Ceiling Sound Proofing

The article on Ceiling Sound Proofing on our web site www.soundservice.co.uk has now been updated to include more comprehensive information for anyone looking for help and advice on how to sound proof a ceiling.  The article goes on to describe most of the solutions available to obtain the best sound proofing results depending on the amount of ceiling height available that can be utilised.   If there is a lot of height available the best sound proofing results can be obtained and the article describes what can be done.  Whereas, if there is limited space, solutions are also described for those which will give a benefit in noise reduction although not as efficient as a deeper solution.

There are also more images that help describe the information being given such as what the top side of a lather and plaster ceiling looks like or a Gyproc type MF suspended ceiling.

To view the article yourself simply go straight to it via the following link http://www.soundservice.co.uk/ceiling_sound_proofing_Help.htm or call our sales department s on 01993 704981

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Sound Proofing a Floor

Sound proofing a floor can always be a daunting prospect with not knowing what to do to get the best results.  It is well known that installing mineral wool between the joists is a must.  But it is a common misconception that this is all that is required when in fact, just doing this on its own rarely gives an audible reduction in any noise levels being experienced.  The fact is that mineral wool between the joists is an important part of any upgrade of the sound proofing of any floor but it is not necessary top totally fill the joists but it is important to use the correct density which is between 40 and 60kg per cubic metre and otherwise referred to as Acoustic Mineral Wool.  It is also important to fit the wool as a loose fit and not jammed tightly into the joists.  This is because the mineral wool is a sound absorber and not a sound barrier so it does not matter if there are voids that have not been filled.

I mentioned earlier that Acoustic Mineral Wool should be used as part of an overall upgrade in the sound proofing of any timber joisted floor and for this, sound-proofing products must be added on top of the floor to get best results.

We have just updated an article on our web site about sound proofing floors and it gives all the information required to improve the sound proofing of both timber joisted and concrete floors so to read it simply copy and paste the following link into the address bar of your browser and it will take you there.

http://www.soundservice.co.uk/soundproofing_help_for_separating_floors.html  Alternatively, if you prefer to talk to one of our experts just call them on our local call rate number 0843 363 7131 or for mobiles call us on 01993 704981.  More information concerning all of our sound proofing products can be found on our web site www.soundservice.co.uk

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Sound Proofing a Wall

A new and revised article on help with how to sound proof a wall has been added to our commercial web site that gives more informed information.  The article includes details of what type of noise is usually encountered through walls and how to address it.  There are also new images showing the installation of a soundproofed stud wall to help readers understand how this works along with an image showing the overall thickness of our popular M20AD system.  Top read the article yourself simply go to it via this link http://www.soundservice.co.uk/wall_sound_proofing_Help.htm If the link does not work then copy and paste it into the address bar of your browser and that should take you there.

If you have a noise problem from neighbours through a wall and would prefer to talk to someone about what can be done then call us on 01993 704981 and one of our trained staff will be pleased to help you.

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Noise Control in Walls, Floors & Stairs

Question

I found your website whilst researching soundproofing and I was attracted by the cost savings you have advertised. I presently live in an upper flat  in a bloc of 4 or upper villa as it is rather grandly termed. This is a 1930’s affordable housing development and the sound insulation between ourselves and the neighbours is appalling, we can often hear complete conversations as well as tv noise. When I first moved in I laid a secondary hardwood floor on top of the existing floor with underlay between thinking this would help the sound insulation as well as provide us with a natural wooden floor. This was a big mistake as I now realise that I should have filled the cavity and used acoustic plasterboard. We have since installed carpets with cloud 9 underlay which has helped but still does not cut out even the talking. There could also be significant sound travel through the walls but presently we have an elderly woman living next door and apart from the tv noise she is extremely quiet (could become an issue).


This summer we are planning to extend into our loft and moving our living/kitchen/dining room upstairs. We would like to ensure that the loft space is acoustically insulated and are interested in what products and specification you would recommend for this. Further to the loft space we are installing a new staircase which is housed above our neighbours bedroom. We will have to lift the existing floorboards in this area and are looking for a solution to minimise impact noise for our downstairs neighbour and also through the wall to our bedrooms and next door neighbour.  We have bought a small quantity of thermafleece with the intention of filling the cavity between the joist in the hall area (like the eco/thermal credentials as well). Ideally we would leave the hall as natural wooden floor but in reality we would probably have to have a stair carpet or runner unless there is a viable solution. Can you please advise on building spec and also quantities of product for our loft space, stairway and also hall way.


Over the years the sound pollution has become an increasing problem and we would like to sort out the sound issue once and for all in these areas. Depending on costs and also on effectiveness we would even consider soundproofing the entire flat.

Answer

Thank you for your enquiry and before I start to advise on how to upgrade the soundproofing of your loft floor and stairs I have to say that Cloud 9 type underlay is not effective at reducing airborne noise, only impact noise so any benefit you have achieved with the use of this product I am sure would have been most welcome. 

The best way to improve the airborne sound insulation of a floor or wall is to add sound absorption and extra high density mass along with decoupling one or both sides.  With separating floors this normally entails decoupling the ceiling with our Resilient Bars and screwing 30mm (2 x 15mm) of high density Acoustic Plasterboard to the bars.  Likewise with the floors, these are usually decoupled by installing a floating floor system and with 100mm of AMW100 acoustic mineral wool as a loose fit between the joists you will have obtained a high degree of sound insulation.

With walls the same principle applies and for best results, an independent stud wall should be built 25mm away from the existing wall, infilled again with AMW type acoustic mineral wool then clad with 30mm of Acoustic Plasterboard.  A thinner version that only takes up 50mm of space is our 20mm M20AD high density recycled rubber mats glued to the wall again with 300mm of Acoustic Plasterboard glued on top.  The M20AD is both a sound absorber as well as a product with high mass so is a very good alternative to the stud wall solution although not as efficient.

Stairs always have to be carpeted and if it is only impact noise that has to be reduced to give best results I suggest the carpet this time is installed on top of the Cloud 9 underlay you already have.  Otherwise you could use our more efficient 10mm A10 acoustic underlay available in 15 sq mtr. rolls or our even more efficient 15mm thick QuietFloor Plus that will also help reduce airborne noise in addition.  With stairs and again for best soundproofing results, the underside should be boxed in with 30mm of Acoustic Plasterboard and AMW in the void.  Battens will have to be installed to the edges of the underside of the stairs that the plasterboard can be fixed to and to contain the AMW.  You mentioned sheep’s wool and this is a good alternative to using AMW because it does not cause the same degree of irritation to the skin with the added advantage of more efficient thermal insulation.

More information including prices on all of these products can be found on our web site www.soundservice.co.uk   Installation instructions along with technical data can also be found on the rhs of each product page site or call us on 01993704981

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QuietPanel Sound Insulation for Party Walls

QuietPanel is a 27.5mm thick screw applied solution to upgrade the sound insulation properties of any wall.  For best results QuietPanel can be used on single party walls of masonry construction or lighter weight stud walls.  Thicker solutions of acoustic insulation will nearly always give better results when trying to reduce noise through any wall but often a thicker solution is not possible for various reasons. 

That is why we introduced this ultra thin acoustic system which is designed for those that are unable to fit thicker, more efficient noise control systems due to the close proximity of doors or windows.

This thinner system for upgrading the sound insulation of walls is very popular and is also a favourite of construction companies when refurbishing houses or flats.  Because QuietPanel is so thin, it is a favoured option to upgrade the sound insulation of walls dividing rooms such as bedrooms in the home.  Modern properties are often built using lightweight stud walls to separate rooms and of course, these walls are not as acoustically efficient as the more traditional masonry walls.  It is well known that stud walls perform badly 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 now you can obtain more privacy 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 http://www.soundservice.co.uk/quietpanel-recycled-wall-soundproofing.html

or call us on 01993704981

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Airborne Noise Control

Question

I found your website whilst researching soundproofing and I was attracted by the cost savings you have advertised. I presently live in an upper flat  in a bloc of 4 or upper villa as it is rather grandly termed. This is a 1930’s affordable housing development and the sound insulation between ourselves and the neighbours is appalling, we can often hear complete conversations as well as tv noise. When I first moved in I laid a secondary hardwood floor on top of the existing floor with underlay between thinking this would help the sound insulation as well as provide us with a natural wooden floor. This was a big mistake as I now realise that I should have filled the cavity and used acoustic plasterboard. We have since installed carpets with cloud 9 underlay which has helped but still does not cut out even the talking. There could also be significant sound travel through the walls but presently we have an elderly woman living next door and apart from the tv noise she is extremely quiet (could become an issue).


This summer we are planning to extend into our loft and moving our living/kitchen/dining room upstairs. We would like to ensure that the loft space is acoustically insulated and are interested in what products and specification you would recommend for this. Further to the loft space we are installing a new staircase which is housed above our neighbours bedroom. We will have to lift the existing floorboards in this area and are looking for a solution to minimise impact noise for our downstairs neighbour and also through the wall to our bedrooms and next door neighbour.  We have bought a small quantity of thermafleece with the intention of filling the cavity between the joist in the hall area (like the eco/thermal credentials as well). Ideally we would leave the hall as natural wooden floor but in reality we would probably have to have a stair carpet or runner unless there is a viable solution. Can you please advise on building spec and also quantities of product for our loft space, stairway and also hall way.


Over the years the sound pollution has become an increasing problem and we would like to sort out the sound issue once and for all in these areas. Depending on costs and also on effectiveness we would even consider soundproofing the entire flat.

Answer

Thank you for your enquiry and before I start to advise on how to upgrade the soundproofing of your loft floor and stairs I have to say that Cloud 9 type underlay is not effective at reducing airborne noise, only impact noise so any benefit you have achieved with the use of this product I am sure would have been most welcome. 

The best way to improve the airborne sound insulation of a floor or wall is to add sound absorption and extra high density mass along with decoupling one or both sides.  With separating floors this normally entails decoupling the ceiling with our Resilient Bars and screwing 30mm (2 x 15mm) of high density Acoustic Plasterboard to the bars.  Likewise with the floors, these are usually decoupled by installing a floating floor system and with 100mm of AMW100 acoustic mineral wool as a loose fit between the joists you will have obtained a high degree of sound insulation.

With walls the same principle applies and for best results, an independent stud wall should be built 25mm away from the existing wall, infilled again with AMW type acoustic mineral wool then clad with 30mm of Acoustic Plasterboard.  A thinner version that only takes up 50mm of space is our 20mm M20AD high density recycled rubber mats glued to the wall again with 300mm of Acoustic Plasterboard glued on top.  The M20AD is both a sound absorber as well as a product with high mass so is a very good alternative to the stud wall solution although not as efficient.

Stairs always have to be carpeted and if it is only impact noise that has to be reduced to give best results I suggest the carpet this time is installed on top of the Cloud 9 underlay you already have.  Otherwise you could use our more efficient 10mm A10 acoustic underlay available in 15 sq mtr. rolls or our even more efficient 15mm thick QuietFloor Plus that will also help reduce airborne noise in addition.  With stairs and again for best soundproofing results, the underside should be boxed in with 30mm of Acoustic Plasterboard and AMW in the void.  Battens will have to be installed to the edges of the underside of the stairs that the plasterboard can be fixed to and to contain the AMW.  You mentioned sheep’s wool and this is a good alternative to using AMW because it does not cause the same degree of irritation to the skin with the added advantage of more efficient thermal insulation.

More information including prices on all of these products can be found on our web site www.soundservice.co.uk   Installation instructions along with technical data can also be found on the rhs of each product page site or call us on 01993704981

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DIY Soundproof Fences

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 heavy 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.

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Noise is Bad for Health Study

Our readers may be interested in reading the following written by Stacey Burling and published in the Enquirer, Philadelphia.

Noise is so ubiquitous you might not even notice that you’ve forgotten what silence sounds like.

There are sirens, buses, planes, squealing brakes, and hostile horns if you frequent the city, and lawn mowers, leaf blowers, snow blowers, and over-vigilant dogs if you don’t. There’s whatever you’re blasting through your ear buds, voices from the next 12 cubicles over, jarring cellphone ring tones, the television, children screaming, roaring sports fans, restaurants so loud you have laryngitis when you leave, snoring.

“You have noise everywhere,” said Mathias Basner, a University of Pennsylvania professor who thinks much more deeply about sound than most of us. “Our lives are full of noise.”

You might see all that as a sometimes irritating, sometimes exhilarating part of life.

Basner sees it as something else: a public health problem.

He led a review of recent noise research for the Lancet medical journal. His team concluded evidence is mounting that exposure to noise – at work, in the environment, and in social settings – not only causes hearing loss but can result in annoyance (sometimes considered a health problem, Basner said), poor sleep quality, learning problems for children, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.

Basner, an assistant professor of sleep and chronobiology whose work focuses on airport noise, said some of the negative effects stem from how our bodies respond to sounds that could signal danger.

“The auditory system has kind of a watchman role,” he said. “It’s always open. It’s always awake. It’s constantly checking for environmental threats.”

When we’re exposed to high levels of noise, he said, it creates a stress response. That leads to the release of hormones associated with higher blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. You can’t prove that high levels of noise cause these problems, Basner said, but studies have shown noise exposure is associated with increased risk.

Certain sound levels cause physical damage to the auditory system, but Basner said much of what we call noise is more subjective. A fan might find high-volume Imagine Dragons pleasurable (it could still be ruining his or her ears) while a neighbor could find it highly unpleasant. The office conversation about the concert might not be loud enough to damage eardrums, but it might trigger stress hormones anyway if it makes focusing on a difficult project hard.

The Lancet report found that multiple studies showed a connection between environmental noise and children’s learning problems. Children exposed at school to aircraft, road, and rail noise performed worse on tests of reading and memory and standardized tests than those in quieter schools.

Basner’s team from the International Commission on Biological Effects of Noise also highlighted hospital noise levels, which are twice as high as they were in the 1960s and about four times as high as the World Health Organization recommends. “Hospital noise could therefore be an increasing threat to patient rehabilitation and staff performance,” they wrote.

Many hospitals have recognized the problem and are working to reduce noise. Basner said alarms and telephones, which are designed to get the attention of staff, are most likely to interfere with patients’ sleep.

Getting good-quality sleep is important, Basner said, because certain physiological processes are meant to occur at night, during sleep. If sleep is disrupted, key processes could be disrupted as well.

“The body needs some quiet periods,” he said, “and the most important one is at night.”

Basner, who has a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to study the impact of airport noise, said noise should be regulated and children and adults should try to avoid noise.

He said his classic example of how to reduce environmental noise is the leaf blower, an extremely noisy device easily (he thinks) replaced by very quiet rakes. No one needs to tune motorcycles so they’re louder. People who live in noisy neighborhoods might help themselves by sleeping in a quieter bedroom at the back of the house rather than in one that fronts the street.

What about noise in the bedroom – room-rattling snoring from the person you married? “That’s not a good thing, either,” Basner said. He said one study showed having a partner who snored and changed position often was almost as bad as being barraged by airport noise. Another found some women lost hearing in the ear that was usually closest to their snoring mate’s side of the bed.

If you have a noise problem go to our web site http://www.soundservice.co.uk or call us on 01993 704981.  We may be able to help.

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Noise through a party wall

It is often thought that just applying a sheet of extra plasterboard to a party wall is all that is required to solve any noise issues they may with their neighbours.  The simple fact is this will not make one iota of difference and will do nothing to improve the soundproofing of the wall that would be appreciated by the ear.

Common types of noise experienced through party walls include loud music and raised voices.  Now it has to be said that loud noise will almost certainly always be heard and not likely to be resolved by upgrading the soundproofing of the wall.  Loud noise  such as continually played music at high volumes or incessant shouting and arguing is an environmental issue and should be addressed by the local authority who have powers to monitor the noise and take action to stop it.

Slamming doors can also be a problem that not only create the obvious airborne noise but also transmit noise through the fabric of the building.  This is called flanking noise..  Noise from slamming doors has to be addressed with the installation of slow closing automatic door closers but other normal levels of noise created by neighbours can usually be solved with the application of soundproofing onto the party wall.

And noise at night through a wall is often a problem because noise at night is always more easily heard due to other, more normal background noise being much quieter or non-existent.  Even lower levels of noise can be annoying and capable of keeping you awake at night, particularly for light sleepers.  It is most unlikely that noise at night through a party wall can be soundproofed entirely but in some cases, it may be possible to reduce the intensity of the noise being heard.

Adding soundproofing products to any wall will entail the loss of a certain amount of room space and for best results, more room space has to be used. If it is possible to lose say just under 6 inches (150mm) of space then an independent stud wall can be fitted and infilled with acoustic mineral and clad with 30mm (2 x 15mm) of high density acoustic plasterboard.  If this is too much space to oose then the next best option is to fit 50mm stud directly to the party wall, infill with acoustic mineral wool then clad with 30mm of acoustic plasterboard decoupled with our 15mm deep resilient bar system.  This method of soundproofing will take up just under 4 inches of space (100mm).

Again if this is still too much space to lose there are two thinner systems that can be considered being our 50mm M20AD solution and the even thinner 27.5mm QuietPanel solution.  However, as mentioned before, these thinner systems will not be as efficient at reducing noise through a wall but can be used when space is at an absolute premium.

Our web page soundproofing party walls describes all of the soundproofing products we are able to offer for walls including how to meet Part E of the Building Regulations for the control of noise through separating wall.  Links to current prices can also be found on the rhs of each product page or you can call our sales department on 01993 704981 for more information.

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Robust Detail or Pre-completion Testing for Part E Compliance?

What is better to meet the minimum requirements of Part E Resistance to the Passage of Sound through separating walls and floors, Robust Detail solutions or pre-completion testing?  The Robust Detail solution in theory is good because the systems promoted in their handbook have been rigorously tested to prove the acoustic results are well in excess of the Part E minimum requirements and no on site testing is required to prove compliance.  With Pre-completion testing, every separating floor and wall has to be independently tested to prove compliance or with multiple build projects, a percentage depending on the size of the project.  With Pre-completion testing, if the results show that separating walls or floors do not meet compliance, they have to be upgraded until they do and only then will the project be signed off by the Building Control Dept.  So as you see, whenever a properly tested property is moved into, the soundproofing of the separating floors and walls is going to meet minimum requirements.  So if the wrong materials have been used or not installed correctly, it is going to be picked up before the property is lived in which is not so with Robust Detail constructed properties. 

Although in theory, the Robust Detail system is good, in reality, it is no different to the old Part E regulations pre 2003.  Until then from 1987, new build flats and attached houses along with dwellings being formed as a change of use had to comply with the Part E regulations in force at that time.  And then, all that had to be done was to show the construction was the same or equivalent to that detailed in the Building Regulation document.  No testing of any description was required.  As long as a test certificate showing that the construction method adopted had been previously tested and shown to meet the noise insulation requirements, it was accepted by Building Control and signed off.  In reality though, what often happened is that either the wrong materials had been used because they were cheaper, installed incorrectly, or of course, both.  So when the pre-completion concept of testing was introduced, it was a step in the right direction.  Where it has all gone wrong is introducing the Robust Detail system at the same time and some constructions that have been built using this system, when tested, have spectacularly failed.

For more information on selecting the right materials to meet Part E go to the commercial part of our web site www.soundservice.co.uk

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