Your 10 year old is practicing the saxophone in the hallway. In the garage, your husband lights his desk. The rocket has artwork on the wall.
Wouldn't it be great if you could drown out all that noise? By making your walls soundproof, you get peace of mind and give a little common sense back to your home.
To reduce home noise, you need to reduce vibrations, reduce noise, and reduce noise.
Secret # 1: Extra drywall.
Sound is vibration. This vibration dampening is best done with heavy, dense materials that stop track noise.
For heavy ones, brick and stone are fine, but impractical to remodel your interior walls. The simplest strategy is to add a second layer of drywall to create a thick, soundproof barrier.
You don't need to add drywall everywhere - you can isolate a noisy room (children's saxophone) or a quiet room (your reading corner).
You'll have to repaint and repaint your new drywall and will likely expand the power outlets and junction boxes, but it's a relatively easy and inexpensive DIY project.
Secret # 2: sandwiches.
For added protection, separate the two layers of drywall with 3/8 inch thick acoustic plaster beads ($ 9-20 for a 28-ounce pipe). It dampens vibrations that try to move from one layer of drywall to another.
Secret # 3: Loaded with masses of vinyl.
Bulk Vinyl (MLV) is specially formulated for noise reduction and is a flexible material that comes in 4 foot wide rolls. Can be hung on the wall or mounted on the floor to reduce noise. Place it between the drywall to greatly reduce sound transmission through the walls.
A 15-foot (60-square-foot) MLV 1/8-inch reel costs $ 80 to $ 110.That's tough. So if you buy them online, expect an extra $ 40-50 in shipping.
Secret # 4: Blocking Sound Leaks.
"Sound is like water," said Josh Kernan of Westside Drywall in Hubbard, Oregon, noting that anywhere water can leak - cracks and crevices - sound can enter.
Use a sound seal to stop the flow of sound and fill in the holes and gaps:
Add a sweeper ($ 6- $ 14) to the bottom of the door and a weather bar to the door frame.
Secret # 5: sound absorption with acoustic panels.
Acoustic panels absorb sound before they can bounce off walls and ceilings. They enhance sound in a room such as a home theater, but are also useful for reducing sound transmission through walls.
The panels are made of expanded porous polypropylene (PEPP) and are available in a variety of sizes and thicknesses. Most styles for home use are upholstered in dozens of colors to choose from. Several manufacturers offer custom printed fabrics that will turn your scarf into a wall piece: send a digital photo and rotate it on your panel.
The panels are attached with clips or Velcro, and installation is easy to do yourself. Standard 2 x 2 foot panels cost $ 25 to $ 30.
Secret # 6: Soothing ambient sounds.
Adding soft items to the room - carpets, curtains, potted plants - will help reduce vibrations and ambient noise.
Related: Are Soundproof Windows Worth the Money?
Secret # 7: duct silencer.
A sound-absorbing shell dampens noisy ducts and adds thermal insulation. 1 to 30 foot thick clam rolls costs $ 50.
Secret # 8: add a sturdy door.
Interior doors with solid cores ($ 60-80) absorb sound better than doors with perforated cores. Add strokes to reduce noise in the air.
Secret # 9: Know Your STC Ranking.
Sound suppression products are often available in sound transmission class (STC). STC is a measure of how many decibels of sound attenuation a product produces. The higher the STC rating, the better.
The 10-STC update appears to cut noise in half. On the other hand, the difference in ratings of 3 STC or less is almost imperceptible - it's worth knowing when comparing products.