Sound­proof­ing room can be DIY project or pro job

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - HOME & GARDEN - By Paul F. P. Pogue


There are sev­eral rea­sons you might want to sound­proof a room in your home.

Per­haps you like be­ing able to run a big sound sys­tem or you per­form mu­sic that might an­noy your neigh­bors (or fam­ily) if it got too loud. Maybe you just want to watch sports at full vol­ume.

What­ever the case, you have mul­ti­ple sound­proof­ing strate­gies that can re­duce vi­bra­tions, plug sound leaks and ab­sorb noise.

Sound­proof­ing works both ways. If you have a lot of am­bi­ent out­side noise, a nearby air­port or train track, or even loud fam­ily mem­bers who stomp on the stairs, these meth­ods can make your space more peace­ful and quiet.

Some DIY so­lu­tions are fairly ba­sic and in­ex­pen­sive meth­ods to slow down sound. You can also pro­fes­sion­ally sound­proof to give the best sound qual­ity in­side your space and pro­mote do­mes­tic tran­quil­ity out­side it.

DIY sound­proof­ing A num­ber of sim­ple meth­ods can scale back noise. Sound trav­els in a wave, though not quite like wa­ter. Dif­fer­ent fre­quen­cies vi­brate in dif­fer­ent ways; when sound strikes floors, walls and ceil­ings, it then vi­brates the air be­yond them. And of course, it trav­els very well through unim­peded air. So you have two goals: seal up gaps and find ways to ab­sorb the sound as it strikes sur­faces.

You can pur­chase acous­tic sealant from a hard­ware store and ap­ply it to any gaps be­tween your light­ing fix­tures, door cas­ings and switch boxes. Just as caulk pre­vents air loss, this sealant keeps sound from sneak­ing through easy gaps.

Rugs, car­pets and drapes will dampen noise. If you have a hard­wood floor, sim­ply adding a new rug or car­pet will re­duce sound travel and tie the room to­gether.

If you want to try a so­lu­tion that takes a bit more ef­fort, add an ex­tra layer of dry­wall to the room. Dry­wall is a dense ma­te­rial that stops noise, so it’s an ideal sound­proof­ing so­lu­tion.

Pro­fes­sional sound­proof­ing

Sound­proof­ing a room costs an av­er­age of $1,700. Most jobs cost be­tween $1,000 and $2,400. The size of the room, the qual­ity of the ma­te­ri­als and the de­sired fi­nal look all af­fect the price. Ask a re­mod­el­ing pro if they have spe­cific ex­pe­ri­ence with sound­proof­ing be­fore hir­ing them.

The best time to sound­proof is dur­ing con­struc­tion or re­mod­el­ing.

Cer­tain types of in­su­la­tion, dry­wall lay­ers and ad­di­tional studs to sup­port in­su­la­tion can sup­press sound ef­fec­tively. You can also in­stall acous­tic un­der­lay­ments or acous­tic slabs be­low your floor­boards. One big advantage of these meth­ods: They don’t change the look of your room.

For the most ef­fec­tive sound­proof­ing on the res­i­den­tial level, you can in­stall mass-loaded vinyl for the floor and acous­tic pan­els for all other sur­faces. These are the ribbed and some­times eggshell-pat­terned foam pan­els that do a great job ab­sorb­ing and dead­en­ing sound. They ab­sorb echoes and in­ter­nally bounc­ing sound as well, mak­ing them ideal for clar­ity while record­ing.

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