Everyone will agree that the science of how sound is transmitted is quite complicated, and sound insulation, it follows, is generally complex as well. Noise is measured in dB or decibels, and if you are to improve soundproofing in your structure, you need to reduce the decibels within the structure and without. Sound moves in various ways – airborne sound is relatively simple, but impact sound isn’t that easy to understand, because even the tiniest sounds can become amplified when they travel across even solid surfaces or materials such as pipes or floors. You also have to consider the sound frequency, because stopping or stifling a high-pitched noise may not take the same measures as stifling a low, bass noise. So the big question is how you can improve the sound or acoustic insulation in your new-build structure or extension. Here’s a list of your top options.
The three basics
There are actually three basic or standard methods you can make use of if you want to improve sound insulation in your structure or property. The first is to add extra mass or heavier layers, which can better absorb sound. The second method makes use of layers that are separated so you can form an ‘air gap’ and this can also dampen sound. With the third, you can compartmentalise – and this means making sure that each individual room is completely separated from each other so you can keep sound penetration to a minimum.
Suppliers of insulation have different solutions and materials for the first and second methods, namely specially-designed acoustic insulation, planks, and boards that block sound, resilient bars, and the like. But the third method of compartmentalisation has more to do with the quality of your build.
The idea of ‘quiet rooms’
You should also consider focusing on building a ‘quiet room’ or several ‘quiet rooms’ in your structure. This idea is widely promoted by companies like British Gypsum, with their own sound solutions that offer advice as well as techniques for the creation of ‘quiet rooms’ with the aim of having approximately 55 decibels.
The quiet room concept or method is about adding a bit more depth to current floors, walls, and ceilings, which don’t make them entirely practical for an entire house retrofitting solution, although they can be incredibly helpful in reducing sound in particular rooms.
The need to decrease echo
Echo is produced by large spaces, especially open-plan designs, as well as high ceilings, glass, hard flooring, and combinations of these, and this is a fact that is confirmed by acoustic testing experts from The Building Compliance Team. What makes matters inherently worse is that these kinds of designs are often found in commercial spaces. More companies are also looking into providing solutions for these problems, with options such as plasterboard that dampens sound, for instance, but the design of these plasterboard options are often not aesthetically pleasing to residential owners.
One of most effective things you can do is consult with experts in acoustics and acoustic testing before you commence with your project or while your project is underway; with this, you may be able to receive valuable advice and information that will enhance sound insulation in your property without the need for drastic changes or upheavals.