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recommendations for sound insulation for Victorian converted flat

5 years ago...

This must be a common issue for residents of Surbiton, as there are so many flats in the area. We bought a victorian converted apartment in Surbiton last year and had no idea just how bad the noise insulation would be from neighbours footfall, TV, washing machine, neighbours voices etc etc. We are considering to add a suspended ceiling can anyone advise if they've had this done and if it was effective? Also can anyone recommend a company / tradesmen to do the work?
Thanks for the help!!!


I just want to say Thank you! Everyone's advice/experiences posted on this forum has really helped us. If anyone is looking for a local company to help with sound insulation I can suggest this company We had a quote on having a suspended ceiling built in the bedroom and it was a fair price. Luckily for us we have good neighbours and have come to an agreement to put down thick underlay which reduces sound 42 db. We thought this would be a good first step and then depending on how effective this is we may consider the suspended ceiling. The building was converted before insulation regulations were in place.

Please tell me if the underlay made a difference? I am thinking of trying the same.
Is the noise still bad? What can you hear now compared to before?

We purchased the underlay from English & Origental in Surbtion ( great local company). I explained the issue to the salesman and he advised the thickest underlay they had. We chose this route as it was the cheapest in terms of all of the noise insulation products out there so we could determine how effective this was first, before investing in a more expensive noise solution. How effective is it? Well neighbours had laminate down before so from going from this to thick underlay and carpet has made a difference. We don't hear every foot step and its certainly removed the 'echo' sound the laminate use to create. We do still hear neighbours voices or when they close the room door and if they drop or bang anything on the floor ( which is our ceiling). Unfortunately these beautiful old buildings have zero noise insulation and we do feel at the mercy of our neighbours above us. From researching, it seems having a independent ceiling built is the way to go for the most effective outcome. The thick underlay has at least now made living in our apartment copeable for the meantime. Hope this helps.

I've used a crumb rubber/ felt combination underlay from a company called Anglo Recycling ( in a number of properties with very good results. It is made from recycled materials but is high-end stuff with excellent soundproofing qualities and works well to iron out the imperfections you get on old wood floors.

It's expensive if bought through a carpet shop, but works out very reasonable if bought direct and they'll normally post out some samples.

Hope this helps.

I did this last year for my lounge.

5m x 5m room.

Ceiling down.
Fill tightly between joist with Rockwool 150mm accoustic slabs.
Fit resilient bars to joists.
1 x layer of soundbloc plasterboard fitted to resilient bars.
1 x layer of GreenGlue damping compound.
1 x layer of soundbloc plasterboard.
Fiill all gaps around perimater with accoustiv sealant.
Plaster then paint.

Made a massive difference.
Cost about £1000 in materials.
Did the labour myself apart from the plastering.

Next year, the bedroom.
Any questions, ask away.

Hi there!
I found this really helpful - although Im not sure whether i have your DIY skills. I have victorian high ceilings and some coving but your suggestion is only way to tackle noise from above. Did you find that music was blocked out? the flat above me is being sold - and a party animal has expressed an interest - aarghh I'm afraid already, i currently hear speech and footfall. You say it made a massive difference? did it block out or just muffle? Ive tried the dense underlay for downstairs neighbours child and it muffles but I can hear footsteps on tiled hallway and shrieking although it is better - would be interested in any further details of noise reduction. Did your materials cost include the cost to get it replastered? I have very big room - 21' by 15.. I know it would be costly - but cheaper than moving! If you ahve come accross any other experts you'd recommend Id like to contact them. Thanks

Pop down to these guys in Rose Hill on a Saturday, they have all the products on display, you take samples and they can recommend installers.


Was this helpful even without soundproofing the floor above you or was that soundproofed as well as dropping the ceiling?

Yes, massively.

Pop down to these guys in Sutton and see all the products in one place. Products have moved on since I did mine.

Thanks very much. How much room height did you lose? Do you still hear foot steps from above or would you say this is mainly gone now with the new ceiling in place? Can you recommend where to buy the materials from?

The new ceiling is only about 60mm lower than before.
I can just about hear people walking about but this will depend on the how much the joists and floorboards move.

The rockwool, plasterboard and res bars are available at Travis Perkins, there is one in Tolworth.

The green glue is only available from here....

When was the building converted?

Phone Building Control in Kingston council - after certain dates any conversion would have had to 1. meet noise control standards, and 2. have been signed off by the council. If the conversion falls under the regulations, they'll tell you what to do to enforce compliance.

If that doesn't apply (or even if it does), then check your flat's legal docs. If you're a leaseholder (ie not a freeholder), the lease conditions for all flats will sometimes stipulate that hard floorcoverings are not allowed. If the people in the flat upstairs have ignored these, it may be possible to take action against them.

At some point, you'll have to talk to the owner of the flat above. If they're tenants, you could write to their landlord explaining the problems and asking whether they're willing to install additional soundproofing. If they own the flat, they might contribute to soundproofing as they'll proably hear your noise as well.

Another option is to contact the council's noise control department, but I think they'll only act if there's a nuisance.

New ceilings cost thousands of pounds to install. Sound insulation is very expensive. Personally I think it's overpriced as there are only a handfull of suppliers in the UK. There are soundproofing materials made in China for a fraction of the price that soundproofing is sold in the UK. However I have yet to find a supplier in the UK who is selling the Chinese stuff.

I had to put a new ceiling in to a flat and tried out this soundblock membrane ( I wasn't impressed with it.

The best thing you can do is to stop the noise by soundproofing the floor above. Even then, you are looking at thousands of pounds for a whole flat.
I have been quoted around £25 per sheet for this soundproofing underlay ( & SoundLay Plus High Performance Sound Insulating Overlay).

Soundproofing the floor stops the noise from ever entering the floor/travelling into the walls. It's much more effective than trying to stop the noise after it's entered the floor. It's also easier to fit, so cheaper. The only problem is it isn't in your flat. So you need to get your neighbours to agree to it.

If you do find something cheap that works. Please post it on here.

Thanks for the advice. Researching online/speaking with tradesmen who have experience with sound insulation the most effective does seem to be insulating the floor. Ebay could be a good place to search for imports from China, ofcourse there is a degree of risk with this.

If we invested in sound underlay to be put down on the neighbours floor, do you know of any simple ways we could protect this investment? Ie. Could we get a simple contract in place that would survive to new owners?

It could be written into the lease of the flat.
This would have to be done at a Management Company/Freeholder level.

This is one of the reasons I would never buy a conversion and/or anything other than the top floor

Cut your lose and sell

GL fella

You could end up spending a fortune and still hear/feel the noise/vibration. As another poster said, you have to stop the noise/vibration entering the floor/ceiling, do insulation companies guarantee no sound/vibration, if so, at what level, I bet the sale history of your flat is due to disturbance, yes your neighbour will do something to help, dog eat dog, it isnt going to be much, think about it before waisting money

check out this website covers Surbiton and the whole of Surrey and is a Trading Standards site, you can put your postcode in and find contractors who are Trading Standards approved

the site is A GOLDMINE! but will people use it? NAH!! too much effort :)

I will use it, already have it saved as a favourite on my laptop. thanks for the info.

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