The chances are, at some point, you have dealt with noisy neighbours or noisy surroundings. Even if you haven’t, unless you live in the remote countryside, you’ll likely be exposed to the noise pollution of everyday life on a regular basis.
Whilst it’s not a constant issue for everyone, it can be a nightmare for some people. If external noise is getting too much for you, don’t look to move homes just yet, as you may be able to soundproof your current house and solve any noise-related issues you are having. In this guide, we’ll discuss the regulations relating to soundproofing in the UK and explain how you can soundproof your home effectively.
UK sound regulations overview
The sound regulations come under Part E of the UK Building Regulations and outline the soundproofing standards for new builds and conversions. The sound regulations are split into two main sections, with the first looking at protection from noise from adjoining buildings, and the second section dealing with sound transmission within the property itself.
According to the sound regulations, the minimum level of airborne sound resistance for floors and walls between properties is 43 decibels in conversions and 45 decibels in new builds, which should be enough to cut out every day regular sounds at a normal level. The internal airborne sound resistance inside dwellings needs to be a minimum of 40 decibels, and this applies to upper floors and walls between rooms.
Impact sounds such as dropping objects, jumping, stomping, and footsteps have maximum sound transmittance levels of 62 decibels for floors and stairs in new builds, whilst the maximum for conversion projects is 64 decibels.
As detached homes don’t share walls / flooring with other properties, they do not need to follow the same stringent regulations for other property types. Of course, you still shouldn’t be over the top loud to the point where you could cause a disturbance, but there is a much higher threshold for sound levels with detached properties.
The problem of dealing with sound
Sound travels through whichever path has the least resistance, so any open doorways, gaps, and holes can act as points for sound transmission. Even if you build a completely sound-resistant wall or floor, sound can travel by being transmitted through alternative paths. Sound may travel through the following transmission points:
- Service entry holes & gaps, such as those made for plumbing pipes and electrical wires.
- Lack of isolating void between floorboards and ceilings
- Hard floor coverings without isolation material between the covering flooring and floorboards.
How to soundproof a house effectively
One of the best ways of soundproofing your home is through the implementation of timber frames in between flooring and walls. Timer frames can give you double the lining in between rooms, making it more difficult for sound to pass through.
Some walls can also be soundproofed with plasterboard, which can help to add additional sound resistance to over 50 decibels. Adding a sound grade plasterboard to masonry dividing walls is usually an ideal solution, and you’ll just need to add a soft thermal layer to meet the thermal insulation requirements.
Soundproofing your home is possible, but it can be a challenge to do it properly. Different rooms may require different methods of soundproofing, and you may need a variety of materials and equipment.
It may be that you want to give soundproofing a go yourself, but you’ll need to ensure you have the correct products and the knowledge of how to install your soundproofing system. If you aren’t sure about any aspect of it, it may be better to get professionals in, as this will guarantee that the job is done properly.