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When considering installing a hardwood floor in your apartment, it is vital that you take
into consideration your neighbours and the issue of noise. You should always check
requirements with managing agents first to see the level of soundproofing required. As a
general rule if you have anyone living below you then you have a duty to ensure that you
minimise the amount of noise that is transmitted through the floor. The type of product you
use will depend on your individual circumstances. Building Regulations Approved Document E
(2010) sets out values for sound insulation that must be achieved to demonstrate compliance
with the requirements. This document however refers solely to newly built dwellings or those
that are being converted into flats. Existing dwellings or conversions are not covered by
this document, and the fitting of new wooden floors are considered to be an “improvement” to
the flat or dwelling and are not subject to building regulations.
There are a number of ways you can reduce sound transmission.
Floating an engineered hardwood floor on top of a specified acoustic underlay is the most
simple method to use. However, a basic 5mm underlay will do little or nothing to reduce
noise and should only be used in your own home. There are a number of professional underlays
available on the market, and in order to assess the level of soundproofing expected or
required, you should call us for a discussion, or consult an acoustic expert. However, it is
important to remember that there is no underlay on the market that will eliminate sound.
2. If you are looking to eliminate sound, then this is a much bigger job, and you will need to strip back to floorboards and install a complete soundproofing system. This is costly and major works, and as a guide could easily be in excess of 40-50 m2
The requirements for Impact Sound Insulation as a maximum value are 62 decibels for purpose built dwellings and 64 decibels for conversions.
If you live in a purpose built dwelling that has a management committee or residents management committee, it is worth checking with them before going ahead and fitting a hardwood floor.
They may have approved products for sound insulation that you must use to comply with their own requirements.
People living in converted flats are governed by the terms of their lease agreement that will usually state “floorboards must be covered with carpets at all times”. This clause was inserted to prevent people from uplifting their carpets and sanding and varnishing their floorboards. Walking on uncovered floorboards offers no impact sound insulation what so ever and can be a living hell for the neighbours downstairs. A properly installed floating engineered floor on an acoustic underlay can be just as good as a carpet and in some cases even better. Remember to take your shoes off if you are living above somebody. Not only will this reduce the noise you make when walking around your flat but it is the best way to look after your new hardwood floor.
Soundproofing is a complicated are, bt for further advice please call Turgon on 020 8343 3463