Introduction

 

In this guide, we will give you guidance on how to soundproof a wall. We want to make sure you feel comfortable with the terminology we use, the best course of action to take with intrusive noise issues which can be applicable to all sorts of building types and a navigation around our website which will take you to further reading on particular areas regarding soundproofing - this is highly effective in giving you the knowledge to start your path into soundproofing.

We have a handy FAQ section which we have collected from our customers, questions we are asked on a daily basis that may help you. If you feel like something can be added that you would like to see here, please do get in contact with us - we want to make sure all of our customers are happy with the informative we provide.

All of our headings in our content are clickable, and will take you to that part of the document. If you want to return to the contents, we have a red button in the bottom left corner that will take you back to the top.

 

Contents

Creating Quieter Spaces Together, our Ethos

A brief explanation of sound

How soundproofing works

A Noise Checklist

Flanking Transmission

FAQs

Helping to budget for your project

What soundproofing options you have available

What we do for you

Where to now?

 

Creating Quieter Spaces Together

Our mission statement is simple, to bring everyone together to create quieter spaces – whether you are a home-owner, an architect, a start-up business or builder, we can help.

We want to work alongside you to bring back peace and quiet to your life.

Call iKoustic today to see how we can help – 01937 588 226

 

A brief explanation of sound

Sound is made up of a broad spectrum of frequencies which are created by vibrations; when you tap your foot, when you close the door, when you hum a tune – all of these create vibrations that result in the sound you hear and process.

Depending on the frequency of sound the lower the sound is in pitch, the more energy it contains and the more likely it is to travel in all directions and through a range of materials (this could be brick or block work for example)

We have provided a more in-depth description of sound in our 'A Guide to Sound'

If we take a 3-way speaker box for example (3 speakers, one above another), we can relate this to how we listen to music. We will help to put it into context with everyday sounds and instruments we may find in these areas and how problematic they can be acoustically

You can find some audio examples under each heading below, just press play.

 

 

Tweeter (High Frequency)

 

 

This small domed speaker at the top reproduces high frequency waves, high pitched in sound and is often at the top as most designers will aim to have it closer to head height. The reasons for this is that the high frequency noise is very directional (less likely to travel equally in all directions) because of the energy it contains, it doesn’t travel very far. If you put your speakers on and move into the next room, you will most likely hear that the higher pitched noises are experienced far less than the lower frequencies.

This means that the energy we spoke about, will find it harder to move through dense materials, a brick wall or a plasterboard for example.

  • 4khz – 20khz (Kilohertz)
  • Examples of high frequency;
    • Voice (especially in sibilance which consists of the wooshing and hissing sounds of speech, say the line She Sells Sea Shells by the Sea Shore, lots of sibilance in this example)
    • Drum cymbals, high end of guitar
    • A micro-wave completion tone (the beeps once it has completed)
    • Whistling

Mid-Range (Mid-range Frequency)

 

 

This middle-sized speaker, also in the middle of the speaker reproduces the broadest range of frequencies, therefore contains the body of most sounds we hear. The lower we come down in direction of Mid-range, the more omnidirectional (sound travelling in all directions) it becomes. It contains more energy than higher frequency noises and on the lower spectrum, can still be readily heard through a range of materials – with some being dimmed the higher we go.

  • 250hz (Hertz) to 4khz (Kilohertz)
  • Examples of middle frequency;
    • Voice can start off at around 250hz
    • Brass instruments
    • Hand percussion
    • Television

Bass (Low Frequency)

 

 

This speaker you will notice as larger of the three, this is because it needs to move an incredible amount of air, which produces large wave-forms, and this results in an increased amount of sound energy which is omnidirectional, meaning that this sound will travel through a vast array of surfaces and materials, it can sound like it is coming from everywhere, which in most cases – it is.

An example of this would be hearing a party happening in the distance, you will always hear the thudding of a kick drum or a bass line.

  • 20hz -250hz (Hertz)
  • Examples of Low Frequency
    • Kick drum
    • Voice (this can be both male and female) creating muffled experience through a wall
    • Cooker or microwave humming
    • Washing machine or other appliances in operation

You will want to look at the next section as a way of surveying the noise and the path to tackling certain noise issues

 

How soundproofing works

Soundproofing works through the physical properties of mass, spring/suspension and absorption, which means that the best acoustic system would have;

 

A heavy weight to reflect the sound (Mass)

An element of elasticity, spring or (Separation)

 Absorption quality in all adjacent cavities (Absorption)

 

When reviewing soundproofing, it is important to note that noise issues are never completely blocked, the best reduction is when the noise issues reach a background noise level, this is as sound travels in multiple directions and through different parts of your building (see flanking below). You can find a more in-depth discussion on our Science of Soundproofing page, there is also a very handy dB graph here of different noise levels for guidance.

When looking at your soundproofing options, you will often see acoustic results which should always be displayed with an acoustic system in place. An acoustic system would always include the partition, this being a stud wall, brick wall, concrete wall and the acoustic soundproofing materials in place - you would not have testing results on an individual product.

One example we come across is direct board options in the region of 45-50dB, please note that this will include the partition - where a heavyweight brickwall may be providing around 40dB of reduction, and the board potentially 5-10dB reduction. We display wherever possible our breakdown of partitions in our performance data.

Another important note is that soundproofing materials and systems are relative to the logarithmic scale, which means adding the same system twice, measuring 10dB - would not result in 20dB overall.

 

A noise checklist

We want to make sure you have everything you need to progress on to the next stage, whether this is deciding to go ahead with the project, to ask iKoustic for a quotation or to place an order – we will help each step of the way.
 

  1. Listen to what noises you hear, is it conversation, TV, doors slamming or footsteps for example. Or a combination of noises?
  2. Are noise issues one of the options below?
    1. Inaudible or background level, so when you are in your room, typical noises mask this noise issue.
    2. Muffled, you can make out there is certainly a noise – but you wouldn’t be able to tell what it is, or what words they are saying.
    3. Clear, you can tell what the noise is and hear words for example, clearly.
  3. Are some noises more problematic than others?
  4. Is there any Flanking noise? (See next section for a brief description or click on the word Flanking noise)
  5. Feel the surfaces, can you feel any vibration coming through?
  6. Take notes from anything you notice above, it will help visualise the issue
     

As sound is subjective, what may affect you more than others could be perhaps the slamming of a door, or a washing machine that seems to shake the whole house – but a conversation may not bother you.

 

Flanking Transmission

Another term you will regularly come across is Flanking (Sound, Transmission, Path) and what this essentially means is that in a wall construction, there will usually be multiple paths that the sound may travel through, below are some examples that could be in your home or workplace.

You can view this under our ‘A Guide to Flanking Transmission’.

We would recommend carrying out a small home test using an open end of a glass to every surface in the room and the base pressed against your ear whilst a sound is being conducted

 

 

FAQs

This section contains Frequently Asked Questions by our customers, and how to tackle them.

Q: Do I need to soundproof my entire wall?

A: If you think of sound like water, it would be like boarding up to a certain point on a floor and then pouring water on it - it would flow through the open area. We always recommend treating the entire wall to make sure you gain the best acoustic performance

 

Q: I have a chimney breast; do I need to treat the front and side of the chimney breast?

A: Not always, some customers gain great results with soundproofing just the alcoves, but we would recommend carrying out an easy home test, take an open end of a glass and press the opening against each surface, if there is noise in the chimney breast there will still be sound leakage through this area.

 

Q: But my chimney breast is in use, what can I do?

A: If it is in use and needs to remain in use, we would not be able to use soundproofing in this area, sound will also continue to come from the opening. If you are wanting to block it off to gain the best soundproofing we would recommend speaking to a damp specialist to make sure it is okay – then we can look at options beyond there, we can still help you price this if you are considering this as an option.

 

Q: Can I hang my tv, pictures or any fitted furniture off the soundproofing?

A: We would always advise to avoid these fixtures if possible, especially if the surface holds any stereo styles, as the low frequencies could be passed through. The more you can minimize fixtures, the better acoustic performance you will gain.

 

Q: I have coving, what can I do to keep this?

A: Coving would always need to be removed when soundproofing, if you find yourself going up to the bottom, you are leaving a large gap for the sound to continue to pass through. Coving can be replaced after, but there is a possibility this can affect performance.

 

Q: What do I do about my electrical sockets?

A: We have three options available, scales from best option to less best option.

  1. Ask an electrician to bring the socket to another wall you are not soundproofing
  2. Cut a small hole in the soundproofing and pull only the wire through for surface mounted sockets (we would recommend our Socket Box Inserts)
  3. Sit the socket flush into the soundproofing, this will cut a sizable hole into the soundproofing for sound to come through (we would recommend our Socket Box Inserts) although this does not replace the soundproofing lost in the cutting

 

Q: Are your products suitable for Part E Building Regulations?

A: All our products are suitable for Part E Building Regulations, if the right systems are put in place – we can provide guidance on what to use in certain situations and estimated figures you can expect. We can only provide a guided figure but not an absolute as there are multiple variances that can affect results – if somebody is offering you a guarantee, do take caution. Speak to iKoustic for Part E Building Regulations.

 

Q: Can I install the products myself?

A: Of course, we do recommend you have some experience in joinery or dry lining DIY – we provide installation sheets and guidance over the phone. If not, we offer an experienced Acoustic Installation team to cover the UK.

 

Helping to budget for your project

By budget, we are weighing up three variables that all directly have an impact on the efficiency of the soundproofing;

 

The cost

The space lost

The performance

 

As these all go hand in hand, our best performing wall soundproofing system is our GenieClip System Stud Double Plus, this as an example is our premium costed option which does come into the room at 150mm but will have the highest reduction of noise across a range of noise issues.

You may want to take some time to talk with us about your options, having a budget in mind helps us point you in the right direction with coming up with the most effective solution.

 

What soundproofing options do I have available?

We supply a full range of wall soundproofing options to help tailor to most budgets, we will break our options down below and give you a brief description.

About our Performance, Cost and Thickness below, it is marked on a scale of 1-10, 1 being the lowest, 10 being the highest. You can play around with the different options to see what works for you, all details such as; estimated reduction (with the best used environments) acoustic test results and space lost.

 

MuteBoard™ Direct Systems

Performance: 3-5

Cost: 3-6

Thickness: 2-3 (up to 30mm loss of space)

 

Performance Description

iKoustic’s MuteBoard direct range below are great for light house hold noise and reduction – if noise issues such as conversation and light tv are heard on a muffled level and you are looking to reduce this down to a background noise level – these are perfect for homes and businesses.

For more information and systems these products are incorporated into, please see our guides below.

Data Sheets

Installation Information

A Guide to Understanding Acoustic Test Results

 

 

MuteBoard™ Stud Systems

Performance: 4-6

Cost: 3-6

Thickness:  (80mm – 130mm, all depending on stud frame used)

 

Performance Description

iKoustic’s MuteBoard series can also be applied to a stud frame to improve acoustic performance and reduce noise in your home or workplace, where you have a little more space to lose, but not enough to move up to the GenieClip System – this is perfect.

  • Reduces Raised conversation
  • Reduces Raised TV noise
  • Reduces Kitchen appliances in use

For more information and systems these products are incorporated into, please see our guides below.

 

 

Data Sheets

Installation Information

A Guide to Understanding Acoustic Test Results

 

 

 

MuteClip® System

Performance: 6-9

Budget Range: 6-8

Thickness: 4-8 (60mm – 180mm, all depending on stud frame used)

 

Performance Description

iKoustic’s MuteClip® System is a variety of components put together to assemble premium performance system for soundproofing a wall, what this means is that you achieve a high reduction of sound suitable for reducing common household and workplace noise, to raised music levels and impact noises from a few examples below.

  • Noisy neighbours
  • Recording and broadcasting studios
  • Pub/Bar
  • Gyms

 

Data Sheets

Installation Information

A Guide to Understanding Acoustic Test Results

 

 

 

What we do for you

Free and friendly over the phone advice on your project

Free material design and product guidance on what best to use

Free quotation and quote alterations

Price match guarantee on all comparable products

Free installation guidance

Site Visits (this will be chargeable and will reflect your location and project)

Acoustic Design

Experienced Acoustic Installation Team (this will be chargeable and reflect your location and project)

 

 

 

Where to now?

You have made it this far, do get in contact with us we would love to hear from you and how we can help.

To help us, you will want to gather;

  • Any plans you may have had of the build
  • Dimensions of the wall
    • Can include chimney breast, we would need each individual measurement
    • Any small alcoves
    • Taking measurements from floor to ceiling
  • Any images, this can help us detect any more potential issues
     

If you have any questions about our website, you can chat online with us be clicking on the box on the bottom right, if we are not in – leave us a message and we will get back to you!

 

View More