Soundproofing a room can be ideal for reducing noise from loud aircraft above, a nearby motorway, or noisy neighbours living in the adjoining flat. It’s also a good idea if you have a teenager who loves to play loud music or has a recording studio in the spare room.
Generally, soundproofing your walls and flooring can cost as much as you want to pay. When using a typical proprietory insulation solution, floor soundproofing costs £1000-£1400 for 16m2. Furthermore, wall soundproofing costs £1100-£1500 for 9.6m2 or £114-£ 156/m2. Finally, the cost of soundproofing a ceiling of 16m2 is £1800-£2200. Overall, the cost of soundproofing a room in the UK depends on the method used and how soundproof you want it to be.
There are several soundproofing methods, but they all have materials that reduce the flow of sound through the various gaps and holes we find in our houses and prevent hard surfaces from transmitting, amplifying or reflecting sound waves.
Whichever way you soundproof and for whatever reason, this guide will explain:
- A bit about the subject.
- What regulations govern soundproofing.
- How to get started with the project.
- And approximately how much you’ll pay for a proprietory acoustic insulation solution.
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How Much Does Soundproofing Cost?*
The table below outlines estimated average costs for soundproofing a room using various methods. There are many ways to do this, with ready-to-install products available on the market. These prices reflect current soundproofing solutions.
|Soundproofing Task||Estimated Product Cost||Estimated Installation Cost||Duration|
|Standalone 4m x 2.4m wall||£900||£500||1-2 days|
|Direct-to-wall 4m x 2.4m wall||£800||£500||1-2 days|
|Direct-to-wall Acoustic laminated board 4m x 2.4m||£600||£500||1 day|
|Laminated loose lay floor mat 4m x 4m||£900||£500||1 day|
|Laminated & Acoustic Ceiling System 4m x 4m||£1500||£500||1-2 days|
*We compiled this information from various sources. Every home is different, so use this as a cost calculator to compare with your own home. For accurate quotations, contact a registered professional or use the form on this page.
Soundproofing Cost Factors
When installing soundproof insulation, consider various factors that affect the method and overall price.
The reason to soundproof a room gives an idea of the sound intensity, its source and how much reduction you need.
Suppose you need to reduce the sound from noisy neighbours in the flat below. In that case, you need an entirely different approach to creating a recording studio, reducing low-flying aircraft noise or removing the hum of a washing machine in a utility room. Although there are many other scenarios, let’s look at these three:
- Recording studio – Prevent all sound from penetrating the room and cover all hard surfaces with sound absorbent material. Usually, you can achieve everything by installing fully insulated false walls, ceiling and floor.
- Aircraft noise – Double glazing and thicker acoustic loft insulation will reduce this to manageable levels.
- Noisy neighbours – insulate between the floor joists, lay thicker carpet underlay, or install an insulated floating floor.
- Washing machine hum – Surround the machine with an insulated stud wall and door, and provide sound baffles between the machine and living accommodation.
As you can see, each scenario requires a different solution, but only the recording studio needs a sound-isolated room. The remainder only needs sound reduction.
The first step is to visit your local DIY store to see what’s available or approach a specialist soundproofing company.
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Airborne or impact noise?
Airborne noise enters rooms through poorly insulated floors, walls and ceilings. Sound travels through cavities via gaps between floors and skirting boards, airconditioning and extractor fan ducts and beneath doors, as well as many other places. In comparison, impact noise enters via single glazed windows, hollow plasterboard walls and ceilings, and lightweight solid walls. In practice, however, most domestic noise pollution is a mixture of the two.
Quickly fix airborne noise by filling cavities with acoustic fibre slabs and sealing gaps. However, impact noise needs a more scientific approach, such as double glazed windows and dense walls with integral sound breaks.
When choosing soundproofing materials, you must ensure they comply with the UK Building Regulations regarding fire resistance.
Size of room
Large rooms need more soundproofing materials than small rooms. It’s as simple as that. But, they might need a different soundproofing method too. Large expanses of hard surfaces transmit more sound in lower frequencies. Imagine a large wall as a drum skin, and you can understand why this occurs.
Type of house
A detached property will have less impact noise from outside but more airborne noise. In contrast, apartments, terraced or semi-detached houses experience impact noise from loud neighbours. The house type can also determine how much noise you experience:
- Flat or apartment – Noise from neighbours above, below and on each side. You might also experience noise from common areas such as staircases, lifts, and corridors.
- Semidetached – Noise transmits through the party wall and sometimes through a communal loft space, especially in old houses.
- Terraced house – Similar problems to a semi-detached, with the addition of neighbours on both sides, and more chance of having a joined loft space.
- Detached – No noise from neighbours. Instead, because of the greater number of rooms, you might experience sound from other family members
DIY or Professionals?
Although specialist companies produce a more professional job, you can use DIY soundproofing methods, such as increasing loft insulation thickness, sealing gaps around doors and skirting boards and laying thicker underlay, rugs or carpet. Alternatively, a local handyman can do these relatively cheaply.
Generally, it’s best left to professionals to do other tasks such as installing double glazed windows, building soundproof walls and insulating floors and ceilings.
Other trade professionals
Apart from soundproofing installers, you might need the following trades, which cost extra:
- Carpenter to build stud walls, lift and replace flooring and remove plasterboard ceilings.
- Electrician to move light fittings, switches and electrical sockets.
- Carpet fitter.
- Plumber to move radiators.
- Painter & decorator.
Some of these jobs are easy if you’re skilled at DIY. However, you must use a qualified electrician by law, and we recommend using a registered plumber.
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Benefits of Soundproofing a Room
You can split many of the benefits of soundproofing a room into:
- Those that protect the occupants from outside noise.
- And those that protect others from noise created within the room.
In general, the same soundproofing takes place; it’s only your point of view that’s different.
- Soundproofing reduces outside noise such as traffic and industrial sounds and creates a peaceful indoor environment.
- As a homeowner, you have more privacy. Outsiders can’t hear family arguments or private business.
- You can minimise outside sounds encroaching on your indoor life, and indoor sounds disturbing neighbours.
- Creative work such as arts, crafts and music often flourish in a quiet and peaceful environment. Conversely, music-making and home cinema make noise you don’t want to inflict on others.
- Home offices need isolation from domestic sounds. Similarly, an office in a warehouse or workshop needs isolating from the sound of vehicles and tools.
- Doctors and other businesses such as banks need a soundproof room to discuss confidential information.
But, soundproofing isn’t always practical, and you should consider these when planning your project.
- Soundproofing can be expensive, especially if professionally done.
- Not all sounds are unwanted. You must hear children crying or kitchen smoke alarms.
- Depending on the age of your home and how it’s built, installing soundproofing isn’t always practical.
- Rooms with soundproofing conceal electricity cables and plumbing that need access for maintenance.
- Take care when soundproofing as electricity cables and water pipes might be damaged.
- Some soundproofing solutions are unattractive and need additional work to disguise or cover.
Soundproofing Standards & Regulations UK
The UK Building Regulations ensure all construction work and home improvements comply with relevant safety standards.
Building Regulations are not retrospective. Therefore, your house might not comply with the relevant safety standards because it was built before 1963. Also, over the years, the government updates the regulations. So, even though your home might be younger than this, it might still not comply with the present laws. However, if you make any alterations or improvements to your home, you must upgrade the building to comply with the current regulations. For soundproofing, the following Building Regulations apply:
This regulation relates to the standard of work and quality of materials. You must use appropriate materials, and operatives must behave in a workmanlike manner.
Although soundproofing might not compromise the building’s structural integrity, the installation might affect the floor and ceiling joists’ load-bearing capacity. Ensure that soundproofing installation doesn’t disrupt anything else.
Ensure that soundproofing materials comply with the fire regulations and won’t be affected adversely by fire. Additionally, this regulation covers fire escapes, so you must always ensure the room has a window large enough to use as a fire escape.
This regulation deals with sound transmission between rooms and between interconnected buildings. Noise levels must not exceed about 45dB. So, if you intend to exceed this, hire soundproofing professionals.
This regulation deals with electrical safety and applies when moving electrical points on false walls and ceilings.
Other Building Regulations apply when necessary.
Competent Person Scheme
Look on the Competent Person Scheme register if you want to use a professional who knows what they’re doing. This database of tradespeople and companies pass the local authority’s level of competence. They can self-certify that their work complies with the UK Building Regulations and issue a certificate as proof. Otherwise, you must submit a building notice to your local authority’s Building Control department or use an approved inspector.
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How Do You Soundproof a Room?
There are three ways to soundproof a room depending on the type of soundproofing you need, and the sound source.
The types of sound are:
- Airborne noise – add a thick layer of heavy material to prevent noise transfer.
- Impact noise – use a dampening material between walls, floor or ceiling.
- Amplification and echoing – use curtains and soft furnishings, plants and other sound-absorbent materials and structures.
Create a second wall
One of the most effective soundproofing methods is to build a wall next to the existing one, with a gap of about 100-150mm between them. Then, fill the void with soundproofing foam, acoustic fibrous material, and rubber sheets. Try to reduce contact between the two walls by connecting them to the floor and ceiling. Remember this method will reduce the room volume by increasing the width of the walls.
Fix a new wall to your existing wall
Fixing a new wall directly onto the existing wall is another way if space is a problem. Although, it’s not as effective as a standalone wall. Typically, the new wall is a laminate of various soundproofing layers.
Fix a wooden framework to the existing wall and fill the cavities with acoustic fibre glued to the existing surface. Add a rubber sheet to the frame, then cover it with a double layer of dense acoustic plasterboard.
Insulate a stud wall
Insulating an existing stud partition wall stops some airborne noise but doesn’t affect impact noise. Therefore, remove one layer of plasterboard from the stud partition, and fill the cavity with acoustic fibre. Then, add a layer of rubber sheeting followed by two layers of dense acoustic plasterboard. You can also add another rubber sheet between the two plasterboard layers for additional soundproofing.
Soundproofing a floor
There are two ways of soundproofing a floor depending on whether you want to reduce airborne or impact noise.
You can reduce airborne noise by using acoustic floor insulation between floor and ceiling joists. Alternatively, reduce impact noise by using floating floors above acoustic floor panels and acoustic matting beneath carpets. You can also use extra thick underlay, but be mindful of finished floor height interfering with doors when using these methods.
Acoustic matting is helpful to reduce impact noise through floors. Use these mats between the flooring and floor coverings, such as laminates and carpets. The mats are easy to install, cut to shape with a Stanley knife, and laid in a staggered brick-like pattern. Cover with a sheet of plywood to reduce movement and prevent damage.
Alternatively, use interlocking tongue and groove flooring grade chipboard overlaying acoustic insulation panels or matting. Lay the soundproofing first, followed by the chipboard glued along the edge. Leave a gap of about 15mm around the outside edge to allow for expansion and reduce impact sound transmission.
Fibrous insulation slabs are great for placing between floor and ceiling joists, and partition studs. However, be aware that thermal insulation isn’t the same as acoustic insulation. Although thermal insulation will reduce some sound transmission, it’s less dense than acoustic fibres, making them less suitable for sound reduction.
Using acoustic insulation
Slabs of dense acoustic insulation are the best ways to absorb sound. Install compressed slabs between ceiling joists for maximum sound absorption. They need to be at least 100mm thick with a density of 60kg/m3.
Installing soundproofing panels
Soundproofing ceiling panels are an excellent alternative to acoustic insulation. They’re made from cement particle board, more efficient than acoustic plasterboard. The increased ceiling density reduces the amount of sound transmitted through from upstairs. This method is also more cost-effective as you don’t need to open the ceiling or build a new one.
Build an independent ceiling
This method is similar to building an independent wall mentioned earlier. You construct a ceiling underneath the existing one using a laminate structure. If your home has high ceilings, this method might be suitable. However, if your home has standard height ceilings of 2.4m, you might have problems as the Buildings Regulations specify you can’t lower a standard ceiling more than 150mm. Also, you must install new ceiling joists, which requires a professional carpenter. If you have enough room to use this method, it will reduce both airborne and impact noise.
Sound travels through the air so make sure there are no gaps around doors when they’re closed. Also, many internal doors are lightweight or hollow, so exchange them for doors with denser cores. Alternatively, buy acoustically rated doors. But, they are costly compared to other doors. However, there are different ways to achieve sound reduction across a door without buying expensive acoustic doors.
Add panelling to the door
If you can’t replace a hollow door, you can add a dense MDF panel to one or both sides of the door. You can buy these in a range of different styles from good DIY home improvement stores.
Fill gaps around the door
The most apparent gaps are between:
- The door frame and the wall – Remove the architrave and fill the cavity with expanding polyurethane foam. When cured, cover it with a new architrave.
- The door and the frame – Buy acoustic sealant or self-adhesive acoustic foam strips (similar to foam draught excluder). Then, stick them to the door edge to seal the gap when the door is closed.
- The door and the floor – Floors are rarely level, so the space between floor and door can change as you open and close the door. This makes blocking up the gap very difficult. You can buy automatic door bottoms that rise when doors open and fall when they close.
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Is soundproofing a wall worth it?
Soundproofing a wall is worthwhile, especially if you have noisy neighbours or want a quiet haven away from the noisy kids and television. However, don’t spend too much if you don’t need everything silent. Unless you spend thousands of pounds on a bespoke system, you won’t remove all external sounds, so only do as much as is bearable.
Do soundproof walls work?
Yes, you can soundproof walls, floors and ceilings. All that’s required is to block any air gaps and increase the density of solid surfaces by increasing the thickness and adding acoustic insulation materials.
Does soundproofing increase house value?
The answer to this depends on the acoustic problem and where you decide to insulate. If you suffer from noisy neighbours, live near heavy traffic or suffer from low-flying aircraft, you can increase your property value and increase its saleability. However, if you decide to soundproof the basement to give your teenage son somewhere to practice the drums, maybe not.
What is the cheapest way to soundproof a wall?
The most affordable ways to soundproof walls are to use dense vinyl sheets or acoustic foam tiles. If you want to spend a bit more, but maybe a bit more unsightly, glue foam mats to the walls. Finally, build a standalone stud partition with acoustic insulation. Probably, this is the most expensive alternative, but it’s still cheaper than many specialist products on the market that need professionals to install.
Soundproofing a room or even just one wall or ceiling can make life more enjoyable for you, your family and your neighbours. But where on earth do you go to get some affordable soundproofing quotes?
Complete the form on this page, and we’ll ensure you receive up to four quotes from professional companies that know all about soundproofing.
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