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Terraced House Noise Reduction: Top Tips And Tricks

terraced house noise reduction

Whether your terraced house has been recently built, or is an older Victorian style house, you are likely to have an issue with noise. It is very common for people living in terraced houses to suffer with neighbour noise – especially if you happen to live in a mid terrace property.

But there are ways to combat it, and some can be simple, quick and relatively cheap. Here’s the lowdown of terraced house noise reduction solutions, enabling you to prioritise peace in your property at last…

Noise Pollution: How It Can Affect Your Health

While you may not think that the noise you are experiencing in your home is doing you any harm, researchers believe differently.

Recent studies have indicated that people living with constant or even intermittent noise for long periods of time have higher levels of heart disease than people living in quieter areas. This could be down to the stress that comes from dealing with noise that comes from outside your home.

A study carried out by Slater & Gordon , the law firm found that two thirds of those questioned had suffered at the hands of their noisy neighbours.

A third had considered moving house because of the noise, while many had contacted their council to complain about the noise coming from their neighbour’s home. One third of those questioned also said that the noise issue had caused them significant stress and anxiety.

Not all noise that passes from one property to the next is due to the inhabitants. It can also be the structure of the building. Squeaky floors and staircases, pipework and noisy heating systems can all contribute to the noise that is generated in a house, and can be a nuisance to the neighbours.

terraced house noise reduction

More recently, housebuilders have relied on simple timber and plasterboard, and have used insulation to provide an acoustic barrier. This didn’t always work so well!

Noise From Next Door: Rules And Regulations

There are a number of government regulations in place for terraced buildings that define how much noise is allowed to travel between houses.

Building Regulations Part E1 deals with protection from noise that comes from your neighbours, and is the most relevant to people living in terraced housing. These regulations were written in 2003, and are designed for new builds from that time.

They have worked well to reduce the number of complaints regarding party walls. However, if your home was built prior to this, you may find that there is no minimum regulations in place.

However, some older homes have a structure of blockwork between homes that was originally designed to prevent fire from travelling from one building to the next. This can be very effective at preventing sound from travelling too.

More recently, housebuilders have relied on simple timber and plasterboard, and have used insulation to provide an acoustic barrier. This didn’t always work so well.

In general, housebuilders have used a combination of insulation materials in party walls and building methods that reduce the transfer of noise from one house to another to meet these minimum standards.

You can, however, achieve this through a retrospective insulation program, by using spray foam insulation on your party walls.

terraced house noise reduction

If your noise problem is especially bad, you should think about the process of decoupling the party wall from your neighbour’s wall. This means that the vibrations can’t pass from one house to the next, via the wall studs and structure

How Noise Works: The Science Of Sound

Noise travels from one place to another via a medium such as a solid, liquid or a gas – it needs something to vibrate against for the sound to be heard. The more obstacles that are placed in its way, the more faint the noise will be by the time it reaches the ears of your neighbour.

The sound travels through the actual structure of the wall between your properties, and the shorter the distance it has to travel, the louder it will be heard.

This is why spray foam insulation works so well. If you choose closed cell foam, it is a solid barrier that is an excellent way to prevent noise from travelling. Open cell foam works to trap the noise in air bubbles within the structure, slowing down its progress.

You may find that the type of insulation barrier that you choose will depend on the type of noise that is disturbing you. Higher pitched noise like voices will respond better to the open cell spray foam, while deeper bass tones will be deadened by closed cell foam.

You may wish to use a combination of the two, depending on the areas being treated.

terraced house noise reduction

Achieving the right acoustic balance in your home is difficult and work to add insulation for this purpose should always be carried out by an expert. They will check the sound levels before and after the installation to ensure that you are meeting or exceeding minimum acceptable levels. Once complete, you can sit back and enjoy improved comfort and a more relaxing environment. Result!

Soundproofing Solutions: Enlist The Help Of The Experts!

The approach that will be taken to add an acoustic insulation to your terraced house to reduce noise will depend entirely on the construction of your party walls.

If your wall is constructed with a brick or block layer that has been plasterboarded directly over, your only option is to add a further layer of insulation. Your builder will remove the current plasterboard, and build a structure to hold the spray foam.

This can add a few centimetres to the thickness of your walls, thus reducing the size of the room, but for party wall noise, this only needs to be carried out on one wall and will hardly be noticed.

The spray foam will be added to the stud wall structure to the required depth to reach the noise reduction levels you require.

What About Stud Structures?

If your party walls are hollow stud structures, you already have the required bare bones to take the additional insulation. You may find that there is already a certain level of insulation in place.

If it is mineral wool insulation, you may wish to remove this to provide space for the foam. Foam will offer a better acoustic barrier than mineral wool in any case.

If your noise problem is especially bad, you should think about the process of decoupling the party wall from your neighbour’s wall. This means that the vibrations can’t pass from one house to the next, via the wall studs and structure.

This involves building a new wall that is separated from the existing one and with as few points of contact as possible. Adding insulation between these two walls will add to the success of this method.

If you really would rather not remove the plasterboard on your party walls, you can consider spraying foam into the wall cavity via holes drilled into the walls.

This is a tricky approach as the walls behind are often studded vertically and horizontally, are likely to have electrical cables and even water pipes that might get in the way and it is difficult to ensure an even coating on the spray as it cannot be easily seen.

The noise coming from your home is related to the structure, closed cell, high density spray foam can actually improve the structure, and mean that the house moves less freely and therefore makes less noise.

Achieving the right acoustic balance in your home is difficult and work to add insulation for this purpose should always be carried out by an expert. They will check the sound levels before and after the installation to ensure that you are meeting or exceeding minimum acceptable levels. Once complete, you can sit back and enjoy improved comfort and a more relaxing environment. Result!

Noise niggles getting you down? Invest in spray foam insulation-and make peace your top priority. Learn more about spray foam’s superior soundproofing capacities, by calling 0800 1700 636, or by simply clicking the button below!