Suffering from noisy neighbours, a four-lane highway out the front door or airport runway fallout? Or maybe you just like the idea of a soundproof booth?
Well, there are many ways to reduce the amount of sound coming into (or out of) your house. I’ve covered it in Chapter 5, ‘Making your home more energy efficient’, but you can also make some changes to your walls and ceiling which will help keep down the racket. Some of these things also help with reducing the sound travelling between rooms within your house or between apartments with adjoining walls.
Insulate your ceiling
Good old ordinary thermal insulation in your ceiling will not only reduce your heating costs but dampen sound travelling in from the outside and reduce the travel of sound from room to room via the roof cavity. I’d recommend installing rock wool insulation; this is made from melted volcanic rock (basalt) that’s spun into fibres. These are then formed into batts or blankets or further processed to form loose fill granules. Its high density makes it an excellent sound as well as a thermal insulator. Next best would be polyester insulation, as it’s very easy to work with, is hypo-allergenic and won’t attract vermin. It comes in rolls or batts and is simply cut with large scissors to fit neatly between the ceiling joists.
Install acoustic matting
If you have excessive overhead noise you can take this to the next level by rolling out a layer of a special acoustic vinyl matt know as Wavebar acoustic barrier. Lay it over the top of the joists and insulation.
Add an additional lining to your walls
Barrierboard is one of several special wall panelling products designed to reduce sound travel. It consists of two sheets of differing thickness plasterboards separated by an insulating layer. Soundproofing panels are available in a number of standard sizes up to 35 mm thick.
Cross-section of Barrierboard
If you don’t have much room to spare, acoustic plasterboard can be glued and screwed directly to your existing wall surfaces to give you a sound reduction of up to 50 per cent. The effectiveness of the acoustic plasterboards themselves can be increased to 75 per cent by gluing and screwing a series of 45 mm x 45 mm timber battens to the old wall surface and filling the space in between these with some more of your polyester insulation material before attaching the board over the battens. Then let the rock band loose!
|SUCK UP THE SOUND
Don’t forget that hard surfaces such as timber and tiled floors, or granite and stainless steel bench tops, reflect noise, while carpet, curtains and upholstered furniture will make a room much quieter. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 25 per cent of these soft, sound-absorbing surfaces in a room.