Last updated: July 28, 2020 at 9:45 am
Once you learn how to soundproof a wall from noisy neighbours, you’ll never have to worry about hearing shouting, footsteps, banging or the TV from next door ever again!
Noise travelling through walls has been (and will be) ever present in semi-detached houses, but there are ways you can fight back!
Throughout this article you’ll find me mention a “party wall”. Even though it sounds more exciting than it is, a party wall basically means the wall you share with your neighbour. This is therefore the wall where most sound will get through, and the focus of our soundproofing journey!
A party wall is the wall you share with your neighbour.
- 1 Reasons Why Noise is Getting Through Your Wall
- 2 How to Soundproof a Wall From Noisy Neighbours
- 3 Final Thoughts
Reasons Why Noise is Getting Through Your Wall
Apart from the obvious reason that your neighbours are too noisy, you might find that your walls are thin. If so, any noise at all will be getting through.
Some houses are built with conjoining floorboards with a wall built on top. This means that the floorboards between your house and your neighbours’ are the same, therefore any impact noise like footsteps will easily travel through.
Also check the wall doesn’t have any gaps for quick wins. Gaps will obviously let sound in so filling these should make a difference.
How to Soundproof a Wall From Noisy Neighbours
1. Fit Acoustic Panels
Acoustic panels can be picked up from most DIY shops and are a good middle ground for proper soundproofing. They can come in a variety of colours and designs so you should be able to get some which fit the style of your room.
If you’re looking to spend as little as possible, a cheaper alternative to acoustic panels are egg boxes. These are no where near as effective, but they could be worth a try before buying more expensive panels.
2. Install a Fake Wall
A fake wall is the most expensive way to soundproof a wall, but also the most effective. With this method you will lose an inch or two of your living space as you’re thickening the existing wall.
The thicker the space between the real wall and the fake one will result in better soundproofing. This creates more space between the walls which allows more insulation to block airborne noise. You can imagine how effective this method is between semi-detached houses.
A fake wall isn’t cheap and can cost between £200 – £1,000 depending on how much work you’d be doing yourself.
There might be sockets to relocate so doing it yourself could get tricky!
Make sure to shop about and get quotes from different contractors.
3. Use Soundproof Plasterboard on Your Existing Wall
An existing thin wall can be a big culprit of noise from your neighbours. Often seen in new houses to keep costs low where walls can be extremely thin, noise might not even be your neighbours fault… you might be as loud as them!
Regardless, using plasterboard to create an extra layer of your wall will block more noise as the thicker the better. Using something like Gyproc which is specifically designed for soundproofing and partition walls can do wonders.
Depending on how handy your DIY skills are, you might need to employ someone to do the work for you.
This is slightly different to a fake wall as you’re simply plaster boarding over the existing wall. A fake wall builds an entirely separate wall and places insulation between them.
4. Don’t Forget Windows and Floorboards
Even though the party wall is your priority, there are other areas where sound will get in. This includes windows and especially floorboards.
For windows you can use soundproof curtains which are designed to absorb airborne sound. Even a set of heavy duty curtains could work.
If you’re in a flat, I go into more detail how you can soundproof the ceiling here.
As discussed above, attached floorboards can also carry impact noise, so it’s worth making sure that all floorboards are separate from your neighbours.
5. Fill Empty Space In Front Of The Wall
The cheapest way to soundproof a wall is filling the empty space… by placing furniture against your wall and muffle airborne sound. Good things to use are:
- Book shelves
- Fire place
- Greenery and plants
The good thing about this is you’ll probably have these items already, so you don’t have to spend any more money. The success of this method can be hit or miss but it’s a good starting point to decide whether more extreme measures are worthwhile.
You can even try large canvas paintings or wall hangings to create more of a barrier on your wall. This won’t block all noise (or even any), but it can dull noise like the TV or talking.
6. Talk to Your Neighbours
You might find that your neighbours don’t even know they’re being loud. Be sure to make them aware of your noise issues and see if that makes a difference.
If your neighbour is a private tenant you can contact their landlord or local council, otherwise the housing association will do.
Excessive noise can be regarded as a statutory nuisance which means they are obligated to investigate. Make sure to keep a record of the noise and/or recordings if you can.
If found guilty of excessive noise they will be issued a ‘noise abatement order’ which legally requires them to stop. If they don’t they could land a £5,000 fine.
Noise complaints are recorded by the council so it could come back if you’re looking to sell your house in the future. You can submit a noise complaint here.
Although excessive noise from neighbours can be very frustrating, there are things you can do. Some will cost more than others, and each will have varying success. It all depends how much you’re willing to spend and how noisy your neighbours are!
Have you had to block noise from your neighbours? Let me us know below.