The Importance Of Soundproofing
As Kiwis find themselves living in closer proximity to their neighbours, the need for effective soundproofing in residential construction becomes key, writes Anthony Corin.
30 December 2023
Things are rapidly changing on the housing front in New Zealand with higher intensification of residential developments across larger cities to accommodate our quickly growing population.
In particular this will become more apparent as planning rules are set to be revisited allowing greater housing intensification with less restriction.
Apartments and townhouses are popping up all over the place, with property developers aiming to make the most of the space under land use rules.
While these developments help grow and support communities, they also raise new concern from a structural standpoint; noise transmission between shared walls. As New Zealanders find themselves living in closer proximity to their neighbours, the need for effective soundproofing in residential construction becomes very important to ensure residents’ comfort and privacy.
When It Comes To Measuring How effective a material is at blocking sound out, we use a tool called Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating. The higher the rating, the better soundproofing capabilities the material has. The scale measures from 25 to 65: 25 shows no soundproofing and casual talking can be heard and 65 is completely soundproofed.
When we look at construction systems, they vary in their soundproofing performance. Take a timber-frame build for example. It will usually sit around 30-40 on the STC scale, but if you go for an option that uses denser materials such as insulated concrete formwork (ICF) you are looking at a considerably higher STC rating reaching 55+. This large difference highlights the importance of considering soundproofing capability of a construction system.
When evaluating construction solutions For Effective Noise Reduction, Icf emerges as a standout choice due to its remarkable soundproofing qualities and insulation. With the previously mentioned high STC rating of 55+ it means that even shouting would not be heard from the other side of the wall.
ICF forms a solid barrier made of two layers of insulating foam filled with reinforced concrete. In a typical concrete build the formwork is removed after the concrete cures, but with ICF these insulated forms are left in place. As sound waves attempt to pass through the wall, they encounter the insulated foam and dense concrete mass which effectively absorbs and dissipates this energy, preventing it from travelling through to the other side.
The way ICF works with noise control makes it an ideal solution for shared walls in settings such as townhouses or apartment buildings, ensuring enhanced acoustic comfort is achieved. Additionally, the impressive soundproofing standard of ICF makes it a sought-after material for professional recording studios. This is well utilised in professional spaces, and we can also translate this to residential developments.
In today’s changing landscape of residential construction, making sure our homes are quiet and cosy matters more than ever. Opting for higher quality solutions like ICF is a strategic choice for developers. ICF is a great choice for soundproofing purposes, and also performs well across the board in terms of durability, maintenance, fireproofing, thermal performance, and more. This all helps to create modern living spaces.
For a developer it’s not only about maximising space, it’s about keeping residents comfortable with their privacy and increasing the quality of their living by building with innovative construction techniques.