We all crave returning from a busy day of work to our own quiet sanctum that is our homes. Unfortunately, the reality of living in a busy city, often doesn't allow for this to happen, however as soundproofing products are becoming more readily available and cheaper, achieving your own peace and quiet is easier than you might think!
Below is just a small selection of products available to help increase the soundproofing quality of your home to create a quieter, comfier environment.
Flooring Mats and Underlays
Possibly the easiest soundproofing measure which can be installed to any home with minimal work required are soundproofing underlays to your flooring. The two most frequently used products are soundproofing mats and underlays.
Usually measuring roughly 2.5mm thick, soundproofing mats such as SBM5 or Tecsound T50 are a thin, flexible and very effective mineral loaded acoustic mat which is designed to reduce airborne noise through timber joisted floors. This matting can also be layered up multiple times to create a greater sound barrier. On its own, one layer of matting has a noise insulation value of 24dB, increasing to 32dB if tree layers are installed which is equivalent to an 87.5% perceived noise reduction!
Similar to matting, soundproof underlay is a slightly thicker product which is made using recycled layer of sound absorbing chip foam bonded to a top and bottom layer of the previously discussed soundproofing mat. The added benefit of this product is greater airborne noise insulation as well as impact insulation. This is the quickest to install and most effective acoustic underlay on the market for reducing noise through floors and is also remarkably cost-effective. The most well-known product in this category is Quietfloor PLUS.
Tecsound T50 Matting
Another problem faced, especially in London is the issue of your house being underneath a flight path. The nearly constant droning noise can drive you crazy.
Resilient bars are being more commonly used when carrying out roofing works to a property. This vibration absorbing resilient steel channel allows for the new ceiling to be de-coupled from the vibrating surface which reduces both vibration and impact noise penetration which will substantially improve the sound insulating qualities of the ceiling. Installation of the bars will make around an 11dB sound insulation improvement, but combined them with a good quality acoustic insulation and acoustic plasterboard will increase this to 16Db.
Installed Resilient Bars
The biggest pit fall of any soundproofing solution, which could be installed, to any home, is insufficient sealant. Noise and vibration will make its way through the tinniest of gaps/cracks and will works its way through. The main 'gaps', which are left unattended, are the joints between the skirting and flooring in the room, and also the joints in the sub floor below.
Acoustic Sealant is a white, one-part Fire Retardant Water-based high density, flexible Acrylic Sealant. Recommended for perimeter sealing floating floors and in between joints of normal flooring to stop noise leakage before installing additional acoustic flooring products. This seal makes the floor more airtight thus enhancing the soundproofing properties of any sound reducing measures being installed on top.
Another great sealant product is resilient sealing tape. A self adhesive EPDM resilient foam rubber acoustic sealing tape. This product is designed for isolating and cushioning stud walls or battens when applied directly to a wall. The acoustic sealing tape is age resistant and chemically neutral against most commonly used lacquers and plastics. These EPDM acoustic strips are resistant to most caustic chemicals, ozone, moisture and UV radiation.
If you are keen to look further into soundproofing your home, or further information regarding soundproofing solutions, updated in 2010, part E of the building regulations is related to soundproofing to all building types i.e. refurbishment or splitting a property into flats and can be a useful tool/guide to achieving better sound proofing performance.
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