Soundproofing against neighbours noise
September 29, 2009 3:45 PM   Subscribe

How do I soundproof my home to reduce noise coming from our neighbours?

I live in flat with neighbours on both sides who produce noise which bothers me. I would like to soundproof the walls in the rooms where I am most affected by the noise, I would like advice on a cost effective solution.

I am based in England and have found a company which supplies rubber panels which are glued onto the walls and then covered with two layers of plasterboard. This system seems quite expensive at £30 per square meter and I was hoping for advice on what alternatives there are.

I am concerned with blocking noise from neighbours, products like this foam seem mostly about reducing noise transmission out of a room, so am I right in thinking that these sort of products do not apply?

Further information:

The noise that disturbs me is high pitched children's screams.

The flat was built in 2001 and the walls seem to be standard cheap new build; plaster on both sides of a hollow stud partition - is there a way I can fill the partition to soundproof, or in conjunction with some sort of panelling on the wall?

All the rooms that I want to soundproof have enough space which may allow for layers to be applied to the walls.

I would prefer a DIY solution to help save money, but I am open to the option of a contractor carrying out the work if necessary.

Both of the properties are rented so them soundproofing their side of our adjoining wall is not an option. I have also spoken to both neighbours about their noise and although they are slightly quieter they are still disturbing me.

I am sensitive to noise, I would prefer a detached house but unfortunately it is not an affordable option at this time.
posted by lilyflower to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You could make a false wall that incorporates the use of sound dampening material and effectively bounces the sound back towards the existing wall partition. Heavy drapery has been known to absorb sounds pretty well also.
posted by Gravitus at 3:58 PM on September 29, 2009

I had this problem just the other day, with the added benefit of me being the bad guy. I've found that bookshelves (with books in them, naturally, rather than trinkets) have really cooled the neighbour down as far as noise from my place in concerned, so it seems logical to conclude that it would work vice versa, ipso facto, quid pro quo, ad hoc, free fucking gratis.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:34 PM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

two layers of plasterboard will go a long way to reduce sound transmission without having to buy the expensive rubber panels. Particularly if the plasterboard is attached using adhesive instead of nails, as the nails will help transmit sound as well.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 5:14 PM on September 29, 2009

I've generally heard that the rubber panels are not worth the expense. Adding layers of GWB will help, both due to mass, and due to increased thickness. There are mineral batts that can be inserted in stud cavities for soundproofing if you are able to open up the demising wall. I recommend getting a formaldehyde free product, Johns Manville makes one called ComfortTherm.

If you are mounting additional layers of gwb, you can space them off the existing wall with resilient channels (typically a 7/8" hat of special design, price them and decide if they are worth it to you). That will make the added layer of drywall more effective in dampening sound.
posted by meinvt at 5:31 PM on September 29, 2009

Seconding Turgid Dahlia, and not just for summoning Swearengen. Filled bookshelves work well, and if the shelves are flush against and covering the wall, you can wedge in some 1/2-inch styrofoam sheets (very inexpensive, the kind used for rigid insulation) behind them, too.

(Those did wonders when tucked beside my noisy dishwasher.)
posted by rokusan at 6:47 PM on September 29, 2009

Hanging fabrics (e.g. tapestries) can create quite an effective baffle. You can test simply with blankets and items around the house.
posted by GPF at 10:35 PM on September 29, 2009

Hit up a fruit stand/grocery store/farmers market and look for fruit trays with indentations. If you get a lot of them, paint them and put them on your walls they'd look okay and provide some texture and sound absorption on the walls. Source
posted by ijoyner at 10:54 PM on September 29, 2009

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