Noise is everywhere, especially in London. It can be distracting, keep you up at night and even lead to health problems. So making sure your home is adequately soundproofed is really important.
Reduction and absorption
Let’s first understand the principles involved. Sound travels as a wave, and you can do 2 things to stop it – you can reduce it by putting barriers in the way, or you can absorb it, turning the waves into another form of energy. You can use a combination of these principles to reduce the noise getting into a room or your home. One key principle to remember is that 50% of sound can be transmitted through just 1% of the surface area, so a little gap between a window or a door can create a bigger impact on noise than you might first think.
Cheap ways to soundproof
There are a range of ways to reduce noise, and not all of them need to cost the earth. There are some really simple things you can do:
- Simply putting barriers between yourself and noise will cut it. Close all the windows and doors, even if they are in another room – putting more barriers in the way of the noise will reduce the problem.
- For noise within the home make sure that doors do not have any gaps – this means adding draught proofing and adding door sweeps to get rid of that gap under the door. You can even use materials like acoustical caulk, which fills any gaps to minimise noise.
- Get a good sized rug for your living room. Rugs, especially on wooden floors, help cut the noise.
- Drapes and thick curtains are great at soundproofing. If you are choosing between roll binds or curtains, curtains will always be the better choice to sound proof.
Soundproofing floors and walls
You may have noticed that an empty room has a different ‘sound’ to it compared to a furnished one. This is because things like sofas and chairs are absorbing sound. Certain material are better at this than others – so putting in carpet with a good quality underlay will help cut sound, especially if you are above a noisy neighbour in a flat. Wood floors are a bit of a no-no, because they do little to cut the sound out. Carpet is a good option, but you can improve the soundproofing effect even more by using floor insulation like optimum sheepwool or cork.
Walls can be soundproofed as well and there are a variety of materials available. Wall insulation with either wool or insulation board will all help cut noise, but you can go for insulating tiles and other innovative materials on the wall to cut noise.
Another idea is AeroTherm insulating paste. It helps to reflect audible sound and just 1mm on walls can prevent up to 35% of heat loss from rooms.
We would not normally recommend changing your windows unless absolutely necessary, as the cost is very high compared to the gains in terms of energy efficiency, but if noise is your biggest problem, or if you need new windows anyway, triple glazing is a great option. Triple glazing costs at least 10% more than double glazing, but it can really help cut the noise that gets through. It adds that extra barrier and sound break that you don’t as much of with your average double glazing.
Soundproofing your home
Whether you are just trying to cut out street noise, or you have noisy neighbours, there really are ways to help cut the noise and make your life more peaceful, and that ranges from some simple tips all the way up to full sound proofing