Anything for a Quiet Life!
Modern flats and houses tend to be reasonably well-insulated against sound travelling through walls and floors, however if you live in an older building, or in a property that has been converted into flats, you might be able to hear the neighbours wandering backwards and forwards above your head.
Noisy Neighbours in the Flat Above
Of course if the soundproofing between flats is really bad then your neighbours may not be being ‘noisy’ but just going about their normal business. if there is nothing to stop the soundwaves then you will be able to hear their conversations and television as well as anything impacting on their floor (your ceiling!).
If you can get access to the floor above, with the consent of the owners, then it is possible- although disruptive – to lift the floorboards and lay an acoustic quilt or acoustic mineral wool.
An acoustic quilt incorporates fibreglass and a dense acoustic membrane to absorbs the sound waves and stop them travelling from the floor above into the flat below. Acoustic mineral wool is similar to the normal loft insulation or the thermal insulation you get in walls and floors, but it is much denser than thermal insulation so it absorbs much more sound.
Acoustic insulation absorbs around three times the sound that normal loft insulation will absorb.
When to Fit Acoustic Insulation
Acoustic insulation or Acoustic quilts are best inserted in a new build property, or at the time that a building is being converted into flats, just because of the upheaval involved. Although you could consider fitting sound insulation if you are already planning on having any other major refurbishments such as fitting central heating or rewiring.
Of course if you are not on the ground floor yourself you might consider the effect of your own lifestyle on the flat below if you don’t have adequate soundproofing below your feet!
Retrofitting Sound Insulation
If you cannot face the disruption of lifting floorboards there is special carpet underlay that will reduce impact noise, such as people walking around, and airborne noise like music playing or babies crying. This product, called Quietfloor, is simple to lay and can be carried out by a DIYer with the minimum amount of upheaval.
You can also consider what sort of flooring to use in flats and apartments. Wooden floors and laminate floors obviously cause impact sound to carry more readily than carpeted floors. However, you may have trouble persuading your neighbours upstairs to choose their floor covering just to suit you!
The alternative to fit a suspended ceiling in your own flat, with acoustic mineral wool or an acoustic quilt fitted in it, and that should be as effective as laying these acoustic materials under the floorboards above.
If you are Oli Beale, and you want to add more insight into your neighbours lifestyle – or you don’t want us to use your image any more please get in touch. Feel free to share your noisy neighbour experiences with us on twitter (even if you are not Oli Beale) @diydoctor #NoisyNeighbours
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