Soundproofing Solutions for Walls, Windows and Curtains

Properly Soundproof Your Room

People opt for soundproofing their room or spaces for various reasons. However, you should go about things the right way to get the best results. Different methods exist that will help you properly soundproof your room. Most times, the major concern is either to prevent sound from escaping or entering the room. Sometimes, it might be both.

If you want your room to be completely alienated from the environment sound-wise, then that can be done with a few steps. There are four special areas you’ll need to take care of; doors, windows, floor, and ceiling. Once you’ve soundproofed these areas, you’ll notice significant changes. You can add soundproof curtains, absorbing panels, and padded rugs for a better outcome.

Due to the overwhelming soundproofing resource and products, you must be careful not to make the wrong decisions. Take some time out to conduct appropriate research. If you’re reading this article, then you’re on the right path already. It’ll guide you on the best way to go about soundproofing your room properly.

For starters, we have to discuss soundproofing basics to help you understand the process you intend to embark on.

Soundproofing Basics

While the issue of soundproofing is one that demands you are knowledgeable and understand all that is required to a reasonable degree, it becomes an easier procedure once you know what you want and have the right information to help you achieve that.

What sounds are you trying to take care of? Do you want to block off your neighbours or are you trying to control indoor noise sources?

Focusing on specific noise sources will cost less compared to you trying to soundproof your room completely.

 

 

If you want the noises you make to be contained in your room and not leak out, then you’ll need to resort to more extreme measures alongside basic steps. However, you’ll need to shell out some cash because what you seek can’t be gotten cheaply.

Sound waves travel through the tiniest of apertures; they’ll go through thin areas on your drywall, cracks on the wall, holes around your door, and any space it finds. If your room lacks sound-absorbent materials like furniture, the sound will bounce off of hard surfaces and cause echo. That’s also a problem as you most likely won’t be comfortable in a room that echoes the slightest sound.

There are four soundproofing parameters you should take note of decoupling, absorption, mass, and damping. Learning the right way to use these elements together makes the difference between a shabby work and an excellent soundproof job.

Mass is very important when it comes to soundproofing, it limits vibrations and obstructs sound movement. Lightweight materials such as egg crates are not so effective at blocking sound. Thicker materials will do a much better job as you must have guessed. However, egg crates and soundproof foam will help limit echo in a room.

You’ll be dealing with two kinds of sound [1] when soundproofing a room: airborne & impact sounds.

Airborne sounds refer to noise transferred via the air, they include animal sounds, singing neighbours, TV noise and so on.

Impact sounds are created when an object hits or makes contact with a surface and this is seen with falling items, running, and jumping. Sometimes, both sounds are made simultaneously (annoying, I know); children can be stomping all over your floor while screaming on the top of their lungs at the same time.

Now that you’ve learned all this, you should know that soundproofing your room completely will require some serious work and you will need to budget some amount to that effect. However, you’ll be satisfied with the outcome, your time and money will be well spent.

 

 

While you can hire professionals to get the entire job done, engaging in some DIY projects along the way will benefit your pockets. To soundproof a room completely, you’ll start with basic steps and take some advanced measures afterwards.

We’ll discuss the steps to take below and each one plays a significant part in creating your dream room. Let’s hop right into it.

How To Properly Soundproof Your Room

  1. Soundproof Your Walls

Start things off with your walls using a combination of the four soundproofing elements to get the best results. Whether you’ll employ the services of a professional or get the job done yourself, ensure your work encompasses the four elements that are covered.

While it may not be feasible to carry out a complete restructuring of your walls or the entire room, you’ll get a fully soundproof room if you do a little restructuring.

To achieve this feat you’ll need to follow a few steps:

  • Begin by taking out the current drywall on the two sides of your room. Once you’re finished, fill up the space using an insulating material. Fibreglass is an excellent choice for this job. It’ll efficiently absorb sound waves trying to make their way through the wall.
  • Resilient channels are needed to decouple the wall. Install them on your wall studs to keep the framing separated from the layer of drywall. The tight space formed by the frame and wall will prevent the transfer of vibrations through your walls.
  • Now, it’s time to fix the drywall. For even better results, you can join two drywall layers together using a damping compound like an acoustic glue for instance. An MLV layer will be great as well to accentuate the wall’s sound-absorbing capabilities. There are also plaster panels you can get with MLV installed already. If you have the cash, you can go for it.
  • For the last step, seal off any possible air spaces using acoustic caulk. Sound travels through air, remember? So, any space is a potential travel route. Seal them.

With the above steps, you can tell that working on the walls won’t exactly be a walk in the park and some reconstructing might be necessary. However, the steps are important if you intend to do an excellent job.

  1. Soundproof Your Floor

You won’t want to miss this step, especially if your room is downstairs and your neighbours above aren’t so quiet. Regardless of your location, soundproofing your floor properly is important in ensuring your room is fully soundproofed.

The floors are the main culprit when it comes to impact noises. Your focus should be to significantly limit the vibration on the floor made through impact. Here, you’ll also need to do a bit of reconstruction as well. This can be done easily using the following steps:

  • Lift your current floor, including the subfloor layer. Install some insulation material (acoustic wool or fibreglass) within your joists.
  • As you’re covering your floor, add a layer of acoustic rubber underlay on the subfloor. An extra subfloor layer with the underlayment on top should be added as well.
  • For a fine finish, you can opt for using carpet covering on your floor. The carpet will form an additional sound-absorbing layer.

 

 

You don’t necessarily have to do this yourself. Experienced professionals will help you do a stellar job. They might not follow these steps the same way, but as long as all four elements of soundproofing are taken care of, you should be pleased.

  1. Soundproof Your Ceiling

You want to fully soundproof your room, right?

Well, don’t write off the ceiling so quickly. The ceiling can also allow sound travel in or out if you don’t do something about it. If you have neighbours living directly above you, then the impact of noise they create can become a nuisance.

Soundproofing your ceiling is important to do a complete and perfect job. The soundproofing method to use for the ceiling is similar to those described above. You may need the services of a professional to get this done. However, below are the steps to take:

  • Remove the current drywall ceiling and fix insulation material within joints.
  • Proceed to install your resilient channels and fix your new ceiling in place. You can use two layers joined together with a damping compound. This creates more mass and that’s what you need to combat sound.

You might be asked by a professional to consider getting new joists to further help with vibrations and that’ll require giving up some space. However, you get an additional protective layer to wade off the noise.

With your floor and ceiling have been taken care of, you’ll be closer to having a completely soundproof room.

  1. Soundproof Room Doors

All rooms have a door or multiple doors. Doors form major weak points as they allow sound travel even when they’re closed thanks to their hollow nature and the tiny gaps or spaces around them. Let’s not forget the space underneath the door, that is also a travel route for sound.

Fortunately, we can soundproof room doors as well.

To fix door problems, there are two things you can do; purchase a new, soundproof door or soundproof the door you currently have. If you’ve spent time and money fixing up your walls, floor, and ceiling, you can’t let the door ruin your good work so far.

Replacing your hollow door with a thick, solid one is perhaps the best option you can take. You can get soundproof doors like those used in music studios. They are built with quality, insulating materials. However, if purchasing such doors isn’t feasible at the moment, you can always soundproof your current door.

The cheapest way to go about this will be to seal off any spaces (starting from the obvious space underneath) and add some mass to your door. Below are a few helpful tips to help you go about soundproofing your door:

  • Install an MDF board with an MLV layer between your door. This will increase the sound-absorbing ability of your door.
  • To block the space under the door, use a door sweep and rubber strip to seal that opening. This will also keep dirt particles from coming into your room.
  • If your door doesn’t lock properly when you close it, seal sides using a foam weatherstrip. Weatherstripping is an affordable option people opt for when it comes to soundproofing windows and doors. It’s pretty easy to install too, just peel and fix the stripping to spaces around your door.
  • For more insulation, fix some thick curtains over your door. Thick, heavy curtains will help absorb sound trying to make its way out of your room. You might also love the aesthetic appeal the curtain will add to your room (win, win).

It is important to note that you won’t get the same results from these methods as compared to when you install a soundproof door. If you can get yourself one of those, I say go for it!

  1. Soundproof Windows

As the doors in a room, windows are also weak points you need to fix if your goal is a thorough soundproof job. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring your window as they also serve as channels through which sound travels. Gaps or spaces exist around window frames.

Seal gaps using weatherstrip or acoustic caulk if the former doesn’t satisfy you. After you’ve done this, you may find that sound still finds its way through the window. You’ll have to take things up a notch here.

Window inserts are glass or acrylic materials that are used to soundproof windows. Fix them in your current window and it’ll create an airtight space in your glass panes which will limit the leaking of sound. The panes are created to allow you conveniently to remove them when you need to open your window.

The use of soundproof curtains for your window is also a great idea. They do a decent job of absorbing sound. You can get soundproof curtains in whatever colours you prefer.

There’s also the costly yet very effective option of getting new, soundproof windows altogether. If you’re up for it, it’ll be a worthy investment.

Extra Soundproofing Tips

The tips below can be used alongside those methods I already described above. Using them in solitude won’t give good results if you want to fully soundproof your room such that someone close by won’t hear the noises you make when you’re inside.

Together with the methods above, they’ll improve your room’s sound absorbing and blocking properties.

Sound-assimilating panels

As earlier explained, when sound comes in contact with hard surfaces, it gets reflected. To prevent this, your doors, walls, and ceilings need to be covered with soft materials to aid sound absorption.

 

 

Mineral wool and foam are examples of sound-absorbing materials and they prevent sound made in your room from leaking out. Panels made with fibreglass are regarded as the best sound-absorbing materials by some. They do a great job of assimilating sound.

These panels can be installed anywhere on your ceilings or walls. They also improve acoustics in a room.

Soundproof Curtains

We’ve mentioned soundproof curtains before. If you need an additional, insulating layer for your windows, getting soundproof curtains is the way to go. They are soft materials that form a thick mass that efficiently absorbs sound and prevents contact with hard surfaces.

Rugs & Paddings

If for some reason you can’t properly soundproof your floor. Rugs and paddings will help. Rugs will absorb impact sounds made on the floor and of course, a thicker rug will do a better job.

With a padding layer underneath the rug, the strength of absorption further increases. Paddings are usually made with materials such as a sponge, rubber crumbs, polyurethane foam, etc.

Final Thoughts

Properly soundproofing a room means you want to keep external noise out and internal noise in. Fortunately, there are various ways you can do that. However, the steps described above are highly effective in controlling sound.

Once you’ve taken care of all the weak spots (floor, ceiling, walls, doors, and window) in your room by inculcating the four soundproofing parameters, your room will be fully soundproofed. Disturbance from external noise will become a thing of the past and your sounds won’t leak out anymore. Yes!

 

Glossary

[1] Sound – Link