Wherever air can pass, so can sound!Alexandra Coulombe
Friday, 07 July 2017
Acoustics in a multi-storey building can have significant impacts on the health and well-being of people living inside. Many principles can influence the building’s acoustic performance. Mass, cavities, treatments, sealing of the partitions walls as well as how different materials are decoupled between each other are key principles.
The structure’s mass influences the way noises are absorbed. The heavier and the thicker materials are, the fewer vibrations you’ll feel in the structure (like a concrete structure). Airborne noises are therefore reduced. To make sure you’re blocking impact noises, resilient materials like an acoustic membrane, have to be added in the floor assembly.
Spaces between the beams should never be empty. Since it could create a drum effect and noises entering could be perceived as amplified. Therefore, it is important to apply a sufficient quantity of batt or blown insulation between beams (ideally 75% of the cavity) to reduce impact and airborne noises that are trying to infiltrate the structure.
It is also important to caulk all holes that may have been drilled in the walls or the ceiling with the intention to insert a lighting fixture, an electrical box or plumbing pipes (for example). To do this, a product like an acoustic sealant could be used to prevent noises from going through. Remember that wherever air can pass, so can sound.
Installation also plays a big part on the building’s acoustics performance. Whenever possible, all components should be decoupled. In other words, all solid materials have to be separated from one another with resilient materials such as an acoustic membrane.
The reason is simple, when there is a direct contact between the structure’s solid materials, noises and mechanical vibrations are easily transmitted. Whether it is a floor, a ceiling or a wall, it is important to make sure that they are not in direct contact with another component. If the structure is more complex, you’ll have more components to consider and decouple.
Using the right tools, materials and methods during construction will help bring added value to your building. Its reselling value will greatly improve and the resident’s complaints regarding ambient noises will significantly be reduced.