How To Soundproof A Room
There is no denying the fact that silence is, for most people, transcendent in nature; whether it’s the silence of the dead of the night or whether one is lucky enough to have some quiet time during the day, there is no substitute for silence. It has the unique ability to soothe our nerves, help us think clearly when we need to and proves to be pure bliss when we want to relax or close our eyes even just for a few moments. But today’s world, with all its hustle and bustle and stupidly fast pace, leaves little time to relax and even less places where one can do so. That’s why you need to have a room where you can just shut out all the commotion of the world and relax by reading a book, listening to some music, watching what you like or whatever it is that you do to relax. For that, you need to know how to soundproof a room so that you have no trouble creating a soundproof room from the ground up or soundproofing an already existing room.
So, how exactly does soundproofing work?
If you don’t know how soundproofing works then fret not, it’s not rocket science. As you may know that sound can travel through the walls and the roof of a room from and to the surrounding so just shutting the door and closing the windows doesn’t really help; you need to not only soundproof the walls and the roof of the room but you also need to soundproof the door. Without doing so, it just won’t work.
In other words, by soundproofing a room, you will ensure that most of the sounds that are generated within the room stay in the room while most of the unwanted noise from outside stays outside. Depending on what technique you use to soundproof and what materials you use, your results can vary drastically.
Will soundproofing really help?
The short answer is: yes. Whether music is your passion and either you want to create it with your band or listen to it in the right way, a room that has been soundproofed will be always better than the one that’s not. If music is not your cup of tea but you want to have a great cinematic experience while watching your favorite movies of TV shows then soundproofing is your friend. Similarly, if absolute silence is a necessity for you when you want to relax then you will notice the difference as soon as you step inside a soundproof room. Nothing beats the calm and quiet of a room no matter what you plan to do in it, that is, for all extents and purposes, cut off from the rest of the world.
Building a soundproof room vs. Making an existing room soundproof
If you are thinking that you will have to construct your home from scratch to have soundproof rooms then you are partially correct. Making a room soundproof at the time of construction will always result in better results and less hassle but that doesn’t mean that you can’t soundproof the spare room after your house has been built. You may need to do some serious altering in order to make it work but in the end, the results will make all the trouble that you had to go through worth it.
So the bottom line is this: if your house is being constructed now then it’s a great idea to get at least one room (your study?) soundproofed. If you already own a house then your decision to soundproof a room (or all the rooms) is still a correct one.
What you need to do:
If you want to know how you can successfully soundproof the extra room in the house and turn it into a Fortress of Solitude or the band practice room or if you want to know how to soundproof your dorm room then you have come to the right place. It may seem like a herculean task but once you know what to do and how to do it and with a little help from the right materials, it shouldn’t be a problem. Honestly, all you need to do is to keep the following points in mind when you start working on your soundproof room.
Build another wall: One technique which is bound to work is building a secondary wall in front of the walls of the room you want to soundproof. Sure, you will lose some space in the room but this way you can control a lot of factors ranging from the thickness of the wall to the thickness and installation style of the insulation material. If you do it right, this can be one of the easiest and the quickest way of soundproofing a room. The only problem that you may face is with the ceiling. But that can also be taken care of in a similar fashion.
Cracks and holes need to be filled in first: Just like electricity, sound will follow the path of least resistance. That translates to small holes present between the two surfaces like the walls or the roof. This holes or cracks may not seem like much but the truth is that they can simply destroy the soundproofing of a room. That’s why you need to make sure that all the cracks are filled in. An acoustic sealant will do the best job.
Thick materials absorb the most sound: You might remember from you high school Physics that thick material can absorb a large percentage of soundwaves. So you can line the walls of the room with thick material. If you just want to do it the easy way then you can simply mount sheets of soundproof material on the wall. You can also take it a step further by installing acoustic wedge panels. If it’s a big room then you are going to need a lot of them but they should a better job than mounted sheets. If you are in the process of building the room from scratch then consider using thicker drywall panels. Due to the thickness of these panels, they easily outperform the typical thin drywall panels when it comes to absorbing sound waves. You can also use the stud placement to you advantage: if possible, use two layers of stud with a little gap between them. This will ensure that maximum energy of the sound waves is absorbed as they will now pass through multiple materials.
Insulation will help a great deal: By putting more material in the wall, you can increase the soundproofing of the room. You may think that stuffing the studs in the walls with old newspaper is a good idea but it really isn’t. It is also a big fire hazard. The best way to do it is by using fibreglass. Foam insulation is quite good at keeping the room warm and cozy but it doesn’t a good job when it comes to sound. So fibreglass is the way to go.
Use noise proofing glue: Noise proofing glue or a damping compound can be applied to the drywall before attaching it to the studs. This compound has the ability to take the energy from the sound waves and turn them into heat. This provides an excellent alternative if you don’t want to insulate the walls of the room using fibreglass. Noise proofing glue will take some time to provide the maximum sound absorption that it can so you might have to wait a while after installing the drywall panels.
To ventilate a soundproof room is quite tricky: You may have the best soundproof room in the world but it won’t really matter if you can’t breathe in it. That’s why a soundproof room also needs to be ventilated. Unlike a simple room, installing ventilation equipment in a soundproof room can be complex but done right, it will not only keep the properly ventilated but it will also keep it properly soundproof.
There are some great systems available that will help you solve this problem easily but if you want to have a Do-It-Yourself approach regarding this matter too then you need to remember this: the air inlet should be at one end of the room and outlet at the other. In addition, the inlet should be at the top of the wall while the outlet at the bottom. The internal surfaces of the vents that come in should be insulated using sound absorbing material so that the noise that may come through the vents is reduced even further.
So now you don’t have to put off your band practice or your plans to relax in a room where you can be truly at peace because now you know how to soundproof a room whether you are building it from scratch or whether it’s already built.