You’ve spent a lot of time and money renovating your house to perfection, and it’s looking great.
And then suddenly you hear your neighbours.
You try to ignore it, but you soon realise you have a real problem on your hands. Maybe you didn’t soundproof properly or maybe the renovations made things worse somehow. Maybe you start to get really annoyed with how inconsiderate the neighbours are, playing their music that loud all of a sudden.
All you know is that the noise is so frustrating you’re even considering moving house, just to get away from it all. What else can you do? You can’t live with the noise and it’s too late to tear down all your renovations and start over…
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater
It’s understandable you’d feel frustrated after trying so hard to improve your home only to find you’re more uncomfortable than ever. For many people, moving to escape noise is the last-ditch attempt to get some peace and quiet again.
Working as long as we have in the soundproofing industry, we’ve definitely known people to move to try to solve their noise problem. In fact, moving may make sense if the noise is just one issue of many, and the house you’re in is not your “forever home”, whether it’s in an inconvenient location or not quite big enough.
However, if you’re considering moving from an otherwise perfect home because of the noise alone, there is another option – soundproofing. And the truth is that unless you move to a completely detached house, there’s a chance you’re still going to hear your neighbours in the new house, too.
But how effective is soundproofing? I’ve heard it doesn’t work!
Realistically, if you live in an attached home, you will at some point hear your neighbours. And sometimes, renovations can actually make noise problems worse. However, soundproofing installed using the 4-step method is an effective way to completely restore your peace and quiet.
So how do I reduce the noise to this level or better?
You may have already treated the direct path of the noise by soundproofing the party wall alone, thinking that this would be enough. But if so, you’ve only actually done 1 of the 4 steps required to get a truly noise-free home.
Successful soundproofing is not just about treating the party wall. It involves finding and addressing the main cause of the problem such as a poor renovation using the wrong materials, holes in the structure beneath the floorboards or something fundamentally wrong with the construction.
This is step number 1. If you don’t address the main cause of the problem first, there’s no doubt you’ll still hear an uncomfortable level of noise from the neighbours, no matter what you do.
Step number 2 is treating the direct noise path… which is what everyone in the soundproofing industry is trying to sell you. We know you hear noise from the separating party wall, and there’s no doubt that you’ll need a separating party wall system using the right products specific to your unwanted noise. It’s also important to treat the alcoves and fire back (area at the back of the fire feature) on the separating party wall.
Step number 3 is to treat the indirect noise paths. Having soundproofed hundreds of homes in the last 15 years, we know that in most cases, the indirect noise paths are actually louder than the direct noise paths of the separating party wall. The indirect noise paths will be those flanking areas such as the floor, ceiling, RSJs, loft, window walls, and chimney stacks. Sound is a wave that travels not just in one straight path, but all through a house’s structure. For an effective soundproofing attempt, you have to treat all areas where the unwanted noise can enter your home.
Finally, step number 4 is to address the fixtures and fittings. These are plug sockets, light switches, fire features, coving, recessed down lighters, skirting, architrave, doors, shelving, TV brackets, finished flooring and pictures – and they must all be fitted back in a way that won’t compromise the soundproofing investment.
If you follow each of these 4 steps, you’ll rediscover your peaceful home, you’ll feel settled and comfortable, and you won’t ever think of moving again.
So, does that mean even more disruption?
We know that having to consider doing more work on your home when you’ve just completed expensive renovations is not a great feeling. But in our experience, the best thing to do is own it! Accept that you made the best decision you could with the knowledge you had at the time, but that the situation is far from hopeless, and you have options to fix the problem.
Noisy gadgets, modern living, more people working from home or on irregular shift patterns – the fact is that we are dealing with noise problems now more than ever. To make things worse, modern building methods and materials mean that the vast majority of UK homes are not sufficiently soundproofed, and will need additional treatment at some point.
We can take some advice from the Stoics here: there are things in life we can’t control, and things we can, and it’s best to focus on the latter. Thankfully, noise is something you have control over. Unlike the weather, a virus pandemic, or a change in government legislation, how much noise enters your home is something you can certainly control.
Yes, soundproofing is an investment and it will cause a few weeks’ temporary disruption. But we think it’s worth it – and it may well cost less than moving house! If you’re ready to take proactive steps to improve your comfort and wellbeing at home, get in touch, and we’ll show you how.