The room planners how to effectively soundproof your home — Telegraph

The room planners how to effectively soundproof your home - Telegraph

The room planners: how to effectively soundproof your home

12:01AM GMT 01 Feb 2006

Paula and Phil Robinson, an interior design team, offer space-saving solutions, architectural advice and style tips. This week: how to effectively soundproof your home

Paula suggests :

Whether you live in a flat or house, noise always seems to be a factor, be it family members or noisy neighbours. Effective soundproofing can quickly reduce irritation and restore peace. But you need to decide what lengths you are prepared to go to as some solutions can be costly. Start with some research: understanding the principles of how sound travels will help to clarify the language and complexities of sound insulation for you (see Useful Contacts).

Moderate but annoying: if you have done your research, are DIY-minded and want to minimise expense, you can buy and install all the various components required for wall, floor and ceiling soundproofing — acoustic mineral wool, acoustic quilts, soundproofing mats, resilient bars, acoustic carpet underlay, cement impregnated T&G particle board etc.

Manageable:

  • Adding fabric to a room with floorboards, blinds and minimal furniture will help to absorb sound: try full-length lined and interlined curtains, wallhangings, thick carpets with quality underlay, and even rugs.
  • A step further is to «fabric» the walls (and ceiling): wool and faux suede are good choices as they are hard-wearing but stylish. The installation involves battening and padding the walls behind the face fabric (acoustic mineral wool can be used as padding to increase soundproofing). But the installation really needs to be carried out by a fabric walling specialist.
  • For bedrooms, floor-to-ceiling wardrobes with solid wood doors and effective seals can help cut the noise.
  • For minimum fuss, consider white noise — a combination of all the different frequencies of sound, which is used to mask television, voices, air and street traffic, snoring, dogs barking etc. Options for the home range from simple household fans, to white noise CDs, through to sound conditioners.

Phil cautions :

If the solution involves building secondary walls, ceilings and floating floors which are isolated from the originals, you will be faced with loss of room size.

  • Additional weight is another factor if you are DIY-ing. Get a structural engineer involved if you opt for extensive works.
  • Ascertain how sound is travelling: check side walls and chimneys and any gaps and holes in walls, ceilings, doors and floors.
  • The Room Planner by Paula and Phil Robinson (Ebury), is available for 18 (rrp 20) plus 1.25 p&p from Telegraph Books Direct on 0870 428 4115.
  • Email your space dilemmas to Paula and Phil at roomplanners@telegraph.co.uk. Also visit www.paula-robinson.com

Useful contacts

Information on sound insulation. NoiseNet.Org www.noisenet.co.uk 01695 420752; Building Research Establishment www.bre.co.uk 01923 664000

Ceiling, wall & floor soundproofing products & advice. Sound Stop www.soundstop.co.uk 020 8826 9791; Custom Audio Designs www.domesticsoundproofing.co.uk 01730 269572

Soundproofing products. Sound Reduction Systems www.soundreduction.co.uk 01204 380074 Custom Audio Designs www.customaudiodesigns.co.uk 01730 269572; Sound Service www.soundservice.co.uk 08707 203093

Fabric walling installer. Les Elmes 01708 474748

Household fans. Cool and Warm www.coolandwarm.com 020 7228 7107

White noise & sound conditioners. Electronic Healing www.electronichealing.co.uk 0870 9220068


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