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Soundproofing a new build semi-detached house

When soundproofing a new build semi-detached house you will not get the full benefit of the soundproofed upstairs room…..until you have treated the downstairs.

The noise problem

The problem was noisy neighbours coming from the attached property.

Our clients home is a new build construction consisting of light weight thermalite blocks followed by the ‘dot and dab’ plasterboard system. Uninsulated chipboard floors, poorly insulated stud walls and the usual yellow loft insulation. The chipboard floor boards made connections with all the block work walls and the skirting then touched the chipboard flooring too. As usual no attention has been made to soundproofing this new build property

Our client was being woken up by noises of pots and pans in the neighbours kitchen as well as microwave noise, phone conversations, chopping boards and general clanking in the kitchen. This is the usual new build soundproofing enquiry we receive a few times a week.

She was also experiencing hoovering noises, conversation, TV and could also make out what channel the neighbours are watching on their TV. Our Client wanted to have conversations on the phone without having to talk quietly on the other side of the house for privacy.

Consultation

After a detailed conversation on the phone our client decided to book a soundproofing consultation to understand the different approaches and techniques to soundproofing a new build semi-detached house.

If you would like to talk to us about a similar case please do not hesitate to give Quietco a call: 01926 658 638. Our technical experts will be able to understand your case and maybe give you some rough idea of costs over the phone.

In the consultation visit Quietco discussed all the areas of the property where the noise was coming from. We outlined the areas of the property that were built in such a way that they amplified the noise and also areas of the property where the noise was being channelled by the modern materials and techniques. The noise from the neighbours was being channelled straight into the bedroom area from across the entire house.

sound proofing a semi detached house

The noise from the neighbours was coming from the party wall but also the flanking walls, ceiling and floor. The noise was made worse by the use of ‘dot and dab’ plasterboard adhesive which creates a pocket of air between the blocked wall and the plasterboard.

We remove approximately two failed soundproofing attempts every month. Many of these carried out by builders, plasterers and carpenters using the modern techniques. The ‘dot and dab’ plasterboard technique using 15mm sound bloc plasterboard together with some heavily marketed products from a soundproofing suppliers seems to be the most popular techniques our company remove on a monthly basis.

With the actual cost of soundproofing a new-build semi-detached house correctly in the tens of thousands of pounds it is not surprising we are removing more and more every year. However the cost of disposing these landfill materials is also getting more expensive.

The costs of just removing a failed soundproofing attempt ranges from £530.00 to £1,800.00, this does not include all the other work of making it right.

The bedroom

We removed all the plasterboard and adhesive (dot and dab) from the conflicting bedroom wall separating the neighbours bedroom, we also removed all the light weight plasterboard from the bedroom window wall and the other wall perpendicular to the party wall, in this case the separating wall between the bathroom and main bedroom.

The uninsulated chipboard floor was also removed.

Our client decided to go for our popular TPS70W wall system on the party wall, the 3 ½ inches thick system is great for bedrooms where space loss is kept to a minimum and offers at least 70% noise reduction in airborne noise. TPS50C was fixed to the perpendicular bathroom separating wall. TPS30W was installed on the opposite window wall.

The ceiling was also treated as part of the investment and TPSP premium floating floor on the main bedroom floor. The premium soundproofed floating floor was installed to isolate the noise transmitting through the structure and mainly to tackle the low frequency and impact noises from next doors kitchen below.

During the removal of the floor we uncovered an enormous void, much larger than normal to box in ones 4 inch waste pipe. The huge void was contributing to the noise being channelled across the whole party wall and into the bedroom through the floor.

As usual our client was informed all the way through.  We filled the void as much as possible from the upstairs bedroom with the intention to treat the void and waste pipe properly a few months later when we carried out the second phase of the soundproofing renovation downstairs.

soundproof floor void

As standard we plastered the room, fitted new skirting, architrave, window sill, electrical and re-fitted the carpet so our client was only left with the decorating.

As expected during the time before the work was started downstairs, the client was still hearing the odd impact noise and low frequency noises from the neighbours. Specifically the kitchen noises were still coming through….

The lounge soundproofing Phase 2

The same building techniques had been applied downstairs with a few added ‘features’ contributing to the noise from next door. ‘Dot and dab’ plasterboard adhesive with the hollow void behind the plasterboard had been applied to the 6 metre lounge wall. This was channelling the noise towards the bedroom. We uncovered the same un-insulted stud walls, the 4 inch waste pipe void found upstairs and also hollow artificial polyurethane oak beams that allowed noise to transmit across the property.

soundproof walls

The 4 inch waste pipe was treated and boxed in correctly using our own elegant techniques which sound deaden the pipe and barriered the water and toilet noises heard in the lounge.

The stud walls were all insulated with 60kg/m3 insulation and TPS50C given that resilient layer. The main lounge wall had our trade mark floating frame TPS80W installed (now recognised by Historic England for listed buildings, perfect for those beautiful old cottages that suffer with noisy neighbours).

The Result

Here is what the customer said….

Quietco – A First Class company – it really couldn’t get any better!
I cannot praise Jim Prior and his company Quietco highly enough – he’s friendly (but business like) instantly likeable and trustworthy too. A combination of qualities we often do not see in business,  or anywhere else either! Jim takes time to explain what is needed and provides an outstanding 5 star service from the first time you make contact with him until the end of the particular piece of work. 
This is not when the actual installation is complete, but some weeks later when Jim phones for feedback on how the insulation is helping.  

Jim takes the time to establish the exact needs of the customer – recommending the appropriate products to meet that need – as opposed to trying to sell what is the most expensive. There is no ‘hard sell’ – not once did I feel pressurised to go ahead with the installation.  Throughout the whole process he provides explanations, guidance and reassurance – nothing seems too much trouble for Jim – with customer satisfaction being paramount. The meticulous attention to detail provided by him and his team is unbelievable – and goes way beyond what I would normally expect.

lounge soundproofed

Tom, Adam (and Darryl too on the bedroom installation) are brilliant  – they installed the insulation to a very high standard, minimising the disruption and going out of their way to make the whole process as easy as possible for me. As regards to having workmen in your house – they are as good as it can possibly get! Craig and Matty (plasterer and apprentice) also work to a very high standard. To finish off the whole process even carpet relaying is included in the cost.

Following two separate installations – Initially to main bedroom, then to the lounge, there has been a significant difference to my quality of life – no more whispering on the phone, worrying about the noise my little grandson makes or being disturbed late night by neighbour noise etc. The full benefit of the bedroom insulation was achieved when a downstairs wall in the lounge was treated, along with the lounge party wall and flanking walls. For the first time since I moved to this house, just over two years ago, I can truly relax – THANK YOU GUYS!!

I would not hesitate for a single second to recommend Jim Prior and Quietco – if there were more businesses like his, this country would be in a much better state!

Can we help you?

A page of 50 customers we have recently work for with their contact numbers is sent with every estimate after a detailed consultation has taken place.

If you would like to discuss your noise problem; contact us: 01926 658 638 or arrange for us to call you when it’s convenient.

Main points from this case that need to be made clear to anyone attempting soundproofing:

  • Sound insulation, panel systems and stud frames can NOT be applied over the top of ‘dot and dab’ plasterboard techniques
  • You can NOT soundproof a new build property by only treating the party walls in each room

Although every job is different in our trade; our ceiling, walls and floor systems are life changing and when installed correctly have amazing noise reduction results.

Unwanted noise cannot be completely eradicated but it can be reduced to an acceptable level, a level at which you get your life back.

Quietco will ensure that you benefit and obtain the full integrity of the materials you invest in.

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