Noise Insulation – Plasterboard Options

There are a few plasterboard options when looking to improve the noise insulation.

These options in increasing order of cost are:

Differing Thickness On Each Face

By using different and thicker plasterboards on each wall face, say 13mm and 16mm, it will change the resonant frequency to disrupt sound transmission

Acoustic Plasterboard

It is possible to order a special accoustic plasterboard which has a denser core than the standard board.

Double Layers of Plasterboard

The most effective, but most expensive, option is to use a double layer of plasterboard on each face of the walls and the ceiling. Again using different thickness will help.

Make sure the sheets overlap and use an acoustic glue between the boards.

One advantage of the double sheet is that it will also improve the fire resistance of the walls and ceiling.


Use an Acoustic Caulk at wall to floor, wall to ceiling, and even at wall sheet joints.

Use solid doors with rubber seals.

For similar posts see: Noise


Rattling or Thumping Pipes – Cures

These cures relate to general rattling or banging when you turn the tap on.

The various reasons for these noises, and their cures are:

Air in Pipes
Typically occurs in new systems, or after some plumbing alterations. You need to purge the air from the system. To do this

  1. Start at the lowest tap or valve and slowly turn on to full. If there is some spluttering leave on until the water runs smoothly then turn off.
  2. Go to the next lowest tap and repeat the procedure, continue working your way around the house until you reach the highest outlet.
  3. Don’t forget outside taps, toilet cisterns and shower heads.

Steam in Pipes
Can affect solar hot water systems and hydronic heating. Generally means the system is running too hot.

  • For solar systems the first thing is to reduce the temperature for the circulation pump start. This will take the hot water from the panels at a lower temperature. If that doesn’t work it may be the storage tank is too small for the area of panels. If you can’t afford a bigger tank shading the panels on summer days can help.
  • For Hydronic heating systems you will need to lower the boiler thermostat.

Insufficient Fixing of Pipes
Affect all sorts of plumbing systems. May need a combination of four different approaches

  • Pack around any loose pipe clips.
  • Install additional clips between existing clips.
  • Install pipe insulation.
  • For pipes in cavities push foam tube insulation along the pipe so it stops the pipe banging on the walls.

If the problem is a bang when you turn the tap off then you need to see the post on Water Hammer.

Reducing External Noise


It’s not always possible to build in a quiet area so there are a number of techniques for reducing noise that you can use in your new home.

Here is a quick review of the options:

  • Minimising  windows facing the noise. OK  as long as the noise source isn’t on the North side otherwise you loose the effect of sunlight in the house.
  • Screen walls. These reflect sound. If you are going for this approach at the front of the house put some thought into the design of the wall. A plain wall just looks ugly.
  • Buffer zones. I’ve previously talked about Buffer Zones in relation to heating and cooling but they can work well in keeping some rooms quieter.
  • Soft landscaping. Absorbs sound, rather than paving which reflects sound. If possible a landscaped bund (low embankment) can be effective.
  • Roofing material.  Tiles will absorb more noise than a colorbond roof.
  • Acoustic Plasterboard. It’s possible, on special order, to get a range of Plaster boards including ones with a denser core that help to reduce sound transmission. A second layer of plasterboard at a different thickness to the original can help.
  • Ceiling  and wall insulation. Ordinary heat insulation batts will absorb noise but for the best performance it is better to use ƒspecialist acoustic insulation.
  • Glazing. Thicker glass will help but double glazing with a larger air will give better performance. The use of  laminated glass can also improve performance.
  • Curtains Heavy curtains can be effective, when they are closed.
  • Solid Doors. Better performance than the standard lightweight doors.
  • Windows and door seals. Need to be  properly fitted, and maintained.
  • ƒRefrigerated Air Conditioning.  Unlike evaporative cooling this doesn’t rely on open windows.
  • Sound absorbing materials Although acoustic tiles, carpets, underlays don’t stop noise getting in they will absorb it better than hard surfaces like tiles or wood floors.

To get effective performance  will require a range of the above options rather than a single ‘Magic Bullet’.

When you are considering these options its also worth bearing in mind that most of these improvements will also improve the thermal performance of your new house.


For more posts about plans see the Design Category.

To save money on Heating and Cooling see Insulation