How to Soundproof a Room

6 02 2013

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Image from Flickr creative commons via williac

Whether you’re a budding musician or you have a noisy teenager in your house and you don’t want to upset the neighbours, there are a number of reasons why you might want to soundproof a room. Soundproofing involves using certain building materials or techniques to ensure that sound doesn’t escape a particular room. It could be that you want to use the room as a practice space to play music, or maybe you just want somewhere where you can really indulge yourself without having to worry about irritating those around you. Soundproofing a room – whether it’s a loft conversion or your living room – isn’t actually as fiendishly difficult as you might think, and can be done relatively simply provided you know what you’re doing.

A helpful article from Wisegeek.com offers a number of tips for those considering soundproofing a room. It’s worth remembering that there a number of changes you may have to make to the room to ensure that it’s fully soundproof – you may have to make alterations to the walls, ceilings, doors, windows and any other cracks or openings there might be. You might also want to install carpet and carpet padding on the floors, as well as adding a double layer of sheetrock on the walls with some sort of sound-dampening compound – possibly silicone – between them. This might sound like a bit of an effort but it’s relatively simple for anyone who’s a bit of a dab hand at DIY.

You could also choose to add sound-reducing materials – such as mass-loaded vinyl, rockwool insulation, fibreglass or foam panels – to the interior of walls to help ensure that sound waves don’t pass through. Sound waves lose their potency as they pass through mass and substances of different densities, so the more layers you have, the more effective your attempts at soundproofing are likely to be. Thick, solid doors and vinyl-framed, double or triple-glazed windows can also help to reduce the passage of sound. You should remember, however, that sound can escape through the gaps surrounding doors and windows. Applying caulk or weatherstrips can be added to the gaps surrounding door frames can help to reduce this.

Wall treatments can also help to render rooms soundproof. To do this, you’ll need to add or hang some sort of heavy material which can block the passage of soundwaves. Cardboard egg crates are frequently used for just this purpose, although they may not always be the most effective choice of material. Carpeting, manufactured panels and blankets can also be used, but again, the general rule of thumb is that the thicker the material, the more effective it’s likely to be.

According to eHow.com, it’s worth considering which room to soundproof before you make a start. A cellar could be best suited to the purpose, as its concrete foundation already serves something of a soundproofing purpose. It may also be a good idea to choose a room with as few windows and doors as possible, because this means you have fewer gaps to worry about. Windows are particularly tricky to soundproof, and as cellars tend to have few if any windows this should mean you have less work to do to get the best possible results.

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