How do I improve the sound insulation performance of my party wall?
Improving soundproofing on party walls
Soundproofing where neighbours share a wall can be a major issue. At Sound Reduction Systems (SRS), we often receive emails like this:
I am experiencing noise from my neighbours coming through the party wall. The noise ranges from tv to conversation. It seems like the people in the other property are living with us ! What is the best solution? Our house was constructed in 1938 and the bricks used are red engineering bricks.
For sound reduction and insulation where a party wall is involved, you first have to determine what the separating wall is built from. If the noise problem comes from a weakness in the separating wall, we recommend a sound-reduction product called Maxiboard. This is a 17mm-thick composite building board that can vastly improve the acoustic performance of the wall when used as a semi-independent wall lining.
Here's what you should do to address soundproofing issues where neighbours share a brick/block wall. Firstly, remove existing linings and inspect the wall. If necessary, render the wall using 12mms of sand/cement (or proprietary alternative) to seal the wall. If the wall is uneven, 25x50mm vertical timber battens can be added.
The next step in soundproofing the party wall is to install Maxi resilient bars horizontally at the extremes (top and bottom) and at 600mm centres from the floor up. Mineral fibre should then be installed between the resilient bars.
After that comes a layer of 17mm Maxiboard, which we fit to the resilient bars using 3.9mm by 30mm SRS Maxi screws. A bead of SRS Gripfix should be applied to the shiplap edges of the Maxiboards as they are placed together. The shiplap edge of the Maxiboard should be trimmed flush where they meet the ceiling and flanking walls, and a bead of low-modulus silicon sealant should be applied.
Best possible soundproofing performance on party walls
Fit 9.5mm dry-lining or plasterboard over the Maxiboard using 40mm drywall screws to fix into the resilient bars. The 9.5mm dry-lining or plasterboard can then be finished using conventional plastering techniques and decorated as normal.
You should draw up an appropriate order of works to ensure the best possible soundproofing performance is achieved on the party wall.
We've tested this specification on site, on a lightweight block wall, and achieved an improvement in airborne sound insulation of 9dB (DnT,w+Ctr) over an untreated wall. These tests were conducted without a sand/cement render and without the 9.5mm dry-lining board over the Maxiboard.
Further soundproofing improvements for party walls
You can further improve soundproofing of party walls by using an independent metal stud system rather than the semi-independent mentioned above. The independent system consists of: existing brick/block wall, facings removed; render (maybe 12.5mm sand/cement if required); small gap; 50mm metal stud with 50mm, 45kg/m3 mineral fibre in between; SRS 17mm Maxiboard; 9.5mm dry-lining board and finishing treatment.
This independent metal stud system is often used for its improved low-frequency soundproofing performance on party walls when the additional loss in room is acceptable. The typical level of improvement is 12-14dB (DnT,w+Ctr) on site for a build-up of around 100mm.
For further information on Maxiboard for walls please use the following link: Maxiboard for Walls
Can’t find your noise problem here? If you can’t find your particular soundproofing issue listed here, or have a more bespoke or specialised construction, do not worry. SRS Ltd are especially experienced in advising on these type of ‘bespoke’ applications – just send an email to one of our technical team detailing your particular situation and we will send you a bespoke specification – alternatively, feel free to give us a call to talk it through, Tel: 01204 380074
Sound Reduction Systems Ltd – For a Quiet Life.
Please note that acoustic problems can have many different causes. We have highlighted the most common, based on over 25 years experience in the industry, but it always best to talk to an advisor before purchase.
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