Monday, October 22, 2012

Soundproofing a Room

Soundproofing isn't something most home owners think about until they move in: "Hmph! That living room TV sure is loud way down here in the master bedroom...". Perhaps, your home seemed perfectly soundproof until you ripped out the 70s high-shag carpet to install your beautiful hardwood flooring. Or maybe you bought an older piece of real estate, in which case insulation and window specs aren't up to current standards. Whatever the reason, there are several ways you can go about soundproofing your home to provide the peaceful sanctuary you envisioned before you moved in.

5 Steps to Soundproof a Room

The techniques you use to soundproof your interior space will depend on your needs. Are you interested in providing sound proofing in the room making the noise, e.g. the living room with the loud TV? Or are you interested in sound proofing your bedroom or home office for sleeping and working times? Perhaps you are fine with interior sound but are bothered by the loud diesel engines that you can hear rumbling past your bedroom windows in the wee hours? How long do you plan on being in the home? This can determine whether it's worth using permanent or temporary methods.
  1. Interior walls. You can add insulation to your interior walls fairly easily by renting a machine, boring holes in the room's walls - towards the ceiling and between studs - and blowing extra insulation into the interior wall space. Then you just patch the holes and repaint. Of course, you can also hire a contractor to do this for you. Either way, this option has a two-fold bonus because your room will be more soundproof and more energy efficient!
  2. Install a sound wall. A more expensive but effective soundproofing trick is to add a second wall which sits in front of (but doesn't touch) the existing wall. Using sound isolation clips provides airspace while providing a means to attach the drywall. The airspace in between the layers keeps sound from penetrating.
  3. Wall coverings. You can purchase specialized wall coverings for sound proofing or you can look at your local hardware store for latex paint designed specifically for soundproofing. You can also use thick drapes and/or window shutters to help absorb sound waves from penetrating the room.
  4. Replace your windows. If you live in an older home, you may have single-pane or old double-pane windows which are hardly soundproof at all. If exterior noise is the problem, consider replacing your windows. Not only can this go a long way towards soundproofing, it can also provide energy savings. Also, consider adding weather stripping to interior doors to plug the gaps. Switching hollow doors for solid-core doors makes a difference as well.
  5. Carpet. These days, hard surface flooring increases real estate values. However, they are also terrible for soundproofing. You may want to consider at least an area rug to help absorb sound, or carpet certain room spaces for more permanent sound absorption.
Sound proofing existing real estate just takes a little time and ingenuity but the peace it provides is priceless!

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