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soundproofing top floor

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soundproofing top floor

Postby yaire » Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:24 pm

Hi all, long time reader and first time poster.

I want to isolate my first floor where I want to put my music activities in and not annoy the neigbours.
There used to be some great tutorials in the forum here but can't find them any more.
If anyone can point me to them I would already be very grateful.

I live in a house built around 1906 with a wooden floor and single brick wall to my neighbours.
They can hear me tapping on an electric drum set which is on an isolating drumriser.
So pretty terrible sound wise.

I am not experienced in construction work but will get some help from people.
Unfortunately these people know nothing about sound transfer/ isolation.
I live in the Netherlands so I need to source my materials on this side of the pond.

I want to keep this as cheap as possible but also effective.

I have some ideas how to do this but also have many questions. I hope you guys can aid me a bit.
Building period will be may - july and want to start planning/ budgetizing.

My plan:
1 sound proofing walls
2 sound proofing ceiling
3 sound proofing floor

1
I want to use Rockwool Rocksono Solid (45 kg/ m3) and Fermacell board (higher density than normal dry wall).
Is this a sensible choice or overkill?
Both the Rockwool and Fermacell are 60 cm wide. How do I go about making the wooden frame for the boards?
I can't put the Rockwool slabs between the wooden risers (or I have to cut a few cm off).
I could just glue the Rockwool to the wall and have a very thin wooden frame in front of it with the boards which results in a little air gap (good or bad?).
How do I keep the wooden frame from touching the floor/ ceiling? I see some solutions with coconutfibre strips.
The Rockwool will probably compress over time so I can't use that to isolate from floor/ ceiling (or can I?).
What to use to close the gaps in corners? Some kind of elastic kit or tape?

2
I want to stick in the Rockwool Rocksono Solid between the beams and close up with Fermacell board.
I think this would dampen the resonant space above my head enough not to be transferred to my neighbours.
Anybody thinks I need a floating ceiling?

3
The wooden flooren is very resonant and I think that it also transfers noise from the ground floor to the neighbours.
I think about filling this with easycell (cellulose flakes) (6 kg/m2) and adding a layer of Fermacell 2E32 board with mineral wool (26 kg/m2).


Any good advice is appreciated.

Thanks,

Yaire
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Re: soundproofing top floor

Postby James Perrett » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:00 pm

I know that this is unwelcome advice, but I doubt that you'll be able to successfully soundproof that structure without an almost total rebuild. Your best bet would be to move to a new place with solid floors and decent walls.

One thing to remember is that soundproofing adds a fair bit of mass to the structure and a wooden floor may not be able to cope with the extra mass. Consequently, one of the first jobs you would need to do would be to rebuild and strengthen the floor before adding an isolated inner shell on top. I would also advise hiring an acoustic consultant who can design an isolated structure for you - if you get this wrong you could end up with more problems than you solve.
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Re: soundproofing top floor

Postby blinddrew » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:09 pm

Hi yaire, welcome to the forum.
yaire wrote:I want to keep this as cheap as possible but also effective.
This, unfortunately, is the problem with your plan.
Sound treatment (controlling sound within a room) can be done fairly effectively within a tight budget, but sound proofing is a very different thing.
Before spending any money on materials or time, I'd follow James' advice and get an acoustic consultant to come and look. They will be able to tell you if you have any practical chance of succeeding.
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Re: soundproofing top floor

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:08 pm

If they can hear you playing an eDrum kit I'd say you are onto a loser (sorry). But, what are you trying to achieve, the ability to play eDrums during the day/early evening, or full drum kit and/or proper level monitoring late at night? The former may be achievable but the latter, probably not.

FWIW I have firsthand experience of the issue as I live in the UK in a Victorian semi built in around 1880, the party wall is single brick, no cavity. We can hear our neighbours playing piano and sax quite clearly, we have no problem with this, and our neighbours accept the general living noise that goes the other way with equanimity.

The levels of noise are usually masked by the TV or WHY, we both have other living rooms that don't abut the party wall where it is much quieter, and we both exercise consideration for the other by not making excessive noise late at night (and we are also friends with our neighbours which helps a lot).

Where I do make noise, in my studio, is in a basement with no party wall connecting it to next door and fairly good isolation from outside. My neighbours tell me they can't hear me rehearsing, even with a live drummer from inside their house. My wife is less happy as the sound does travel through our house to a certain extent, two rooms away it is masked by the TV but in the room above it is vary intrusive. Luckily (actually, by design) that room is the kitchen. The noise from the studio is audible in the garden too which might be a problem on a warm summer night but is usually just the equivalent of somebody playing a transistor radio quietly a garden or two away so nobody has complained yet. I also don't rehearse/record in there at volume much after 10pm.

In your case the low frequencies will be transmitted throughout the structure of the building, mainly the floor and you are sport of on the right lines suggesting you isolate your room from the floor (with your isolated drum riser and, in the future, your isolated, floating, room within a room. But I'd endorse what the others are saying and get a proper acoustic consultant in to look at it as it is not going to be cheap and may not work.
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Re: soundproofing top floor

Postby yaire » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:01 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:If they can hear you playing an eDrum kit I'd say you are onto a loser (sorry). But, what are you trying to achieve, the ability to play eDrums during the day/early evening, or full drum kit and/or proper level monitoring late at night? The former may be achievable but the latter, probably not.

I do not expect to have a full blown recording studio with live drums here but I would like that the tapping of sticks on rubber pads is not audible to them. I also play electric guitar and generally play at moderate levels.

For the others: thanks! But of course not the thing I want to hear :protest:
Personally I think there is some result to be had in this house.
Guess I'm still a bit stubborn :headbang:
Really would not like to move. I live in a nice neighbourhood and similar space will be out of my league.

My other neighbours have an acoustic piano which is audible in my place when everythings quiet and surely not bothersome but on that side the hallways meet up with mine so there is more distance and bricks.

I was already thinking about the weight of my flooring idea and whether that is a feasible plan.
The easycell should doable considering the weight and think that would already help.
But that's still my naivity speaking.

I'll see if I can find an acoustician for some advice and I'll get back to you guys.
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Re: soundproofing top floor

Postby yaire » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:04 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:In your case the low frequencies will be transmitted throughout the structure of the building, mainly the floor and you are sport of on the right lines suggesting you isolate your room from the floor (with your isolated drum riser and, in the future, your isolated, floating, room within a room. But I'd endorse what the others are saying and get a proper acoustic consultant in to look at it as it is not going to be cheap and may not work.

The drum riser with tennisballs makes quite a difference. Without it I do hear a thump in the room and with then it is only a high(er) smack.
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Re: soundproofing top floor

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:49 pm

Definitely try to get professional advice, the floating drum riser has clearly improved matters but it would be a major disappointment if you spent a load of money and then achieved no further result.

However if it is mainly the click of the pads that is the problem that's probably mostly airborne, in which case you may have a chance of containing it by the means you suggest. First though, do you have another room/basement which might be better isolated to start with?

Whatever you do, for electric guitar consider DI and some kind of amp modelling plug in and wear headphones, an electric guitar played acoustically is unlikely to cause problems, then record the drums at 'non-sensitive' times and you may find you have solved the neighbour problems without having to do loads more expensive work?
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Re: soundproofing top floor

Postby yaire » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:52 am

Sam Spoons wrote:
However if it is mainly the click of the pads that is the problem that's probably mostly airborne, in which case you may have a chance of containing it by the means you suggest. First though, do you have another room/basement which might be better isolated to start with?

Whatever you do, for electric guitar consider DI and some kind of amp modelling plug in and wear headphones, an electric guitar played acoustically is unlikely to cause problems, then record the drums at 'non-sensitive' times and you may find you have solved the neighbour problems without having to do loads more expensive work?

I do have a basement but it is too low to be comfortable and I think that the same problems would occur with the floor (then ceiling) and thin walls.

Normal guitar playing does not bother them (AFAIK) and yes nighttime playing I can do acoustically (on electric) or DI'd.

I must add that I do not have issues with my neighbours. But I would like to feel a bit free-er about making sound sometimes.
Since I am changing the room layout anyway upstairs I want to add some isolation.
So some money is going to be spent anyways.

Also another point to mention is that there is a crack running through this whole housing block. I expect that this is also a cause of sound leakage.
The funny thing also is that the sound is louder when I'm downstair than when I'm standing next to the room with the door closed (the door does not close well and the 'wall' is just some panelling, no bricks).
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Re: soundproofing top floor

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:43 am

Personal experience suggests sound transmission to the room(s) above or below is much greater than sideways. This makes sense as brick is much denser and stiffer than timber and wallboard. Making the door close tightly, and sealing up any gaps may make a useful improvement in airborne noise but won't affect that travelling throughout the walls to your neighbours (unless there are gaps/cracks in those walls).
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Re: soundproofing top floor

Postby yaire » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:07 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Personal experience suggests sound transmission to the room(s) above or below is much greater than sideways. This makes sense as brick is much denser and stiffer than timber and wallboard. Making the door close tightly, and sealing up any gaps may make a useful improvement in airborne noise but won't affect that travelling throughout the walls to your neighbours (unless there are gaps/cracks in those walls).

I expect the crack between the houses to be influential. it also moves a little with the seasons so can't just plaster it shut. A floating wall might help there. Also have to check for other smaller cracks between walls.
The floor isolation is also in consideration of a future partner.

I got my first quote from a consultant and am waiting for 2 others.
Thanks everyone for suggesting this.
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Re: soundproofing top floor

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jan 29, 2018 5:03 pm

The problem with sound transmission between the houses may be to do with the crack. Any air gap will allow sound to travel through. Depending how much it moves a flexible filler may well work, the object is to fill gaps where air can pass between the houses and even if you have to partially redo it on an annual basis it may be a cheap and pragmatic solution. I'd try that first.
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Re: soundproofing top floor

Postby yaire » Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:32 am

Coming monday a consultant will have a look at my house.
I'll ask about the best treatment of the crack in the wall as well.

Really curious what solutions he will come up with.
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Re: soundproofing top floor

Postby blinddrew » Thu Feb 01, 2018 3:53 pm

So am I, please let us know how it goes. :)
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Re: soundproofing top floor

Postby yaire » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:01 am

The consultant was just here. I had already given him a floor plan. We talked through my wishes and he did some measurements in the house and in my neigbours house.
It took about 20 minutes.
Next week I will have a report.
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Re: soundproofing top floor

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:51 am

yaire wrote:It took about 20 minutes.
Next week I will have a report.

:thumbup:

Looking forward to hearing what he thinks you can achieve within a realistic budget!


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Re: soundproofing top floor

Postby Wonks » Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:56 am

If it's less than £10k then it will be unrealistic for soundproofing, and even that is on the low end of things.
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Re: soundproofing top floor

Postby yaire » Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:46 pm

Hi people,

I just want to get back to you on the report I got.

The man was here for about 20 minutes, had a look at the house and my plans.
A few days later I got the report which looked a bit messy to me with some legislation between the commission and advice.

He did sum up most of the treatment that would be needed.

I still had a lot of questions afterwards, especially after talking to friends and colleagues.
He answered my questions and also was considerate about my budget.

The report also stated that when I have chosen my materials/ plans to submit them to them for a check. So that also sounds good.

For the interested people, this is the advice:

floating metal stud walls with Nevima decoupling horizontal ridges.
with 15 cm isolation Knauf Acoustifit and double plating of gypsum 12.5 mm (I prefer gypsumfibreboard which then should be 2 x 10 mm, is also a lot more expensive).
Walls and ceiling closed with a moisture barrier foil (between gypsum and isolation).

Doors 45 mm plywood doors the double rubbers

Ceiling 1st floor and ground floor: gypsumfibreboard on floating ridges + the same isolation material.

Floor upstairs : Fermacell 2E16 or 2e32(cheaper) floor elements.

All cracks filled with Illbruck perfect Elasticfoam

And an active ventilation system like the Sonair F+.

This would be for the whole top floor which amounts to about 35 m2.
I could probably skimp on the bedroom part which will be closed of by a door.

For the full works I come to an amount of about 8000 euro after doing a lot of checking on prices on websites. Hope I can cut some deals for 'large' amounts.
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Re: soundproofing top floor

Postby blinddrew » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:07 pm

Yep, soundproofing ain't cheap. :(
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Re: soundproofing top floor

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:03 pm

But it is less than £10k ;)
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Re: soundproofing top floor

Postby zenguitar » Thu Feb 22, 2018 1:26 am

Well done for getting professional advice, it is always cheaper to do the job right first time.

Once the work is done you should have good sound proofing. However, then you need to think about acoustic treatment so that your sound proof room is useable as well. So budget a little extra for that acoustic treatment. You will almost certainly discover that your room will need some bass trapping, broadband absorbtion, diffusion, and mirror points treated.

The good news is that this is something that you do very affordably, especially if you are prepared to do some DIY. There are lots of topics in this forum about DIY acoustic treatment, and plenty of nice people who will be happy to give you good advice. So take some time to read through the older topics in this forum, it will help.

There are products that you can buy, but they aren't very expensive and if you can use a few few basic tools (like drills, hammers, and saws) you can do it a lot cheaper. Budget €400-600 if you buy products, €200-400 if you do it yourself. My advice is to budget €750 but do it yourself and spend the money you save on things like mic stands, speaker stands, and spare cables.

When you have the room sound proofed, come back and ask for help on acoustic treatment. You will gets lots of help.

Andy :beamup:
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