to or from neighbours above and below so that you and your neighbours can pursue their hobbies in peace
1. Squeaky Floors
Timber floors look great in a newly refurbished apartment or house but they can be squeaky! The squeaks tend to happen in areas where footfall is highest such as stairs or hallways. Often not noticed during the day but once night falls and people start to be quiet the squeaks can become very noticeable and extremely irritating. By far the easiest way of improving the sound insulation performance of a timber floor is to install SRS Acoustilay to the floor as an underlay for the floor finish. This is once you ensure that the floorboards are firmly screwed (not nailed) to the joists. Ideal for flats to protect the people living below, Acoustilay is the original proprietary acoustic underlay system – beware of the clones. In its current form, genuine Acoustilay has a black PVC free barrier mat with the product logo and installation guidance printed to the top surface. Three different thicknesses are available to suit the particular acoustic requirements of the customer.
It’s worth investing in Sound Reducing Materials for your adjoining walls to neighbours to enable yourself and your neighbours to carry on with their daily activities without disruption. Noisy neighbours can cause a great deal of stress, sleeplessness or even depression but this can be avoided with the right solution. A great product is SRS Maxiboard which is a 17mm thick high performance composite building board that can be used on both walls and ceilings. We would recommend using this product along with Maxi Resilient Bars to offer the maximum acoustic performance for the minimum loss of room space or installed in a totally independent lining.
There are many different plasterboards to choose from so be sure you have the right product for your requirement. As a minimum Soundbloc plasterboard is recommended. Our high performance Maxiboard is the most effective building board we supply, closely followed by the cost effective dboard. Be aware of dot and dab plasterboard in a property, when dot and dab plasterboard is installed ensure a continuous bead of adhesive is used on the perimeter of each board, this practise is known as picture framing. This is a quick and efficient method of installing plasterboard to external walls of a home but acoustically it can cause problems if installed before the separating ceiling – a common cavity all the way up the building.
Impact noise that is caused by people running, jumping and dropping objects on the floor above your home, doesn’t just effect one room, but possibly multiple rooms or the whole flat / apartment. This is the most difficult type of noise to stop due to the different ways that it travels and comes through your ceiling. The vibration of the impact causes the noise to travel throughout the ceiling and walls. Though treating the ceiling will dampen a high percentage of the noise, the transmission noise can still get into your room due to the vibration travelling down your walls. To help reduce impact noise there are many techniques but the best way is to treat from the source (the floor above as in point 1). Installing an independent ceiling is another option and we would recommend installing the Maxi 60 System which also provided 1 hour fire rating for building regulations. This system involves using a Maxi Resilient Bar, 100mm Eco Slab Insulation, 1 layer of 17mm Maxiboard and 1 layer of 12.5mm Fire Rated Plasterboard such as Fireline.
5. Mineral Fibre in Voids
We would recommend using mineral fibre as a sound absorber and also an excellent thermal insulation at a density of 45Kg/m3 where any voids occur in walls, floors and ceilings in conjunction with our other recommended systems.
6. Outdoor Noise
Install Secondary Glazing to ensure maximum protection from external noise such as traffic. Sound will always travel along the path of least resistance and windows within the external walls often present an easy transmission path and can let these noises in. Secondary glazing systems which are well sealed are the best solution to this.
7. Acoustic Doors
These can be manufactured for various sectors including Domestic and are the ideal solution for a variety of applications. Floorscan’s bespoke Acoustic Doors are built to order giving you the soundproofing qualities, look and size you need for your building. Acoustic doors offer privacy within a property and are a popular choice for security doors.
8.Washing Machines / Tumble Dryers
Isolation Mats can be used beneath washing machines and other noisy household appliances to reduce the transmission of vibration.
9. Acoustic Absorption
Rooms with laminate / timber floors and tiled hard surfaces may be visually appealing and give the aesthetic appearance that the homeowner may be looking for but a lack of soft furnishings can lead to the space being unpleasant to live in. Aurio Absorbers are a practical and cost effective way of controlling reverberation, they are suitable for application onto walls and ceilings and can be installed cleanly and quickly using our recommended adhesive. They comprise of a technical acoustic foam with either a factory applied fabric finish or a factory applied PVC paint finish which is applied to the face, edges and back return
10. Impact Noise
Footfall and banging from noisy neighbour in flats and apartments is a common problem. The most effective treatment for impact noise is to deal with the issue at source, which is installing an acoustic impact barrier mat.