The sound of si­lence: How to de­sign a quiet home of­fice

Cecil Whig - - REAL ESTATE -

(BPT) — In to­day’s in­creas­ingly dig­i­tal world, it’s no sur­prise that more em­ploy­ees are opt­ing to work from home. While there may be a shift of phys­i­cal lo­ca­tions — from the of­fice build­ing to the home — pro­duc­tiv­ity is still para­mount, mak­ing the need for quiet home workspaces more im­por­tant than ever.

“As ur­ban­iza­tion con­tin­ues, builders and de­vel­op­ers are fo­cused on op­ti­miz­ing avail­able land, which re­sults in more homes, apart­ments and con­dos built near high­ways and air­ports,” says Mark Mont­gomery, vice pres­i­dent of mar­ket­ing for lead­ing win­dow man­u­fac­turer Ply Gem Win­dows. “The con­ver­gence of telecom­mut­ing and higher noise lev­els means there’s a grow­ing need to en­hance home­owner com­fort with noise re­duc­tion tech­nol­ogy.”

If your workspace needs a sound makeover, con­sider the fol­low­ing tips. For even more in­for­ma­tion on home im­prove­ment so­lu­tions, check out web­sites like www. plygem.com. Think from the out­side in Ev­ery­day sounds like traf­fic, trains, leaf blow­ers, mu­sic, bark­ing dogs or car alarms may go un­no­ticed on the week­ends, but can eas­ily in­ter­rupt con­fer­ence calls and con­cen­tra­tion dur­ing the busy work­week.

To cut down on out­side noise, look for win­dows with Sound Trans­mis­sion Class (STC) rat­ing. A typ­i­cal sin­gle hung win­dow unit with­out sound con­trol glass has an av­er­age STC rat­ing of 27. Sound con­trol glass pack­ages, on win­dow lines like Ply Gem’s 1500 Brick­mould Vinyl Col­lec­tion, have rat­ings of up to STC 35. This re­duces out­side noise by ap­prox­i­mately 40 per­cent when com­pared to sin­gle hung win­dow units with no pro­tec­tion.

“STC glass pack­ages may not be nec­es­sary for every win­dow in the home, but should be con­sid­ered for the rooms where the re­duc­tion of un­wanted noise is most im­por­tant — like the home of­fice and bed­rooms,” ad­vises Mont­gomery.

As an added bonus, ac­cord­ing to the De­part­ment of En­ergy, new win­dows will boost curb ap­peal, re­duce main­te­nance and can sig­nif­i­cantly im­prove your home’s en­ergy ef­fi­ciency.

In­su­late the in­te­rior ... and the ex­te­rior

If your home of­fice space shares a pa­per-thin wall with, for in­stance, a loud fam­ily room tele­vi­sion, adding batt wall in­su­la­tion for new homes, or blown-in in­su­la­tion for ex­ist­ing homes, will help blan­ket sounds and tem­per vi­bra­tions.

For homes that face busy road­ways, in­su­lated vinyl siding is an­other so­lu­tion. Look for op­tions made with a pre­mium, re­cy­cled-con­tent vinyl siding panel per­ma­nently bonded with poly­styrene (EPS) foam in­su­la­tion. This wraps the home with con­tin­u­ous in­su­la­tion to cover the en­tire ex­te­rior en­ve­lope — in­clud­ing wall studs where air and sound can pen­e­trate.

An­other quick fix for in­su­lat­ing the home of­fice is to in­stall a solid core wood or molded in­te­rior door. Many stan­dard in­te­rior doors are hol­low, which means that sounds pass through more eas­ily. Solid core doors, which are thicker than hol­low doors, act as a noise blocker. Once in­stalled, make sure to sur­round the door with weather-strip­ping to fill any holes or gaps.

By keep­ing these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to cre­at­ing a quiet home of­fice re­treat and de­fend­ing your workspace from un­wanted in­ter­rup­tions.

To cre­ate a quiet home of­fice re­treat, con­sider fea­tures like sound con­trol win­dow glass, in­su­lated vinyl siding or in­te­rior wall in­su­la­tion.

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