How to improve the sound insulation performance of a party wall

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Improving soundproofing on party walls

At Sound Reduction Systems (SRS), we receive a large volume of enquiries from customers that are experiencing excessive noise from neighbours coming through their shared party wall. These noises ranges from conversation to TV and hi-fi, and in extreme cases, musical instruments playing and DJ equipment being used late into the night!  In some cases, where a statutory noise nuisance is occurring it is wise to seek advice from the local council, but in situations where the sound insulation performance of the party wall is low, perhaps a basic brick or masonry construction, or a lightweight timber stud, it is possible to make significant improvements using SRS Maxiboard.

Sound reduction and insulation on party walls

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.

MaxiSlab Acoustic Blocking for Walls

  • Firstly, remove existing linings and inspect the wall. If necessary, render the wall using 12.5mm 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. 25mm Maxi Slab 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.
  • 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.

Best possible soundproofing performance on party walls

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 for walls by using an Maxiboard 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 Maxi Slab in between; SRS 17mm Maxiboard; 12.5mm plasterboard and finishing treatment.

The independent metal stud system is often used for its additional soundproofing performance on party walls when the extra loss in room is acceptable. The typical improvement in airborne sound insulation achieved by installing Maxiboard in this way is in an incredible 17dB (DnT,w+Ctr) compared with an untreated masonry wall - Exceeding the requirements of Part E of the Building Regulations for new build by up to 7dB. We can substantiate all claims of performance so please don't hesitate to ask us for a copy of the acoustic data.

For further information on Maxiboard for walls please see the product page here: 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

Disclaimer: Please note that acoustic problems can have many different causes. We have highlighted the most common, based on over 30 years experience in the industry, but it always best to talk to an advisor before purchase.

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Our professional, Institute of Acoustics registered technical department is on hand to give advice on all of our high performance acoustic products.  We're delighted to offer advice on any noise problem, be it a sound insulation or sound absorption issue.

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