Learn all you need to know about acoustic insulation, including different types of insulation material and how sound spreads through your home. Here we answer all the common questions about noise pollution and soundproofing.
Is there a difference between soundproofing and acoustics?
Soundproofing a space prevents the transmission of soundwaves through the wall, floor, or ceiling. This can prevent sound being heard inside or outside of the space.
Acoustics control the sound in the room. For example, you may add materials to absorb soundwaves and prevent them bouncing off hard surfaces and creating an echo.
Photo by Richard Clyborne of MusicStrive
Rockwool is used for acoustic insulation to prevent soundwaves from entering or leaving a room. They are installed into walls, ceilings, floors and attics in large slabs.
Rockwool is a brand made from rocks that are melted down into liquid form before being exposed to high-pressure steam and spun at high speed into long fibre strands. These are then compressed into thick, dense mats which can then be cut into the slabs of insulation used for soundproofing and noise reduction.
Earthwool slabs are not made primarily from natural wool. Instead, they contain a mixture of materials. For example, the Earthwool Building Slab RS100, is compromised primarily of melted rocks formed into the large slabs.
The material absorbs almost no moisture from the surrounding air and is non-combustible. It also won’t attract vermin or rot.
Earthwool slabs are installed into ceilings, floors and walls in both domestic and commercial premises, with the chosen density dependent on the requirements of the building.
What is acoustic plasterboard?
Acoustic plasterboard is used as an alternative to ordinary plasterboard as the density of the material is much higher.
It is installed in walls and ceilings and put in place to reduce the transmission of noise coming from either side of the structure. To achieve the best results, it is recommended that acoustic plasterboard is used in conjunction with other acoustic insulation products to ensure there is a significant reduction of noise level.
How does acoustic plasterboard work?
It works by adding mass to either a wall or a ceiling, increasing the density of the structure and making it harder for soundwaves to pass through while maintaining their strength. The material acts as an absorbent, dampening the level of the noise so it cannot be heard as clearly.
What is acoustic roll?
Acoustic roll is intended for use in walls and floors similar to Earthwool Acoustic Roll which is made from the same material as the Earthwool insulation mentioned above, although it is subject to a slightly different manufacturing process to enable it to be supplied in rolls rather than slabs.
How does acoustic roll work?
It improves the overall mass of the structure, increasing the density and adding to the acoustic performance. Acoustic rolls are used in both domestic and commercial properties and offer high levels of performance, especially when used in conjunction with other acoustic insulation methods.
What are acoustic panels?
Acoustic panels are a cost effective way to reduce noise, helping to absorb and dampen sound in any given space. There are a range of sizes available and they also come in several styles and colours, making it easy to find a type to suit the décor of your space.
What are acoustic panels made of?
Some of the acoustic panels available are made from acoustic foam, fiberglass, polypropylene, polyester and cotton and can be easily mounted onto both walls and ceilings.
How do soundproof wall panels work?
Soundproof wall panels are used in two ways. Firstly to absorb soundwaves as they pass through and secondly to reduce the noise level.
Absorbing the sound helps to prevent the sound bouncing off harder objects and creating an echo that distorts the noise and makes it even louder. Dense foam soundproof panels are ideal for this purpose, as the soundwaves are muffled by the soft material, making the noise far less audible.
Soundproof wall panels used to reduce sound are typically made from wood and fiberglass, although other materials can also be used just as effectively, such as foam, thick curtains and dense room dividers. Used in isolation, soundproof wall panels will not be able to completely reduce external noise but will still help to lower noise pollution.
What is vibration noise?
Sounds caused by vibrations are a problem as common as airborne sound and can be the result of any nearby operational machinery or object that is coming into contact with a wall, ceiling, floor or even the ground.
As a result, the type of noise generated from vibration will also create either airborne and/or flanking noise, depending on its source.
What is flanking noise?
Flanking is usually the result of impact noise that reverberates through the structure of a building. This is a common in flats and apartments.
If the walls in the structure are lightweight and lack density, then flanking noise is more likely to occur as there is less mass to absorb it.
What is sound damping?
Sound damping is the process of reducing the noise generated by resonating panels. This is fixed by gluing a vibration damping pad to stiffen the panels. Sound damping is usually enough to lower noise, if not completely eradicate it.