Peace and quiet is becoming a priority for many of our clients and we are being asked to provide solutions for sound control in their homes.
Whether it’s from shielding outside noise such as traffic and alarms, or in semi-detached and terraced homes sounds from neighbouring houses, or minimising the sound levels from washing machines, TVs, which can be an issue with today’s open plan living arrangements, noise pollution is a problem we can all relate to.
We had a client who had a terraced property whose bedroom and living room backed on to the bedroom and living room of her next door neighbours, and they had a TV mounted on the party wall of both rooms. Our client could clearly hear the next-door neighbour’s TV and there was little escape. We installed some sound board, which is acoustic plasterboard; in both rooms along the neighbouring wall and the result was an almost total soundproofing. Fitting this kind of board is similar to internally insulating your walls and you will need to replace skirtings and cornicing. Acoustic panels would also alleviate this problem. These can be purchased or made up using fabric with an insulated backing.
Some form of sound proofing for a utility space is a good idea particularly if it is off an open-plan kitchen and family area. A good option here if you are starting from scratch is to opt for building the walls in blockwork rather than timber stud or alternatively you could add a layer of sound board to dampen noise.
For peaceful bedrooms make sure your door is good and solid. Hollow core doors offer little noise protection. Switching them to a solid door will make a huge difference. Make sure your windows are double glazed at least. Triple glazing has come down considerably in price and is really worth considering if you live in a noisy area or on a busy road. And a heavy duty interlining for your curtains coupled with a triple layer blackout lining will not only significantly reduce the noise but help to create the perfect sleeping environment.
It you have timber floors on an upper floor in your home you can have an acoustic underlay installed. This is what is used in apartments and does help with dampening the sound of footsteps but a good additional measure is to lay rugs to minimise noise.
Another issue for many clients are pumps for showers, in particular pressurised systems which activate the pump any time a tap is used or a toilet flushed. The issue here is to carefully consider where you place the pump, ideally keep it away from bedrooms and sound-insulate the cupboard that it is housed in. We have constructed an external pump house for clients that worked very well.
But if all of this sounds like too much disruption, do as my Mum did to eliminate the constant sound of sport on television and purchase a set of headphones for the TV viewer. Or take it one step further and invest in a set of noise cancelling headphones, not very sociable but peace and quiet is guaranteed.