How to Soundproof a Room
By Sara Elliott
Soundproofing Walls, Windows and Doors
The presence of doors, windows and, to a lesser degree, ceilings and walls can present unique soundproofing challenges. Sound is like water: If it can get in (or out), it will.
Let's take a look at different room features to discuss some soundproofing options:
- Walls - If your walls are insulated or made of brick or stone, you already have some soundproofing in place. When you need added protection, though, you can approach it two ways: from the front or the back. Wall-mounted acoustical tiles, wall panels, fabrics and vinyl barriers designed to be applied to the surface of a wall can be effective and relatively easy to install. They may not always be the most attractive choices, though.There are also sound dampening products like blown-in fiberglass insulation, vinyl and lead barriers designed for installation behind drywall, often in new construction or as part of a retrofit. If you're replacing your drywall, you can also choose from a number of drywall products that have enhanced soundproofing capability.
- Windows - To get the biggest bang for your soundproofing dollar, tackle the windows. Soundproof windows or standard triple-paned windows add layers of glass to help deflect sound. They also have a sound dispersing air layer sandwiched between the glass panes. If you currently have aluminum frame windows, even just making the change to vinyl will help cut the noise.Making sound sensitive changes to your windows can help keep outside noises just that -- outside. Where a triple-pane window upgrade will require a change out of your existing windows, some specialty soundproof window options can be installed behind your windows for a less invasive fix.
- Doors - Like windows, doors are notorious for letting sound leak in and out -- even when they're closed. To create a better sound barrier around doors, swap hollow core doors for MDF (medium density fiber) or solid wood doors, and add closed cell foam tape or weather stripping around doorframes.If you're on a tight budget, adding vinyl peel-and-stick soundproofing material to a hollow core door will increase its sound dampening ability somewhat. It's made especially for doors and comes in door-sized sheets. Whatever your choice, make sure you have a snug-fitting bottom door seal in place, too. If you have sliding glass patio doors, upgrade to acoustical soundproof glass doors or install sound dampening drapes.
If you aren't equipping a sound studio, you don't have to spend a fortune on soundproofing to get results. You'll be able to hear (or not hear) the difference by employing a few of these recommendations. Silence is golden. Once you start dialing back the decibels, you can finally relax in peace.