It can be upsetting when your strata neighbour is walking through their apartment wearing what seem to be wooden clogs, but what if you’re the one making the noise? It can be uncomfortable to know that your everyday living sounds are disrupting someone else, so we’ve put together a few tips to improve the noise insulation in your unit if you’ve been asked to do something about it.
Place down rugs and carpets
Rugs are a quick, simple and relatively inexpensive way to address noise issues. A thick carpet in your living spaces and corridors can significantly cut down on noise from foot traffic. However, for some apartments this may not fix the problem, or you may prefer the look of your tile, timber or stone flooring. In that case, the other option is testing the sound rating of your floor or walls.
Test whether your apartment meets the building’s acoustic specifications
Your strata scheme may have its own acoustic specifications, which deems what a compliant solution is or isn’t. It’s a good idea to check up on these specifications before taking further action. If your apartment is newer it probably has an AAAC star rating for acoustic performance, while older buildings may not meet the same standards.
If you think you need to, hire a qualified acoustic engineer to test the acoustic performance of walls and floors. If the issue is because of a common wall, then you can take these test findings to your owners corporation and work together to rectify the situation. If the problem lays within your unit, you may need to replace your flooring in order to mitigate the noise problems.
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Replace your flooring and underlay
If you’re looking to replace or upgrade your flooring in order to meet the acoustic specifications of your strata scheme, it’s important to put some research into underlays as they can vary greatly in performance and cost. Choose right, and you can avoid spending too much – or spending too little and risk having to redo the job.
Underlays are lab tested and will often be rated relating to concrete floors of a different thickness or construction to your own, so it can sometimes be worth upgrading to the next best option. For FIIC ratings the higher the number is the more noise insulation it will provide, while for the newer LnTw rating the lower the number is, the better noise insulation it will provide.
If you have ongoing problems with noise travelling, updating your door and window seals can also help, while noisy water pipes can be wrapped with acoustic protection. Because every case is different, it may take some collaboration with your neighbours and owners corporation to find a solution that results in a peaceful lifestyle for everyone involved.
The main thing to consider is that before replacing or upgrading any flooring you should first speak to your strata manager to understand what rules and specifications are in place for your particular building.