How to Soundproof a Room

black insulation

Soundproofing is defined as the method of reducing sound from travelling from point A to point B. It reduces noise by using materials to absorb the sound before it gets to point B.

Soundproofing is useful in both residential and commercial buildings. There are four basic elements to soundproof a room:

  1. Decoupling

Sound in its basic form is vibration. If there is a direct path sound will travel easily. A great way of explaining it is thinking about two cans that are connected by a string. The string acts as a direct path. However, if the string was cut the pathway would be decoupled and there would be no sound travelling to the other can.

In a room, the less sound that can travel from one side of the wall to the other is best. It is the frame of the wall that acts as the path for the sound vibrations. A simple and effective way of soundproofing is to decouple the framing within the ceiling and walls.

There are a number of different methods that can be used, some are more effective than others. Creating a double stud wall with Green Glue is certainly the most effective, but the most complex. Other methods include using soundproofing clips with Green Glue or creating a staggered stud wall with Green Glue. The easiest, but least effective is making a resilient channel with Green Glue, however, this is a simple solution that might be appropriate in some situations.

2. Absorption

If there are air cavities air can resonate. This is what happens when you hear the ‘ocean’ in a sea shell. So if there is a hollow wall, air will be trapped within it. When the wall is then vibrated from sound on one side it will be carried by the air in the wall across to the other side. Adding insulation in the wall cavity will help to absorb some of this sound and prevent it from travelling to the next wall.  This technique is best used in conjunction with decoupling as each method will remove some of the sound transfer, not all. It is a cumulative effect, so the more elements of soundproofing you add, the better the overall result.

3. Add Mass

When sound moves from one side of the wall to the other, it actually has to move the wall slightly. One way of reducing the sound transfer is to make it harder for the sound to move the wall, this can be done by making the wall heavier. The simple ways that a wall can be made heavier include Drywall, plywood, OSB and cement board. Drywall is one of the lowest cost solutions.

Heavy walls can still move, but not as easily. However, sounds such as low frequencies (bass sounds) can still be heard easily. This solution is good depending on the location and the sort of sound you are trying to reduce.

4. Damping

Adding a product such as Green Glue to the drywall will dampen the sound, particularly if it is added on the sound producing side of the wall.

Some of these products and elements are best used in conjunction with each other, and some are more suited to certain projects.

Contact STAGES Construction to discuss your needs and we can help you with a tailored soundproofing solution to meet your needs and budget.

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