Home renovations and soundproofing
Many people these days, choose the home renovation route rather than going through the hassle and cost of moving home. But one of the issues you might face, particularly in a semi-detached home, is noise from neighbours. So, when you get the builders in to build an extension, knock through a wall, or complete any other form of home renovation you might also consider getting them to do a bit of home soundproofing. It kills two birds with one stone – you get the home improvements you want and you reduce noise coming from next door. But is soundproofing something your builder can help you with?
Will my builder be able to soundproof my home during my home renovation?
Before we get into the details, let’s consider how a builder offering a home renovation is likely to proceed with soundproofing a home. If it’s noise from neighbours that is causing the issue, they are likely to tackle the party wall. If the sound is coming from the other side of that wall, then it would make sense to treat this.
The builder would then visit his hardware store. He is most likely to purchase soundproofing plasterboard to cover the party wall. He’ll apply this with what is known as the ‘dot and dab’ method, or he will use battens insulated with insulation before skimming it with a thin layer of plaster to give it a finished look. The wall will then be ready for decorating.
Of course, this will depend on what noise they are treating and the type of property. However, this tends to be the most common noise problem treated with soundproofing materials.
The problem with this approach
While your builder might be exceptionally competent at home renovation, it’s important to remember that they are not a soundproofing expert. Unfortunately, the methods they use are perfectly acceptable within the building trade, but don’t work well with soundproofing. In fact, they are very unlikely to deal with the noise issue and can, in fact, leave you with more noise disturbance than you originally had.
The first issue is the area that is treated. It is common for people to assume that the party wall alone is responsible. After all, it’s the most direct path to the noise from the neighbours. However, there are four different noise paths. Dealing with only the one path, treats only a small percentage of the problem.
The second problem comes with the building method of applying plasterboard with the ‘dot and dab’ technique. This is now used in home renovations and new builds. However, it leaves a void behind the plasterboard. Sound can then travel and transmit through this space. If your house was constructed before plasterboarding was used in this way, then installing party wall insulation this way, actually risks an increase in the amount of noise that you hear from your neighbours rather than reducing it. Unfortunately, modern building methods are different to those needed with soundproofing installation. This is why many people experience more noise in modern homes.
Why choose a soundproofing specialist rather than a builder?
When you hire soundproofing specialists you get experts who understand how noise travels and the building methods needed to ensure the soundproofing materials work.
The first difference to note is that they will conduct a noise consultation. At Quietco we use our four-step soundproofing method to identify all the noise paths. This includes main causes of noise such as missing bricks, the direct path (party wall), indirect paths, (flanking walls, floors, ceilings) and your fixtures and fittings (lights, skirting etc.).
It is only once this consultation is done that a solution can be designed. For example, it might be that the flanking walls (those perpendicular to the party wall) might be transmitting noise. In this case, these would need treating as well as the party wall. Alternatively, there might be an issue with your fixtures and fittings. Sunken spotlights, for example, are often fitted during a home renovation, but they are also a common cause of increased noise in a home. Quietco will share with you your options and come up with a solution that best suits you and your home.
Once a plan is agreed, soundproofing specialists such as us, can then get to work installing your soundproofing solutions.
This can involve much more work than just sticking a few soundproof plasterboards up. In some cases, these may require ‘tucking down’ into the floor space, and ‘tucking up’ to the ceiling. Extras such as this ensure that not only are all noise paths treated, but they are also done well, eliminating as much noise as possible. Plus, because we offer a full service, we also have a team of experts who ensure everything is fitted and redecorated without compromising the soundproofing.
Soundproofing specialists or local home renovation builder? The choice is yours
If you’re looking to soundproof a room, then it is your choice whether you choose to use specialists or a builder. However, while the builder may save you some money in the short term, it risks leaving you with more noise than when you started.
Plus, Quietco offer a free noise diagnosis call. We’ll advise you on the most effective way to deal with your noise issue. You have nothing to lose and might even save yourself from spending money on solutions that won’t work.
To find out more or book your free noise diagnosis call, get in touch here.