How to soundproof your flat from nuisance noise above

How to soundproof your flat from nuisance noise above

Anyone who lives in a flat is going to hear some noise from properties above, below and to the side. But what do you do when it all gets too much, and it starts affecting your life?

With property prices at a record high and a shortage of available homes, especially in major cities and popular tourist hotspots, it is no surprise that flats or apartments have grown in prominence in recent decades.

Many older properties, such as large Victorian townhouses or former office buildings, are now being converted to create flats, often very well equipped and marketed as a ‘high specification’.

However, given the number of enquiries we receive from the owners of flats, the levels of acoustic insulation stipulated by the Building Regulations for separating floors and walls is clearly not always sufficient.

This can have a devastating impact on the health and wellbeing of flat owners and tenants who suffer as a result of not being able to sleep well and feeling anxious in their own private space, where they expect to be able to relax.

If you are in this situation, the good news is that you can take steps to resolve the noise problems. Hush Acoustics offers a wide range of products that can be combined to reduce the amount of airborne and impact sound that transmits between the floors and walls.

Impact noise, such as footsteps on a hard floor and the sound of furniture being moved, is best treated from the floor side, which we appreciate is not always possible.

Reducing airborne sound requires a combination of all elements in the equation of the floor structure that is allowing sound to transfer. The aim is to add mass to the floor structure by using the correct acoustic products, but also create separation. Without separation, sound will always find its way through the structure very easily through mechanical connections – it is crucial, therefore, to break these mechanical connections, such as by installing a lowered acoustic ceiling.

The key to unlocking their potential of the acoustic solutions available from Hush Acoustics to dramatically improve your home life is to start by answering these 10 questions.

1. Do you know if the owner of the flat above will be willing to insulate the floor?
This is a crucial consideration. It is possible to add acoustic insulation to the ceiling side only, but the most effective approach is to treat both sides.

So, if you can get the owner of the flat above to cooperate, that will allow you to achieve the best outcome – which leads us to a few further considerations with regard to the floor.

2. Assuming the owner of the flat above will work with you to achieve a solution, do you know what the floor finishes are on their floors?
The type of the floor finish will determine which type of insulation products will need to be applied. Is it tiled, carpeted, laminate, wooden or something else?

3. Do you know what height increase would be acceptable for the upper floor?
Every acoustic floor treatment will add to the ‘build up’ or depth as you will be adding new layers to the existing. Some treatments are barely noticeable, but every type will reduce the floor to ceiling height and the interface with the floors in other areas of the property will need to be considered – i.e. matching the levels or a slight difference.

So, we need to know what additional thickness the other property owner will accept before proposing a solution.

4. What is the floor structure between your flat and the property above?
This might not be an easy one to answer, but there is a big difference between the way we treat a timber joisted floor and a concrete or masonry floor. Any insights here are useful at an early stage.

5. Do you know how the ceiling is constructed within your own property?
If you live in a relatively modern property, chances are the ceiling construction will be relatively straightforward and easy to treat. But with older properties, particularly those with ceilings complete with ornate features, adding acoustic insulation may need a different approach.

6. What floor-to-ceiling height can you afford to lose in your property?
As with the floor treatment, adding an acoustic ceiling to an existing will add depth to the ceiling construction to create that all-important separation. So think about how much room height you are prepared to lose.

7. What is the wall structure that form the areas you want to treat?
Sound waves will always find a way to pass through a structure and one of the ways that an acoustic floor/ceiling construction can be undermined is by ignoring the surrounding walls.
The floor and ceiling treatments will need acoustic perimeter seals, but we may need to look more closely at the walls.

8. What lighting is in your property?
Adding an acoustic ceiling will mean moving or refitting your ceiling lights, which in many cases is relatively straightforward, but may be more of an issue in certain situations.

The type of lighting will affect the performance of the acoustic ceiling. For instance, with down lights, more holes are cut in the ceiling structure compared with a simple pendant, and these additional holes will transmit more sound.

9. Do you need a supply and installation, complete service, or supply only?
Hush Acoustics provides a full service from manufacturing to installation, but we also work on a supply only basis if you would prefer to use your own local installer. The right approach is purely down to personal preference.

10. What are the measurements of your room(s)?
The final but most important question – how big is your room or multiple rooms?

Moving forward for a happier home
The more answers you can provide prior to the design and quotation stage, the more accurate a quote we can provide. This will allow you to make informed decisions about how to move forward and achieve the soundproofing upgrade you need.

Hush Acoustics has been designing and manufacturing soundproofing products in the UK for more than 30 years, so they have a wide range of products that can be effectively combined whatever the acoustic challenge.

To find out more and request a quote please contact Hush via their website or call 0114 551 8685.

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About Hush Acoustics Hush Acoustics have designed and manufactured high performance acoustic products and systems for over 30 years. They are one of the longest established acoustic solutions specialists in the United Kingdom. Hush provide a...
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