Helpful ReplySoundproofing tips - extreme situation

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burgerproduction
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2018/02/24 18:52:53 (permalink)

Soundproofing tips - extreme situation

Hi guys!
This is a bit of a left-field request for help.
I'm in the process of buying a new apartment,and we have just found out that the neighbour underneath is a 'user' who often comes home with friends at 4am and listens to TV/Radio loudly - yeah, I know.....what luck.
Most of the neighbours around him are kind of used to the situation as they know he had family problems etc.. and they don't live directly above him, but my aprtment will be directly above. the building itself is a solid building (1920s) with thick 30-40cm solid brick external and internal walls. I don't know how thick the floors are, but they will definately be made of concrete.
Though my instinct is to get out of the sale and lose my deposit, my architect friend has advised me that the house is a bargain and worth the money, even if there is this 'annoyance' below.
Soooooo, my question is does anyone have experinece of 'extreme' soundproofing for floors.
I've sounproofed my current house somewhat with Fonostop Duo, which worked quite well at blocking some noise from neighbours, but this may be a more extreme job. I'm thinking soundmats, MDF flooring, greenglue, vinyl or leadsheeting. Or combinations of several layed on top of the existing floors to block all rising noise.
I wanted to know if anyone has experience of what worked best in what combination.
 
Any help would be appreciated.
 

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wst3
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Re: Soundproofing tips - extreme situation 2018/02/24 18:58:05 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby burgerproduction 2018/02/25 12:02:55
like any other soundproofing challenge you need mass and a spring.

I was able to soundproof my second floor studio years ago with a layer of homosote covered with a layer of thick drywall and a layer of 3/4" plywood. I don't remember what the STC turned out to be, but it was more than sufficient for my use, which was to avoid barking dogs and appliances from interfering with my music production.

You'll need to cover quite a bit of your floor, anything that isn't treated becomes a flanking path, and that's bad.
 
It can be done. Can't say for certain that it can be done economically in your case, but it shouldn't be a huge cost. Depending on just how much mass you are adding you may also want to check with a structural engineer to make sure you don't end up visiting your downstairs neighbor.
 
Good luck, and if you think of it please report back.

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mettelus
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Re: Soundproofing tips - extreme situation 2018/02/24 20:24:38 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby burgerproduction 2018/02/25 12:03:08
Soundproofing a floor will not be as cost-effective as soundproofing the ceiling below it. Is that even an option for you? Most acoustics will not bridge an air/surface interface, but if the building is as rigid as you say, lower frequencies are going to transmit the best throughout anyway. Floor joists are far easier to work with (from below), but if that is truly a concrete slab, it will want to resonate (if properly driven from below).
 
If the cost of soundproofing will exceed your deposit, it is very much worth considering following your gut instinct. Don't throw good money after bad.

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Re: Soundproofing tips - extreme situation 2018/02/24 20:34:19 (permalink)
Look into Green Glue. 

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batsbrew
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Re: Soundproofing tips - extreme situation 2018/02/25 02:07:53 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby burgerproduction 2018/02/25 12:11:43
only mass soundproofs.
 
here, i'll say it again........
 
only mass soundproofs.

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#5
burgerproduction
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Re: Soundproofing tips - extreme situation 2018/02/25 12:02:42 (permalink)
wst3
I was able to soundproof my second floor studio years ago with a layer of homosote covered with a layer of thick drywall and a layer of 3/4" plywood. I don't remember what the STC turned out to be, but it was more than sufficient for my use, which was to avoid barking dogs and appliances from interfering with my music production.



Thanks wst3. Did you use any special drywall? I've seen that there are different types which claim to be 'special soundproofing' drywall, but I wonder how true that is. If I just use an ordinary drywall sandwich with a layer of greenglue between, I might be able to block nearly all the sound.
 
In the last few days, my wife and I have been trying to understand just how bad this situation is by speaking to everyone who lives there. Seems the owner is a young guy (30) with serious family issues, health problems and drug problems, who is sorrounded by bad leeches. He's had an ulucky life: lost his mother a few years ago and has been abandoned by his father. It's a really ****ty situation because the building block is really nice, all the other residents are artists, dancers, musicians, teachers. All really good people. It's just this one guy, who isn't evil, just unlucky and unpredictable.
If we can manage to make it work somehow, there is the chance that he will be moved into an institute, or not come back from hospital one day.

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#6
burgerproduction
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Re: Soundproofing tips - extreme situation 2018/02/25 12:11:35 (permalink)
mettelus Is that even an option for you? Most acoustics will not bridge an air/surface interface, but if the building is as rigid as you say, lower frequencies are going to transmit the best throughout anyway. Floor joists are far easier to work with (from below), but if that is truly a concrete slab, it will want to resonate (if properly driven from below).
 

I don't think this will be an option. The floor probably isnt a concrete slab, like newer buildings. There's probably a support beam or some kind. The good thing is that the solid walls do not carry the sound. They are full heavy walls with no cavity space (bad for heat, great for sound blocking).
I currently live in a 70's apartment where all the footfalls from the flat below carry up the structure. The base sounds carry through the structure, but above all, the sound of dragging furniture carries like nothing else. In this other building, I'm hoping that the walls won't do that.

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Re: Soundproofing tips - extreme situation 2018/02/26 10:54:08 (permalink)
wst3
I was able to soundproof my second floor studio years ago with a layer of homosote covered with a layer of thick drywall and a layer of 3/4" plywood.



Just a quick question. Did you use the drywall on the floor? 
I've been thinking of making a floating floor system with drywall (due to its mass) instead of MDF or chipboard.
Has anyone done this? Is it do-able?

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Re: Soundproofing tips - extreme situation 2018/02/26 17:13:17 (permalink)
Thanks to Bill, I learned something new from this thread: Homosote. I had not been aware of this product. It seems to be some wonderful stuff! And I've got a building supply store right up the street that carries it.
 
Unfortunately, I've not been able to find any charts showing absorption characteristics across the spectrum, just STC and R-values. I'm concerned that it's just too light-weight to do much for low frequencies. Bill, did you find this material through your own research, or did you consult a builder/acoustician?


All else is in doubt, so this is the truth I cling to. 

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burgerproduction
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Re: Soundproofing tips - extreme situation 2018/02/26 18:09:06 (permalink)
I've been researching soundproofing products for the past few years....it's a complicated business
I've used one product with good results Fonostop Duo is a product sold here in Italy, it's used for sound insulation, but mainly against footfalls coming from your own house. It's thin, relatively effective at blocking noise and easy to install.

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Re: Soundproofing tips - extreme situation 2018/02/26 18:39:16 (permalink)
burgerproduction
I've been researching soundproofing products for the past few years....it's a complicated business
I've used one product with good results Fonostop Duo is a product sold here in Italy, it's used for sound insulation, but mainly against footfalls coming from your own house. It's thin, relatively effective at blocking noise and easy to install.


only mass soundproofs.
 
here, i'll say it again........
 
only mass soundproofs.

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burgerproduction
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Re: Soundproofing tips - extreme situation 2018/02/26 21:42:46 (permalink)
so, has anyone tried lead sheeting? On paper lead is the best sound blocker by far.

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Re: Soundproofing tips - extreme situation 2018/02/27 02:01:25 (permalink)
loaded vinyl is one of the best soundproofing materials around, lead is great, sand filled cinder block walls work REALLY well, if we are talking about walls. Floors and ceilings are a different animal all together. If you have something above or below you it's a challenge, that's where room in a room construction comes in handy.
 
But as might have been mentioned before...

wait for it...

only mass blocks sound.
It isn't the whole story, but it is the best single thing you can do.

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#13
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Re: Soundproofing tips - extreme situation 2018/02/27 08:06:18 (permalink)
I hear what people are saying...mass blocks sound... But in practise what does that look like for a design?
I've seen many projects for raised/floating floors for studios, but this seems to be to prevent drums or noise from within the room leaking out.
there are also floating floor solutions with mats, such as hushfloor, which prevent vibrations from passing from level to level. The material I mentioned Fonostop, uses a similar material to that used for rooves along with a later of synthetic fibre to create a slight elevation.
I was wondering what a combination of materials might be like, for example: Fonostop mat with a layer of lead and then another layer of hushfloor.
Lead doesn't conduct noise due to its flexible malable nature.
I'm willing to spend a fair amount of money on this as we were originally going to spend over 10,000 on underfloor heating, but the issue with noise has taken front and center.
post edited by burgerproduction - 2018/02/27 09:58:14

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Re: Soundproofing tips - extreme situation 2018/02/27 12:33:24 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby mettelus 2018/02/27 15:01:07
When I built my studio, I was careful to ensure the internal "room" wasn't touching the outer room (i.e. wood touching wood), so it's resting on expanding foam. I figured regular polystyrene would probably compress under the weight and the effect would be lessened. The internal walls are just regular pasterboard (wallboard) on a wood frame. I then filled the space between the inner and outer rooms with rock-wool.
 
If you do go down this route make sure you screw the floating floor frame to the main floorboards at regular intervals  before applying the foam, otherwise it will literally raise the whole room up as it expands.... I made this mistake first time!
 
You can then remove the screws once the foam has set, use a craft knife to remove any overlapping foam, and put down the internal floor boards.
 
I put fibreboard underlay on top of the floorboards, then covered it in a gel-backed (i.e. bathroom) carpet.
 
I use Behringer Truth B2030A monitors which are 150W/75W RMS, and at full volume you can't hear anything from the outside.
 
It's very quiet inside, however the only thing that comes through *from* the outside is very loud and low bass frequencies, such as big trucks or big destroyers trying out their fog-horns (really). I spoke to a colleague about this who did sound-proofing as part of his physics degree, and he said nothing short of a very thick concrete wall would keep those kind of sounds out.
 
So I guess you could construct a floating floor this way... if you don't mind losing 3-4 inches of height in your room.
 
M.
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batsbrew
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Re: Soundproofing tips - extreme situation 2018/02/27 15:05:50 (permalink)
msmcleod
 he said nothing short of a very thick concrete wall would keep those kind of sounds out.
 

this
is mass.

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tlw
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Re: Soundproofing tips - extreme situation 2018/02/28 17:11:43 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby burgerproduction 2018/02/28 17:29:02
burgerproduction
I've seen many projects for raised/floating floors for studios, but this seems to be to prevent drums or noise from within the room leaking out.
 



What prevents sound getting out will also prevent it getting in. The problem is that low frequencies in particular are really hard to keep out. Especially if a problem in the flat below is something like a hi-fi with speakers on the floor that in turn connects to the walls and the sound then travels through them and up to your flat that way as well as directly through the floor. Steel joists can also be excellent sound transmitters through a building.
 
The noise can almost certainly be kept out, but expect to lose quite a bit of height in the flat because the floor will end up raised several inches (at least). The walls might also need several inches of soundproofing added to them.
 
Which in turn means floor loading may become an issue, because effective low-frequency blocking requires non-resonating/vibrating mass to be effective. And depending on the materials used there may also be fire prevention implications as well.
 
Reducing transmitted noise by a few dB often isn't too difficult. But reducing it to an acceptable level might be much harder, and the more reduction is needed the harder it gets. The law of diminishing returns sets in pretty quickly, hence the "room inside a room" approach to studio building.
 
One option might be to lay wooden joists on top of the floor. Fill the gaps between them with the heaviest grade of rock wool, then suspend another floor on top which is isolated from the joists by weight-supporting rubber blocks such as Auralex U-Boats.
https://www.auralex.com/p...u-boat-floor-floaters/
 
Assuming the floor can support the weight of course.
 
Things like electric sockets might need moving depending on how close to the floor they are in the first place, and the total cost (and weight) will obviously depend on the size of the flat. Then there are the walls to consider - if sound is travelling up them from below they'll need treating as well. And the doors would obviously need adapting if the floor height is raised.
 
All in all, quite possibly a big and expensive job.
 
And maybe the flat's selling at the price it is because of the problems with the neighbour below it....

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burgerproduction
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Re: Soundproofing tips - extreme situation 2018/02/28 17:33:51 (permalink)
Thanks to everyone for their advice and support.
After doing some serious digging into the issue with the neighbours (and consulting experts in the area) we have decided to pull out of the sale. We might have to lose some money (and a few tears over the lost opportunity), but I cannot put my son and wife in the path of this potential bullet.
One thing I know from living in London: Kids can go through a rebellious stage, do drugs etc.. but at some point they grow up and get jobs. 30 year old junkies don't.
All your advice has been invaluable for our future house (wherever it may be) as I will be insulating any place I go against noise.

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Re: Soundproofing tips - extreme situation 2018/02/28 19:06:43 (permalink)
I am sorry for the situation, but once you put wife, son, and junkie in the same post, pretty much anyone would support your decision. There is much more at stake than simply money here.

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burgerproduction
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Re: Soundproofing tips - extreme situation 2018/03/01 10:03:00 (permalink)
mettelus
I am sorry for the situation, but once you put wife, son, and junkie in the same post, pretty much anyone would support your decision. There is much more at stake than simply money here.

Thanks mettelus, I agree. The situation is a bit more nuanced than him being a junkie, but to the best of our knowledge, he is frequented by a bad crowd, there have been 'situations' in the past, and he is under tutelage of an aunt. The problem with these types of people is that one year they can be fine, next year they can fall into a hole again....and you have to live above them.

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Re: Soundproofing tips - extreme situation 2018/03/01 21:32:16 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby burgerproduction 2018/03/02 09:42:18
The house attached to ours has been owned for about 15 years by a landlord who specialises in providing accommodation to young people coming out of care for the first time or with mental health issues needing a "half-way house" between hospital and moving on. Which means the landlord has to be good, legally compliant and above board and all the rest or he doesn't get tenants referred to him any more. Basically he's the opposite of the "bad landlord/Rachman" figure.
 
We have never had a problem with any of those tenants at all. What can happen is sometimes other people latch on to someone and basically abuse the situation in all kinds of ways. If professionals aren't involved resolution can be slow and very difficult if not impossible. I have worked with a lot of mentally ill people, never had a problem and would be happy to have most of my ex-clients as a neighbour, but moving next to what you describe isn't something I'd knowingly do.
 
There was once an almost continual middle of the night party and music noise issue with a young guy who worked for the landlord staying there for a few weeks. He had a lot of mates who treated the house like a party venue. I was tempted to retaliate via the nuclear option and dig out the Orange, Fuzz Face and Telecaster, crank everything to 11, prop guitar against speaker and go away for the weekend but Mrs TLW though that would have been a Really Bad Idea.
 
So had to settle for a quiet world with the landlord instead. Which did the trick. But when the problem is an owner-occupier things are much stickier.

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#21
burgerproduction
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Re: Soundproofing tips - extreme situation 2018/03/02 09:52:26 (permalink)
tlw
 If professionals aren't involved resolution can be slow and very difficult if not impossible. I have worked with a lot of mentally ill people, never had a problem and would be happy to have most of my ex-clients as a neighbour, but moving next to what you describe isn't something I'd knowingly do.
 



Thanks tlw, your post was really helpful. I'm a teacher in my day job, and I've worked with students with mental health issues. I too see no problem with living next to a person who is supervised by a professional. I even teach some of those types of professionals.
The issue here is that we cannot get clear information about this guy. He lost his mother 4 years ago and that's when things got really bad, but, by all accounts, there were issues before she passed away with her complaining to him about bringing certain types back to the house. His father (who we see around town) has washed his hands of him. The mother's sister is in some type of tutor role, but the woman is in her 70s, she cannot look after him forever. We also know that there are people living in the apartment with him, but no-one in the block knows who they are, they come and go at night, and often leave the TV on until the morning full blast - they are basically night animals.
When people looked into his 'record' they found everything clean. No criminal record, no record of detox or recovery, but when know he is on a disability pension at the age of 30. My wife saw him too and said that he is really in bad shape, but no-one can say if this is a health issue or a drug issue - he's been found face down in the garden before, the ambulance is often called out to his flat......basically, there are so many 'buts' in this equation that I just cannot take the risk.
Thanks again for your rational reply.

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