How to soundproof a room from noisy neighbours
Most people will at some point hear noise from their neighbours. Fortunately, most of us have considerate neighbours, but a few can have their lives made miserable by constant noise from those we have to live alongside.
Noise from neighbours will apply in three ways:
- From gardens and outside - read above about how to make a room soundproof from noise traffic
- Through adjoining party walls - read below
- Through ceilings and floors in apartments - read below
Can you soundproof existing walls?
Walls are dense objects that absorb soundwaves and transmit them. The quality and thickness of walls vary drastically to make a difference to sound transmission.
There are several approaches to soundproof an existing wall.
Cavity wall insulation. A double-skin of brick with an internal cavity void can be injected with a polystyrene insulation. Aside from increased insulation against heat transfer, the noise through the party wall will be reduced.
Stud wall with insulation. A stud wall can be built against a party wall to create a small void that helps to reduce sound. The stud wall can be filled with rock wool or Kingspan insulation to absorb soundwaves and increase noise reduction.
Soundproof wall panels. Insulated drywall boards or specialist sound-reducing boards applied to your internal wall. There are different degrees of quality and some can be installed with a frame using a resilient channel clip system to reduce transmission by decoupling.
What is the cheapest way to soundproof a wall?
A DIY solution to stop soundwaves travelling from room to room is to use large items of furniture against adjoining walls. Large built-in bookshelves full of books can dampen considerable noise from neighbours. Large cupboards or even free standing bookshelves will help to create a soundproof effect.
How to soundproof ceilings and floors adjoining a neighbour
Sound from a room above is caused by impact noise from footsteps and heel strikes. Ceiling joists or concrete beams can amplify the noise as the vibration moves through them.
Unfortunately, impact noise is one of the most disruptive types of noise intrusion to deal with. If it’s from a neighbour, this means you have no control over insulating from above.
The two main ways to tackle soundproofing for a ceiling/floor are:
To soundproof the floor from above
Lifting the floor to install specialist soundproof insulation in the space between floor and ceiling can help with sound transference. You could also install a suspended floor that has a void filled with insulation.
To soundproof the ceiling from below
Acoustic panel boards can be applied directly to the ceiling. Or, a professional approach to soundproof the ceiling involves creating a dropped ceiling with cavity space if you have enough ceiling height. Professional kits to apply cladding on hangers to a ceiling can add an insulating layer that will help reduce noise from above.