Soundproofing floors and ceilings

Depending on your floor type, you may need to add extra soundproofing to keep excess noise from travelling throughout your house. Carpet with underlay normally does a decent job, but in some cases more substantial solutions are needed.

Soundproofing with sand

In some older houses you can use a very cheap material to soundproof your floor. After a few modifications sand can be poured between the joists and does a very good job of insulating against the transmission of sound waves. To prepare the joists you should nail softwood battens to the sides of the floor joists and sit a layer of plywood on top of them. Layer the plywood with plastic (polythene) and then pour about a 50mm layer of dry sand on top of the polythene. The soundproofing is complete. However, sand can get heavy so you should consult a surveyor first to check the structure can handle the extra weight.

Soundproofing with an insulated floating floor

A mineral-fibre insulating blanket is put between the joists of your floor, and then plasterboard is placed over the top. For added sound insulation a second layer of plasterboard can be placed just above the mineral-fibre blanket, before replacing the floorboards.

Soundproofing with independent ceilings

If access to the floor is difficult, you may consider soundproofing the ceiling below instead. Or, if you have noisy neighbours living in a flat above, this can help dampen their inconsiderate noise.

Proprietary suspended-grid system

A proprietary suspended-grid system is a relatively simple way to soundproof. These look similar to the square grid suspended ceilings you get in many office buildings, with wires fixed to the ceiling holding up a plastic frame, into which squares of light weight acoustic panels are placed. You put a layer of thick fibre blanket between the original ceiling and the suspended layer for extra sound insulation.

Soundproofing with an independent timber frame

You should attach hangers or battens to your wall and then fix new joists to them. This will create the new lowered ceiling. Next place thick insulation on the joists and then place a polythene moisture layer over the bottom of the joists. Finish by nailing plasterboard to the underside of the joists and seal any gaps. Using two layers of plasterboard will add additional sound insulation.

If you have noisy neighbours living above or below you and they will not be courteous and lower their noise, then the above solutions should help dampen then noise.

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