Noise pollution in your home
(How does it get there?)
Noise pollution in your home can come in many forms and from many different origins – from outside or inside, next door or from the floor above, or below. It can be a problem not just because it is loud, but also because intervening barriers are insubstantial, or because the fabric in those barriers are themselves carrying and even amplifying the noise. It is especially a problem for multiple dwelling attached properties, flats, apartments and terraced houses where there are noisy neighbours.
Sound will take the paths of least resistance, leaking unexpectedly through tiny holes such as electrical or plumbing entry points, or along tiny pathways such as bolts, screws and even nails. Sound can also bypass barriers, slipping around sound proofed floors and walls through ‘flanking’ transmission.
There are two types of noise pollution:
Airborne noise, which travels through the atmosphere and passes through walls, floors and ceilings, all of which will cut out some of the noise, but to reduce the effect of ‘airborne’ noise further, you will need to add barriers of different density. Ideally, introduce a barrier of mass, then a dampening cavity and then another barrier of mass. You could add a false wall, ceiling or floor to create intervening space and fill that space with acoustic quilting. An easier more practical solution would be to add a single composite product, such as acoustic screedboards.
Impact noise, which is sound that arises from materials banging against each other to cause vibration that then passes on through the materials themselves; like shoes banging on floors, doors slamming or chairs being dragged. The building structure vibrates carrying the sound waves through to other areas of the property. Reduce ‘impact’ noise by intervening at source by adding (‘decoupled’) materials to absorb vibration before it reaches the building’s structural fabric such as walls and floors. In this instance the denser the better and we would recommend our range of DECKfon ScreedBoards© and/or DECKfon Ultramat.
Many people experience a combination of both types of noise, especially when living in multi-dwelling properties with noisy neighbours. Our acoustic ScreedBoards and Deckfon help you address both types of noise, and also in compliance with Part E regulations.
What is flanking noise/transmission?
Flanking noise is sound transmitted indirectly through materials that form the construction of a property, and most typically originates as ‘impact’ noise vibrating along. across and then through the fabric of a building. Noise will travel via paths of least resistance, so it is especially a problem where walls are lightweight and not dense, which is why building regulations now stipulate ‘correct’ density blocks in the construction of modern flats and multi-occupied buildings.
The best way to prevent flanking noise is to fill empty areas, or intervene in the connection between the different fabrics of a building, by using an acoustic barrier. So for example, acoustic quilting in voids such as between ceiling joists, filling gaps in walls with an acoustic sealant and importantly, using perimeter edging such as our Yelefon FS30, to separate hardwood flooring from surrounding walls.
How is sound measured?
Sound is measured in decibels (dBs). A decibel is one unit on a logarithmic decibel scale. 130 decibels is considered a threshold above-which noise is considered potentially painful. And continued exposure over 85 dBs can result in hearing damage.
Example sounds to decibels: A jet taking off and at some rock concerts can exceed 130 dBs. Road drilling is around 120 decibels. A phone typically rings at 80 dBs. Conversation tends to happen at 60 dBs. A quiet library will emit around 40 dBs.
A difference of 10 dBs is significant and can amount to a 50% reduction in noise due to the logarithmic scale of decibel measurement, but it depends where on the noise level you are starting. Higher numbers are more difficult to achieve. Be wary of claims to reduce large amounts of decibels. For example cutting over 40 dBs would be very challenging.
Putting acoustic quilt insulation into wall cavities, which builders suggest fixes everything, will probably only reduce sound by 3-4 dBs. Not that much really! Using foam as a barrier will provide less than 2 dB difference. What you require for effective sound insulation is denser materials as a sound barrier.
What places can be entry points for noise?
- Single glazed windows and the framing areas around them.
- Entry holes for services like wiring or plumbing
- Any gaps or holes in interior walls, or un-mortared joints.
- Chimney flues crossing multiple floors
- Solid floors with no isolating voids in between.
- Or hard floor finishes laid straight onto floor boards
- Cavity inner walls built with lightweight thermally insulated materials
You may find the products you need to eradicate noise pollution in your home at https://acousticfloorinsulation.co.uk But if you have a complex or unusual situation, we’d recommend you speak directly to our partners at Cellecta on 01634 292277.