It’s Wednesday night and you put your feet up and just want to relax. You are the most relaxed you’ve been in decades and then you hear it: the sound of a teenage musician trying to strangle the airwaves with his guitar or maybe it’s the sounds of industry emanating from the garage or work room. Now, before you put on your own production of A Cask of Amontillado, let’s look at your alternatives for soundproofing your way to sanity!
One of most effective options is adding an extra layer of drywall. The second layer muffles the sound vibrations with ease. You will need to repaint your drywall, extend your outlets, switches, and hookups.
Mass-loaded vinyl was developed specifically for sound reduction and noise control. It is a flexible material that usually comes in 4-foot-wide rolls. You can hang it on your walls or on your floor. You can also add it between our two drywall layers and seal it with the acoustic caulk.
Plugging Sound Leaks
So, you’ve done the previous three steps and you’re back for more? Time to plug the leaks! Pretend, for a moment, that the sound you are trying to keep out, or in, it water. It will leak through every opening, crack, and gap.
Don’t overlook caulking, or recaulking, ceiling fixtures, switch boxes, outlets, hookups, and door frames.
Acoustic panels are usually used in public buildings, to prevent echos and keep noises from building up, and at music and theater venues to help shape the noise to improve the experience but you can also use them to help sound proofing.
They are a little more expensive per foot than some of the other options but they are the easiest to install and can be incorporated into a rooms design much easier.
When choosing between products, differences of less than 3 (in the STC rating) are imperceptible to the human ear.
By adding soft items to a room, you can reduce those smaller ambient noises. Rugs, carpets, plants, paintings, etc. act in a similar way to acoustic panels.
Ducts run throughout your house and create a highway for noise to travel. You can help dampen that noise by wrapping the duct in thermal insulation.
If you are going to buy sound reducing materials yourself, you should be made aware of the STC rating system. The Sound Transmission Class (STC) is a single-number rating of a material's or an assembly's ability to resist airborne sound. In general, a higher STC rating blocks more noise from transmitting through a partition. Loud speech can be understood fairly well through an STC 30 wall but should not be audible through an STC 60 wall.