Silence the Symphony of Stress: Transform Your Apartment into a Soundproof Sanctuary


Living in an apartment comes with its own set of joys and challenges. While the convenience of close-knit communities and shared amenities is undeniable, noise pollution can often rear its ugly head. From boisterous neighbors to creaky floors, unwanted sounds can disrupt your peace and well-being. Imagine this:  The sun dips below the cityscape, casting long shadows and painting the sky in fiery hues. You step into your apartment, craving a haven of tranquility after a long day. But instead of peaceful solitude, you're met with a cacophony of noise.

Boom! Bass throbs from downstairs, shaking the very walls. ️ A neighbor's animated phone call pierces through the thin floor.  The incessant bark of a pampered pup echoes through the hallway. Your dream of serenity evaporates, replaced by a rising tide of frustration.

Sound familiar? If you live in an apartment, battling unwanted noise is likely a recurring theme. Today, we unlock the secrets to transforming your noisy nest into a high acoustic performance room using the plasterboard, insulation and framing. This isn't just about muzzling intrusive neighbors (though it certainly helps!). It's about reclaiming your peace of mind, boosting your sleep quality, and creating a haven for focus and relaxation. Imagine…

  • Serene evenings spent reading a book, with only the gentle crackling of the fireplace as your soundtrack.
  • Uninterrupted work mornings, free from the distracting din of city life.
  • Blissful slumber, untouched by the rhythmic thump of bass from the floor below.

Let's delve into the language of acoustics, arm you with essential terms like Rw, Rw+Ctr, and CAC, and guide you through the NCC 2022 acoustic performance standards. Then, we'll unveil the plasterboard systems that turn walls and ceilings into shields against unwanted noise, from double stud walls to resilient channels and beyond. And hopefully gives you a guidance on what to expect before you purchase an apartment.

ArchiEng Acoustic Design Services – Acoustic Fields

The Lingo of Acoustic Design:

Before diving into any soundproofing solutions, let's familiarize ourselves with the key terms you'll encounter in the world of apartment acoustics:

  • Rw (Sound Reduction Index): This rating measures the ability of a wall or floor to block airborne sound, like music or conversation. Higher Rw values indicate better soundproofing. The ‘Rw’ value, or Weighted Sound Reduction Index, is a number used to rate the effectiveness of building materials as a noise insulator. The rating is measured in decibels, therefore increasing the Rw by one translates to a reduction of approximately 1db in noise level. Airborne sound insulation ratings can range from as low as Rw 10-15 up to values of Rw 75 and greater.

    Did you know? Every 10db reduction in noise is perceived by the human ear as being half as loud, so that a 20db noise reduction would reduce the perceived noise by 75%.
  • Rw+Ctr (Sound Reduction Index + Ctr, Correction Term for flanking transmission): This refined metric takes into account sound flanking through weak spots like adjacent walls or gaps around doors. For optimal soundproofing, prioritize walls with high Rw+Ctr values. This is used to account for low frequency noise like trucks and stereo subwoofers. Ctr is always a negative number and values typically range from -4 to around -12. Many sound insulation types will represent their effectiveness by displaying the Rw and Rw+Ctr values together.
  • CAC (Common Area Ceiling Attenuation Class): This rating applies specifically to ceilings and measures their ability to muffle noise from upstairs apartments. Higher CAC values translate to quieter downstairs living. The NRC, or Noise Reduction Coefficient, refers to how much sound a material will absorb. This is usually applied to structural materials and room finishes. Materials with a low NRC value, such as tiles, will not absorb sound as easily as those with a higher NRC like carpet.
  • NRC (Noise Reduction Coefficient): This rating indicates how well a material absorbs sound within a room. High NRC materials, like acoustic plasterboard, dampen echoes and reverberation, creating a more pleasant acoustic environment.

NCC 2022 ArchiEng Acoustics Reg 126 Rw Rw+Ctr 50 Discontinuous Construction

National Construction Code 2022:

The National Construction Code (NCC) 2022 sets minimum acoustic performance standards for new and renovated apartments in Australia. These standards, expressed in terms of Rw and Rw+Ctr, aim to ensure a reasonable level of privacy and noise control within multi-residential dwellings. Familiarizing yourself with the relevant NCC clauses for your state will help you choose appropriate plasterboard systems for achieving compliance.

Plasterboard Systems:

Now, onto the good stuff! Plasterboard systems when combined with the right insulation and framing, can be a powerful tool in your soundproofing arsenal. Here are some key strategies:

  • Double Stud Walls: Utilizing two parallel stud walls with an air gap in between significantly improves sound insulation compared to single stud walls. Fill the cavity with high-density acoustic insulation for maximum effect. For example, Knauf system ST90.2A with the wall configuration as below would achieve Rw59; Rw+Ctr 50. This system has a total wall width of 180mm and achieves FRL -/90/90 90 minutes non load-bearing fire-rating too. This is one of the slimmest and most efficient way to comply with NCC 2022's Rw+Ctr 50 with 20mm discontinuous construction.

  • For inter-tenancy walls in apartment, NCC 2022 requires min 20mm gap discontinuous construction and Rw+Ctr 50.
    - 16mm Firestop
    - 64mm studs at 450mm centres + 50G11 insulation
    - 20mm gap
    - 64mm studs at 450mm centres + 50G11 insulation
    - 16mm Firestop
ArchiEng Double Stud Rw+Ctr 50 Acoustic Wall Design
  • For inter-tenancy walls in hotel where it requires much higher acoustic performance such as a recently completed a project for Westin, client requires min 20mm gap discontinuous construction and Rw+Ctr 55. We have adopted system ST180.1B, achieving Rw 64, Rw+Ctr 56.
    - 2x16mm Multistop
    - 64mm studs at 450mm centres + 50G11 insulation
    - 20mm gap
    - 64mm studs at 450mm centres + 50G11 insulation
    - 2x16mm Multistop
  • Mass and Density: In principal, the thicker and denser plasterboard panels, the better it is for superior acoustic performance. Consider using 13mm or 16mm thick acoustic plasterboard on walls and ceilings for enhanced noise reduction. Or, consider using high density multi-attribute impact performance boards for better acoustic performance.
  • Acoustic Battens and Resilient Channels: Installing resilient channels or battens between the plasterboard and framing creates an additional decoupling layer that absorbs vibrations and further reduces sound transmission.
  • Sealing Gaps and Flanking Paths: Pay close attention to sealing any gaps around doors, windows, and pipes. Flanking paths, where sound leaks around weak points in the construction, can compromise the effectiveness of your soundproofing efforts. Use acoustic sealants and carefully treat junctions between walls, floors, and ceilings.


  • Professional Advice: Consulting an acoustic consultant, especially for major renovations, can be invaluable. They can assess your specific needs and recommend the most effective plasterboard systems and construction techniques for your apartment. Or speak to ArchiEng, where our acoustic engineers will be able to assist.
  • Testing and Verification: Once your soundproofing measures are in place, consider getting your walls and ceilings tested for Rw and Rw+Ctr performance. This verification not only ensures compliance with NCC standards but also provides peace of mind, knowing you've created a haven of acoustic comfort in your apartment.

By equipping yourself with the knowledge of acoustic terminology, understanding NCC requirements, and employing the right plasterboard systems, you can transform your apartment into a soundproof sanctuary. So go forth, silence the unwanted noise, and reclaim your peaceful abode!

Reg 126 ArchiEng Acoustics Rw Rw+Ctr NRC CAC

Why choose ArchiEng?

  • We speak the language of quiet. Our acoustic engineers are fluent in Rw, Rw+Ctr, and CAC ratings, ensuring your plasterboard systems meet both NCC standards and your deepest desire for silence.
  • We're the plasterboard Picasso. From double stud walls to resilient channels, we wield these soundproofing tools like an artist, crafting bespoke solutions that fit your budget and aesthetic.
  • We harmonize with your vision. Whether you crave a whisper-quiet reading nook or a serene workspace untouched by urban din, we design acoustic escapes that perfectly match your lifestyle.
  • We take the stress out of soundproofing. Sit back, relax, and let our experts handle the heavy lifting (and soundproofing!). We'll handle everything from design and installation to post-project satisfaction checks.

Imagine this:

  • Soothing silence greets you as you step through your door.
  • Conversations flow without competing with the soundtrack of the city.
  • Sleep arrives like a gentle lullaby, undisturbed by nocturnal noises.

With ArchiEng's acoustic expertise, this peaceful reality is within reach. Don't wait another noisy minute! Contact ArchiEng today and let's orchestrate your soundproof sanctuary.

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