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Solutions to soundproof a party wall

Our last article was on soundproofing a party wall and how to address flanking noise around a party wall so now we will go onto the actual soundproofing of a party wall, what can be done and its effectiveness assuming flanking noise is no longer an issue.  First of all, if a party wall contains a chimney breast, because this is fixed directly to the party wall and therefore, most likely directly to the other side, best soundproofing results are not going to be achieved but may still be worthwhile doing what you can to reduce the noise being heard from the other side.  If it is possible to block up the fireplace and totally encapsulate the chimney breast then that will give better results but in our experience, this usually takes up more space than can be spared.  The following will describe what can be done to improve the soundproofing of a party wall and if possible, the same systems can be used to completely surround the chimney breast too.

First ensure the plastered surface of the party wall is sound and that the plaster has not ‘blown’.  This is when the plaster coating has started to part company with the wall and can be tested by tapping the plaster.  If it sounds solid then it is likely to be OK but if it sounds hollow it has blown and will require taking off and replastering before any soundproofing measures take place.  Now, assuming the wall is sound, wall paper has been removed and there is no flaking paint, soundproofing can commence after the skirting boards have been removed and electrical fittings disconnected by a qualified electrician.  The best soundproofing results mean more space will be lost but as compensation, the best is also the cheapest and that is our Studio Wall Soundproofing System that uses timber studs.  For best results, 75 x 50mm studs should be used and fitted 25mm away from the existing wall.  For more information on this, go to our Studio Wall System Installation Instructions that can be found on our web site.  The web address will be at the bottom of this article.

If enough space for an independent soundproofed wall cannot be spared then the studs can be fixed directly to the wall and that will save 25mm.  If this is still too much to lose, then reduce the size of the stud down to 50mm but no less and as a last resort, omit the Resilient Bars but these should only be left out if absolutely necessary.  When space is even more limited, our Thin Wall Soundproofing System can be used and will take up 45 or 50mm of space depending which thickness of Acoustic Plasterboard is used.  Before this system can be installed though, it is essential to ensure the wall is sound because all of the soundproofing layers are glued.  So if there is any doubt about the stability of painted walls, they should be treated with a dilute solution of PVA adhesive in water.  More information on how to install our Thin Wall System can also be found on our web site through the link at the bottom of this article.

Finally, if even 45mm of space cannot be spared, the last option is our Ultra Thin Wall Soundproofing System that uses our QuietPanels will take up only 27.5mm but it must be understood that this system will not stop anywhere near the same amount of noise that the Studio Wall System will.  But it should reduce normal levels of noise that should not be heard but loud noise or low frequency noise such as bass drums will always be heard although their intensity may be reduced.  The Ultra Thin Wall Soundproofing System is useful when there is the close proximity of a window or door so that thicker, more efficient soundproofing solutions cannot be installed.  For more information on the systems mentioned above and Ultra Thin Wall Soundproofing System installation instructions, go to our web site www.keepitquiet.co.uk