It’s 3:00 am and you’re wide awake, struggling to burrow deep enough into your pillows to drown out the sound of Jimmy Barnes blaring from the apartment next door. Or maybe it’s the air conditioning condenser unit the neighbours thoughtfully placed right outside your bedroom window. Whatever the source, noisy neighbours can ruin your sleep and your life. The good news is that you don’t have to put up with it and a long-term solution is easier and more affordable than you might realise.
So, when it comes to noisy neighbours, what can you do? Apart from asking them to keep it down, relying on the neighbour, there is an option that’s within your control: soundproofing. At first, this may seem drastic, but thanks to new materials on the market it’s never been simpler to do your own soundproofing, quickly and effectively. Now, let’s have a look at how to go about it.
Step 1 – Locate the source
First things first, it’s important to identify where the noise is coming from. Whilst sound is directional, it’s also incredibly good at finding the weakest spots in your defences. Even the smallest gap in your wall or ceiling can be enough to let in large amounts of noise. Therefore, knowing which direction the noise is coming from makes it possible to intercept it. There’s no point soundproofing your walls if the noise is coming from upstairs!
Step 2 – Identify the type of noise
When it comes to noise from neighbours, there are two types to worry about: airborne and impact. Airborne noise is from sources such as loud conversations, music, home theatres and outdoor equipment. Impact noise comes from footsteps, scraping furniture, music bass and generally travels through your apartment’s building materials.
Step 3 – Soundproof!
Once you know where the noise is coming from and how it’s transmitted, it’s time to get soundproofing. But don’t just jump out and grab the thickest soundproofing material you can find and affix it to your walls. First off, if there are any small gaps that are letting in noise, consider using an acoustic sealant such as Fuller FIRESOUND.
Once the small bits have been patched, if sound is still an issue than it’s time to get busy. For airborne noise, a cheap solution can be to install soundproof barriers in the direct path of the noise. This forces the sound to travel around the barrier and reflects some of the noise back to the source (take that Jimmy).
The additional distance that the noise has to travel to get around the barrier can greatly reduce the volume that arrives at your home. If the noise is located on the other side of a fence, you can even use an acoustic blanket to provide a simple and effective soundproofing solution.
When a barrier can’t be installed, or the noise is coming through a shared wall, you can try installing some sound absorbing material inside your walls, in some cases replacing the existing plasterboard. This will reduce the volume of noise travelling through your walls. It’s great for both airborne and impact noise situations and installation is simple. Since it doesn’t require access to the outside of your building, this is an excellent solution for apartments and townhouses. Finished with your favourite paint colour, it will look like any other wall but help you live a more peaceful life.
I’ll end with a word of warning: there’s no way to achieve 100% soundproofing. All soundproofing is a reduction in noise power – hopefully down to levels that are below audible – but no material can completely stop sound. Using a combination of approaches can help reduce the noise from your neighbours and, if in doubt, you can get in contact with one of our team for advice at firstname.lastname@example.org.