Acoustic Insulation - Buyer’s Guide

Sound is very much a part of our everyday life, whether we like it or not. We are almost always surrounded by noise, in one form or another. The noise from traffic, office chatter, the constant buzz of the television or radio and kids playing are some of the common sounds we hear in our day to day life. 

Soundproofing your home has become all the more critical today, especially if you live in a city. It is a must if you wish to relax and enjoy some peace and quiet in your own home, to create a sanctuary from all the hustle and bustle of modern life.

Garden rooms are ideal for acoustic insulation as you may use it as a bar, so you will want to be able to socialise till late in the evening. Therefore to keep the peace with the neighbours you want to effectively soundproof the room so you can party the night away. 

You may even want to create a recording studio for you to play and record your own music. Again, soundproofing is of the utmost importance so you can record your music in complete silence.

We discussed sound insulation in detail in our previous blog. In this blog, we will be discussing the different soundproofing insulation for roofs, walls and floors. We have also included a detailed description of some of the soundproofing solutions that we store here at Buy Insulation Online, to help you make a better choice. 

We will try to answer some questions on soundproofing and reason out some of the myths associated with sound insulation. 

Types of Sound

As discussed in our previous blog, noise can be of two different types:

1. Impact noise: Noise created from impacts i.e, footsteps, running, bouncing balls and others. It is where sound is conducted through solid materials.

2. Airborne noise: It is the sound produced when people talk, by television and so on.

Let us talk about how acoustic insulation can help in soundproofing roofs, walls and floors.

How do I soundproof my Roof?

You can soundproof roofs using high-density acoustic insulation slabs between the joists and rafters. They will effectively block airborne noise. High-density insulation rolls could give you the same result.

Acoustic insulation ceiling ideas;

Insulation slabs like Rockwool RWA45, for example, have a density of 45kg/m3, which adds a sound deadening mass to the structure, thus soundproofing it. They also will help you meet the statutory Part E standards required for most household soundproofing solutions. In addition to being acoustic insulation, RWA45 is great thermal insulation so you kill 2 birds with one stone or stonewool in this case.

Alternatively, you can also create a separation using acoustic hangers in the ceiling to reduce both impact and airborne noise. Construct an independent structure just beneath the ceiling to reduce noise, but you can only consider this technique if you have sufficient height in the ceiling. 

How do I soundproof my Floor?

Laying a soft underlay below your carpet will reduce the intensity of impact noises from the floor beneath yours. However, it wont have as much as an effect on the airborne noises coming from the room below. Therefore you will need some sound insulation between floors to combat the problem.

Acoustic Insulation Floor Ideas -

You can achieve effective sound insulation in floors using Rockwool for sound insulation like their RWA45, RS60 and Flexi ranges. Place them between the joists under the floorboards.

For soundproofing above the floorboards, you can apply a layer of mass-loaded vinyl just above the floorboard or use silicon soundproofing mats to achieve significant sound reduction. 

How do I soundproof my Wall?

The soundproofing solution for walls will depend on the type of walls you want to soundproof - party wall, internal wall, solid wall etc. The material used in the construction of the walls will also influence the decision on sound insulation in walls used.

Acoustic Insulation Wall Ideas -

Internal walls can be soundproofed using high-density acoustic insulation batts like Rockwool RWA45 or Knauf RS45. Finish the installation off with acoustic plasterboards which are usually blue in colour or use acoustic panels that provide efficient sound insulation. Shared party walls can be insulated using party wall acoustic insulation rolls between stud frames. 

You can soundproof an already existing wall:

1. By adding a false wall or partition: Adding one extra acoustic plasterboard to your existing walls could block the sound a little bit. When you add the second layer, the main wall will be separated by the second layer of plasterboard creating a void, which will allow sound to bounce off the new acoustic plasterboard. To increase the effectiveness of the void you should fill it with some Acoustic Partition Roll or Party Wall roll. RWA45 would be effective too, space permitting.

2. Seal gaps using Acoustic Sealants: This will prevent sound that would otherwise escape from joints and gaps in walls, floors and ceilings.

3. Using Resilient Channels: By using resilient channels you create a wall within a wall. This works on the principle of decoupling. Apply drywall on the resilient channels just like you do on the original studs in the room. 

Here is the list of the soundproofing solutions that we store here at Buy Insulation Online

Acoustic Insulation Slabs: Mineral wool acoustic insulation slabs from Rockwool such as RWA45 or Flexi and Knauf’s RS45 and RS60 are best for soundproofing walls, roofs and floors. 

Let us look into the properties of these products in detail.

1. RWA45 from Rockwool: 

RWA45 is great for both Acoustic insulation and Thermal insulation, its a great all-rounder. The insulation slabs from Rockwool are versatile in application. i.e it can be used to acoustically insulate roofs, walls, floors and much more. 

They offer exceptional thermal and acoustic insulation. If you are looking for some me-time while the kids are playing next door, RWA45 is the way to go. Use the insulation batts to insulate stud walls and soundproof your walls. 

RWA45 insulation slabs have a K value of 0.035 W/mK and are available in varying thicknesses with a 45 kg/m3 density. They are fire-resistant and have water-repelling qualities making them resistant to mold and moisture build-up. It truly is one of the best soundproofing options out there and a great all round performer for sound insulation in walls and floors etc.

2. Rockwool Flexi

Another product is Rockwool Flexi. The flexible edge of the products ensures tight friction fit in the stud walls and timber frames. They help overcome challenges with new timber shrinkage and insulation displacement. The insulation batts do not sag or slump over time, even if the studs shrink. 

With the same K-value as RWA45, Rockwool Flexi slabs have a Euroclass A1 fire rating, which means they are non-combustible. They are versatile in application, much like the RWA45. They can be used for acoustic insulation for internal walls, framed external walls, pitched roofs, between rafters, timber suspended ground floors and much more.

3. Knauf RS45 and RS60

Knauf's version of the RWA45 and RWA60 is the RS45 and RS60. Similar in profile and properties, Knauf’s acoustic insulation slabs are specially made to provide acoustic insulation in roofs, walls and other places. The mineral wool batts are versatile in application.

The RS45 and RS60 have a thermal conductivity of 0.035W/mK and 0.034W/mK respectively and are made with Knauf's ECOSE technology. Their installation is easy and they are very reliable. Both RS45 and RS60 can be used in multiple applications across building projects. 

4. Rockwool Rainscreen Duo: 

The Rainscreen duo by Rockwool is a product with excellent acoustic properties. It effectively limits the transfer of airborne noises in any application. They also provide excellent thermal and fire insulation and have a thermal conductivity of 0.034 W/mK. 

Dual-density means each insulation slab of the Rainscreen duo has an outer surface made of significantly higher density than the underside. The dual-density helps not only in soundproofing but also in installation. The underside easily fits into any uneven surface and the outer surface of the insulation batts forms a firm and robust surface for the application of fixings.

The outer surface of the insulation batt also has a factory-applied water repellent that offers enhanced protection against water ingress, hence the name ‘rainscreen’. 

5. Acoustic Plasterboards: Sound Panel - Knauf Insulations

The acoustic plasterboard by Knauf Insulations is a versatile, multi-application acoustic plasterboard. You might hear them described as sound insulation boards. Their high density enables better acoustic performance making them suitable for domestic applications or applications where a minimum density of 10kg/m2 is required. 

The acoustic plasterboards are manufactured with the highest quality gypsum. Their durability and ease of use make them a popular option.

6. Acoustic Partition Roll by Knauf and Superglass

The fibreglass acoustic partition rolls by Superglass are pre-cut at common width sizes to allow easy installation between rafters, stud walls and timber frames. Fiberglass is known to have excellent thermal insulation and soundproofing abilities. 

Available in many sizes here at Buy Insulation Online, the acoustic insulation rolls provide exceptional sound insulation to walls, floors and roofs and are very cost effective. 

The Knauf acoustic insulation rolls, much like its Superglass counterpart, offer excellent resistance to airborne noise. They are also pre-cut, enabling easy installation between stud walls and timber frames. 

Made with recycled glass the acoustic rolls are environmentally friendly in this regard and economical. 

7. Party wall solutions by Isover and Superglass: 

Party walls are often shared by two or more neighbours. It is a physical barrier between two residences. Party wall insulation could assist roughly 5-5.5 million dwellings in the UK, which is around 28% approx from heat loss. Also, by adding mass i.e. insulating party walls with high-density party wall insulation, you reduce sound transfer between homes.

Here, at Buy Insulation Online, we store party wall insulation from Isover and Superglass

With a thermal conductivity of 0.036 W/mK and a high density of 24kg/m3, both these insulation rolls help comply with the current building regulations. They best insulate the cavities in the shared party wall. 

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions and myths relating to soundproofing.

 

1. What is the best soundproofing solution?

Without a doubt, Rockwool for sound insulation is the way to go. Mineral wool acoustic insulation slabs can easily be placed in stud walls or between rafters to soundproof walls and roofs. You don't have to go for the actual brand Rockwool for sound insulation, Knauf makes equally good products, its down to preference and budget at the end of the day.

2. Can I use Egg Crates for Soundproofing?

Egg crates or boxes cannot soundproof walls. People use egg crates to soundproof walls for two main reasons:

1. Since it is usually made of polystyrene or a foamed material.

2. They look similar in shape and profile to the soundproofing used in recording studios.

However, if you pay attention, you will notice that egg crates are much more porous and lighter compared to the ones in the recording studio. The soundproofing used in recording studios is built with high-density foam and specially made to absorb sound. 

Using egg crates will only minimize echo, which can otherwise be achieved by the furniture in your room. Also, egg crates are flammable. Due to all these reasons, egg crates are not effective in soundproofing walls. 

3. Soundproofing with Carpets?

Adding thick carpets to the floor can dampen the sound waves, but the effect is minor.

It may absorb impact noise and will also lessen sound reverberation within a space, which can help reduce a little echo. Therefore unless you need to change your carpet anyway, its not worth ripping it up unless the sound is coming from below then thats a different story (See above for insulation between floors).

4. Mute/Darker colors for walls?

To soundproof walls, you need to add mass. When you add high-density materials to your walls, roofs etc, you achieve soundproofing. Adding 1-2 mm of any colour paint will definitely not soundproof walls. Better spend your time and money on methods that have been proven to work rather than looking for a quick cheap fix such as a lick of paint.

5. Are Acoustic plasterboards enough?

As stated above, to achieve the acceptable standards of sound insulation, you will have to add mass - and adding different materials with varying densities can achieve the best results. Adding two or many layers of 15mm acoustic plasterboard to the wall will only give you a small noise reduction. Hardly worth the effort. Whereas if you use these, in conjunction with acoustic insulation, you can achieve the required result. 

6. Can I Soundproof Pipes?

Yes, you can use acoustic pipe insulation to effectively absorb sound from soil and drain pipes and the like. 

You can soundproof pipework using Isover Clim as acoustic pipe lagging. They not only provide effective thermal insulation by reducing heat loss and gain but also have excellent acoustic insulation properties as well. 

They effectively dampen the noise produced by sewage and drain pipes. 

If you want to go even further you can also use what's called polymeric barriers to achieving extremely effective acoustic insulation for pipes

7. How can I Soundproof Ducts?

You can achieve sound insulation in ductwork by insulating them with mineral wool using duct wraps or duct insulation boards. For extensive applications, you can use polymeric barrier quilts. The thicker the lagging is, the better the sound insulation will be.

Again you can use polymeric sound insulation if you want the best sound absorption but it is much more costly on a square meter basis, so a cost to benefit analysis should be undertaken.

In Conclusion:

Sound insulation is a must if you live in the city. The constant background noise of traffic, sirens, people shouting etc can affect your health from disturbing your sleep to making you irritable and anxious. That's why soundproof insulation is the way to go.

For high-performing soundproofing solutions, visit Buy Insulation Online today and get 5% off on your first order. We also supply a wide range of structural and technical insulation solutions at low cost and deliver for free in major cities. 

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