How To Soundproof From Noisy Neighbours
Living in and around London, the city’s inhabitants are constantly surrounded by sound. Whether it’s the neighbour’s music or TV through the wall, barking dogs or noise from people on the street outside – a nuisance can quickly become a problem, particularly when it starts to disturb your sleep, leaving you feeling tired and distracted during the day.
If you are looking for a solution to combat your noisy neighbours, there is a whole host of solutions to choose from.
Whether you’re living in a converted house or a purpose-built apartment block, the ceiling is a common pain point due to impact noises such as heavy footsteps and the thudding of a washing machine. This type of impact noise is caused by thin ceilings that have been constructed with subpar materials. In some cases, noise pollution may be caused by small gaps around the ceiling through which airborne noise can travel easily. In this case, a simple and inexpensive solution for noise that travels through the ceiling is to find any gaps, and to plug them with an acoustic sealant.
Unfortunately, there is no simple solution for soundproofing the ceiling between flats when the noise complaint is caused by impact noise. Instead, more drastic steps need to be taken to effectively reduce the noise from the upstairs neighbours.
Decoupling the ceiling involves the installation of resilient bars behind the existing ceiling, as well as using high-spec acoustic plasterboards.
A whole new acoustically treated ceiling can be installed on the underside of the existing structure.
This involves entirely removing the current ceiling, to replace it with a custom-made soundproof system.
The walls in a property are another major concern when it comes to noisy neighbours – and they are also an important consideration for anyone who is constructing a home cinema or music studio. The walls are often thinner than the ceiling, and so they are more prone to leaking airborne noise – the neighbours’ music, TV and conversations – as well as the noise or ‘hum’ of machinery in and around the building. This is particularly prevalent in more modern flats which tend to include cavity walls and are constructed using lighter masonry.
Luckily, it is easier to soundproof a wall than a ceiling, and there is a wide variety of solutions available for blocking the sounds of your noisy neighbours. The first step is to ensure that there are no air gaps around the wall through which noise is entering your apartment. If the walls are adequately sealed, alternative solutions include:
Decoupling the Wall
This involves fixing resilient bars to the apartment wall, which are covered with acoustic plasterboard for excellent soundproofing qualities.
Insulating Cavity Walls
The cavities within the wall are filled with acoustic insulations, including foam, wool and membranes that line the insides of the wall.
In more severe cases a new acoustically-treated wall can be installed that is entirely separate to the existing structure.
Whether it’s the sounds of your neighbours below, or tube trains rumbling underfoot, soundproofing the floors between your flats can help you get those peaceful nights you need back.
As with our other solutions, the best results are achieved when taking into account the type and origin of the noise complaint. If the noise is coming from your apartment, acoustic mats can be installed either beneath or on top of the current floor in order to reduce impact noise transferring to your downstairs neighbours.
However, if the noise is coming from a neighbour and entering your home from below, the following solutions can be considered:
Installing a Floating Floor
A floating floor employs premium isolating materials, and has been designed to create cavities across which sound cannot travel.
Separating the current floor from the structure below will prevent noise transference coming from downstairs.
Acoustic treatments include acoustic mats, foams and underlays, which can be laid on the surface of the floor to create a more effective sound barrier.
If your noise complaint comes from outside rather than inside the property – garden parties and barking dogs, for example – then your windows should be the main focus of your soundproofing. Typically regarded as the biggest weak point for noise pollution in any home, your windows are also the easiest to soundproof. Current technology and engineering means that soundproof windows can deliver incredible reductions in noise of up to 51dB.
Not sure what a reduction of 51dB would sound like? Use our handy Noise Tool to hear the difference for yourself.
Soundproof windows comprise of the following:
Specialised glass that has been engineered to dampen and dissipate soundwaves.
Increasing Air Gaps
The air gap is the space between the sheets of glass in a window unit, or the gap between the original window and the secondary window. Increasing this gap will significantly cut noise transference.
Acoustic foams are used during the installation of your new soundproof windows in order to prevent sound transfer between the window and the walls.