With everyone starting to adjust staying at home, being stuck in the flat all day has probably made many notices notice how noisy the neighbours are.
With everyone at home at the same time, noise disturbances such as footsteps, loud music, or lively discussions will become more frequent. So, what can people do to keep the noise down, and get some peace and quiet during lockdown? A range of experts, from acoustics specialists to architects, have provided some useful tips and advice on how to soundproof homes.
Ben Hancock, managing director, Oscar Acoustics comments,“As lots more of us live in flats than in the past (43% of Londoners!), noisy upstairs neighbours is a complaint we’re very familiar with. Luckily ceiling soundproofing is actually more affordable and easier to install than you may think. In fact, if you’re a DIY aficionado you may be able to take care of it yourself.
“If the noise is coming from within, perhaps those of us who suddenly have all the kids at home running amok, there are ways of making it more bearable. Try and avoid smooth, flat surfaces as they’re the worst for echoes. This will exacerbate any unwanted sound as it bounces around your home. Carpets, wall hangings and soft furniture will take care of this for you.
“However, if your design preference is calling out for modern and stylish smooth surfaces then fear not. Acoustic plasters currently on the market will stop reverb without compromising on design.”
Jeremy Wiggins, director of architectural firm gpad london adds,“People often don’t really think about acoustics, it’s as important as the aesthetic when renovating/extending your home. You have to think about both impact noise (people walking about) and airborne noise (music, talking).
“Tiled hallways look great, they can be noisy though, especially for the people below. We advise using a substantial acoustic underlay and placing silent-floor channels joists below.
“If you decide you want recessed lights and have heavy footed neighbours above. Be very careful as this could let more sound through. If you’re lucky enough to live in a Victorian conversion you may have enough of a room height to put in a false ceiling allowing for recessed lighting design. Otherwise, wall mounted and floor lights will be a better acoustic option.”
Acoustics Solutions Manager at Jacksons Fencing, Justin Khadaroo says, “Homeowners looking for a peaceful retreat should also look to their garden. While the outdoors may seem more exposed to loud noises, a well-chosen acoustic fence can significantly cut down on noise from neighbours, traffic and nearby nuisances without ruining your garden’s aesthetic.
“We recommend looking for a fence with thick, solid panels to help block or absorb noise. Look for a thick panel, gap-free installation and ensure there is solid contact between the fence and ground.
“There’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution, though, so make sure you consult with the experts to find the best fit for your home.”