Pic 1 - Acoustic batts installed in the internal and external walls Pic 2 - Acoustic batts in the internal wall and ceiling under the upper storey with ceiling batts in the balance of the ceiling where the home was single storey only.
"What is acoustic insulation?" and "Why would you choose to use it?"
Acoustic insulation is a material product, usually in batt form which provides a sound barrier that stops sounds penetrating from one side of it to the other. As with any barrier it has its limits and once an acoustic products limit is reached some sound will leak through.
This is why there are different levels of sound protection available. You need to analyse the level of protection required for your own application to achieve your desired comfort levels. Once this is established you know what to look for and can find the product that will provide the best barrier and achieve this for you.
Why would you need acoustic insulation as a noise barrier?
Basically to just improve the living comfort of your home.
It keeps noise both in and out of each room within your home if internal walls are done; and if the external walls are done it keeps internal noise and external noise from penetrating the outer walls of your home.
Another major part acoustic insulation plays is when it is installed between the levels of a multi-storey home. It can be very unpleasant when noise from upper levels penetrates to the lower level and acoustic insulation helps minimize and prevent this.
All these considerations when building, combine to make your home more user friendly when you live in it. When noisy areas are prevented from over running areas designed to be quiet ones it certainly increases your overall home comfort.
Why would I outlay for acoustic insulation in my external walls?
Some people feel acoustic insulation is designed for internal walls and cavities between upper and lower floors only but more and more people are seeing the benefits of spending the extra and doing the external walls as well. There are many reasons people are choosing to do this and some of them are:
There are people who like to have a lot of music within the home and do not wish to have trouble from neighbours as a result; and others, who may be night shift workers for example, who may need to sleep during the day when there is external noise like the neighbours children playing.
People living within the flight paths of an airport; on main roads and highways or on rural properties where tractors and machinery run constantly find a far greater home comfort when external walls and/or ceilings are done.
Professional premises where it is important that each office remains private often have both the walls and ceilings insulated with acoustic insulation.
How is acoustic insulation different from ordinary insulation?
Ordinary insulation is a thermal or heat protecting only product (See our "Glasswool insulation" page). Acoustic insulation is different from thermal insulation in that its density gives the additional noise protection which enables it to have an acoustic classification as well as a thermal one. There are many different types of materials which can be labelled as an acoustic insulation. However we feel the properties of the products from Fletcher Insulation currently provide the best value benefit and so are what we use and recommend.
What does the acoustic insulation's "R" rating mean?
This question brings up an interesting fact. Acoustic insulation has a thermal "R" value which has no relevance to its acoustic ability. While it is true that the higher "R" value you install from each individual company provides additional acoustic benefit than the lower ratings from that company do; it is not true that every company's acoustic product of the same "R" rating has the same acoustic value. This varies according to the density of the product and the material it is manufactured out of.
Why does acoustic insulation have an "R" rating as well?
There is a very good reason why you do need to have an "R" rating on the acoustic batt even though it does not reflect its acoustic ability? This is simply because most homes built today have an insulation thermal requirement of a certain rating that has to be achieved in both the walls and the ceilings. Unless you comply and have adequate thermal insulation you cannot receive your certificate of occupancy to move into your home. Therefore when you wish to have protection against sound as well; you need to find the products that achieve at least your minimum thermal requirement. From these options you can then choose the one which further provides your best acoustic protection and so ensures your comfort will be at its maximum possible.
What Products are there for me to chose from?
The main ranges of acoustic product are made from polyester or glasswool. We use and recommend the Fletcher Insulation Sono Premium.
The final thing to be aware of is to watch for other safety factors of insulation. For information on the things to look for see our "safety and quality" page.
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