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Soundproofing a House

Soundproofing A House

Soundproofing A House

Your home should be a peaceful place you can enjoy with your family. So it is understandable that the loud noises in your home have driven you to us looking into soundproofing. The good news – you’ve found the right place. We have an insane amount of information on our website about soundproofing. We’re also available for consultations to help you soundproof whatever noises are driving you up the wall.

 

Many factors can cause sound to enter your home, creating a noisy environment. Living on a busy street, hollow core doors, antique windows, and hardwood floors are all common sources of noise in a home that can need soundproofing. This article will break down all the most common parts of a home that may need to be treated with soundproofing materials - from the floor to the roof. But, first, let’s define the different types of noise you will be dealing with so that we can all speak the same language.

Your home should be a peaceful place you can enjoy with your family. So it is understandable that the loud noises in your home have driven you to us looking into soundproofing. The good news – you’ve found the right place. We have an insane amount of information on our website about soundproofing. We’re also available for consultations to help you soundproof whatever noises are driving you up the wall.

 

Many factors can cause sound to enter your home, creating a noisy environment. Living on a busy street, hollow core doors, antique windows, and hardwood floors are all common sources of noise in a home that can need soundproofing. This article will break down all the most common parts of a home that may need to be treated with soundproofing materials - from the floor to the roof. But, first, let’s define the different types of noise you will be dealing with so that we can all speak the same language.

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Home Soundproofing Products


soundproof panels for party wall
Luxury Liner™ Mass Loaded Vinyl
 
Fantastic Frame™ Soundproof Window Inserts
Sound Lock™ Door Seal Kit
 

Different Types of Sound in a Home

There are two main types of sound that we deal with in soundproofing projects: airborne noise and structural noise.

Airborne Noise in a House

Airborne noise is precisely what it sounds like; sound that travels through the air. Examples of airborne noise are people talking, a TV playing, dogs barking, or an alarm clock going off.

Footstep Impact Noise in a home

Impact noise (or structural noise) occurs when one object makes contact with another. The vibrational energy is transferred between two objects and then reradiated into the air before we hear it as sound. Examples of impact noise are footsteps, a washing machine vibrating against the floor, an object being dropped on the ground, or furniture being moved around on the floor above.

home soundproofing an open concept floor plan

How to Soundproof for Inside Noise

A considerable part of soundproofing a house is cutting down the amount of room-to-room sound transfer. We all live with a certain amount of this room-to-room noise, but soundproofing can become essential when we have especially loud noise sources (home theater rooms, garage band rooms) or the home is used by multiple groups (like with an Airbnb rental). Soundproofing the interior walls, floors, doors, and ceilings of each room in a home will decrease the amount of sound transferring between these rooms and therefore make your home a quieter place.

Soundproofing the Doors in a house

The doors are the first place you should focus on when soundproofing your home. The perimeter around a door has many gaps (especially at the bottom) which sound can travel through. Noise will pass through the door panel itself if it’s a hollow core door, because it’s too lightweight to block much sound.

Soundproofing a New Door in a House

You have a few different options when installing a new soundproof door. The most important thing to look out for when purchasing a new door for your home is whether it is hollow core or solid core. Hollow core doors are HORRIBLE at blocking sound because they lack density. So, the #1 thing to do when soundproofing a door is to upgrade any hollow doors into a room you want to soundproof to a solid core door.

The most effective option is to invest in a soundproof door. Our Sound Lock Soundproof Door is has an STC rating of up to 56 and is commonly used in home recording studios and home theater rooms. This is the best option if you want the doors in your home to be as soundproof as possible.

Adding Soundproofing to an Existing a Door

Purchasing a professional soundproof door is not in everyone’s budget. So, if you already have a solid core door in your home, you can also improve it by adding a Sound Lock Door Seal Kit.

Sealing around the perimeter of your door using a door seal kit will substantially increase your door’s STC rating.

Our Sound Lock Door Seal Kit includes a drop-down bottom seal that closes the gap between the bottom of the door and the floor when closed and adjustable jamb seals to seal the sides and top of the door. It’s an extremely effective treatment for soundproofing a solid coor door.

homes with more glass can have soundproofing issues

Soundproofing a Home - Treat the Walls

The walls are another critical component when soundproofing your home. For a wall to be an effective soundproof barrier, it needs to be dense and have an airtight seal. You have two options when building a soundproof wall: tear out the old wall and install a new soundproof wall, or add to the existing wall to improve its STC rating.

Soundproofing a New Wall

When building a new wall, you want to ensure the wall is dense enough to block sound and has an airtight seal that will prevent sound from escaping through the cracks in the barrier.

1. Fill the stud cavities with insulation (without overfilling)
2. Screw RSIC clips into the studs and snap in 25 gauge hat channel to isolate your drywall
3. Install a sheet of ⅝” thick drywall to the hat channel and seal around the perimeter with acoustical sealant.
4. For extreme soundproofing needs, attach an additional layer of ⅝” thick drywall using Green Glue between the two sheets.
5. Seal around the perimeter of the wall and around any penetrations with a acoustical sealant once again.

Another option is to screw in a sheet of mass loaded vinyl directly to the studs and then place the drywall over the mass loaded vinyl and seal around the perimeter. Mass loaded vinyl is a very effective sound blocking treatment due to its density.

Soundproofing a Houses Existing Walls

There’s really only one good way to soundproof an existing wall, unless you want to tear it down to the studs. Start by sealing any gaps and seams with acoustical sealant (around outlets, behind baseboards, etc). Then add a new layer of of ⅝” thick drywall to the existing wall with Green Glue between the two layers of drywall. Seal everything up with acoustical sealant all over again.

The wall will be soundproof, and no need to tear anything out.

Soundproofing the Floor-Ceiling Assembly

The floor and ceiling are generally lumped together in soundproofing projects because the the total assembly acts as a unit to prevent sound from traveling between floors. The most common noise issue comes from impact noise (namely footsteps) traveling from the floor above to the room below.

Soundproofing the Floor

Soundproofing your floor can help prevent the sound of footsteps from traveling to the floor below. For example, a family member may stay up late doing pilates in their upstairs bedroom, or your washing machine may vibrate against the floor, carrying the noise across the house.

The best way to soundproof a floor in your house is install UnderBlock rubber floor underlayment underneath your home's finished floor. Installing an underlayment isolates the floor from the building’s structure, greatly reducing how much sound passes through. UnderBlock is 90% rubber and dense enough to block airborne noise too if you go with the 10mm or 12mm versions. It’s also easy to install, as you roll it out with 100% coverage before installing more floorings right over the top. Reach out if you have questions about your specific floor!

Soundproofing the Ceiling

In most situations, the best way to stop noise through a floor-ceiling assembly is to soundproof the floor with UnderBlock. But you may not always have access to the floor above. For example, maybe you are soundproofing a townhouse or condo, and the floor above doesn’t belong to you. If this is the case, your best course of action is to soundproof the ceiling with RSIC clips.

You’ll need to remove the drywall and install RSIC clips and snap in 25 gauge hat channel. Then, scew a new sheet of ⅝” thick drywall directly to the hat channel. The RSIC clips decouple the ceiling from the floor above and prevent impact noise from transmitting through the floor ceiling assembly. There is no other way to stop footsteps and other impact noise traveling from the floor above by treating the sealing. It’s sound isolation clips or bust.

What About Acoustical Panels to soundproof a home?

Don’t waste your time with acoustical panels for soundproofing. Acoustic panels and acoustic foam are two of the most misunderstood products in soundproofing. NEITHER should used for soundproofing purposes because they are designed for sound absorption and will not stop sound from traveling through a wall or ceiling.

That being said, if you want to improve a room's sound quality by reducing echo and reverb, acoustical materials are a great choice. Acoustical panels should be used if you are building a home recording studio, a home theater, or a large room with high ceilings. The recording studio and theater have specific audio requirements, and a high-ceiling room can have acoustical problems that makes the room hard to use. We offer a huge variety of panels in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and designs, so you can be sure to find something that will fit your home’s aesthetic.

Soundproof a Home For Outside Noise

If you have outside noise getting into your home, you’ll need to use a different set of strategies for soundproofing your house. If you live on a busy street or have loud next-door neighbors who throw parties every weekend, you will want to soundproof areas of your home to prevent outdoor noise from making its way inside. Here are the main areas to soundproof if you wish to block outside noises.

Soundproofing the Windows in your Home

The windows of your home are the #1 weak point that will let in outside noise. The reason for this is simple: a pane of glass is significantly less soundproof than your home’s exterior walls. If you have unwanted outside noise getting into your home through the windows, the best option to soundproof a window that is available to you is our Fantastic Frame Soundproof Window Inserts. They are easy to install and won’t require replacing the entire window. Just add them to the existing window unit to reduce the amount of sound coming through your windows by up to 80%. They are also simple to remove, as the magnets in the frame can detach about as easily as removing a comparably sized picture frame from a wall.

Building a Soundproof Fence

Another common strategy to reduce the amount of street noise coming into your living space is to build a soundproof fence. Any old fence won’t necessarily do much in terms of noise reduction, so make sure you build a fence that can effectively block sound. We wrote a whole article just on building a soundproof fence, but here are some of the key points for reducing noise into your home’s backyard.

Height of the Fence

The fence must be tall enough to block noise. As a general rule, the fence should be 1.5-2 times taller than the noise source. For example, if the main noise source is coming from cars which are about 5 feet tall, build the fence to be at least 7.5 feet tall, and preferably would be 10 feet tall.

Placement of the Fence

Another vital factor to keep in mind when building your soundproof fence is the placement. The fence should either be built near the source of the noise or near your home, and not somewhere in the middle. A good comparison is if you want to block a really bright spotlight from blinding you, you either cover your eyes with sunglasses or put a cover on the light. Sound energy and light energy function similarly in this regard.

Construction of the Fence

Any old material won’t do the trick. Instead, build your soundproof fence out of dense material and ensure there are no gaps in the fence. The most common construction for a soundproof fence is to build a wooden fence and then line the fence with soundproof materials such as BlocknZorbe panels, mass loaded vinyl, or Quiet Quilt soundproof blankets.

Be Cautious About Soundproof Curtains

Soundproof curtains are a soundproofing treatment that we see all the time in poorly written internet articles. We have yet to find any cost-effective curtains that are good at soundproofing – maybe we should invent them! The problem with traditional curtains is they are not dense enough to block sound. We don’t recommend using “soundproof” curtains in our projects, but you can achieve very modest reductions with very heavy curtains.

Our Quiet Quilt Soundproof Blanket block sound ike what you’d want a soundproof curtain to do, but they are an industrial product. Because we put an absorptive face on mass loaded vinyl, the soundproof blankets are dense enough to block sound and are an excellent option for outdoor and temporary sound barriers.

prevent outside noise from entering your home

Now You Can Live in Peace and Quiet!

Soundproofing your entire house is not a small endeavor, but the results will be worth the effort! You can finally enjoy the peace and quiet of your home without street noise, loud neighbors, footsteps from the floor above, or people talking in the rooms next to you.

Feel free to contact us if you have any other questions about soundproofing your home. One of our soundproofing experts will be happy to help!

Have questions about your project?

Call us at 1.800.679.8511