Eliminate the noise from your neighbours
Whether it is an apartment or an attached house, there is nothing more annoying than unwanted noise from your neighbours. How can you stop it? Let's find out!
Living in the city is, for many, not an option. Long commutes and the demand for long hours of work make living in the city a necessity to have a better quality of life. Unfortunately, besides the many benefits that it brings, there can be nightmare-like consequences, like having noisy neighbours.
One good thing, though, is that you can do simple and inexpensive things to reduce that noise without rebuilding the whole house. So grab your cordless power tools, and let's get to work!
Before you build anything, take a moment to understand how sound works. Sound is a vibration that travels through air or materials as an acoustic wave. The louder the sound, the larger and stronger those acoustic waves are.
Due to being an acoustic wave, the materials significantly impact how the sound travels, how long, and how loud. For example, let's say we have three rooms together, one after the other in the order room 1, room 2, and room 3. If you are in room one and knock on the wall between room one and room 2, the sound in room two will be very clear and loud because the acoustic wave travelled quickly through the solid material of the wall. However, a person in room three will barely hear that sound because the acoustic wave will lose strength and get lost after going through empty space.
Understanding sounds helps us understand why we can hear our next-door neighbours so loud but nothing from two houses down the street. This brings us to our first lesson, air, or empty space, is excellent for sound insulation. Why?
We need to touch on science to understand it. All matter is composed of molecules. Solid materials such as concrete and wood have their molecules very close together, making them solid and an excellent channel for transmitting vibrations. Water, and ultimately air, have their molecules far from each other and spread out, making the transmission of vibrations harder. This is the reason why air or other materials like foam and wool are better at insulating sound, having their molecules further away from each other.
So what can you do? Build a barrier to stop sound!
Building a sound barrier
By applying the little science you just learned, you can create a barrier to stop the sound from your neighbour getting into your house or apartment. It takes a bit of simple construction, but it is absolutely worth the effort.
You will need to create a fake wall to put on top of your wall with insulation material in between, creating a sort of sandwich that will absorb the sound that comes from your neighbour's property.
Building a fake wall on top means that you will reduce the space of your room a little bit, some from 6 to 10 centimetres, but the results will be worth it. From your existing wall to the inside, you want to build a small air gap, add wool insulation panels, and close it with drywall. So how can you do it? Let's see the following steps:
1) Identify the walls. What are the walls that are connected or touching your neighbour's property? The walls that are separating rooms within your house do not need any modification, but the ones that divide your house from your neighbour will need some attention.
2) Analyse the wall and its implications. Once you know what wall needs help, make sure to consider all the implications of building a fake wall on top of it. For instance, does the wall have power outlets? If so, can you pull the power outlet to the new wall? Does the wall have radiators for heating? If so, can you extend the pipes to bring the radiator into extra ten centimetres? Again, it is essential to consider all implications before you start putting together the structure.
3) Calculate the materials. After knowing the implications, start measuring the width and height of the walls you need to build. Next, calculate the amount of metal stud you have to buy, considering that you want a metal stud every other 40 to 60 cm to have a solid structure. Also, depending on the insulation wool panel, calculate how much you need to buy to cover all that area. If your project requires lots of work due to the property's size, it is recommended to get help from a residential construction estimator to get more accurate estimates.
4) Setup the structure. Use the metal stud to create the frame for the wall. Use your cordless power tool to efficiently drill the stud to the sides, floor, and ceiling. Make sure to leave a gap between the metal structure and the existing wall of 2 to 5 centimetres—the more significant the gap, the better the result. As you calculated before, separate the vertical metal stud by 40 to 60 centimetres.
5) Add stripes. After the structure is done, connect the metal studs by adding lines on the profile closer to the existing wall. These stripes will prevent the insulation panel from coming out of place.
6) Install the insulation panels. Whether foam, rock wool, or ecological insulation panels or rolls, install them by fitting them on the metal studs. Be careful not to let them go beyond the stripes so that you keep your air gap clean.
7) Install the drywall. After the insulation is in place, install the drywall by attaching it to the metal studs. Use your power tools to do this. Make sure to use tape to cover the lines between each drywall panel. When installed, paint it with the colour of your preference.
8) Enjoy the silence!
As simple as that, you can do it yourself, and you can quickly start enjoying life, and especially naps, without the really annoying neighbour noise.