Soundproofing is not just for professionals. While the term conjures images of musicians recording in a basement, the actual placement of soundproofing materials can be easily installed and used to fit any need. The choice of what specific product is needed depends entirely on the given location or situation.
For example, if a room on the top floor requires soundproofing, then it needs to be evaluated whether the product will be preventing sound from escaping or coming in. Preventing sound from escaping would mean treating the walls and floors but not the ceiling, given that no other room exists above the top floor. Preventing sound from coming in would mean treating the walls, floor, and the ceiling since sound can potentially leak in from anywhere around the structure.
The most common products used for soundproofing are SED, or sound-engineered drywall, and mass-loaded vinyl which is used as an extra layer of protection inside or on the floors. Essentially, these materials work by eliminating vibrations. By adding extra materials and layers to wall, floor, or ceiling surfaces, sound waves are dampened as they travel to the other side of the surface. Other products include:
- Soundproof sheetrock
- Noise proof walls
- Sound-deadening board
- Acoustic panels/Soundproof panels
- Ceiling clouds and baffles
Soundproof sheetrock, noise proof walls, and sound-deadening boards are very similar in function. The use of all three materials boils down to creating a sandwich effect in between sheetrock or drywall during the construction of soundproof walls. This then creates a barrier which deadens any sound passing through.
Soundproof panels and ceiling baffles offer alternative solutions to soundproof your house. Both of these products use acoustic absorption, which is the process in which certain materials absorb sound waves instead of reflecting them back into a room. The use of sound absorption is different than sound blocking and the differences should be understood before continuing with a project.
Sound Reflection Versus Sound Absorption
Sound reflection is when a room’s walls are padded with extra materials in between the wall panels to dampen sound as it travels through, but this does not eliminate the sound inside the room itself. In fact, it can even increase the volume of sound within the room.
The use of acoustic panels utilize sound absorption and, when paired with sound blocking within the walls, can eliminate sound leaving the room while reducing the noise level of sound within it. Occasionally, the levels of sound expected in a room will not necessitate the use of sound blocking in the walls and only the use of acoustic panels will be sufficient.
This is due to acoustic panels also acting as sound dampeners for noise leaving the room, so neighboring rooms will hear sound at a greatly reduced intensity. Acoustic panels or ceiling baffles can also be colored or made to appear like paintings to achieve a decorative look that blends with the surrounding decor. These options alone or used together are the best ways to soundproof your house.
For businesses and professionals in need of sound blocking products, there are many resources and materials that can be used. Commercial soundproofing can be categorized by these common uses:
- Practice facilities
- Manufacturing facilities/business facilities
- Construction sites
- Hotels and motels
Can refer to any site used by musicians or athletes that can expect high levels of volume with a risk of impacting nearby rooms or locations. When sound blocking these locations it is imperative to make sure that emergency exit doors, ventilation panels, and areas that connect adjoining rooms are properly addressed.
Business or Manufacturing Sites
Generally managed in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and a potential sound blocking project should be based on their guidelines.
A prime suspect for any excess of noise within a project site or in a developing urban area. Impending projects will need to comply with local ordinance codes before proceeding to ensure that noise levels are kept at the approved limits. Construction site noise can originate from compressors, fans, or machinery and the use of absorptive coverings or sound blocked rooms are effective solutions.
Hotels and Motels
Because noise and sound leak issues are a notable issue in hotels and motels, sound blocking these areas is essential. When tackling a sound blocking project in hotel or motel rooms it is vital to remain cognizant of using cheaper or faster procedures in order to maximize the availability of rooms.