How Does Soundproofing Work?

Noise pollution is becoming an increasingly common issue for many people who live in built-up areas. This may be noise created by passing traffic, disruptive neighbors, music, televisions installed in other rooms of your home, or electrical goods.

The majority of individuals are receptive to a certain level of noise pollution, however, if they escalate and become a disturbance to daily life, you may be wondering how you can block out this noise. 

Typically soundproofing is done for one of the two following reasons, either to prevent noise from entering the room or to block it and stop it from leaving the room. Though it is difficult to block the sound completely, it is possible to dramatically reduce sound levels. 

What is sound?

To understand how soundproofing works, you must first understand what sound is. Sound is a source of energy that is created when an invisible wave travels through a liquid, gas, or solid. Noise is created when sound attempts to travel through a solid. There are two different types of sound to be aware of.

This includes sound that is airborne and sound that is created as a result of impact. Differentiating between these two types of sound is fairly simple. An example of airborne sound is voices and music, essentially anything that travels through the air. When two solid objects come into contact with one another they create a noise which is known as impact sound. 

What is soundproofing?

Although we have touched upon it previously, we have taken a look at the concept of this term in a little more detail. Soundproofing is a means of reducing or removing unwanted noise from your home, office, or general area.

Initially, this noise may be barely noticeable, however, over time, you may start to notice that it becomes more irritating. Whilst some may sit back and allow it to continue in the hope that it will one day cease, soundproofing your home is perhaps the most effective way of eradicating the issue. 

How does soundproofing work?

Now let’s take a look at how soundproofing works. The type of noise that you are trying to get rid of will influence how you soundproof your home. Airborne is the most common type and can be particularly problematic in homes that are constructed with thin internal walls.

Because they aren’t very substantial they are prone to cracking and often are poorly insulated. This means that it is easier for the sound to travel between different rooms inside your home.

To dampen this airborne sound you will need to seal up any cracks in your walls (they tend to be the main cause) along with any cracks in your doors, ceilings, or floorboards. Then adding a layer of insulation will prevent the noise from traveling. 

Impact noise tends to travel between rooms via walls that lack cavities. Because there are no connections there to prevent the vibrations from traveling, noise that is being created in one room will be heard in another. The solution is to create a series of small gaps. They will disrupt the vibrations. Then add a layer of insulation. In doing so, you will ensure that any further vibrations are absorbed. 

What part of the room should you soundproof?

As previously established, sound typically tends to travel through walls, doors, ceilings, and the floor but it can also travel through the windows and roof. As such, these are going to be the objects and surfaces that you will need to focus your efforts on soundproofing. 

Walking around the different rooms in your home and listening for the noise and where it may be coming from will help you to determine the exact areas that need to be soundproofed. You can either stand in the room or walk around it, but you must listen carefully so that you can hear where the sound is entering or leaving the room. 

Why you should soundproof your home

If you are responsible for creating the noise, soundproofing your home will ensure that it doesn’t disrupt any neighbors that are close to you.

Aside from disrupting daily life, in some severe cases, excessive noise can lead to sleep deprivation and disorders. Reducing the levels of noise will allow you to maintain a good relationship with those living in your street. 

If your neighbors are making the noise, e.g they may be having work done inside their house, or they may be playing music at a high volume at all times throughout the day, soundproofing your home will dampen the intensity of the sound.

Materials that can be used to soundproof your home

Several materials can be used to soundproof your home. When trying to combat airborne noise, you must make sure that the material is of the correct density. The following materials possess effective soundproofing properties. This includes polymer membrane, plasterboard, vinyl, MDF fiberboard, mineral wool.

Materials that are used to tackle impact noise typically tend to be softer and more effective absorbers. They are as follows; chip foam, wood fiber,  closed-cell polyethylene, PUR foam, and more. 

If you are trying to combat both airborne and impact sound, you will require a combination of materials. You can also get noise cancellation systems that can be installed in a room in your home. They are fitted with a microphone and will ultimately work by canceling out the sound waves so that the noise is much less apparent.

The main downside to this option is that it is rather pricey. For this reason, those looking for a more cost-effective solution will likely benefit from adding a layer of insulation and sealing any cracks in walls or doors, etc. 

Final Thoughts

Soundproofing your home refers to the process of reducing and dampening the volume of noise inside your home. There are two different types of sound to be aware of and the way in which you soundproof your home, will depend on the type of noise that you are trying to combat. 

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