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A guide to soundproofing testing | Air tightness solution

A Guide To Soundproofing Testing

Soundproofing testing can be a perplexing subject on which to get all the required information, especially if you are a beginner. From the terminology to the cost, it can be daunting to approach. This guide puts together the essential information needed, whether you are looking to get this service or simply curious. 

What is soundproofing testing?

Soundproofing testing measures how much sound travels through the walls, floors and ceilings of a room or building to surrounding neighbours. It is also referred to as sound insulation testing or acoustic insulation testing.

Why carry out a soundproofing test?

One of the most common reasons this service is provided is to comply with UK building regulations. According to these, soundproofing testing is required in two instances:

  • Material change of use – a building, has been converted, resulting in two adjoining dwellings being separated by party elements. 
  • New Build – a building, that has been newly constructed, resulting in two adjoining dwellings being separated by party elements. 

Alternatively, people seek this service for personal reasons rather than legal ones. For example, someone who plays an instrument may be looking to soundproof their room to benefit their neighbours. Or someone may want to soundproof their home to reduce external noises, such as traffic.

How is soundproofing testing done? 

There are two types of sound, which require different tests to gain analysable results. 

1) Airborne sound – this is sound that travels through the air; examples are music, talking, a phone ringing, and television noise.

The testing uses a loudspeaker to produce white noise on one side of the party wall/floor/ceiling, usually at 100 decibels. The average sound pressure level is measured in both the source and receiver room using a moving microphone on the other side of the partition. 

 2) Impact sound – the sound that is created by two solid objects hitting each other. This sends vibrations through the objects creating noise. Examples include footsteps and door banging.

This test uses a tapping machine to create impact noise on the floor. 

Measurements are taken in the receiving room in third-octave bands from 100Hz to 3150Hz, and then the impact sound pressure level is calculated. 

To comply with building regulations, the tapping machine measurements should be taken in at least four different positions with at least six different measurements taken. 

The following is a chart stating the values that must be met to comply with UK building regulations: 

Soundproofing testing . A guide


Soundproofing methods 

Once a soundproofing test has been carried out, the next step is choosing how to soundproof. There are two types of soundproofing: 

  1. Sound Reduction – preventing sound from entering a space, used for external noises.
  2. Sound Absorption – preventing sound already inside space from echoing and reverberating. 

With this knowledge, the best way to soundproof the space can be identified, and materials can be chosen. The following is a list of the most used materials for soundproofing:

  1. Acoustic Foam – Acoustic foams are made out of polyurethane and are pyramid shaped. They are good at absorbing noise and preventing sounds generated on hard surfaces. Sounproofing testing - acoustic foam
  2. Sound Insulation Batts – Sound insulation batts can be made from different materials and placed between the studs in the walls. They take up the space between the walls that would usually transmit noise.
  3. Acoustic Panels – Acoustic panels are acoustic foams that are used for decorative purposes in places such as studios. They come in appealing shapes and colours and reduce the sound movements inside a room. Acoustic panel for soundproof testing
  4. Acoustic Fabrics – These thick, dense materials trap sound vibrations, echo and reverb. Some examples are polyester plush curtains, studio blankets and blackouts.
  5. Acoustic Coating – Acoustic coatings are materials used for reducing vibrational movements. The most commonly used is Mass Loaded Vinyl, which is a dense, flexible material often used for car soundproofing, appliances and machinery.
  6. Floor Underlayment – A range of materials can be used on hard floors to deaden sound waves. The denser the material, the better it will be for noise prevention. Some good examples are cork rolls, acoustic foam layers and polymers.
  7. Door Seals And Sweeps – Sealing the gaps between the door jam and door sweeps will reduce sound movement.
  8. Acoustic Decoupling – Acoustic decoupling is spraying a layer of soundproof material to prevent the travelling of sound movements. Usually, it is used in construction to fill in gaps and separate walls, preventing sound waves from travelling from one layer to another.

Benefits of soundproofing

Soundproofing is beneficial not only for legal requirements and neighbours but also on a larger scale.

Environmental and Health factors

The World Health Organisation (WHO) published a report in March 2011 identifying environmental noise as the second largest environmental health risk in Western Europe. Noise pollution also highly affects wildlife, from their breeding patterns to their communication. In some cases, it is speeding up the extinction process for certain species. So the small act of soundproofing may have a much larger impact than one may think. 


With the range of materials used for soundproofing, sustainable resources are becoming more prominent in the industry. The rise of eco-friendly soundproofing methods has seen more non-toxic and recycled materials. The construction of homes leaves such a large carbon footprint, so this is a great way of trying to reduce that. 

In summary, soundproofing testing is a service that is required to determine what further soundproofing methods are needed for a room or building. 

If you have any questions or want to book a service, get in touch with our team. 


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