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Acoustic Insulation in Australian Homes
Sound insulation, or acoustic insulation, is a material that reduces the transmission of noise. It can be used in ceilings, between levels in double storey homes, and in walls. It is usually impractical to open up your walls to insert insulation, but during a renovation, when walls are being moved, opened up or replastered anyway, investing in sound insulation may well improve your home comfort by reducing the transfer of unwanted noise.
Where Can Sound Insulation Be Used?
Sound insulation can be used in external walls as well as internal walls. Sound insulation in external walls will greatly reduce noise coming into your home from the outside. This may include traffic, aircraft, or even noisy neighbours and barking dogs. Using sound insulation in internal walls can also be extremely useful in stopping noise from one room going to another. Home theatres can be insulated to make them soundproof. Then one member of the household can watch a loud action movie, without disturbing the sleeping baby in the bedroom, for example. By insulating, you can also reduce unwanted noise coming from the laundry or bathroom travelling into living areas, or prevent noise from entering bedrooms or the home office or study.
Below is a list of four popular brands of sound insulation available in Australia, with some points about each.
Soundscreen (CSR Bradford)
Soundscreen is a traditional glasswool insulation, manufactured in Australia. It is supplied as batts, and the batts are available in different thicknesses and widths to fit spaces in timber framed walls. It is low allergen (National Asthma Council Sensitive Choice) and comes with a 70 year warranty. Soundscreen also provides thermal insulation, giving improved energy efficiency in addition to sound reduction. It is made from around 65% recycled material.
Pink Batts Soundbreak (Fletcher Insulation)
Pink Soundbreak is made in Australia and is marketed as a “softer touch” glasswool insulation compared to traditional glasswool, which has a reputation of being uncomfortable to work with. Pink Soundbreak also has thermal insulation properties. The batts stay firm over time, maintaining performance, and come with a lifetime warranty. They are made from up to 80% recycled content. They are also available in different thicknesses depending on the level of sound absorption required.
GreenStuf Sound Solution (Autex)
In contrast to the two described above, Autex, an Australian-based company, manufactures all its insulation from 100% polyester. Its GreenStuf Sound Solution batts are soft and are considered very comfortable to install, requiring no gloves or masks to handle. They are advertised as having a 50 year durability. They are non-allergenic, non-irritant and non-toxic. Different thicknesses are available, and these Autex insulation batts can be torn by hand to the required width if necessary.
Earthwool Acoustic Batts (Knauf)
Earthwool is manufactured overseas by Knauf and is another glasswool insulation brand. It is quite soft and comfortable to install, and also comes in a variety of thicknesses and widths.
Sound insulation can improve home comfort by reducing unwanted noise both from outside the home and between rooms. An ideal time to install sound insulation in walls is during home renovation.