The problem with soundproofing a home
Imagine for a moment that you’ve had a hard few weeks at work. You’ve been working on a huge project, in back-to-back meetings, working every hour possible to pull it off. And finally, you’ve done it. You collapse into bed on Friday night, relishing the idea of a much overdue lie in, only to be woken at the crack of dawn by shouts from the children next door. As they bang up and down the stairs, you realise there’s no hope of getting back to sleep. It’s a familiar scene in terraced and semi-detached homes up and down the country.
Soundproofing a home is the only real viable solution to this problem, other than moving to a detached house in a remote area. But let’s be honest here, soundproofing a room, or your home is also a significant investment. You’ve also probably heard of cases where someone has had soundproofing fitted only to find that it doesn’t work. What sane person would spend their hard-earned cash on a solution that might not even get results?
And you’re right to have concerns. Unfortunately, there are plenty of soundproofing installers and suppliers out there with little understanding of how sound travels around a home. For example, dealing with the noise from your neighbours on the surface seems relatively straightforward. Soundproof the party wall you share with them, and the problem’s solved, right?
Actually, no. Party wall soundproofing will only be sufficient in a handful of cases. You see, this assumes that the noise is only travelling via this one path. In truth, there are three other noise paths to consider. But when installers deal with all four paths, then the results of soundproofing your home are excellent – life changing, even.
The case of Alexa and the semi-detached home
But how bad can the noise really be in our homes? Is it not just a case of learning to live with it, accepting that it’s a part of life?
When one of our customers first got in touch with us about the noise they were experiencing in their home, we investigated. We hired an independent company to conduct a UKAS-accredited sound insulation test on the separating party wall. This is the wall shared with their next-door neighbours.
For these purposes, we measure the amount of sound PREVENTED from being transmitted. The measurements are in dB DnT, W+ Ctr and the higher the number, the better. There are regulations about this in the UK, and they require an average score of at least 45dB DnT, W+ Ctr. To give you an idea of what this means, at 50dB DnT, W+ Ctr, you will probably still be able to make out words and follow conversations that are happening next door, even though this is above what the regulations require.
However, it’s important to understand that even with an incredible wall system soundproofing the party wall and achieving a laboratory tested rating of 70dB RW, you may still hear noise from neighbours. This is especially true if you have not treated the suspended floor void, ceiling void, or other holes in the structure.
But let’s get back to our customer. The independent company found that our client’s party wall had a sound insulation value of 47dB DnT, W+ Ctr, 2dB above the requirements. To demonstrate what this meant, we visited the next-door neighbour’s house and stood in their dining room on the other side of the party wall. From here, we could turn on our client’s smart speaker. You can see a demonstration of this in the video. We don’t feel this is an acceptable level of noise in a home.
Why soundproofing a home has become necessary
But why is it we now experience so much noise from our neighbours? Most people recognise that this is much more likely to happen in modern homes. Often they blame “thin walls”. However, it is more to do with modern building methods. One of the biggest offenders is “dot and dab” plasterboarding. This creates a void behind the plasterboard, allowing sound to travel along walls and into the building’s infrastructure.
But this is no longer a problem that is limited to newer housing. As builders renovate and re-plaster older homes, they use these same methods. We also make all kinds of adjustments to our home, including things like installing recessed spotlights. Installing these lights creates new holes, providing additional pathways for the noise to enter your home.
As time goes on, more and more houses transmit noise from the neighbouring house, leaving us feeling unable to escape and find some peace and quiet. While we are passionate about regulation being introduced to stop this, right now, the only real option for dealing with it is soundproofing. Whether you tackle the entire house or focus on key rooms is entirely up to you.
The results after our 4 step method of soundproofing
Let’s return to our client. After the assessment, we got to work using our unique 4-step method of soundproofing. This meant treating all the different pathways the noise was travelling along, rather than just focusing on party wall insulation alone.
When the company returned to carry out another sound insulation test, they discovered that the party wall now had a rating of 62dB DnT, w+ Ctr. That equates to a 15dB reduction in noise from next door. If you’re unfamiliar with sound measurements, that may not sound much. However, 10dB is equivalent to halving the sound level, so this was a significant reduction. In fact, it was a 139.61% reduction in the pressure level of sound.
Needless to say, our customers were happy with their new and improved peaceful home. But that doesn’t mean that all soundproofing companies will get the same level of results. Most only focus on one noise path, which in this case would have been the party wall. Meanwhile, the noise will still travel along other indirect routes. But our 4-step method is not the only thing that makes us different.
Why Quietco is different when it comes to soundproofing
Many of our customers come to us after having already carried out some type of soundproofing work. Understandably, they are sceptical. Quietco, therefore, works hard to build trust with new customers. Here are just some ways in which we do this:
- YouTube channel with videos showing before & after soundproofing
- Article in the Sunday Times
- Blogs with case studies offering plenty of advice
- #1 Amazon Best Seller book; The Noise Free Home, available on Amazon, WH Smiths and Waterstones
- Published UKAS test data of actual homes (not a clever box trick)
- Numerous awards, including UK Innovation & Excellence award
- Thousands of happy customers
- Give you 50 homeowners contact details who have soundproofed their homes with Quietco
- Use the highest quality materials on the market
- We have tested our products at institutes like Birmingham University
- Have a four-step soundproofing method ensuring nothing is missed
- We care and are passionate about solving your noise problem
If you’re unsure whether soundproofing your home will work, we encourage you to use that list of our previous customers. You will be able to call any of those fifty homeowners and ask them about their experience.
The first step, however, is booking a free noise diagnosis. During this consultation, you’ll discover the cause of your noise problem and can then decide where you want to go from there. Simply get in touch with us here to take that first step towards a quiet home.