Soundproofing Floors in Flats
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Soundproofing Floors in Flats
The soundproofing of floors in flats is often required when a building is the subject of a change of use into residential. When this happens, the soundproofing of all separating floors has to be upgraded to comply with Part E Resistance to the Passage of Sound to comply with current Building Regulations. At present this means that the sound insulation of the floors has to be a minimum 43dB for airborne sound insulation and a maximum of 64dB for impact noise. Often this is overlooked when contractors are working on a change of use project and only find out they have omitted upgrading the soundproofing of the floors when Building Control bring it to their attention. Unless the separating floors fully comply with Part E, Building Control will not sign the project off making it impossible to sell the property at any time in the future. Once the soundproofing of a floor has been upgraded, if it is a separating floor it will have to be independently pre-completion tested to prove compliance.
So it is important the correct soundproofing materials are used when soundproofing a floor to comply with Part E and equally important the soundproofing materials are correctly installed. So it is important to read the installation instructions for all of our soundproofing materials (when relevant) before installing. Usually, to properly soundproof a floor in any change of use situation, the ceiling has to be decoupled from the structural joists and the floor has to be decoupled in a similar way. For timber joisted floors the walking surface is usually supported by a base floor that is screwed to the top of the joists. In addition, mass has to be added to the structure and it also has to meet at least one hour fire resistance from below. We will now go onto describe which of our soundproofing materials can be used to properly soundproof a separating floor to bring it into compliance with current Building Regulations starting with the ceiling.
If there is sufficient ceiling height, it is often advisable to leave the existing ceiling and install a new set of joists suspended off wall mounted hangers. The joists will have to be of the correct dimensions suitable for the size of the room to support the weight of the additional layers of high density acoustic plasterboard. Normally there should be two layers of preferably 15mm thick Acoustic Plasterboard and these can be screwed to the new set of joists without decoupling with the usual Resilient Bars that are used beneath the structural floor supporting joists. When the joists have been installed, if there is enough room above, install 100m of AMW100 Acoustic Mineral Wool on top of the joists. If there is not enough room the AMW can be fitted between the joists and held in place with wire netting. Now that has been done screw up the two layers of 15mm Acoustic Plasterboard and the ceiling is finished. However, when fitting lights, avoid fitting inset ceiling lights because these will reduce the efficiency of the soundproofing and could result in a pre-completion test failure. When there is not enough height to install an independent joisted suspended ceiling then work has to be conducted on the existing ceiling and should start with removal of the existing ceiling. Once removed, Resilient Bars should be screwed across the underside of the joists and these will decouple the new ceiling to improve the soundproofing of the floor. Before fitting the Acoustic Plasterboard, insert 100mm of AMW100 Acoustic Mineral Wool between the joists as a loose fit and sit them on top of the Resilient Bars. Once fitted the two layers of Acoustic Plasterboard can now be screwed to the bars and all lighting should be surface mounted after fitting.
Now for the floor on top of the joists. As the soundproofing beneath the floor has already been taken care of, if the existing floor is in good condition there will be no need to remove it. Simply overlay with 2mm of SBM5 Soundproofing Mat to seal up the joints then install 10mm of R10 resilient insulation to isolate the floating floor. Once the resilient R10 is down the floating floor can be installed and this is our 18mm QuietBoard, a high density tongue and grooved acoustic flooring often used when soundproofing any floor regardless of whether it has to meet Part E or if it is simply an upgrade of an existing flat. The QuietBoard acoustic flooring is laid with no mechanical fixings. It is simply installed with all of the joints glued and with an expansion gap around the edges where the flooring meets the wall to keep it completely independent from the surrounding structure. The gap is sealed with Acoustic Sealant and it is this floor that has to be tested to prove compliance. Once you have the test certificate proving compliance, Building Control will sign it off as being properly soundproofed and the flat(s) should now be available for use.