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Excessive Noise Nuisance

Noise complaints have quadrupled in Scotland since new laws to deal with the problem came into force.  The following has been taken from the Scottish Government web site and may be of interest to our readers.

Loud stereos and televisions, shouting, barking dogs, rowdy parties and DIY are the main sources of complaints, according to Scottish Government figures.

It has been said

“Excessive noise can seriously affect people’s quality of life. This four-fold increase in complaints is an inevitable consequence of local authorities publicising their complaints service and thus increasing awareness. But nevertheless this shows the new legislation is working and that the public now have the chance to report problems and get a speedy response.

“Reassuringly, less than one per cent of complaints received require a fixed penalty notice. The rest are dealt with by a verbal or written warning, and confirm the quick deterrent system is effective.”

Figures presented at the Euronoise conference show that 40,000 domestic noise complaints were made in 2008, compared to about 10,000 a year prior to 2004 when new anti social behaviour domestic noise laws were introduced and councils and police set up and publicised 24/7 call centres to handle complaints.

The figures, from the Scottish Government Air, Noise and Nuisance Team, were presented at the eighth Euronoise conference held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre and attended by 800 delegates from around the globe.

The European Acoustics Association asked the UK Institute of Acoustics to host this year’s event and Scotland was chosen in recognition of the work done by the Scottish Government and local authorities to implement the 2002 EC Environmental Noise Directive.

If you have a noise problem go to our web site www.keepitquiet.co.uk for information on how to control noise and details of our soundproofing materials or call us on 01993 704981

Flanking noise through post war party walls

Previously I wrote about flanking noise around the party walls of pre-war houses so now I will talk about post-war houses.  These are normally built with a cavity in the external structural walls and it is this cavity that can allow the easy passage of noise around the party wall into adjoining homes.  We have already discussed how to address flanking noise through floors and ceiling

The problem with cavity walls is it is not only the cavity allowing the free passage of noise around the party wall but the internal masonry skin is often of low density blocks.  In the early days these would be known as “breeze” blocks but in more recent years they have been replaced with even lower density blocks called “Thermalite” blocks.  The Thermalite blocks are more efficient at allowing noise to be transmitted through them into adjoining rooms and are a particular problem with flats when flanking noise travels up and down through these blocks into flats above and below but the soundproofing of flats is an issue I will discuss in a later article.  The best way to soundproof these walls to reduce flanking noise transmission is to install a 50mm M20AD solution but can be expensive so should only be installed in extreme cases where the flanking noise is more of a nuisance.  If you still want to look at the M20AD solution to reduce flanking noise through a wall go to our web page via the following link M20AD To soundproof a wall.

And back to the cavities within the walls and the best way to treat these is to have blown mineral wool installed that will have the advantage of giving additional thermal insulation.  Other types of thermal insulation such as injected foam or polystyrene will not be as efficient at absorbing the noise and could actually compound the problem making the noise being heard even clearer.

More information on how to soundproof a party wall can be found on our web page via this link soundproof a party wall.

This article explains how flanking noise uses the cavities and lightweight masonry of walls to gain access.  More about how to soundproof a party wall will be published in the near future.  If you want to see how we can help soundproof a room or garage, go to our web site via this link.  Soundproof a garage.

For more information on soundproofing products for walls go to our web site or call us on 01993704981.

Acoustic Underlay for Airborne Noise Reduction

There is a common misconception concerning acoustic underlays and what is required of them.  Most people want an acoustic underlay to reduce airborne noise such as speech and music being heard through a floor.  So when they go to buy a new carpet, they also ask for a sound absorbing underlay from the carpet supplier.  The carpet supplier will then usually offer an underlay that has been acoustically tested and has a test result of say, 34dB that sounds fantastic.  But what the supplier and customer do not realise is that some underlays sourced from carpet suppliers have only been tested for impact noise reduction and the 34dB does not mean it will reduce noise through a floor by that amount.  What it really means is that it will only reduce impact noise such as footfalls and the lower the test figure, the more efficient the product is at reducing that type of noise.  Usually it will have no effect at all at reducing the airborne noise which is what the customer is really looking for.  To do that, heavy materials have to be installed.  Lead for instance, due to its high mass is an excellent sound blocking material but obviously impractical and far too expensive to fit onto a floor.  Instead, an acoustic underlay specially designed using mineral loaded sound barrier mat and sound absorbing foam with the foam sandwiched between two layers of the barrier mat will give the best results.  This product is used in place of the normal underlays talked about earlier and no additional underlay is required.  The product to look for is QuietFloor Plus which is marginally thicker than the best underlays at 15mm thick.  Because this product is heavy, it cannot be supplied in the usual rolls but in easy to handle panels 1200 x 600mm.  QuietFloor Plus will improve the sound insulation of most floors by an average of 5dB which is more than 50% of the original noise nuisance.  It is easy to install and is supplied with full installation instructions.  There is nothing better than QuietFloor Plus for use as an acoustic underlay that will reduce both impact noise and the more important airborne noise and can be so easily installed.  For more information on this product go to the product page on the domestic web site of Sound Service (Oxford) Ltd. via this link QuietFloor Plus or alternatively, give Sound Service a call on 01993 704981

Noise at Night Question and Answer

Question

Terraced house, guy next door very heavy on his feet even on carpeted flooring. Thumps about, bangs doors/cupboards etc. His living room & bedroom right next door to mine.

Answer

Noise at night is always more disturbing than in the day time. This is because your own and other outside ambient noise has stopped.  Bearing this in mind, achieving total soundproofing from neighbours at night is extremely difficult and in many cases not possible.  However, the following may help.

Invite your neighbour round for a cup of tea or something stronger and politely discuss with him the noise problems he is creating.  It is highly possible he is totally unaware of the noise he is making and once informed, will take more care in future.  He may also be prepared to install a better underlay for his carpets that will more efficiently absorb impact noise from his feet.  Changing the hinges on cupboard doors for slow closing ones will also help as will fitting slow door closers on doors.

If all this fails the only other recourse is to apply soundproofing to the bedroom party wall.  We offer a few choices as to what can be done but for best results you need to lose about 6 inches by installing an independent, soundproofed stud wall system about 1 inch away from the existing wall.  (Our Studio Wall System). This is assuming there is no chimney breast fitted.  If there is a chimney breast this will affect the overall results of any soundproofing being carried out unless the breast can be encapsulated using the chosen soundproofing system.

More information on the acoustic solutions we have for party walls can be viewed on our web site via the following link. 

Soundproof Walls

It will also be worthwhile reading our article on how to soundproof a wall via the next link

Articles giving soundproofing help

If the links do not work when clicked on, simply copy and paste each link  into the address bar of your browser to view the information on that page.

Alternatively, call us our sales dept. on 01993 704981

Soundproofed Fence

Are you troubled with road noise coming into your back garden or live close to a railway and cannot afford purpose made soundproofed fencing? Then why not build your own? First of all you will have to check with the local authority to ensure that you will not be infringing any planning laws and if necessary, apply for planning permission before constructing a soundproofed fence. Will it work? I hear you ask. Of course, but do not expect to soundproof out all of the noise you are being subjected to. A soundproofed fence should be constructed as high as possible for best results and this is usually at least 8ft (2.4m). Lower fences will still reduce noise nuisance from the other side, just not as efficiently. Let me explain how noise works. Noise flows a bit like air and water. It does not travel in straight lines which is why you can often hear traffic from some distance away despite obstacles that may be between you and the noise. This is because noise travels over and around obstacles a bit like rocks in a river and the only sure way of stopping it is to construct a total sound barrier a bit like a dam that it cannot get round or through. Although this is possible within buildings, clearly it is not possible outside so soundproof fencing is the best solution to reduce noise from nearby and the best reduction in noise will be experienced closest to the fence. This why it is worthwhile installing an acoustic barrier around your garden to reduce noise from nearby traffic.  Although noise will still come over the top of the fence, direct noise will be significantly reduced and independent tests have shown that noise reductions of around 17dB can be achieved with an acoustic fence 10ft (3m) high and measured 16ft (5m) away. This will drop to around 12dB from 65ft (20m) and shows how you are being subjected to more noise flowing over the top of the fence the farther you are away from it, even though noise loses intensity over distance.

We all know that a purpose built acoustic fence will cost an arm and a leg but now we can tell you how to do this yourself for a fraction of the price but if you are not DIY motivated, your local builder should be able to undertake the work for you following these instructions. First of all you have to install the fence posts and these are usually 4” x 4” (100mm x 100mm) and have to be set into concrete footings about 2ft (600mm) into the ground. Remember, the heavy soundproof fence will be subjected to a lot of stress from wind and weather so will have to be securely fixed into the ground If the fence is going to be higher than 8ft (2.4m) then deeper holes will be required. Once the concrete has set you can fit the cross members to the posts. These are usually 2” x 4” (50mm x 100mm) timbers that are screwed to the posts and give extra support for the fence cladding. The number of cross rails will depend on how high the acoustic fence is going to be but as a general rule of thumb, they should be at 2ft (600mm) spacings above and beneath one another.

Once the fence frame is completed, before you start you will require the following sound insulating materials. SoundBlocker Membrane, a thin, heavy, unsupported mineral loaded soundproofing mat that the professionals use to soundproof ceilings and walls. This sound barrier material is supplied in rolls (10m x 1m) and Acoustic Sealant available in 380ml cartridges.

Both of these products are available from www.keepitquiet.co.uk or www.soundproofing-direct.co.uk if you wish to purchase on line.

The rolls of membrane are quite heavy and unsupported so it is advised you have help when fixing it to the rails and it is best to choose a day with no wind.  For a better result the membrane should be nailed using broad headed felt nails to both sides of the fencing ensuring the membrane is fully supported using the help you have enlisted.  If too much weight is placed on not enough nails, the product will simply break away.  The SoundBlocker Membrane is fixed to the rails ensuring the bottom edge is in contact with the ground and all joints are overlapped by at least 2” (50mm) and sealed with our Acoustic Sealant. It is important that all gaps and joints are sealed with the sealant otherwise sound will leak through making the soundproofing of the fence less efficient. Once the SoundBlocker Membrane has been fitted and sealed it is time to overlay with the fencing cladding of your choice and would normally be shiplap type fencing or a close boarded panelling. If you have just added the soundproofing material to one side of the fencing then that is the side the timber cladding should be fixed to. Whereas if both sides of the fence has had the membrane attached then the timber cladding will be required on both sides as well. Note! It is always better to clad both sides not just acoustically but to give added protection to the soundproofing membrane from deliberate or accidental damage and is common practice. When fitting the cladding, ensure the boards are in direct contact with each other and if necessary, seal them with the Acoustic Sealant.

Job done! Now sit back and enjoy the quieter garden you have now created.

For more information on our acoustic insulation go to our web site www.keepitquiet.co.uk or call us on 01993 704981

Noise through floor question and answer

Question

I am considering putting an acoustic plasterboard against a party wall of block. I could also drop acoustic rockwool between the joists to reduce noise penetration.

This room will house a grand piano and also a steel girder resting on this party wall. It occurred to me that I could sit the wheels of the piano on a sound insulating mat, and maybe place the ends of the girder not just on pad stones, but also resting on a similar mat.

Furthermore, it might be possible to lay some sort of thin membrane on top of the joists prior to laying the solid wooden tongue and grooved floor. 

Any thoughts of the efficacy of these ideas would be appreciated.

Answer

Thank you for your enquiry.  Adding Acoustic Plasterboard to a masonry wall will not improve the sound insulation by any degree that would be appreciated by the ear.  At the very least you will need to lose about 2 inches (50mm) by installing our M20AD wall soundproofing solution.  For best results an independent stud wall should be installed clad with 30mm of Acoustic Plasterboard and infilled with AMW type Acoustic Mineral Wool.

With regard to isolating the piano from the floor along with the steel girder, you could use our 10mm Anti-Vibration mat available in 1m x 1m sheets.  For best results, the AV Mat could be used to make a floating platform utilising one layer of AV Mat with a tongued and grooved floor glued on top on which the piano would sit.

100mm of AMW100 Acoustic Mineral Wool would also help as a loose fit between the joists but it must be realised, that to get the best results with upgrading the sound insulation of any floor, AMW should be used along with additional sound insulation such as installing a floating floor using R10, our resilient insulation on top of the existing floor with our 18mm tongued and grooved high density QuietBoard acoustic flooring on top.  If access is possible to the ceiling below, then this could be acoustically upgraded and the combination of upgrading both the floor and the ceiling along with AMW between the joists will give you the best results.

More information on Anti-Vibration Mats along with our floating floor system  can be viewed on our web site via the following links. 

Anti-Vibration Mat    –           https://www.keepitquiet.co.uk/vibration_pad.html

Floating Floors         –           https://www.keepitquiet.co.uk/floating-floor-system.html

Current prices for all of our noise control products are also on our web site or call us on 01993704981 for more information

Washing Machine Noise

Recent Question

I want to move a washing machine upstairs. At the end of a corridor i have a 5′ sq space for it, can strip off floorboards. What is your best solution to prevent the spin cycle vibrating throughout the house? I am happy with any finished surface, even concrete flags!

Answer

Thank you for your enquiry.  It is likely the footprint of the washing machine is 600 x 600mm although size is not important because the principle of reducing noise and vibration from the machine remains the same.  And that is to mounted the washing machine on 25mm thick ply which in turn would be on top of our 10mm Anti-Vibration Mat.  Normally, this can be installed without disturbing the floorboards but the addition of 100mm of AMW100 between the joists will further help reduce noise nuisance through the floor.  More info about our AV Mats can be viewed on our web site via the following link

Anti-Vibration Pad

A link to prices can be found on the rhs of each of our product pages.

Current prices are also on our web site. 

For more information on all of our acoustic products call us on 01993704981

Soundproof a Floor Question and Answer

Recent Question

I recently bought three rolls of Tecsound 50 to soundproof a floor where airborne noise was particularly bad from downstairs neighbours. I filled all gaps between skirting boards and the hardboard over the floorboards with acoustic sealand. Over this went the Tecsound 50, on top of this went Duralay System 10 underlay and on top went a heavy twist pile carpet. 

However this has made zero difference and I can still hear normal conversations and snoring from the flat below and believe that the only way forward is to rip everything back up and fully pack the floorspace with acoustic mineral wool. 

Do you have a heavier grade than the 45Kg AMW? I understand that 60 to 80Kg is optimal. Also, the floorspace in question was covered by exactly two rolls of Tecsound 50 – how many slabs would be required to cover the same space (given this will be packed between joists.)

Our Answer

Thank you for your email and the feedback on the acoustic performance you have so far experienced.  As long as flanking noise is not skirting round the floor, the application of mass is the best way to help block and reduce noise from the other side.  With the application of 2 layers of Tecsound 50, 10kg per sq mtr of mass would be added to the floor.  This will have had an effect at reducing noise but noise at night is much more difficult to address particularly with low frequency snoring.

Lifting your floorboards to install acoustic mineral wool will not make a huge difference although always beneficial.  Using the correct density AMW you will achieve an improvement of around 2dB and on its own, with no additional soundproofing measures, will not be an audible improvement but worthwhile as part of an overall upgrade using additional soundproofing materials.

I fear that there is not an effective solution to reduce the noise you are experiencing from below at night because this is a time when all of your normal background noises are switched off and you are trying to sleep.  This is a time when you are more aware of noise that would not disturb you during the day.

If your budget allows and you are prepared to lift the floorboards, by all means install 100mm of AMW100 acoustic mineral wool as a loose fit between the joists.  A denser AMW will not perform any better and could make the noise issue worse.  Once installed, screw back the floorboards, seal and refit with at least two layers of Tecsound.  Then instead of using the underlay you bought that has no value at reducing airborne noise, use our 15mm QuietFloor Plus acoustic underlay instead.  This will be adding a further 15kg of mass to the floor per sq. mtr. and far more effective than the underlay you have at present.  The underlay you have is only tested to reduce impact noise which is not what you are looking for.

More information on our QF+ underlay and AMW can be viewed on our web site via the following links

QuietFloor Plus

Acoustic Mineral Wool

Current prices are also on our web site.

For more information on all of our acoustic products go to our web site www.keepitquiet.co.uk or call us on 01993704981

More on noise through a party wall

As I have mentioned before, noise though party walls takes different forms and those which are loud are anti-social noise that can only be addressed by outside authorities.  From now on we will talk about normal levels of noise such as talking that should not be heard during the daytime.  Assuming it is normal levels of noise that have to be addressed we have to also think about flanking noise.  Now flanking noise is noise that skirts around the party wall via the hollow sections beneath floorboards and also above the ceiling.  With pre-war buildings these are usually the only areas that can be treated to reduce flanking noise transmission because there are no cavities in the structural walls that would otherwise allow the free transmission of noise.  Chimney breasts and internal attached walls are other areas that can allow flanking noise but are usually impractical to effectively soundproof.

Firstly we will deal with pre-war houses and flats that usually have solid structural walls that do not require additional treatment.  This means the floor and ceiling and these should be treated before doing anything with the party wall to reduce flanking noise in those areas.  With the floor it will be necessary to lift the floorboards closest to the party wall and insert between the joists immediately adjacent to the wall Acoustic Mineral Wool.  If the joists are supported by the party wall then install enough to cover 1200mm from the wall and along the space between the joists.  If, on the other hand, the joists are parallel to the wall, then simply insert the acoustic mineral wool in the space between the first two set of joists then replace the floorboards and screw them down.  Once refitted, overlay with 2mm of SBM5 soundproofing mat that will seal up the joints of the floorboards.

The same infill treatment using acoustic mineral wool should be carried out on the ceiling but if it is a top floor bedroom ceiling there may already be thermal insulation in between the joists and it is not wise to remove it.  The ceiling itself can be upgraded with an additional layer of 15mm high density acoustic plasterboard that will add mass and therefore improve the sound blocking performance of the ceiling.  Now the floor and ceiling have been acoustically treated we can look at what can be done to soundproof the party wall and I will cover this in my next article.  In the meantime if you require any further information on how to soundproof a party wall go to our web page via this link soundproof a party wall.

This article is just an introduction to flanking  noise that can skirt round  party walls.  More about how to soundproof a party wall will be published in the near future.  If you want to see more about how we can help soundproof a home go to our web site via this link. Soundproof a home.   Or call us on 01993 704981

QuietPanel Soundproofing for Party Walls

QuietPanel is an ultra thin 27.5mm thick easy applied soundproofing solution to upgrade the sound insulation of party walls.  QuietPanel should be used on single party walls of masonry construction or lighter weight stud walls to obtain the best performance.  Thicker solutions of noise control will usually give better results when trying to reduce noise from neighbours through party walls but sometimes thicker solutions are not always possible for various reasons. 

This is why we introduced these thinner acoustic panels which are designed for when thicker, more efficient soundproofing systems are not possible due to the close proximity of doors or windows.

This thinner system of sound insulation for walls is very popular and is also a favourite of construction companies when refurbishing houses or flats.  Because the QuietPanel system is so thin, it is often used to upgrade the sound insulation of walls dividing bedrooms or other rooms in the home.  These days, new properties are often built with lightweight stud walls to separate rooms and because they do not have the density of the older masonry walls are not as efficient at reducing sound transfer between rooms.  Because stud walls nearly always perform badly for noise control unless acoustically treated during construction, it is necessary to upgrade them when more privacy is required for noise insulation but now they can be upgraded using the QuietPanel system that is easy to screw on and takes up very little space.  So more  privacy can now be obtained without losing too much space and using a system that will not break the bank.

For more information on QuietPanel including technical specifications and installation instructions, go to our web page via this link

https://www.keepitquiet.co.uk/quietpanel-thin-party-wall-soundproofing.html

or call us on 01993704981

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