In April 2019, the Daly Mail reported that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex- Harry and Meghan spent £50,000 to soundproof their Frogmore house. The goal was to block sound from the Jets landing and taking off at Heathrow airport- 8 miles away.
You may wonder if soundproofing is worth that amount of money. Can I soundproof my house? And what methods can I use to soundproof my room?
How much does soundproofing reduce noise? Improving a 10dB in your wall soundproofing will reduce about 50% of the sound coming through. In other words, a traditional brick wall will block an average of 40dB, and a stud wall sound insulation will only stop 30dB, giving you peace and mind.
You should know that you don’t need to be rich or belong to royalty to soundproof your house. In this article, I tell you how much noise soundproofing reduces and various methods you can use for your home.
You might also be interested in exploring: What is The Cheapest Way to Soundproof a Room?
Understanding The Science Behind Soundproofing
Diagnosing noise problem needs you to think like a scientist. If you know the science behind sound, you can find ideal ways to reduce it.
True, the delightful sound of birdsong in the morning or soothing soft music is loved by many. But sounds at the wrong time and place are noises that can make your life difficult.
You can study, work or sleep when the next-door neighbor plays full-blast music or his house sound like a movie theatre. Surely you would want to block that noise, and soundproofing can help.
Here Is How Soundproofing Work
Sound is energy produced when objects or things vibrate. This energy is transmitted outward and is absorbed by objects along the way until what is left reaches your ears. When the sound enters your ears, it bangs on the eardrums, stimulating hair cells in the ear, and is registered by the brain as sound.
If you don’t want to hear the sound, you should interrupt its path. However, unlike light that travels in a straight line, sound can bend, entering through cracks in the wall and can also pass solid objects.
Watch the video for details on the Science of soundproofing.
So, How Do You Stop The Sound At Your Home?
The easiest way is to turn off its sources, move away from the noise, or cover your ears with earplugs or noise-canceling headphones.
While these are viable options, some are not practical. For instance, if you live near an airport, the planes will not stop flying or change route because you moved into the neighborhood!
Earplugs and noise-canceling earphones are suitable options for studying or working quietly near a train station or airport. However, soundproofing is a better option for reducing sound at home.
Soundproofing materials absorb the sound before it reaches your ears, making concentrating on what you are doing easier. Musicians who are interested in keeping traffic noise out of their recording studio use more drastic soundproofing ways to block unwanted sound.
You can fit your house or room with sound absorption or sound-dampening materials to swallow sound energy that enters through the walls.
Why Soundproof Your House?
People go to great lengths to soundproof their homes because of the following:
- Keeping the noise in
- Keeping the noise out
- Improving acoustics
We have briefly mentioned why people would want to keep the noise out to have a quiet working, studying, and meditative environment.
Musicians and recording artists would also want to keep the noise during their practice or recording session in the studio to avoid disturbing their neighbors.
Soundproofing could also help them improve the sound quality of their final recording by eliminating echo and outside noise.
Methods For Successful Soundproofing
You can soundproof your home using several methods, including:
- Using soft furnishings around and within the room to cancel out the echo.
- Decoupling separate structures in your room prevent sound transmission from the walls to your room.
- Ensuring air gaps are sealed to prevent sound from penetrating through the spaces.
- Adding mass or density to the windows, doors, and other key areas reduces sound transmission and block excess noise. However, adding mass alone may not solve the sound problem because it is converted into vibration and energy when sound hits your wall.
Ways To Improve The Ability Of Your Wall To Prevent Sound Penetration:
- Use materials with high mass. If you use different materials, you can absorb sound with different frequencies. Therefore ensure you use different material combinations for better results.
- If you live in an area with loud noise or produce powerful sound energy in your room, you can decouple the new wall from the existing one to block sound vibrations.
Now, let’s consider soundproofing options you can use.
Sound Proofing Options
What soundproofing options can you implement, and how much can they reduce the noise? Let’s find out.
1- Moving Furniture Against The Noisy Walls
Heavy objects like furniture block the sound by resisting vibration and transmission. If you have bookshelves and bookcases, you can move them against the walls where the noise is coming from to reduce disturbance.
Heavy and large furniture produces better results because of their high density.
How much noise can furniture reduce? You could achieve a conversation reset of about 60 dB. With furniture, you can significantly reduce sound from a noisy neighbor. It is also inexpensive because you will use furniture in your house.
However, rearranging your furniture may take up space and make your room appear smaller.
2- Substitute Hard With Soft Furnishings
We have established that sound is transmitted through vibrations. And since hard objects vibrate harder, they will create louder sounds.
How do you reduce this sound?
- Modify your décor by replacing hard surfaces with soft furnishing, thus making the house quieter.
- Cover your seats with soft cushions, benches with upholster, and tables with table clothes
How much noise can implementing soft surfaces reduce? You can reduce noise in your home by approximately 5 dB. You can even experiment to determine the effectiveness of soft surfaces in absorbing sound. For instance, if you compare dropping a knife on a wooden table with a cloth, which produces more sound? Of course, the one on the bare wooden table.
You can imagine the effect of house cover on soft furnishing.
Furthermore, it is an easy solution that requires little effort to practice. Even busy households can implement this solution.
3- Hang Door Curtains
Soft and thick curtains can help absorb sounds before they hit hard furniture or surfaces in your home. Window and door curtains help eliminate echo and reduce sound in the room.
Before purchasing a door curtain, ensure you have the right measurement. This will help you purchase curtains that fully cover the door frame or windows, thus blocking the greatest amount of noise.
How much noise can door curtains reduce? Curtains can block around 7dB of incoming sound, although they can reduce higher amounts of outgoing sounds.
The beauty of using curtains as a soundproofing option is that you can do it yourself. Curtains can also help insulate the house, thus reducing the cost of heating your home.
If you are a musician, you can improve the quality of your music by recording in a room covered with curtains.
4- Use a Noise Barrier Mat
You can also soundproof your home through a soundproofing mat. These mats help block excess airborne noise since they can decouple at ground level.
They can muffle sounds from the floor caused by footsteps, dropped items, or music amps. To prevent downward sound transmission, you can use a noise barrier mat on the floor, wall, or ceiling.
They come in different forms, some with self-adhesive backing, while others incorporate foam laminates.
Unlike curtains you can install, you may need a professional to help you install a soundproofing mat for better performance.
How Much Noise Can They Reduce?
A noise barrier mat can cancel out a round 5dB of noise for every layer of mat you install. But you can use think and high-quality mats if you want better results.
A soundproofing mat is a cost-effective way of reducing noise on the ground. You can find them in the market as acoustic carpets, helping you soundproof a large room without increasing renovation costs.
However, some acoustic mats have a strong tangent smell that can linger in your room for a long time. It can be less effective if not properly installed, so choose qualified professionals to help with installation.
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The Final Words
Soundproofing your home is something you can do without spending a lot of money. You can enjoy the benefits of a quiet home amidst noisy neighbors.
However, the amount of noise you can reduce depends on the soundproofing materials or method you use. Thick and soft materials covering open spaces will reduce noise than hard mass. You can also reduce noise at your home by recoupling structures.
These soundproofing tips can prove helpful if you can’t move away from the noise.