How to soundproof walls a guide to wall soundproofing
This guide will show you how to soundproof a wall, what you will need to successfully soundproof walls in your home to increase the sound insulation between rooms. How to soundproof a wall against noisy neighbours and other unwanted noise through walls.
With an ever increasing population in our towns and cities the need for wall soundproofing is increasing. Peoples lives are becoming busier and with the hustle and bustle comes noise.The most common noise complaint relates to noisy neighbours, TV noise, conversation, barking dogs and playing loud music are all descriptions we here from people with noisy neighbours. Noisy neighbours complaints aren’t the only reason to soundproof walls, it could be to soundproof a music room, cinema room or a meeting room at work. What ever the reason for wanting to increase wall sound insulation this guide will explain how to soundproof a wall to ensure peace and quiet is restored.
The first thing to establish is the type of wall you are soundproofing. The most common types of wall are either brick walls or internal stud walls. Brick walls are normally the type of wall constructed to separate properties, brick walls are the most common types of wall to be soundproofed. The walls that separate rooms in our homes and offices are usually stud walls, a light weight construction of timber and plasterboard.
If you already know what you are looking for browse our complete range of wall soundproofing products here.
What is airborne and impact sound?
Understanding the two types of sound will help you work out how to sound insulate a wall. Airborne sounds are the most common noise related issues when it comes to wall soundproofing. Airborne sounds are, TV noise, conversation and music. Airborne sound is audible sound that travels in sound waves through the air. Reduce airborne sounds through a wall by increasing the mass and density of the wall.
Impact sound is generated when something is dropped or moved across a surface, walking on the floor, moving furniture or dropping something on the floor are all impact sounds. Impact sound transfers through the structure of the building via vibration. The best way of reducing impact sound is to create separation in the structure of your wall.
Key factors to sound insulate walls are to increase mass, absorption and create separation
The key factors on how make a wall soundproof are as follows, to increase mass, create separation and increase the absorption of the walls. The most comprehensive way to soundproof walls is to include all three of these measures in your wall soundproofing solution. Increase the mass of the wall area by using high mass or dense materials, acoustic insulation slabs and soundproof panels all have high density and mass. Creating separation in the walls structure will reduce sound transfer through the wall, build a false wall or use acoustic hangers on stud walls to create separation. Increasing absorption of the wall reduces the sound waves energy, sound levels will be reduced by the more sound your wall can absorb. Using acoustic insulation and plasterboard with membranes will increase the sound absorption of stud walls and brick walls.
Mass – Increase mass of the wall using soundproof panels and high density acoustic insulation slabs. Soundproof panels will increase the mass of your walls due to the composition of the products, combining acoustic plasterboard and mass loaded vinyls. The additional mass/weight block the sound that would normally pass through the wall. Acoustic insulation slabs are manufactured to a high density, up to 140kg/m³. Acoustic slabs reduce sound transfer through stud walls due to the mass, sound is reduced as it uses up energy to transfer through the acoustic slab, turning the energy of the sound wave into heat.
Separation – Sound transfers through solid structures via vibration, reducing the vibration is a key factor in sound insulating a wall. Use acoustic hangers on stud frames to reduce sound vibrating through the walls structure. Alternatively building a free standing wall, not connected to the existing wall will reduce the sound that would normally transfer through the walls. Use soundbreaker bars on stud walls and acoustic wall solutions to increase the separation, the unique design of the bars reduces surface area connection between the stud work and the plasterboard. Sound vibrating though the wall will also be reduced using acoustic hangers.
Absorption – A key element in wall soundproofing is to increase the absorption of your walls. The more sound the wall will absorb the better the over all level of sound insulation will be. Acoustic insulation and soundproofing boards will block and absorb sound, increasing the absorption. Sound insulation slabs will absorb sound that would normally reverberate inside stud work. The mass loaded vinyl and acoustic foams applied to soundproofing panels block and absorb sound better than plasterboard alone. Sound waves are converted into heat when they pass through these types of sound absorbing materials.
Key questions to consider to determine which wall soundproofing solution to use
When we are asked how to soundproof a wall we always ask these questions to help establish what the best solution will be.
Q. How much sound can you hear, is it just conversation, or the neighbours television (low level). Is it louder sound, barking dogs or loud music (high level)?
A. If you are trying to reduce low level sounds you can use the direct to wall soundproofing solutions. If the sound is higher levels we recommend using one of the wall soundproofing systems.
Q. How much space can you lose in the room?
A. Space loss is a key consideration for many people when considering increasing the sound insulation of walls. If you have a large space you should always consider combing soundproof materials to create a wall soundproofing system. If you can not afford to lose space in the room use the direct to wall boards to block general household sounds that transfer through your walls.
Direct to wall soundproof boards or wall soundproofing systems
Once you have determined what the noise is, the level of noise, and how much space you can lose you can look at the two main methods of sound insulating walls. Noisestop Systems provide two distinct options to soundproof walls, direct to wall soundproofing solutions and wall soundproofing systems.
Direct to wall soundproofing, applying panels directly on to the surface of the wall. This type of solution is very popular because wall soundproof panels are the thinnest method of soundproofing a wall, soundproof walls and lose less than 50mm of space. Wall soundproofing panels are used to reduce low to medium levels of sound, an ideal solution for soundproofing walls against noisy neighbours, conversation and the sound of next doors TV. Soundproof panels combine high mass and density with acoustic absorption to block and absorb airborne sound transfer through walls.
Wall soundproofing systems combine acoustic products to create acoustic walls, using a combination of materials will ensure high levels of wall sound insulation. If you have space in the room you are soundproofing incorporating a soundproof wall system will ensure the best levels of soundproofing. A soundproofing system would include the key components for reducing airborne and impact sound. Acoustic insulation increases the absorption and adds mass to the wall. Soundproof panels block sound and absorb vibration through the wall. Additionally separation is created by using soundbreaker bars , the design o the bars absorbs vibration and sound through the structure of the wall.
Wall soundproofing solutions
Noisestop Systems provide a range of wall soundproofing solutions, to increase the sound insulation of a room. Below you will find some of our most popular solutions, more information on our full range wall soundproofing products can be found here.
Noisestop Acoustic panel
The Noisestop Acoustic Panel with a noise reduction of 50dB on brick walls, and only 22.5mm thick is one of Noisestop Systems most popular soundproofing panels. The panel comprises of acoustic plasterboard with a triple laminated layer on the back. The acoustic membrane on the back of the board consists of an acoustic foam core sandwiched between two layers of high density mass loaded membrane. Acoustic plasterboard is manufactured to a higher level than standard plasterboard, meaning it will reduce more airborne noise. The mass loaded membrane block airborne sound and reduce vibration through the plasterboard that would normally transmit sound. The acoustic foam further reduces airborne sound by absorbing the sound waves.
Noisestop Acoustic Panel is easily applied to walls using Smart Tack adhesive, simply stick the panel to the wall. Alternatively you can apply the board to stud walls, soundbreaker bars and brick walls using screws and plugs. Once the boards have been installed they can be plastered, alternatively the tapered edge can be taped and filled prior to decorating.
Noisestop Tip – When applying acoustic sealant to the edges of the panels apply a bead of sealant to the edge of each panel as you fit them. Butting the next panel into the acoustic sealant will ensure your wall is acoustically sealed. Once the installation is complete fill round the perimeter of the wall and any small gaps between the panels.
Noisestop 2+ Panel
Noisestop Systems provide a range of soundproofing panels, the Noisestop 2+ and the Noisestop 2 panels combine two layers of acoustic plasterboard which sandwich a centre of mass loaded vinyl. The Noisestop 2 panel is 28mm thick with a 3mm membrane in the centre, the Noisestop 2+ panel is 30mm thick with a 5mm membrane in the centre. The acoustic membranes at the centre of these boards block and absorb sound that would normally transfer through the walls. The high density of the boards block the sound and the membrane reduces sound that would normally vibrate across the plasterboard. The composition o these soundproof boards allow for installation using plasterboard adhesive using a dot and dab technique, widely used by trades people to install plasterboard.
These panels can also be applied to stud walls, soundbreaker bars and brick walls using screws and plugs if required. Once the boards have been installed they can be plastered, alternatively the tapered edge can be taped and filled prior to decorating.
Wall System 1
The most effective way to increase the sound insulation of a wall is to combine acoustic materials to form an acoustic wall. Wall System 1 is a comprehensive solution for increasing the sound insulation of walls. Using a combination of materials will ensure you reduce both impact and airborne sound through your walls. High density acoustic insulation slabs block and absorb sound from reverberating inside stud work. To further increase the soundproofing apply soundproof boards to block and absorb sound coming through the wall. By using acoustic hangers you will increase separation, the sound will be reduced by fitting soundbreaker bars to the stud due to the unique design of the bar. Surface area contact is reduced between the stud and the plasterboard, reducing sound transmission. The bars also absorb sound that would normally vibrate through the walls structure.
Noisestop Tip – Avoid using fixings into party walls to reduce the possibility of sound transferring through the screws. Attach your soundproof wall to the floor, ceiling and return walls.
Noisestop Tip – Leave a small gap of at least 10mm between the existing wall and the acoustic wall to increase the separation between the walls. Sound will not transmit as easily if there is no direct contact between the two walls.
Reduce flanking sound
When you are considering any form of wall soundproofing you should take into account flanking sound. Sound travels around a building through any cavities it can find, one of the easiest ways for sound to pass through is between floor cavities. Sound transferring through these areas is flanking sound. When you soundproof a wall you should consider reducing the chance of sound transferring through floor cavities between the floor joists. If your floor joists are shared with a neighbouring property it is easy or sound to transfer through the floor. If you are soundproofing a party wall you should check to see if floor joists are going through to your neighbours property. Do this by checking which way your floorboards are running. If they run in the same direction as the wall the chances are you floor joists will be running into the wall, this will increase the chance of flanking sound transferring between the properties.
The easiest way to reduce flanking sound through your floors is to insulate between the floor joists. Remove a few floor boards up against the wall and fill the cavity against the wall with acoustic insulation 80k/m³ would be a suitable density of slab to use. Fit the slabs against the wall, coming back into the room approximately 600mm, or the width off a slab.
Need more help on how to soundproof walls?
We have tried to cover the major aspects on how to soundproof walls with this guide. With so many variables when it comes to sound insulating walls you probably have more questions. Please get in touch with your wall soundproofing questions, call 01423 339163. Alternatively use our contacts page and send us your enquiries.