Soundproofing: what can i do about noise from the neighboring apartment??

Noise from the neighboring apartment can be quite annoying, especially in the bedroom. Our expert explains how you can build step by step a facing shell against sound, which will let you sleep peacefully again.

The following question was submitted to the Wohngluck editorial team: "My problem is that I hear noises from the neighboring apartment. Particularly annoying here is the coughing. I need a solution for sound insulation in this frequency range. Now I have researched and find two methods. One is the foam mat, which is probably made of the same or very similar material as earplugs. The other method is mineral wool, especially rock wool.

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Unfortunately, I can’t find a reliable source to tell me which material is best for my problem. The idea is to draw a partition wall and cover it with OSB or gypsum boards. A sound-absorbing material is then to be inserted into the gap. Only white unfortunately I do not know which one to use. Do you have a recommendation for me?".

The housing happiness experts answer:

Soft, light foam mats or mineral wool are not suitable for sound insulation. These materials you can use to avoid sound reflections to improve the acoustics. They are too light for sound insulation. This also applies to other insulation materials used for thermal insulation, such as polystyrene (Styrofoam).

Soft wood fiber insulation boards, on the other hand, have very good soundproofing properties due to their large dead weight and are suitable for sound insulation.

In order to take effective action against noise, it is necessary to know how noises and sound are generated and how they find their way inside the house. Sound waves can propagate in the air and in solids.

Airborne sound is when sound waves generated by noises (conversations, music- in your case cough) are generated, spread through the air. They hit the surrounding floors, walls and ceilings and cause them to vibrate. In this way, these components act like membranes that transmit air vibrations and thus noise to adjacent rooms.

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How to insulate airborne sound from the neighboring apartment

To prevent this, all components must be designed so that they do not vibrate or vibrate only very slightly. This can be achieved by making the components sufficiently heavy so that the vibration energy is destroyed.

A wall made of heavy building materials such as clay bricks, sand-lime bricks or concrete is therefore more advantageous in terms of sound insulation than one made of lightweight materials such as aerated concrete. It is also possible to build several separate air cushions, which also cause sound waves to "die". You must pay particular attention to avoiding even the smallest gaps and holes in partition walls, as even single holes measuring only a few millimeters can undermine the sound insulation of a solid wall.

In your case, we recommend placing a second drywall wall in front of the existing wall to improve sound insulation- a so-called facing shell. Their construction, if it is to perform its function effectively, would have to be carried out as follows:

Building a facing shell against sound: Here’s how

1. Erect framework

At a distance of at least five centimeters from the wall, erect a framework of wooden studs measuring 4 x 6 centimeters (or, preferably, 6-centimeter-wide metal profiles). To prevent the transmission of vibrations, you must isolate this construction from the surrounding components such as the ceiling, walls and floor.

2. Soundproof the construction from building components

This is achieved by placing a strip of felt (for example, Rigips connection seal) or mineral wool between the studs and surrounding components without gaps in each case. The goal must be that no part of the stud construction has direct contact with the ceiling, walls and floor at any point. Fastening with a few screws is only under the ceiling and on the floor.

3. Installing insulation boards

Between the studs you then place several layers of soft wood fiber insulation boards until a total thickness of six centimeters is reached. You must install the insulation boards in such a way that the distance to the wall is maintained at all points, thus creating an air gap of five centimeters. You must make absolutely sure that the panels are installed without any gaps. There should not be any cracks or joints left. Even the smallest cracks, only one millimeter wide, can destroy the sound insulation of the entire wall.

4. Make closure to the room

The end of the room is made with two layers of gypsum fiberboard, each 15 millimeters thick. You should lay the second layer of tiles so that their joints are in the middle between the joints of the first layer. By the weight of the two layers of gypsum fiberboard and in addition by this kind of the laying you reach that the surface cannot vibrate like a membrane and transmit sound waves. These two layers of gypsum fiberboards must also not be tightly connected to walls, ceiling and floor. Between them must remain open all around a gap of one centimeter in width, which you finally seal with elastic acrylic sealant (no silicone!) closes.

Only the exact and careful execution of this partition in all details guarantees reliable sound insulation. Here is an overview of all the measures:

  • Sound decoupling of the stand construction.
  • Use of soft wood fiber insulation boards as lining.
  • Use of gypsum fiberboard instead of OSB or chipboard.
  • Plate thickness of 15 millimeters.
  • Staggered and two-layer assembly of the boards.
  • A circumferential open joint, closed with acrylic sealant.

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