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Now that we are in the New Year and the festivities of Christmas is behind us you may be affected by additional noise from your neighbours or children playing their new sound system or computer games at higher volumes. Or some other means of generating more noise than before from newly acquired equipment. Well you do not have to put up with it but take measures to reduce the noise nuisance by installing strategically placed soundproofing measures onto your floor, wall or ceiling to insulate the noise coming through from the other side. We at Sound Service (Oxford) Ltd. have been specialists in the soundproofing business since 1969 so know a thing or two about the subject and are always happy to give free advice via telephone or email on any noise issue you may have. This will include advice on the best method of soundproofing to adopt according to your budget because spending more will not always get you the best. For instance, to obtain the best soundproofing of a party wall you would install an independent sound insulated stud wall and this is one of the cheapest methods of noise control through a party wall. In fact any stud system of noise control is usually cheaper and more efficient than alternatives, but of course, take up more space. So if space is an issue we can offer alternative options starting from as thin as 27.5mm (just over 1 inch). However, it is generally considered that more space has to be lost to get the best soundproofing results.
Noise through floors is usually an issue with older flats that were constructed prior to when consideration for sound insulation had to be built in. Although having said that, some newly built properties built using an approved Robust Detail standard still have noise problems because they were not built properly or the wrong materials used. But that is a different issue I will deal with at another time.
Back to soundproofing a floor. If you live in a flat again the best solution entails an increase in the floor height and the greater the increase, the better the sound loss. For best results a separating floor should be treated from the ceiling below, between the joists and the floor above but for this article we will assume you do not have access to the ceiling below and do not wish to lift the floorboards to install Acoustic Mineral Wool between the joists. So we will just deal with what can be done with the minimum of work which just means removing existing floor coverings. Once that is done you have the choice of simply installing an acoustic underlay instead of normal underlay beneath your carpets, laminate or wood floor or, if you can live with the additional height, install a properly soundproofed floating floor system that will raise the existing floor height by up to 30mm. And for belt and braces, install acoustic underlay on top.
To soundproof a ceiling is a different issue and depends on the type of ceiling already fitted and the level of soundproofing work you wish to undertake. The same principle of space applies as mentioned earlier and the more height you can lose the less noise you will hear from above (flanking noise aside which again, we will deal with in a later blog). We will start with the assumption that you just want to do something to reduce the noise from above with the minimum of disruption and accept the best results will not be achieved but some improvement will be attained and that is to screw up an additional layer of 15mm Acoustic Plasterboard with 1mm of SoundBlocker membrane sandwiched between the old ceiling and the new plasterboard. This is the thinnest solution and therefore, not the best unless the existing ceiling is lathe and plaster. It is never advisable to remove lathe and plaster ceilings because they are acoustically better than normal plasterboard ceilings. For better soundproofing and assuming you have an ordinary plasterboard ceiling this can be removed and replaced with a decoupled ceiling either using a Resilient Bar system or if space allows, a new, independent timber joisted ceiling suspended off wall mounted hangers. Whichever method is adopted, an Acoustic Mineral Wool infill should always be loosely inserted into the cavity before applying the 30mm of high density plasterboard.
More specific information on these methods of soundproofing a wall, floor or ceiling can be viewed on the domestic side of our web site www.soundservice.co.uk or you can call us on 01993704981.