Soundproofing in London
Why choose houseUP as your soundproofing installer?
At houseUP we are passionate about renovating and enhancing period properties for 21st century living, particularly Victorian properties. With more than 10 years of experience and expertise in renovation, and more recently branching into domestic soundproofing, we can proudly claim Coleherne Court, a mansion block in Earl’s Court as one of our soundproofing successes.
As soundproofing specialists, not only do we understand sound, we also understand the bothersome effects noise pollution can have on daily life.
Noise pollution can intrude from many different sources, especially when living in such proximity as we do in London. Irritating sources can be airborne sounds, for example, from neighbours’ loud conversations, the thumping bass from their music, a TV cranked up too high; or impact sounds, such as vacuuming in the flat above, or footsteps on stairwell late at night. Acoustic disturbances can also invade from outside, for example, the sound of traffic on the streets, people passing by talking on mobile phones, the sound of air traffic on a flight path, or even the vibrations caused by London’s transport network. Not to mention sounds from within your own dwelling; kids squabbling, a partner working from home on endless conference calls, snoring.
As soundproofing installation fitters, we have offered soundproofing solutions to reduce or eliminate all of these complaints and take pride in restoring the privacy and peace of our clients’ lives at home.
The first step to soundproofing installation
Once you have approached us for your soundproofing quote, you will discuss your needs in detail with one of our soundproofing specialist technicians.
When the necessary information has been gathered; i.e. the type of disturbances being experienced, the areas that require soundproofing insulation, and any specifications unique to your property, we can work towards the project beginning in a timely manner and reaching the goal of peace and peace of mind.
Our specialist soundproofing services (1\4)
With a wealth of experience to draw on, we are confident we can drastically lower, or even eliminate the level of unwanted noise in any type of residential home, office space or commercial property.
To exemplify our range of experience; we have had the pleasure of working on a Victorian detached family home in Greenwich, the grand Georgian flats in South Kensington, a traditional pub converted into flats in Sydenham, and a contemporary penthouse in Aldgate, to name a few of our favourites.
It may not be the entire home that requires soundproofing, you may prefer to focus on one room in particular, or even a single wall. We are prepared to listen and respond accordingly.
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Sound can permeate and leak through less resilient surfaces in your home, and during our site visit we may discover pathways in parts of your property that you hadn’t considered. The most well-known pathways for sound are through:
- Floorboards, concrete floors and walls, party walls, ceilings
- Chimney breasts and flumes
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Therefore the most requested services tend to be:
- Floor soundproofing with underfloor insulation absorption materials
- Wall soundproofing with mass loaded panels or multi-layered construction materials
- Ceiling soundproofing by adding mass, i.e. drywall
- Adding mass to the chimney cavities with high density materials
Less common pathways are through:
- Plumbing chases
- Fixtures and outlets
- Structural joints
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Particularly in older buildings where materials have degraded over time, the integrity of originals seals and joins can become compromised, therefore allowing unwanted sound waves to filter through. This is the perfect opportunity to consider replacing them with more modern, durable and sound-resistant ones.
The site visit and thorough inspection is our departure point and better informs us how to tackle specific areas in need of our attention, and allows our specialists to identify which soundproof fittings and materials are most suitable for your needs and property.
It’s important to note that the approach we take is bespoke and the above are general suggestions. The process and materials can differ from individual case to individual case.
Poor soundproofing in London properties (1\3)
London is home to some of the most beautiful architecture in the country, and as an owner of a period property, we are sure you share our passion and commitment to preserving it. This isn’t to say it should remain unchanged or outdated. We believe that property can maintain originality and gain practicality, and one example of that is by installing soundproofing.
Since Victorian times and the Industrial Revolution, London’s residential population has been ever-increasing. Historically, the need for housing but limited space meant that people moved closer and closer in proximity; what were once individual dwellings became divided into flats and some flats were purpose built to deal with the population boom. At the time, however, little regard was paid to insulation.
Poor soundproofing in London properties (2\3)
This rapid expansion meant properties were sometimes built or converted hurriedly, and materials could be lacking in quality or building regulation corners were cut.This was experienced again after the Second World War when rebuilding the city was so urgent. Unlike today, in previous eras, the need for sound insulation was less of a concern as there were fewer noise pollution issues to contend with. Far fewer residents suffered the impact of a neighbours’ TV turned too high, and with fewer cars on the street and with smaller engines, interference from traffic sounds was minimal. Nowadays, sound-flanking is a major cause for complaint, especially in terraced or semi-detached properties. If you’re a flat owner within a terrace in Dulwich, Hampstead, Islington or Camden, the issue will resonate.
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Although the notion of soundproofing originated in the late 1800s, soundproofing regulations and legislations in London building works were only established as recently as 2003 (Building Regulations Document Part E). So unless your home is a new build or an older property that has been renovated in the last 20 years, you are most likely dealing with some noise polluting issues.
How is the cost of soundproofing determined?
Every project at houseUP is treated as unique as there are variances and variables to every property and every property owners’ needs. To ensure the best possible result and value, a site visit will be necessary to gather information that contributes to arriving at cost. We will assess factors such as the type of property, size of the area needing soundproofing fitting, and the complexity of the work. Then we might work with a specialist soundproofing company to collaborate on elements such as testing, adhering to property specific building regulations, and most appropriate materials to employ. An example of one of our most prestigious soundproofing projects being the previously mentioned Coleherne Court. Everything for this project had to be custom designed and built to within very rigid building specifications, requiring the use of the most expensive and quality materials. Needless to say, the result was highly effective.
However, not all projects require high-end materials and big budgets. houseUP will take the time to fully assess your individual case and tailor the installation to your property.
How effective is sound proofing?
Soundproofing is generally achieved by adding mass to air-filled cavities. With a variety of soundproofing solutions to choose from, i.e. mass loaded panels, multi-layered construction, insulation absorption or impact barriers to name a few, our results won’t minimise room space, are unseen and above all, effective.
We have been proven to dramatically reduce airborne and impact sounds through our diligent approaches to wall soundproofing, floor soundproofing and ceiling soundproofing, as well as more unique requests. Through evaluating the need, selecting the most suitable soundproofing options and materials, we can ensure that noises from within or outside the home are less audible, if not completely muted.
To be successful in soundproofing that fulfils your requirements, the most important factor is to have a bespoke design for you by a professional soundproofing company. Once one of the options recommended is selected, have a competent building contractor carry out the work. Finally, engage a reliable independent sound testing consultant to measure the final results.
We have been working in Central London on domestic soundproofing for several years now. It is very common that renovation projects include soundproofing requirements, especially in mansion blocks. Over these years, we worked with soundproofing specialists and certifiers in many challenging projects in London.
CEILING SOUNDPROOFING IN HEMINGFORD ROAD, ISLINGTON, LONDON
This flat is located in the basement of a semidetached linked villa, as one of five pairs built between 1846 and 1863.
We carried out renovation works to the basement flat with a specific focus on damp issues and soundproofing.
For soundproofing, we designed and built a bespoke acoustic ceiling to improve the acoustic performance of the flat. The requirement was from the client, to make a more pleasant home for their renters.
The design comprised the following:
- Remove old ceiling
- Fill voids between exposed joists with 100mm RW3 Acoustic Mineral Wool
- Install resilient bars onto joists
- Install 1st layer 19mm Sound Plank plasterboard
- Seal all edges with Acoustic & Fire rated sealant
- Install 2nd layer of 12.5mm Sound Shield plasterboard
Our client didn’t have a target dB value to achieve after the work, but the tenants of the renovated flat confirmed they don’t have the nuisance of hearing noise from the flat above. The quality of their sleep and their work has improved, and when they are at home they feel more protected and able to relax.
FLOOR SOUNDPROOFING IN COLEHERNE COURT, CHELSEA, LONDON
Coleherne Court is a famous mansion block built at the beginning of 20th century and contains more than 100 flats.
We are completing the renovation of a self contained flat in the block, including the removal of the carpet in all habitable rooms and the replacement with a hard-wood finish.
As the lease for the property stipulates requirements for the floor performance, we engaged with design specialists for soundproofing and an independent soundproofing testing company.
The license to alter provided the following requirements:
«Where Hard Flooring is to be placed in rooms which are immediately above or below any
Sensitive Rooms, the sound insulation performance of the separating floor must achieve an airborne sound insulation not less than 48dB DnT,w + Ctr and an impact sound transmission value of no greater than 45dB L’nT,w. It should be noted that for airborne sound insulation the higher the value the better, whereas for impact sound the lower the value the better the performance.»
For targets that are so specific, it’s important to appoint specialist companies.
They recommended building the floor using several layers and specific materials and insulation for each layer. We initially tested a proven buildup, that had already passed the tests in another flat refurbishment project. We compared the performance against a new buildup, even more promising.
In the end we built the floor following the new better performing model.
Between the floor and the walls a strip gap strip of 5mm is in place to avoid the direct transmission of sounds through the walls. They also recommended we build plinths separated from the floating floor, for sections where furniture was to be places. This is because furniture can bypass the floating insulated floor and transmit sound directly through walls, too.
For example, we built the whole kitchen floor including the floating part and plinths of structural floor, made to measure for each piece of furniture. The sections where the kitchen elements and the appliances sit do not touch the floating floor. An almost invisible gap between the two types of floor ensures that the sound transmission is interrupted.
We performed regular testing as the renovation work progressed. This was to check to that every additional installation did not degrade the soundproofing performance.
Collected questions that we often hear from you
Can I live at the property during the refurbishment?
We always recommend that you arrange for alternative accommodation during the project.
Some of our clients choose to live at the property during the work, and, of course, we make that possible. However, please be advised that this arrangement comes with a significant increases in stress, cost and duration of the project.
Do I need planning permission for my refurbishment?
You won’t need planning permission for most refurbishment projects. If you are not changing the external appearance of your flat or your house, you won’t need planning permission. In many cases, you can make a loft conversion or a rear/side extension within permitted development rights. You can find all the details on which type of extensions are allowed under permitted development here.
However, if you are planning to refurbish a listed building, you may need permission.
How long will my refurbishment take?
As per the duration of a project, it cannot be estimated without the full details. If you want to plan ahead, for alternative accommodation for example, we recommend at least:
For smaller flat refurbishment, approximately 4 to 6 months. For house refurbishment, approximately 6 – 8 months These estimations relate to straightforward refurbishments like loft conversions or rear and side extensions. More complex work like basement excavations can only be estimated with more details, especially if access to the property is a consideration. Composition of the soil etc are also important factors.
How much will my refurbishment cost?
Every good building company will tell you that it is not possible to estimate the cost of refurbishment for a flat or a house before all the details have been defined. But we understand that it is important to have a reference figure before embarking in the process for budgeting purposes.
We suggest a conservative estimate of £1,750 per square metre as the absolute minimum, and an average of between £2,000 and £3,500 per square metre.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that there are details that can impact the cost significantly, the most costly being basement excavations or extensions of existing lower ground spaces; inclusion of very large or high spec glazing; very high energy performance materials.
Additionally, some finishes can increase costs significantly, like paint, tiles or flooring, especially if the surfaces are very large,.
In general, kitchens can be installed from as low as a few thousand pounds to hundreds of thousands, too.
I am buying a property, can you help me estimate how much the refurbishment would cost?
When you buy a new property, it is very likely that you’ll plan for a refurbishment. You can find some very good deals on the market, where you can buy a property for a good price when it needs some work done.
By offering an estimation on work to be done, we can help you make the right decision and offer the right price for the potential property.
I have all the drawings ready with my architect, can you do the building works for me?
We certainly can! We work with the best architects in London through a tender process, for clients that choose to have the designs for their refurbishment made by an independent architect.
We can provide quotes in our own very detailed format or in your architect’s preferred format.
I want to do everything with one company, can you do design and refurbishment for me?
Yes we can. We partner with the best London architects to create designs that suit you and your needs. We will match you with architects who have specific experience in your area, share your vision and style for your refurbishment project.
Doing the design and build with us gives you a view and control of the projected costs of your refurbishment from the very first day. You will be able to make well-informed choices for your design while understanding the cost implications and opting for the best solution for your investment.
Check out our Design & Build page for more information.
What works make the biggest difference in the final cost of my refurbishment project?
Typically excavation to extend or create a basement under an existing property is one of the most expensive types of work in construction. The cost of finishes is another big factor in the final cost of a flat or house refurbishment.
If you are thinking of soundproofing your property, contact us to speak to our specialists. We built our experience over several projects in Central London