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Sound insulation: the complete guide

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From the design of your home or renovation, the implementation of quality sound insulation can change everything about your daily comfort. Origin of noise, soundproofing techniques and preferred materials ... find all about soundproofing.

Insulation, to protect against noise pollution

On a daily basis, a home is assailed by noises coming from outside - street noises… - as well as from inside - children playing, television… -. A distinction is also made between "aerial" noises which are diffused by the air, structural noises, ie vibrations which are propagated by solids - shocks against a wall, passing by a metro, etc. - and equipment noises.
From a certain intensity and in repetition, these noises can constitute noise pollution against which it is possible to fight. For better comfort for all, there is the new acoustic regulation - NRA - which lays down measures specific to each type of habitat: to build new, you will have to respect them.
Origin of noise, acoustic need in a given location, technical solutions and compliance with regulations ... for a construction as for a renovation, an acoustician can assess the best solutions adapted to your needs.
It will also take into account the elements to be insulated: The walls, the ceiling , the floors, the windows and the doors do not have the same constraints, and may need different techniques.

Wall insulation techniques

“Sandwich” panels consist of laying “mass” panels, between which an absorbent material - glass wool, rock wool, etc. - is installed to intercept the vibration. It is an application of the law known as "mass-spring-mass". The installation is easy, and the technique is very effective.
A metal or wood frame allows it to isolate vibrations from one wall to another to prevent their diffusion. This is the principle of decoupling. Thought from the design of the house, the system is even more effective if it is combined with acoustic plasterboards.
The sound-absorbing counter-partition also works on the principle of mass-spring-mass: an insulating material is placed on the existing partition, then it is covered with a “mass” partition made of brick or plaster.

Insulating ceilings and floors

On the ceiling, one of the most effective techniques is the installation of false ceilings. Plasterboards are suspended on a metal structure, and between the two materials is installed an insulation.
Easier to install but less effective, an insulating material like foam can be glued directly to the ceiling and then covered with plaster.
On the floor, and provided that it is not equipped with a heated floor, it is common and simple to install a very thick carpet to attenuate the vibrations propagated on the floor: it is only effective against structural noise.
More effective, we first install a layer of insulation of foam or cork type, to then cover it with the floor covering, a floating parquet for example.

Insulating windows and doors

The whole point of windows and doors is to properly isolate exterior airborne noise.
In principle, the majority of new window technologies are double-glazed, with an empty space between the two panes, more or less thick: another application of the mass-spring-mass law. Depending on the thickness, and an additional technical film, there are different categories of glazing for their ability to limit noise.
By principle of mass, the most sound-insulating doors are the heaviest, and solid doors: preferred for doors communicating with the outside.

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