Reasons for Floor Sound Test Failures

We often get asked for the reasons why floors fail sound testing, here are a few of the most common reasons.

New building works

Previous service works for water pipes, drainage and heating systems can influence the overall performance of a wall or floor, i.e. access may be needed the SVP pipes within the pipe boxing. During the works the acoustic lagging may be removed to get to the SVP pipe; unfortunately this may not be replaced after the works are complete. The subsequent sound of rushing water may then be audible. Also during other works ceilings such as lathe and plaster may have been removed and replaced by one layer of 12mm plasterboard, even though this is a new material, it may not have the mass of a 40mm lathe & plaster ceiling resulting in the increase of noise levels from the property above and subsequent sound testing failure.

This video shows a floor that has failed the sound testing.

Surface material changes (carpet to timber)

In our experience one of the most common triggers for complaints is the change of room surface (e.g. from carpet to laminate flooring) treatments or materials. We have undertaken many sound tests on existing buildings where the occupier has changed from carpet to timber and/or tile. Without the applying the acoustic upgrades for this change in material this can typically lead to a 20dB reduction in insulation performance. This can lead to occupants below this floor changing their assessment of impact noise from “acceptable” to a level they may describe as “unacceptable”.

Past experience

People who have previously lived in detached houses and move into a flat or attached dwelling they may feel that the level of sound insulation is poor, however this may not be the case and the sound tests results may actually be quite good – well in excess of the minimum standards as set out in Part E of Building Regulations.

If you would like more information in regards to our acoustic and sound testing services, please contact us now at or call us on 01525 303905.