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Can someone please explain UK wall construction to an American Yank?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Building DIY' started by Ted White, Nov 26, 2004.

  1. Ted White

    Ted White
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    Hi,

    I hope that being this is my first post and the fact that I live in the States will insulate me from too much strange stares. I'd like to know a little more about typical residential wall construction in the UK.

    For example, I understand that most homes have brick and mortar exteriors. This is followed by an insulated air space and another wall often made from Breeze Blocks?? Then Plasterboard is applied? I assume that plasterboard is similar to our drywall board, also known as sheetrock or gypsum board.

    I'm curious how you folks isolate your HC from the rest of the house. I'm sure your wives over there don't like the sound any better than our wives over here :laugh:

    Thank you for your patience and understanding. This is a great forum!

    Regards,

    Ted White
     
  2. keith_branton

    keith_branton
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    There are several construction methods - mainly depending on the age of the property. Timber framed houses are becoming more popular, but modern cavity wall construction normally uses lightweight concrete blocks in preference to breeze due to it's superior thermal insulation properties.

    Plasterboard is exactly the same as drywall, and normally 12mm (1/2 inch) is used in most houses, though 15mm (5/8) is not that uncommon in luxury houses and 9mm (3/8) is common in economy houses.

    For intra room sound insulation there are many systems available, the simplest being timber or steel studs, filled with accoustically damping mineral wool, and covered both sides with 2 layers of 12mm plasterboard with a sheet of neoprene sandwiched between the layers of plasterboard. The plasterboard is fixed through horizontal metal runners spaced at 600mm centres to provide more sound insulation between the boards and the stud work. I believe Gyproc describe a system similar to this called the Gyproc Soundblock system.

    Many older properties, (mine included) have solid brick or block walls for virtually all the interior walls, and these are pretty good at blocking the noise, and it is not uncommon to find 'deafening' between the floors of old houses which tends to be about a 2 inch layer of a cement slurry mixed with ash, and covered with about 3 inches of cinders. It is reasonably effective.

    The biggest problems are probably with party walls, which can be very thin in some houses, and it is often necessary to resort to framing and lining the wall with acoustic insulation, p/b and neoprene as above. Luckily my HC is in an extension and a 4 metre room away from the original house, and the original house has solid 2' thick stone walls (as is my party wall), and that is quite good at reducing the noise, but nothing is going to make my Yamaha DSP-A2, Monitor Audio Silver 9s et al, and 150W Polk subwoofer inaudible besides the remote :D

    I don't have a problem with my wife complaining, however, as she is normally in there with me.
     
  3. Ted White

    Ted White
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    Thank you Keith. So the inner walls usually have a single layer of plasterboard, but an additional layer can be added for sound attenuation. So essentially the same as here in the states.

    I wonder if many people use neoprene between the layers. Anyone use some of the commercially available products specific to sould isolation? Over here we have Quiet Rock, Mass Loaded Vinyl and others. Many folks use clips and resilient channels. I assume these types of solutions are occasionally used there as well?

    Thanks for the informative reply.

    Ted White
     
  4. keith_branton

    keith_branton
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    I have found a few web sites where rubber and loaded vinyl are used in the same sentence - these do appear to be quite expensive options (and I don't personally know anyone who has used them).

    The 'horizontal metal runners' I mentioned are in fact resilient bars (I couldn't remember their name - was a couple of years ago when designing my home alterations that I did all the research into sound reduction)

    On the www.soundreduction.co.uk web site quite a few approaches and materials are described - if you want to do some more homework :)
     
  5. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    Dry lining of inner walls is relatively new over here (by which I mean over the last 20 years or so) so your average UK house will have its inner walls skimmed with up to half an inch of plaster straight onto the blocks (which may be brick, breeze or concrete). Internal stud walls are also a relatively new invention, any house over 20 years old will almost certainly be blockwork throughout.
     
  6. MikeRJ

    MikeRJ
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    Not sure that's true, my house was built in 1934 and has stud walls with plasterboard. A friends house is over 100 years old and has stud walls with lath and plaster.
     
  7. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    A fair point Mike, but blockwork is still very common.
     

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