Sound Insulation Explained


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One of the most common complaints of homeowners with income suites is sound transfer from the renters, and likewise with renters, it’s sound transfer from the homeowners. Nobody wants to hear what’s going on above or below, and no one wants to think that they can be heard either. And this is definitely not exclusive to income suites. Nobody in the living room wants to hear noise from the kids yelling and playing downstairs, a television playing upstairs, or dogs barking outside. Noise creates tension, and the less noise there is, the happier everyone will be.



What is STC?

STC stands for Sound Transfer Classification and it gives you an idea of how much sound a material (such as insulation) can stop. Ideally you want an STC of 50 or greater for standard residential walls – meaning you want to block about 50% or more of the noise moving between one unit and another.



Sound Insulation

Whether you want to reduce noise between floors, between rooms, or from outside, insulation is your first line of defence. The fire and smoke proofing insulation that is installed in ceilings and walls is an excellent method of absorbing airborne noises.



Here are a few tips:


If you’re not sure how much insulation you need check out Rockwool’s materials calculator for some helpful information.





Special attention should be paid to flooring in upper and lower units of a home. On the upper floor, the proper floor covering will reduce the amount of noise that can travel to the lower floors, while on the lower level the right floor covering will stop noise from bouncing off the floor and onto the ceiling above. This is another reason why installing DryBarrier between the concrete floor of a basement and your floor covering material is a good idea.


Reno to Reveal - Sound Insulation


More Soundproofing Tips


The majority of your soundproofing will happen during the construction phase of your renovation, but there are some other things you can do after the fact to help dampen sound.



‘Reno to Reveal’ Callout

Andrew’s basement is currently being used by him and his family, but one day he intends to turn it into an income suite, so during construction he made sure to take sound separation into account by using 2 layers of ROCKWOOL SAFE’n’SOUND® in the ceiling, one layer in the interior walls, and a layer of ROCKWOOL COMFORTBATT®in the exterior walls. The house is situated in a quiet neighbourhood so noise from outside was not as much of an issue as noise from within the house. Currently the basement has  an activity room for the kids, a home gym, and a media centre, all of which can get noisy. Should things get loud in the basement, the sound transfer to upstairs will be minimal.

Reno to Reveal - Basement Makeover

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Don’t put too much stock in trades who give free estimates over the phone. A plumber or electrician can’t properly diagnose an issue unless it’s in person. A free estimate given over the phone is likely to go up significantly once he or she is on-site.