When it comes to designing a new building, whether it’s a hotel, restaurant, or residential building, soundproofing is a critical part that planners, architects, and engineers need to consider. For instance, a hotel could be luxurious and clean, but you will be less likely to return if you can hear everything from the floors and rooms around you.
When it comes to homes, noise complaints are the leading cause of neighborly disputes, and it’s important to make sure there’s enough soundproofing – both from one another and from other environmental noises, such as those from busy roads or a railway track at the end of the garden.
In this article, we’ll look at the various ways of soundproofing walls. Some of the methods will have to be installed at the construction stage, though several options could be retrofitted to existing buildings.
Keep in mind that noise requirements have changed over time, and some buildings will have better soundproofing than others, based on when they were built. In case you’re in a building that seems to let every noise in, and you often have to cope with a barking dog or a noisy neighbor, be rest assured that some solutions can help you restore some quiet and peace to your life.
One critical instrument that you will need to measure and manage the noise level in your home is the sound level meter. If you need to purchase one, make sure to learn more about type 1 vs type 2 sound level meter.
- Decouple the Walls
This is one of the best practices for limiting the transmission of sound through floors, walls, and ceilings. Decoupling is among the most effective ways of reducing sound transmission. This is essentially separating two sides of a structure such that they vibrate independently of each other. This works to prevent the transmission of structure-borne sound from one area to another.
There are several ways to achieve this. The most straightforward way during the construction phase is by using staggered stud walls or double stud walls. Hat channels and resilient sound isolation clips are very popular for retrofits.
- Dampen the Sound
This involves using specific materials meant to absorb and minimize the transmission of sound. In new buildings, this is quite easy to achieve, as installing dead walls that don’t vibrate will suffice. Another great option is cavity wall insulation for new and existing buildings.
If the building was built after the 1930s, it should be possible to fill its walls. Some of the popular materials include mineral wool, fiberglass, and polystyrene beads. Cavity walls insulation helps with noise damping and is a great option for heat insulation, which brings the added advantage of reducing heating bills.
- Install Sound Absorbent Products
When looking to insulate a room for sound, installing sound-absorbing materials is an effective and relatively inexpensive way to get relief. Hard surfaces like quartz, glass, granite, marble, concrete, and granite are some of the worst when it comes to bouncing sound around, and soft furnishings are great options for deadening any unwanted noises.
If you have tiled or wooden floors, installing thick rugs can help. For window dressings, use fabric blinds or thick curtains instead of metal or wooden blinds. Similarly, you could also get acoustical curtains.
- Add Some Mass to the Walls
By now, you have probably realized that mass is not the only answer for soundproofing. However, it’s an important element to consider for DIY enthusiasts and builders. Doubling the mass per unit area of a panel will raise the rate of sound transmission loss by 6 decibels, which is quite significant. This means that adding some mass to the walls minimizes the sound being transmitted through them.
There are a number of ways to add mass to your walls, based on your budget and desired room aesthetics.