Soundproofing used to be an activity reserved for musicians and people installing home theatres. In today’s day and age, you might just be looking into soundproofing to help block noises from neighboring properties or if you simply want to change the acoustics in a room in your home. There are plenty of professional companies you can hire for the job, but at the end of the day, you’re more than capable of soundproofing all on your own! Below are the steps that you can use to begin your soundproofing venture to create a quiet and personal property.
Step 1: Find the Sources of the Sound
Before you start putting your money into materials, it’s first important that you find the sounds that are transferring from one room to another and determine which sounds you’d like to block out. This will help you to determine the type of soundproofing you should be looking for. As an example, if footsteps from the room above you are louder than they should be you might want to consider installing carpet instead of hardwood.
Often times, homeowners don’t need to go through the process of soundproofing an entire room, especially if it’s only one or two things that are causing the distracting noises such as old appliances.
Step 2: Making the Room Airtight
Little do most people know that once a room is airtight, it can become relatively soundproof but ensuring that there aren’t any cracks and holes in a room can be incredibly time consuming and tedious. Before you start installing your soundproofing materials, pay close attention to any large gaps such as gaps underneath doors, outlets, or even gaps between your drywall and the floors.
Sure, spending the time to make sure a room is airtight can take a little longer than you had expected but it can also be quite inexpensive in the long run as all you might need is a little bit of caulk to do some sealing.
Step 3: Adding Density and Mass
When it comes to preventing sound from traveling in or out of a room, your walls are going to need a lot of mass that is responsible for limiting the number of vibrations that occur as a result of loud sounds. Typically, this can be done during the building stages, as builders will insert thick and dense concrete in between the studs and the drywall to help absorb noise.
However, if you’re working with an existing room, your best option is to purchase mass loaded vinyl, which is also referred to as Sheetblock. You’re going to want to look for Sheetblock that is rated between 40 and 50 on the Sound Transmission Class scale, as this means it is great at blocking out sounds.
Step 4: Damping the Room
If you’re not interested in using mass loaded vinyl to a room, you may want to consider damping which is a method used to help prevent sounds from transferring by dissipating any kinetic energy. There are few products on the market for damping; ideally, you’re going to want to find something similar to Green Glue which is a compound that helps to dissipate the sound. The main concern with this option is it’s going to take a significantly longer time than Sheetblock and it will require an ample amount of materials.
To get the best results, you’ll have to use about two tubes of Green Glue per 4” x 8” panels of plywood, fiberboard, or drywall and affix them to your existing structure. If you’re not particularly the greatest handyman in your family, it’s advised that you either choose an alternative DIY method or you can rely on the professionals to take care of the process for you.
Step 5: Decoupling
By far, the single most popular method of soundproofing that people use in residential properties is decoupling as this helps to prevent sound from transferring from connecting rooms. For example, if you have a relatively loud office right next door to a nursery you can easily use decoupling to make the room soundproof.
The whole premise behind this type of soundproofing is to be able to block sound from being transferred with the help of dense material, such as rubber. The most common examples of decoupling that you might have seen in the past include:
- Floating Floors: These floors are installed with rubber isolators between the subflooring and the hardwood, tile or carpet. In between both of the layers, there will be rubber isolators, which gives the name “floating floor” as the top material is not affixed to the bottom material.
- Double Walls: If you have space to spare in your home, double walls can be another great way to take advantage of decoupling. It’s essentially when you leave a block of space between the exterior and interior walls of a room, helping to block sound. To make it even more effective, you can add insulating in between the walls.
- Resilient Channels: As a great option for people who need to soundproof their ceilings, resilient channels can be installed to help create additional pockets of space between the floor and the ceiling of rooms. You can also install them inside of walls and then add additional insulation, much like with double walls.
- Acoustic Panels: If there’s one type of soundproofing you’ve undoubtedly seen on TV and in homes, it’s surely acoustic paneling. These devices are ridged squares that can be installed directly on drywall and are used to help prevent the penetration of sound between rooms. They are a phenomenal option for at-home studios and if you’re looking to produce better acoustics inside of a particular area of your home. The best part about acoustic panels is they are affordable and easy to install without professional help.
When it comes to soundproofing a room there are plenty of materials for you to choose from. The majority of the items can be easily installed; all you have to do is follow the included instructions, such as with acoustic paneling. Other options are better left for professional contractors but give you optimal sound protection in your home, such as resilient channels. Regardless of your choice, you’ll be well on your way to having a peaceful and silent property.