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Sound insulation for the roof

Noise from airplanes, busy roads, railroads or restaurants can be a nervous strain, especially at night. In this way, the cozy four walls quickly turn into a health trap. Roof renovation is a simple remedy: it not only provides effective noise protection for the roof, but also contributes to a better energy balance.

Noise pollution harms health

Unfortunately, tenants and homeowners who live in a flight path know it all too well: on warm summer nights, it is impossible to sleep with the windows open. Instead, expensive soundproof windows and ventilation systems must be installed to ensure a pleasant indoor environment. But even during the day, the ever-present background noise becomes a risky permanent burden. After all, emotional stress and additional sleep deprivation are harmful to health in the long run and can lead to cardiovascular disease in the worst case.

Noise protection on the roof: renovation offers relief

This is where a roof renovation/renewal of the thermal insulation can provide noticeable relief:
“Most roof structures are similar. This means that a subsequent renovation can usually be completed within a few weeks. In the vicinity of Airports, for example, we have very often noticeably reduced the noise level under the roof. Because here it is not only passenger air traffic, but above all night-time freight traffic that drives local residents to despair.”

Thermal insulation is not the same as sound insulation

A widespread misconception is that good thermal insulation also means effective sound insulation. However, not all thermal insulation materials are suitable for dispersing sound waves so that they are not transmitted. Even the motto “more is better” does not automatically guarantee greater effectiveness when it comes to protection against noise. The decisive factors here are the choice of the right materials and the construction of the layered structure.

Sound insulation on the roof: use the right material

The biggest weakness of sound insulation is the transmission of sound through the air:
Any kind of leakage sends the sound from outside to inside. We use soft materials with open pores for sound insulation. Depending on the area of application, use matte or loose-fill materials. In each case, use fibrous natural insulation materials, which contribute to noise reduction both through their structure and their mass. This reduces noise pollution by more than half.

Sound insulation on the roof: advantages and disadvantages of the insulation variants
When choosing a sound insulation measure, it is important to first establish the framework within which the measure is to be implemented and to weigh the advantages and disadvantages against each other: Cost, effort, habitability, etc. For example, while for new construction or complete renovations, insulation on top of the rafters makes sense, insulation between the rafters or under the rafters is a good choice for retrofitting. In the following, we briefly explain the differences between the variants.

Insulation above the rafters

Here the insulation layer, for example wood fiber boards, is laid on top of the rafters. This creates a continuous surface without interruptions. Another advantage of this soundproofing measure is that the rooms usually remain habitable during the renovation. This is because the work is done entirely from the outside. This is the most efficient, but also the most cost-intensive variant of sound insulation, since the entire roof is renewed.

Insulation between rafters

In this case, the insulation material, often insulation mats made of wood or hemp fibers, is installed in the spaces between the rafters without additional fastening. Since the rafters in this variant lie in the insulation plane, thermal bridges inevitably occur. This is the most common form of roof insulation. The installation can be done from the inside, a complete roof renovation would not be necessary in this case. However, the interior cladding must be removed and replaced afterwards.

Insulation under rafters

Here the insulation material, usually sheets of wood fiber, but also reed mats and the like, is installed on the inside under the rafters. This form of later interior insulation is often combined with the insulation between the rafters mentioned above. A visual covering is then applied at the end. Insulation under rafters is cost-effective and also increases the energy efficiency of a building. However, the downside is that it reduces the living space.

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