Steps to Soundproofing a Home

Are noises in and around your home getting on your nerves? Chances are if you have noisy neighbors, have a son or daughter practicing for the marching band, or live on a busy road, noise could be a problem for you. Or maybe your noise is disturbing others. Before you put a for-sale sign on your front lawn, consider the ways you can tame the cacophony of your current living space. Some simple soundproofing techniques could give you the peace you desire.

Soundproofing is not as large a job as you'd might think. Understanding how sound works can make the task even easier.

Sound Savvy

Sound travels in low-frequency waves. These waves radiate from the source of the sound in all directions. If the waves are met with resistance, such as a wall or a piece of furniture, they will redirect and dissipate. Thicker materials may absorb sound waves.

There are a few ways to soundproof a home. One of the first ways is to create more space in a room. A second way to soundproof a home is to add items that will absorb or block the sound. You can also prevent sound waves from vibrating off of items and creating noise. Soft materials will muffle sound. These include soft furnishings and carpeting and should make up 25 percent of a room's contents.

Getting Started

There are likely a few rooms you have in mind for soundproofing or noises you want to block. For example, with the advent of home theaters or gaming rooms, sound in the house has increased. These could be rooms you consider soundproofing for greater comfort. Bedrooms are other rooms you may want to soundproof. If sounds from outside are troublesome, new doors and windows may be the key to alleviating the noise.

Soundproofing Techniques

Once you decide on the areas of the home that need to be soundproofed, you can take the steps needed to do so. Here are some methods.

1. Add insulation: Insulation between walls and in ceilings can block out noise. The thicker the insulation, the more soundproofing you will have. If you are moving into a new home, ask to have extra insulation placed between drywall. Blow in foam or paper insulation between walls of an existing home.

2. Thicken drywall:Thicker drywall will muffle sounds. Adding layers of drywall can be a way to block sounds from neighbors if you have shared walls, such as in an apartment or attached home situation.

3. Add sound absorbers: Fabric on walls, cushiony furnishings, carpeting, even pictures and plants can help absorb sound and prevent the transference of sound waves. Soundproofing tile on ceilings or carpeting on upstairs floors can combat sound from traveling between levels.

4. Change the windows: Double-paned windows, and those with acrylic frames, can reduce noise greatly. If new windows are not in the budget right now, consider sound-deadening drapery. These thick drapes can help block sound and noise.

5. Reconfigure your home's layout: To prevent sound traveling within your home, your hallways should be built so that doorways are not across from one another. Otherwise you will be letting sound travel easily.

6. Use soundproofing foam: Many home improvement retailers sell soundproofing do-it-yourself kits. These kits may contain convoluted or nonconvoluted foam, faced acoustical foam, polyimide foam, 100 percent fireproof melamine foam, or closed cell acoustical foam.

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