Lightweight Framed Construction: Sound Attenuation Strategies Used to Make Building Comfortable for Occupants

Lightweight framed construction is one of the fastest ways of building a sustainable home. Unlike the traditional method of using bricks or concrete blocks, lightweight framed construction relies extensively on timber. This adds to the aesthetic appeal and environmental performance of your home. However, you might be concerned about the noise levels in the house since timber has a poor sound attenuation level when compared to other materials like concrete. Thankfully, engineers can select various noise insulation techniques to ensure that your timber-framed house has the right level of noise insulation. The following are some of the techniques employed by engineers for sound insulation in lightweight framed construction: 

Seals for Windows and Doors

The first strategy used to insulate sound is sealing off windows and doors. Small gaps between the window frames, door frames and walls play an important role in transmitting sound between the interior and exterior space. Engineers will, therefore, use intermediate timber pieces, tarry, rubber or plastic materials to fill any gaps around doors and windows. To add on that, power outlets and switches in your house will not be installed back to back. They will be fitted in different air spaces on either side of the noggin or studs (vertical pieces of timber making up the cross-sections of the wall).

Dense Layers of Plasterboard

The density of the plasterboard used in a given area is very important in determining the sound reduction index (Rw) of the timber used for lightweight framed construction. Basically, the sound reduction index is a measure of the effectiveness of a material as a sound insulator. The denser the layers, the better the reduction index. When setting up your walls, the engineers will use multiple high-density plasterboards that vary in thickness for optimal sound insulation. This is much easier than using a single thick layer of plasterboard, which presents lots of handling challenges.

Structural Separation

Structural separation is another reliable mechanism of reducing noise transmission. Here, walls are set up in such a manner that there are two horizontal joists separated by a small gap between them. The horizontal joists act as an anchorage for the vertical studs throughout the cross-section of the wall. Resilient furring channels such as top hat steel battens are fixed to every second stud using a resilient clip to further achieve the separation. In this way, the resilience enables the channels to bend, compress, stretch and later regain their shape. They absorb the sound by compressing or stretching and then damping it when they regain shape. Therefore, minimal sound is transmitted as impact noise.