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Soundproofing for the wall: intelligent solutions against noise

Do you often quarrel with your neighbors because you are enjoying a good piece of music at a decent volume? Or are you plagued by the noisy fun your children have to play? Intelligent sound insulation ensures more privacy and less stress. In our sound insulation guide we show you the best sound insulation systems and simple tips that anyone can implement.

Soundproofing for the wall: intelligent solutions against noise
Soundproofing for the wall: intelligent solutions against noise

Sound insulation for the wall: the most important things at a glance

Many apartments and houses have deficiencies in terms of sound insulation. Nevertheless, there are a few measures you can take to reduce the noise in your own four walls.

  • Single-leaf walls and inadequate insulation promote sound transmission between residential units. Foam panels can be installed by yourself and do not require any specialist knowledge. However, the appearance of your rooms suffers.
  • Facing shells offer optimal and permanent sound insulation. If you don't have any manual skills, craftsmen should do the assembly.
  • Furnishing measures also help to improve the sound insulation in your apartment: couches, heavy curtains and cupboards reduce the sound transmission. Thick carpets help against footfall noise.

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Legal provisions on noise protection

Celebrating a child's birthday, inviting friends to dinner or simply enjoying your favorite music without headphones: in an apartment building, this is often not possible without annoyed neighbors. Conversely, you may have already noticed something from the neighboring apartment that you did not want to hear at all.

The DIN standard 4109 and the VDI guideline 4100 prescribe the minimum requirements for sound insulation in the interior of high-rise buildings. According to this, apartment partition walls must guarantee a sound insulation of at least 53 decibels, in the case of row houses even 59 decibels. To illustrate: A normal conversation causes a noise level of 55 decibels, loud music reaches 80 decibels.

However, a building only has to comply with the standards that were valid at the time of construction. The landlord is therefore not obliged to subsequently improve the sound insulation. Sound insulation is therefore often poor, especially in prefabricated and old buildings.

How does the sound propagate?

Sound waves are transmitted in two ways: In the case of structure-borne sound, solids transmit the sound. Impact sound is a special case of structure-borne noise. It occurs when, for example, people step or knock on the floor. The vibrations are then transferred to the solid bodies connected to the floor (ceiling, side walls). Airborne sound, on the other hand, spreads through the air. If it hits objects, these also pass the sound waves on. An example of airborne sound is the music from the neighboring apartment.

Why are my walls noisy?

  • Apartment partition walls in dry construction, for example made of plasterboard, often have inadequate sound insulation.
  • Many glass and stone surfaces such as windows and tiled floors make sound insulation difficult because they transmit sound waves well. Soundproof windows provide a remedy.
  • So-called flanking components also transmit the sound waves. These are, for example, side walls, ceilings, heaters.
  • Solid ceilings, as can be found in many old buildings, have poorer impact sound insulation than floating screeds.
  • After renovations, the sound insulation sometimes deteriorates, because if the parquet and laminate are not installed properly, the floor and walls pass on the footstep noises.
  • Incorrectly installed sound insulation can also increase the noise. Radiators and other solid bodies then act as a sound bridge and transmit the sound waves even more strongly.

Simple measures: The device as noise protection

You can improve the sound insulation in your own four walls even without major interventions. To do this, you need many bodies that are decoupled from the wall and that swallow the noise. These are, for example, curtains, houseplants, upholstered furniture, cupboards (do not attach to the wall), so-called absorber elements that combine sound insulation and a decorative function.

Professional measures: Special soundproofing systems

There are these soundproofing solutions:

Acoustic plaster

Foam

Facing shells

Soundproofing

sufficient

medium

very good

Construction costs

medium

low

high

costs

about 30 euros
per square meter

25-30 euros
per square meter

40-80 euros
per square meter

Acoustic plaster

Acoustic plaster is available as a dry material or as a ready-made mortar. It absorbs sound waves and can improve the acoustics of a room by 5 percent. You can simply apply it on the plaster, but you can also combine it with other sound insulation such as plasterboard.

However, it is not very suitable if you want comprehensive noise protection. In addition, laypeople are rarely able to properly apply the plaster. If you decide in favor of this solution, you should turn to competent craftsmen - or follow our tips on plastering walls yourself.

Foam soundproofing panels

You can attach acoustic foam yourself with little effort. You can find self-adhesive panels made of composite foam in stores. Alternatively, attach the foam with spray or assembly adhesive. This type of soundproofing is inexpensive and simple, but not particularly aesthetic.

Facing shells

A facing shell consists of a frame structure made of thin metal profiles for attachment to the floor and the ceiling. It is the basic structure of the plasterboard, which serves as sound insulation. Since there is no connection to the wall behind, there is no sound transmission between the wall and the facing. If you are skilled in the craft, you can install the facing shell yourself. Many specialist companies also offer an assembly service.

Step by step: assemble the cladding yourself

1. Mark the position

Draw the exact position of the basic structure on the wall with a pencil. Plan a distance of 2 to 3 centimeters from the wall in order to rule out sound transmission. Draw the vertical course of the profiles adjoining the wall and check with a spirit level whether these front edges are straight.

2. Insulate and attach profiles

Now attach the insulation strips to the back of the metal profiles. Lay the floor profiles on the floor and pre-drill the holes. Then drive in the dowels with a hammer and fasten the floor profiles with screws.

3. Attach profiles

Insert the two wall profiles adjacent to the wall into the floor profile and fix them to the wall with dowels and screws. Use at least three screws for each wall profile. Repeat the process with the ceiling profiles. In order to be able to put this on, you either need a second person or a one-hand ceiling support. Attach the remaining wall profiles to the ceiling and floor profiles. Note the markings you created earlier. In the end, the basic framework is ready.

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5. Screw the rows of panels together

Screw the lower row of panels to the profiles. First mark the position of the middle profiles on the plate. Make sure there is a distance of at least one centimeter from the floor so that it does not transmit the sound. To cut the other panels to the correct length and width, mark the cutting path on the respective panel and cut along the line with a cutter knife. You can then break the plasterboard. As with the bottom row, you should also ensure that the top row is at least 5 millimeters away from the ceiling.

6. Fill the joints

Apply the filler evenly to the joints with a trowel. At the end, you draw silicone grout to close the gap perfectly.