Careful Consideration to the Acoustic Design will help you pass your Sound Test
Careful consideration must be shown to the acoustic design from the start of every conversion project to avoid sound test failures. Most floor designs throughout the 1980s, encompassed the following construction details:
- Floorboards (18–22mm thick)
- Gypsum-based board
- Mineral wool batt (80kg/m3)
- Sub decking
- 200-220mm joists
- 100mm quilt insulation between the joists
- One/Two layers of gypsum-based board for the ceiling
One the most common constructions used a combination of floorboard, gypsum board and mineral wool batt and was termed a “platform floor”. There is a wide range of batt densities. If the density is too low the floor surface is able to ‘bounce’ and deflect much more easily. If the density is too high then the floor may be too hard and impact sound is able to transmit more easily to the residential dwelling below resulting in sound test failure, so it was very difficult picking the correct materials.
Often, even when resilient battens are used, continuous structural contact along the joist between the floor sub-deck and ceiling provides a strong path for sound transmission. If contact between the ceiling and the joists can be reduced, an increase in airborne and impact performance will be achieved.
One solution is to add another ceiling element to the overall construction. This can provide the extra isolation required to pass the sound testing in London. This can be achieved by incorporate resilient metal bars which are connected to the underside of the joists and mounted perpendicular (90˚) to the joist direction. If plasterboard has already been tacked to the underside of the joists you can firstly add timber batten and then add the resilient bars, also mounted perpendicular (90˚ to the batten, thereafter 2 x 12.5mm layers of soundboard can be tacked to the underside of the resilient bar. Above the floor a resilient membrane can be used to reduce the chance of impact noise transmitting down to dwelling below.