Your home is your sanctuary – calm, quiet, peaceful and comfortable. When you are building a new home or renovating or extending your house, it’s important to select building materials that will contribute to acoustic comfort in the new or renovated space. The issue of noise – both external and internal – must be prioritised during discussions with your architect and builder.
Urban environments have to deal with external noise sources from aircraft and traffic, which need to be blocked out to create a peaceful and quiet living space. Similarly, internal noise transference issues are often neglected at the design stage, which can lead to extreme discomfort for future occupants.
“Homeowners who have recently moved into their modern dream home with lots of glass and hard flooring call me and say 'Help! We can't stand the noise',” says acoustic consultant David Spargo of Praxis Acoustics.
“What they are talking about is not actually noise, but reverberation from normal household activity bouncing off all the hard surfaces and making living in the home uncomfortable.”
While installing acoustic ceilings and adding carpet and more soft furnishings can help fix the issue, Spargo advises that it's much better to incorporate soundproofing at the design stage.
According to Spargo, normal stud partition walls allow a lot of noise transference between rooms even if they are insulated. A double stud wall or discontinuous structure where the two sides of the wall are not connected in any way offers a better solution for noise reduction.
If you’re building with Hebel, the CSR System Specification Finder gives you a range of system options, which can be downloaded from the internet, and includes full drawings, documentation and performance data for this type of construction. You can show this to your architect and builder and discuss any additional costs involved early in the design process.
“We do a lot of work in Sydney's Inner West,” says architect Danny Broe, “where external noise from aircraft and traffic can be a huge problem. A building product such as Hebel has excellent acoustic properties. However, it's important to keep in mind that noise can sneak in through the smallest of gaps so these need to be avoided.”
Broe advises that any new building work should be fully insulated with high quality double glazed windows and doors that are fully sealed for a super quiet house. Key considerations also include the right roofing material as well as flooring on upper levels.
“In double-storey terraces, noise transference from upper floors can also be a problem,” says Broe. “Hebel's PowerFloor product is easy to install and has excellent acoustic properties to prevent this.”
The Hebel PowerFloor system delivers the solid feel of a concrete floor at a lower cost. The 75mm steel-reinforced concrete panels are installed over steel or timber joists to provide an outstanding flooring solution for suspended ground floors or mid-floors with excellent thermal and acoustic performance.
In Melbourne, Maison Co specialises in the design of new build duplexes and dual occupancy developments where party walls can cause privacy issues if the wrong building product is used.
Director Jim Giamarelos explains that they specify Hebel PowerPanel for party walls as it has fantastic acoustic properties, and often for partition walls as well to provide optimal privacy and acoustic performance.
Homeowners must necessarily discuss noise issues and soundproofing solutions with their architect and builder during the planning, design and budgeting stages of the project to ensure a whisper-quiet and comfortable home.