Home Soundproofing: How to Make Your House Quieter
From noisy neighbors to yard equipment, excessive sound can disturb our sense of peace and make it difficult to sleep. Luckily, if you’re wondering how to make your house quieter, we have home soundproofing tips to help to solve even the most complex noise issues. From learning how to soundproof windows and how to soundproof doors, to learning how to soundproof a bedroom or a home office, here’s how to pursue a peaceful living space.
What Is Home Soundproofing?
Home soundproofing is about reducing sound transmission between two spaces. In general, we use two techniques to control the movement of sound: sound absorption and sound blocking. Sound doesn’t have a shape or a form and can mold itself to its surroundings. Sort of like water, it can be absorbed or contained, which is why it’s important to use sound-absorbing and sound-blocking techniques.
Home Soundproofing: Sound Absorption vs. Sound Blocking
While sound-blocking materials keep sound contained, making it difficult for it to leave or enter a space, sound-absorbing materials take in the extra sound waves that cause poor acoustics and background noise. In general, use sound-blocking techniques to shut out sounds like a barking dog. Use sound-absorbing techniques to improve speech intelligibility and sound quality indoors.
How to Soundproof Windows
Your windows are designed to breathe light and air into your home, but they also let in outside noise. It’s easy for sound vibrations to move through glass and cracks or holes in the glass or its frame. Therefore, if you’re wondering how to make your house quieter, the first step is to learn how to soundproof windows.
Fill the gaps
Check windows to ensure there are no gaps or cavities. If you find some, use window weather-stripping or acoustic sealant. Weather-stripping will help get rid of noise, dust, and water leakage, and can help protect you from household pests. You can buy it at home improvement stores as foam, rubber, or silicone tape. On the other hand, an acoustic sealant is a noise-proof, latex-based product meant to seal holes or gaps on the perimeter of windows, walls, floors, etc. It’s designed to stay flexible and will last for several years.
Use window coverings to block sound
Install heavy, sound-damping curtains to reduce noise and block drafts, which will help you save on energy bills. Ranging from at least $20 to $100 or more, sound-damping curtains typically have a vinyl lining that absorbs sound as it enters a room. Cellular shades, also known as honeycomb shades, will also do the trick. Like sound-dampening curtains, however, they’re best suited for people who are home soundproofing against low levels of noise pollution.
Install window inserts
If you’re trying to figure out how to soundproof windows that already have window coverings, but they’re still too noisy, you may want to consider installing window inserts. These are designed to be installed in the window frame about five inches in front of the interior face of the glass. The air between the insert and the window keeps sound vibrations from passing through the glass. The most effective ones are made from laminated glass.
How to Soundproof Doors
You’re working to control noise pollution at home, and now, you know how to soundproof windows. If you’re wondering how to make your house even quieter, purchasing a solid-core door is one of the most effective ways to do it, but it’s too expensive for most budgets. However, learning how to soundproof doors that are already installed is a cheap and easy alternative.
Install soundproof rubber along the perimeter
Soundproof rubber is a dense form of neoprene, a synthetic rubber considered stronger than natural rubber. It’s a cost-effective option if you’re wondering how to make your house quieter, or if you’re just getting started in the home improvement department. If your door already has molding around it, you’ll have to remove it first.
If you’re installing soundproof rubber, you’ll also want to fill in all of the gaps and cavities between the door and its frame; the easiest way to do this is with weather-stripping. When applying weather-stripping, remember to use enough pressure to produce an airtight seal.
Install a door gasket
Similar to weather-stripping, door gaskets seal up gaps at door perimeters, which can significantly reduce the intrusion of sound, light, drafts, and moisture. Door gaskets attach permanently to the sides and top of your door jamb, and like soundproof rubber, contain high-quality neoprene. It’s like weather-stripping, but a step above.
Put in a door sweep
If there’s a gap at the bottom of your door, the sound is going to leak through, regardless of if you’ve taken other home soundproofing steps. To reduce sound travel through the gap, add a door sweep on the inside and outside.
Soundproof a Bedroom or Soundproof a Home Office
You can’t control the noise that surrounds your bedroom or home office, especially if it’s coming from the street or a neighbor’s house. However, in addition to soundproofing windows and doors, you can take easy steps to insulate the rooms that you spend the most time inside.
Rearrange the furniture
Home soundproofing doesn’t have to be expensive; sometimes, all it takes is a little furniture rearranging. To soundproof a bedroom, or to soundproof a home office, move heavy pieces of furniture, like dressers or bookcases, to outside-facing walls to help absorb sound. However, be careful to arrange your furniture thoughtfully, as more clutter can mean less positive energy in your space.
Soundproof wallpaper (acoustic wallpaper)
Soundproof wallpaper has an advantage over the traditional product—it isn’t made of paper at all. Instead, it’s created from a closed-cell polyethylene foam, which has vibration and insulating properties. Obviously, this isn’t going to make a huge difference if you’re trying to soundproof a bedroom or a home office. However, it will help to manage ambient background noise, such as someone chatting, or the murmur of a radio in the other room.
Use sound-absorbing paneling
Like acoustic wallpaper, soundproof panels do not block noise entirely but will help to reduce mid and high-frequency sound waves.
Use soft materials to trap sound waves (rugs, curtains, carpet)
You can use soft, porous materials to trap sound waves and cause them to lose energy. There are professional acoustic products created for home soundproofing purposes, but many everyday objects, such as paintings, drapes, and rugs or carpets, have a similar effect if you’re wondering how to make your house quieter on the cheap.
Install floor underlayment
Floor underlayment involves placing foam, rubber, cork, or similar material between your flooring and the subfloor. These materials will soften and stabilize the floor, which will keep noise from passing through it. Unlike placing a rug, floor underlayment will require you to pull up your flooring and reattach it after you’re finished. This will require more time and effort and could incur additional costs.
Install a false ceiling
Standard ceilings attach to the framing of a room to provide a ceiling that follows the contours of the joists. When you add a false ceiling, it’s built to be suspended from the structural framing of the ceiling. In addition to adding an extra layer to ensure that the sound doesn’t have a direct line to the floor above it, this is helpful if you need to hide electrical wires or air conditioning ducts. This technique is a bit more involved and may incur additional expenses.
Home is a place where you should be able to feel at ease in a quiet, peaceful environment. By making a few changes, like learning how to soundproof a bedroom or how to soundproof a home office, you can look forward to spending time in your sanctuary and inviting others to enjoy it, too.
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