Soundproofing a room can be profitable work

September 12, 2019

Dealing with noise problems is becoming a real money-maker for installers. It’s no surprise, as a third of Britons say that their lives are being affected by unwanted sounds coming from next door. Whether it’s a late-night party or just a loud TV, there are several reasons why installers might benefit from becoming more educated on the subject. In this blog, we explain how to best design a room with strong acoustic performance and the best soundproofing products on offer.

What is the best material to soundproof a wall?

There are many excellent soundproofing materials on offer, but none that stand out as the ‘best’. Historically, it’s been popular for installers to use mass-loaded vinyl sound barriers to pad walls and prevent sound leakage. Solid and thick materials help to block airborne sounds but aren’t as good at protecting against impact noise. Mass-loaded vinyl insulation is the most common form of soundproofing that homeowners and housebuilders are most familiar with. As a result, it’s often the most specified solution, but this doesn’t mean it’s the best.

How can I soundproof a wall without removing drywall?

There is a range of solutions on offer to homeowners who want to improve acoustic performance but can’t remove their existing drywall. Many homeowners won’t consider their home’s acoustic performance until they move in. It’s only then that they realise excess noise is an issue. This presents an excellent opportunity for installers who are clued up on ‘non-invasive’ acoustic products. Here are a couple of the best alternatives:

  1. Add acoustic foam products to the wall
    In the last few years, several sound-limiting foam products have been introduced to the market. These products can be stuck onto an existing wall to improve acoustic performance. The products help to absorb noise and also look great. The best thing is that fitting them is a low maintenance job, which can be completed without the need for any specialist tools.
  2. Drop the ceiling
    Dropping a customer’s ceiling is not a complicated job and can make a real difference to acoustic performance in a room. To start, line the perimeter of the wall a few inches under the ceiling with L-channels. You’ll then be able to install T-channels to complete a grid, which you can then fit ceiling panelling onto. Making the change will reduce the space in a room but will limit reverberations of sound.

How can I soundproof a wall by removing the drywall?

If customers are struggling with more serious noise concerns, then the best course of action might be to remove the existing plasterboard. Removing the existing plasterboard opens up some more comprehensive soundproofing solutions. Many of these solutions are relatively new, and some installers might not be aware of what’s on offer. However, with any of these solutions, it’s important to remember there’s a trade-off between space and acoustic performance gain.

  1. Install an acoustic line
    There are now a number of acoustic lining products that installers should be aware of. Leading suppliers like British Gypsum have several acoustic lining solutions that can provide high levels of noise reduction. Liner products range in size and performance, but those that are thicker tend to be more effective. Some liners, such as British Gypsum’s low space liner are only 30mm thin so will not take up too much space but will still provide excellent results.
  2. Install acoustic plasterboard
    Most manufacturers now provide high-quality soundproof plasterboard products. There are several acoustic plasterboards on offer to those in the trade, and they come in a range of sizes, providing varying levels of acoustic protection. When trying to find the best soundproof plasterboard consider the room, you’re installing it in. Certain rooms like living rooms tend to be louder, so it’s important to use plasterboard with a higher soundproofing rating (anything above 45 RwdB is suitable).

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Are there any acoustic improvement training courses?

In recent years, as homeowners have demanded more acoustic solutions, there’s been a sharp uptake in the number of acoustic-related training courses. One of the best on offer is British Gypsum’s ‘Sound Solutions Course’, which runs over two days. The course offers installers all the practical skills and knowledge needed to deal with several sound-related issues. Included in the course is education around new forms of acoustic plasterboard and how best to install them. For those in the trade, who might not have experience using such products, this course can make a huge difference.

What is an acoustic ceiling?

Ceiling tiles have always been used to help improve the acoustics within a room, but newly designed acoustic ceiling tiles provide an even more effective solution. Suppliers like Armstrong Ceilings offer sound blocking and sound-absorbing ceilings that can dramatically reduce unwanted noise in a home.

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