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Making a hallway less echoey

(8 Posts)
Kernowgal Sat 27-Feb-16 11:56:12

Hi all,

My new place is semi-detatched with the hallways of each house adjoining. It's a 50s place with a wooden staircase (solid balustrade) that is open underneath (with a small cupboard housing the gas meter at the base). The soundproofing between the houses is awful and I can hear next door going up and down their stairs. The hallway above the stairs is very high and sound echoes around. It is all carpeted and will remain so, but I'm wondering what else I can do to reduce the noise?

I am contemplating enclosing the bit under the stairs as a space to store the hoover etc, will this help? I will also add soundproofing materials in the gaps under each stair tread. Eventually I will probably get the wall soundproofed but this will be expensive as it's such a large area. I currently have a large picture hanging at the bottom of the stairs but I might put up a coat rack instead as this might muffle sound a bit.

Any suggestions welcome!

lalalonglegs Sat 27-Feb-16 12:29:31

Definitely enclose the understairs and I wonder if the solid balustrade is bouncing sound around rather than breaking it up as normal spindles would (although I'd be very reluctant to change an original feature). If your hall is wide enough, I'd consider a row of cupboards along the party wall for coats and shoes or, failing that, floor to ceiling bookshelves (much shallower). I wonder if a series of pendant lamps would break up the flatness of the high ceiling?

Kernowgal Sat 27-Feb-16 17:47:00

Thank you! The stairs are against the party wall and not wide enough for bookcases unfortunately (I would love that!). A shoe cupboard is possible too.

The ceiling boards need redoing so I will probably get those done with some double thickness acoustic plasterboard to absorb some sound. The upstairs landing is floorboards and I will add soundproofing to the joists too.

Kernowgal Sat 27-Feb-16 17:47:51

Oh yes and I wondered if the solid balustrade was causing problems too. There is a handrail running the length of the stairs, and I might take this off temporarily to see if it improves things.

Kernowgal Sun 28-Feb-16 09:56:26

Had a carpenter friend over last night and he suggested putting in a storage area in the highest part over the stairs - wouldn't lose any headroom as it's so high, and there is a cupboard at the far end of the stairs that could be extended out. This would hopefully reduce the echo. Also the ceiling is fibreboard rather than plasterboard so he suggested underboarding with acoustic plasterboard and skimming.

He also agreed with the understairs storage cupboard plan, but said there was no point in soundproofing the party wall as to do it properly would take up too much space.

lalalonglegs Sun 28-Feb-16 14:43:01

Yeah, soundproofing is a bulky and expensive way of achieving anything - I'd always go for some storage which is useful to boot. Good luck.

HarrietSchulenberg Sun 28-Feb-16 14:50:21

Coat hooks (with lots of coats on) on the wall between the door and the start of the stairs, assuming that your layout goes front door, hall then stairs.
When I took all mine down to decorate I was surprised by the echo and the amount of noise from next door.

Kernowgal Sun 28-Feb-16 17:02:49

I shall definitely do that, Harriet. At the moment the coats are under the stairs but I'll move them when I make that into a cupboard. Good to know it had a positive effect in your place. I have plenty of coats...

At the moment I can hear next door's music coming through the wall - am hoping that an independent stud wall plus lots of books on bookshelves will do a fair bit to reduce that. Such a bloody pain.

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