Top Tips for Domestic Soundproofing

Our homes should be the space you go to escape the stresses of everyday life. Whether it’s your daily commute or the boss that’s constantly on your case, a relaxing home is vital to your wellbeing.

With our towns and cities getting more congested, we’re becoming subjected to higher levels of noise, and there’s nothing worse than when that noise starts to seep into our homes.

The purpose of this blog is to give you some expert advice on what you could do to avoid disturbances from noisy neighbours, bring back that much needed and well-deserved element of peace and tranquillity to your home.

Will acoustic foam panels work?

A common misconception we find is that people think that their ‘noisy neighbour’ woes will be solved by simply placing foam panels on the walls. These products don’t work like that so don’t waste your money on the wrong thing!

Foam panels are designed to reduce echoes and control a room’s reverberation time. This is the effect heard when sound bounces off of acoustically reflective surfaces. It’s ideal for controlling the acoustics within a room but won’t do much to stop the sound from escaping or entering a room.

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How is your sound categorised?

Different types of sound require different soundproofing approaches. Typically, we categorise these noises as vibrational/mechanical noise transmission and airborne noise transmission.

Vibrational/mechanical noise

If you can hear stomping from the flat above, or footsteps from people walking up the stairs in the house next door, you would classify this as a vibrational or mechanical noise.

Vibration noise is a fairly common problem in modern construction. Nowadays, new builds don’t tend to be carpeted like they were in years gone by. If you do have laminate flooring, make sure that there is thick underlay underneath it, or opt for carpet on floors directly above critical quiet spaces in the house, for example, carpet the bedroom above your downstairs office or study to prevent footsteps from constantly disturbing your work.

If vibrational noise is causing you significant distress and you occupy a rented living space or flat where the tenants above you are the issue, this means the solution is out of your immediate control.  If that is the case, then we strongly recommend that you get in touch with the council or landlord and stress that it’s affecting your quality of life. There are guidelines out there for such scenarios, so approaching a local authority before buying products yourself will always be your best port of call.

Airborne noise

Airborne noise is caused when you hear the adjoining property’s television, or, in some cases, their conversations. This is due to thin walls, which have been built cheaply with minimal or sometimes absolutely no insulation between the thin plasterboard.

There are a number of things that you can do to solve this issue. Firstly, we recommend looking into cavity wall insulation. If you own your property, wall insulation will prove a highly cost-effective airborne noise barrier and can be further improved with the addition of heavy 15mm acoustic grade plasterboard, or alternatively, thick MDF sheets. Sound Zero supply sheets of Class 0 fire rated, high-density cavity insulation foam, which is over 20kg per cubic meter heavier than the next best wall insulation material, making it a much more effective barrier than standard domestic insulation.

However, if you rent your property, interfering with the building’s construction won’t be possible. In this instance, we recommend you look into constructing a stud wall over the top of your existing wall and lining it with our Class 0 high density insulation and then topping it with 15mm acoustic grade plasterboard or MDF. You are allowed to do this in rental properties, providing that it doesn’t damage the existing wall, or any screw holes can be filled and hidden once you move out.

Many craftsmen will be able to build a stud wall in a matter of days and you’ll be able to benefit from a quieter living space.

Conclusion

So, before you go purchasing foam online, you need to firstly understand the type of noise and where it is coming from.

Only then will you be able to correctly diagnose and solve your domestic noise-related problems.

Of course, this will always differ from home-to-home so we advise you to always contact an acoustic consultant like Sound-Zero if you are unsure. A little advice will save you time and money in the long run!

For your domestic issues, talk to Sound Zero about:

  • Class 0 Cavity Insulation
  • Rubber Decoupling Systems
  • AcousticBarrier Vinyl
  • Intumescent Sealant
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Speak to us about improving your acoustic environment

If you’d like to talk to one of our experts, either give us a call on 020 3984 2000, email us info@sound-zero.com or fill out the form and we'll get back to you ASAP.