Soundproofing thread, chat (at a considerate volume) encouraged

Sound isolation is important to me, took a gamble on my flat, thought because it was purpose built the soundproofing would be adequate, it is not so I need to fix it as it feels like im living in someone else’s house.

Unsurprisingly it is really expensive. Got a quote for materials of £1400 and assume £500 for labour. Got a quote from a company that provides the materials and installation for £3500!

I am wondering if I can do it myself on the cheap.

The recommended approach is stuff the floors with acoustic mineral wool, and then use soundproof mats over the top. The mineral wool, while being pretty cheap, would be the difficult bit as involves ripping up the floor. On its own it only provides a 2db reduction, but apparently when used as part of a bigger solution it has a greater affect.

When used with these mats its a 54db rather than 43db difference

dB Actual SPL reduction Perceived Volume reduction
3 dB 50.00% 18.77%
6 dB 75.00% 34.02%
9 dB 87.50% 46.41%
12 dB 93.75% 56.47%
15 dB 96.88% 64.64%
18 dB 98.44% 71.28%
21 dB 99.22% 76.67%
24 dB 99.61% 81.05%
27 dB 99.80% 84.61%
30 dB 99.90% 87.50%
33 dB 99.95% 89.85%
36 dB 99.98% 91.75%
39 dB 99.99% 93.30%
42 dB 99.99% 94.56%
45 dB 100.00% 95.58%
48 dB 100.00% 96.41%
51 dB 100.00% 97.08%
54 dB 100.00% 97.63%

As it seems to be a 94.6% reduction without the wool and 97.6% with it, I’m inclined not to bother with the mineral wool as I wouldn’t have to pay someone to lift the floorboards, wouldn’t have to worry about the electrics and pipes that might be under there. I think I can do the soundmats myself so would only cost £1000 for the materials. But having said that why would anyone bother with the wool if the perceived difference is so small?

Finally I have found a cheap alternative. This stuff

I could do two layers for about £520 which would give a 29db reduction so about an 87% perceived reduction.

A big consideration is the disruption, it will be a pretty big effort to clear my living room out so I kind of want to get it fixed once and for all, but I obviously don’t want to pay huge amounts

what does the hive mind think is the best way to go?

  • Pay £3500 to get it done professionally
  • Pay £2000 to get it done semi-professionally
  • Pay £1000 and do it yourself with the sound mats
  • Pay £520 and give the cheap option the shot
  • No-one is going to read a post this long

0 voters

So yeah, what is the point in mineral wool, anyone had good bad experience with sound proofing? Also how to the physics work, seen a lot of things that say sound flows like water so that if there are any gaps it will find a way. Initially I was skeptical of that, surely a lot of it must be absorbed and only some leaks through, or is it a case that sound only gets blocked/absorbed if there is nowhere else for it to go, and it takes the path of least resistance?

Also seen pictures of things that soundproof the insides of plug sockets, surely that is overkill isn’t it?

  • I made it to the end of this post
  • I did not

0 voters

Mike’s brother got his flat soundproofed by some professionals. It made fuck all difference.

We can hear our upstairs neighbours a lot. I can even tell which season of The Wire they’re watching (season 4 currently). I think this is part of living in a flat - ours are purpose built, but I think they have replaced the carpets upstairs with hard floors which makes it a million times worse, as this time last year we couldn’t hear anyone.

Anyway, good luck with whatever you decide. Having noisy neighbours is well shit.

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Are you trying to reduce sound coming from above, or from below? Insulating your floors will reduce sound travelling down. I might be wrong here, but I thought that you were in a basement flat?

The mat will reduce the effect of impact sound (i.e. the sound of people walking about). It probably won’t affect airborne sound. Which one are you more bothered by?

43db is a large reduction. Anything over 38ish is significant. I don’t think that figure of 2db for the mineral wool alone will be accurate, although a big part of how acoustic insulation works is building in separation between elements, and so build quality will be important.

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Does the wire sound muffled or is it clearly audible. i’m not expecting miracles, I just think it is definitely past the intolerable threshold, if they raise their voices I can hear what they are saying, and they raise their voices a lot, their speaking volume is my shouting volume, they shout at the tv playing games and watching football, if I could just get this down to muffled volume I think id be happy.

I am in a first floor flat, it is weird as it looks like a conversion but was actually purpose built as an extension to another house, but I think it is most comparable to a conversion. It is airborne sound that is the problem, specifically shouting and computer game sounds.

Good point about the amazon mat, all the solutions i’ve looked at before soundmat 3+ with mineral wool have been quoting reductions for airborne, but that amazon one could well be just impact I hadn’t thought about that. The reviews are weird though, generally people are very please with it, but then there is the odd one that says it is completely useless

edit: I was considering a basement flat at one point which I posted a link to so that is probably why

I think that kind of thing (making out speech, etc) should be simple enough to eradicate with the cheaper option. Low frequencies will be harder/impossible to get rid of, but would hopefully be minimised.

Alternatively you could go all out and turn your place into an anechoic chamber where the only audible sound is your own circulatory system.

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Ah, perhaps that’s what I’m thinking of.

So the sounds are coming from below? Have a listen in your flat (like, get down on all fours and crawl around). The sound may be coming through the floor, but if it’s a fairly recent flat, it’s more likely that the sound is coming through the junction between the floor and the wall, or up through the wall and out the power sockets.

If this is the case then this would mean that sealing the junctions by the skirting boards and around the sockets will pay dividends and would be a lot better value than lining or insulating the whole floor.

cheers, I will try that. It is quite confusing because the sound sometimes comes from different directions. But when I can hear voices the most it does seem to be coming from the corner wall which does sound like what you describe

worst thing is it has brought out a really ugly passive aggressive side of me, ‘oh you are going to scream at your television because someone put a ball in a net, i’m going to play music loudly for 10 minutes to try and condition you to stop doing that’. I don’t like myself when I do this.

*note talking to them is not an option for me

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get some earplugs?

fill THEM up with mineral wool?
I’d have a bash at the £520 option, wouldn’t want to pay £3k for something that might do absolutely nothing

yeah, this. When I was in a flat that had a screaming baby below, was hard to locate exactly where the noise was coming from. Like in some places it seemed well insulated, but between one particular wall and floor in a certain room, it was like being in their flat.
In the end I had a screaming baby for revenge and the lady downstairs complained my son was running around too much and broke her ceiling which was nonsense and I ignored her…so, idk, have a revenge baby?

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yeah I think the expensive options are too much of a gamble, so it is between the cheapo amazon or the soundmat3+ sans mineral wool, part of me thinks go for the cheapest but another thinks of how much hassle it would be to empty out the living room only to have to do it again.

Think I need to fully decamp from the living room before I do anything

If you’ve bought and are planning to stay put then i’d say pay the pro. Cant put a price on your peace of mind!!!

(Didnt read whole post, soz)

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Buy the downstairs flat.

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yeah, think I’d go cheapo and try it. the biggest hassle (probably?) will be moving everything out. If it hasn’t worked afterwards then at least everything will be out of the way already and you can add some extra stuff…
Hope you get it sorted, hearing other people in flats is really, really annoying.

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And fill it with wool

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an annoying thing is I spoke to the owner of downstairs before buying the place (to clarify some lease things the solicitor was taking forever with), and she was so positive about the flat, it was her first flat and said she would never ever sell it, I had cold feet at the time and that swayed me a bit (and its not like it was in her interests she wasn’t selling my flat). But now I realise it means there will always be tenants downstairs, some will be better than the current ones and some will probably be worse, kind of wish it was the owners down there as at least the problem would go both ways and they might be willing to split the cost of getting it done properly

have you asked her though? You never know she might be up for sharing the cost

start wearing shoes indoors at all times and really stamping about to make the problem seem worse for the people downstairs

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I haven’t, was hoping to raise it when we had the building management company meeting (each of the 4 flats has a share of freehold), but she wasn’t there. Mentioned it to the other 2 (one live in owner one landlord) and they both seemed pretty aware of the problem, the other live in owner is also planning to put in soundproofing. Was kind of hoping they suggest using some of the massive service charge reserves the company has but they didnt (they seem to want to spend it on increasing car parking space which I am not fussed about). Hopefully she will be at the next meeting (as she wasn’t there and various other things hadn’t been done that meeting was pointless and we have to meet again anyway) and i’ll mention it

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