Impact sound insulation

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The impact sound is the sound of footfall . Impact sound is a special form of structure-borne sound and occurs when walking on floors and stairs, but also, for example, when moving chairs or jumping on floors. The impact sound insulation is usually implemented with screeds on an insulating layer (" floating screed ").

Requirements for impact sound insulation

The minimum requirements in terms of health protection for impact sound insulation are regulated in Germany by DIN 4109 "Sound insulation in building construction". Depending on the advertised comfort of the apartment, there are also increased requirements for sound insulation compared to the client . Regulations for the increased requirements can be found in Germany, the VDI 4100 and the guideline of the German Society for Acoustics , DEGA. The DEGA recommendation 103 also defines the noise protection pass, a possibility to present the sound protection in a simplified form in the form of a pass that is based on the energy pass.

DIN 4109 takes into account the transmission of sound via the separating and flanking components and, if necessary, via secondary routes. The requirement for impact sound insulation depends on the component and the use of the building. For ceilings in apartment buildings and office buildings, the strictest requirements for impact sound insulation are less than 46 dB , and for stairs less than 53 dB. The values ​​describe the so-called assessed standard impact sound level, which is determined in accordance with DIN EN ISO 717-2.

Impact sound insulation for ceilings

Impact sound insulation for ceilings is important in multi-storey buildings. The impact sound insulation is used to reduce disturbing noises from people movements on ceilings in the rooms below. Insulating materials absorb part of the impact energy generated and thus reduce the part that is passed on to adjacent rooms.

DEGA recommends reducing the impact sound to below 50 dB for normal sound insulation on the ceilings of apartment buildings (class D), and a reduction to below 45 dB for increased sound insulation (class C). The recommendations are even stricter for semi-detached and terraced houses.

Reinforced concrete ceiling

Reinforced concrete ceilings are advantageous for soundproofing because they have a high mass. The higher the mass, the more difficult it is to stimulate it. For impact sound insulation, screeds on an insulating layer, so-called " floating screeds ", are used in the floor area. It is a two-shell component made up of a rigid and a flexible shell. The screed is acoustically decoupled from the adjacent components. Sound bridges must be avoided. The sound-insulating effect is stronger the lower the dynamic stiffness of the insulating material. In solid construction , mineral wool or rigid polystyrene foam is usually used for this . Other insulation materials are natural materials such as wood fiber boards, cork or insulation underlays with special biopolymer structures. So-called staple plates can also be used as impact sound insulation. Cement is often used as a binding agent for the screed.

Wooden beam ceiling

Since the mass of wooden beam ceilings is much lower than that of reinforced concrete slabs, the soundproofing cannot be implemented as well as with reinforced concrete ceilings. In old buildings, prefabricated screeds are often used on top of embankments (e.g. made of sand) because they require low weight and low height. However, no proper footfall sound insulation can be implemented in this way. Due to their low mass, wooden beam ceilings are particularly susceptible to low frequencies. In contrast to polystyrene insulation, mineral wool insulation offers better soundproofing at low frequencies and is therefore preferable for wooden beam ceilings. Furthermore, concrete blocks can be used to increase the mass of the ceiling and thus also the sound insulation. However, the use must be checked statically beforehand. As with reinforced concrete ceilings, a floating screed can also be installed in wooden beam ceilings. Relatively suitable soundproofing can thus be achieved. A further acoustic improvement is achieved by an additional suspended ceiling.

Soft springy floor coverings

If the requirements for impact sound insulation are met, carpets or laminate floors with impact sound insulation panels are not taken into account, as these coverings are interchangeable. In addition, neither carpets nor laminate floors with impact sound insulation boards can replace the sound absorbing effect of floating screed.

Impact sound insulation on stairs

Staircases with stairwells represent a big problem in terms of sound technology. Stepping on a stair step generates sound transmission into the adjacent wall. In addition, sound is transmitted to the adjacent walls via the stair landing integrated in the wall. There are various ways of achieving the required impact sound insulation in stair construction. The DEGA suggest a reduction of the impact noise below 53 dB, for increased sound insulation (Class C) a reduction to under 48 dB for a normal sound insulation on stairs of multi-family (class D). The recommendations are even stricter for semi-detached and terraced houses.

Reinforced concrete stairs

Impact sound decoupling precast platform in a stairwell

Staircases made of reinforced concrete are generally advantageous in terms of sound insulation in the low frequency range due to their high mass. In stairwells with noise protection requirements, flights of stairs are decoupled from the rest of the building. Platforms are also decoupled or require a floating screed. Sound insulation elements with elastomer bearings are used for acoustic decoupling. Depending on the quality of the elastomer bearing , different levels of noise protection are achieved. The proof of the sound insulation quality is provided by measurements according to DIN 7396. Another variant is only to decouple the flights of stairs from the walls and to provide the flights of stairs on the non-decoupled platforms with sound-decoupling supports.

Another possibility is to lay the stairs within a two-shell masonry , with the walls being separated from one another by an insulating layer.

During planning and implementation, it is important that the acoustic separation is created without sound bridges. A circumferential line is important that separates the stairs completely from the building. Joints are ideally filled with soft foam so that no sound bridges can arise from falling dirt.

Sound-insulating, elastic coverings on the steps can also contribute to soundproofing.

Lightweight stairs

In contrast to solid stairs, lightweight stairs have a significantly lower weight and are therefore advantageous in terms of sound in the higher frequency range. Adequate impact sound protection cannot be achieved without special measures.

In the past few decades, solutions have emerged in staircase construction that meet modern requirements for impact sound insulation. Acoustically decoupled constructions, such as the so-called whispering staircases, provide sufficient soundproofing, provided that suitable partition walls and ceilings are used, which increases the quality of living and reduces noise pollution and negative health effects. Even with single-shell house walls, optimal impact sound insulation can now be achieved with an appropriately sound-insulated staircase .

Impact sound insulation in tenancy law

Without a special contractual arrangement, a tenant cannot expect his apartment to have soundproofing that goes beyond compliance with the DIN regulations applicable at the time the building was erected. In the case of renovation or expansion measures, however, the landlord must adhere to current noise protection regulations.

Individual evidence

  1. DIN 7396 "Building acoustics tests - test methods for the acoustic identification of decoupling elements for solid stairs", June 2016 edition, Beuth Verlag .
  2. Impact sound portal .
  3. ( Memento of the original from November 9, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. As of 2012
  5. BGH on the requirements for a rent reduction in the event of problems with noise protection - BGH, judgment of July 7, 2010, VIII ZR 85/09,
  6. Impact sound insulation in an old building rental apartment only has to meet DIN standards at the time the building is erected - BGH, judgment of June 17, 2009, VIII ZR 131/08,
  7. BGH on impact sound insulation in old buildings - BGH, judgment of October 6, 2004, VIII ZR 355/03,