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Last Updated on December 23, 2019 By Jon
To borrow from Forest Gump, “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.” The same is true when it’s applied to our neighbours. When we move to a new house, or if we get new neighbours moving into the houses next to ours; it can be touch and go. We never know quite who we’re going to get living next to us. They may be quiet as church mice or as noisy as a flock of geese!
If we’re unlucky we may get some incredibly noisy neighbours who shout, scream and party well into the night. They may be completely unaware of the noise they're making, or simply may not care and have no consideration for their neighbours at all. Seeing a removal van or moving to a new home ourselves can be a total lottery, and it’s hard to know what we’re going to get until we’re/they're in.
However some noisy neighbours, sometimes may not be able to help it, the walls can be paper thin, and they may have young children. They may be polite and apologetic about the noise, but this doesn’t help us get a good night sleep. We may not be able to control them and their behaviour, but we can control our own environment. Luckily there are steps we can take to make sure noisy neighbours are less of an annoyance and Sound Proofing is the main way we can restore some peace to our homes.
Soundproofing is the practice of installing certain materials within our walls that stops external sounds from crossing through it. Muffling the noise and sound waves before they penetrate our walls and into our ears. They also have the added benefit of stopping internal noise reaching outside our homes too. This is great news for those who struggle with noisy neighbours. While soundproofing isn’t 100% guaranteed to stop all noise from getting through, it will stop the general day to day noise that interferes with our lives from nearby homes.
For example, if your next-door neighbour has a tendency to watch TV with the sound turned up loud in an evening, Sound proofing is an excellent method to stop this noise from reaching us. It’s also worth pointing out that this is beneficial to those watching TV too. Some of us have difficulty hearing and need the TV to be louder than most people have their volume set. Having your living room wall Sound Proofed is a great way to live the way you want to live, without it disturbing your neighbours.
The effectiveness of Sound deadening depends on the material used and how much of it can be used in any given wall. Various different materials have been used over the years with varying degrees of success and effectiveness. Some materials are better than others and also more environmentally friendly.
Believe it or not; bricks and concrete are actually poor sound proofing materials. Sound waves have a tendency to travel through them as the vibrations rumble from one side or another. Naturally the sound deteriorates while it does so, but the solid surface transmits just as much as it muffles noise. Foam insulation, dry wall and fibreglass have also been used over the years but are not considered ideal.
Today specially formulated material exists for the purpose of sound insulation. They are designed out of specialist polymer formulas with the express purpose of muffling noise. There are various different products on the market that are designed solely for this purpose, but a good and well-known example is Acoustikblok, a special kind of Sound Proofing brick’ that muffles the noise instead of transmitting it. These products are also much more environmentally friendly than older materials and are also recyclable too.
Aside from specially formulated blocks like Acoustikblok there are various different types of sound dampening installation. Each is typically applied to walls, ceilings and even floors. Installing it in floors is most effective in office buildings and apartments, situations when a noisy neighbour can be above or below as well as next door. Other forms of installation included:
As the name suggests this method has two purposes; adding some more insulation to keep the room warmer, but also installing materials to dampen noise. Wool and foam insulation are generally used here and help muffle noise, but for best results consider using a specially formulated material that’s designed for soundproofing.
This is the traditional method used in houses and offices, it’s where materials like plasterboards are added to muffle the noise. However, this material is not as effective as some of the more modern products.
These are the sort of sound proofing techniques that are used in industrial areas, city centres and night clubs. They muffle very loud noise within, so it doesn’t disturb those outside. Unlike most Sound Proofing techniques, these are designed to keep noise contained rather than prevent it from seeping in. They are not intended or ideal for the average home.
This method of installation is becoming more popular and generally works by using a layered system of different materials to create an effective sound barrier. A wall of Acoustikbloks, plasterboard and other materials would be an example of this used in practice. Not only does it use effective modern techniques, but it also traps the sound within its layers for maximum effectiveness.
Soundproofing is offered by many professional companies, a DIY approach is not recommended. Pricing varies depending on the home and the company offering the service. The method of installation also varies from company to company meaning prices can range wildly. But the good news is many companies offer a free no-obligation quote and consultation before any work commences or is agreed upon. It’s also worth using a broker to compare the various rates and companies on the market to find the best deal.