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Science explained, Practical advice
No need to call in an acoustics pro for soundproofing—you can reduce noise in your home with these easy tips.
Picture this: You come home from work, the television is blaring, the kids are playing an impromptu game of soccer in the upstairs hallway, and your better half is cooking with the music filling the kitchen. Sound familiar?
Over the past several years, the demand for house soundproofing has increased, and it’s no coincidence. We are living closer together, alongside traffic of all kinds, and we’re looking for ways to hear only what we want to hear. Some manufacturers of soundproofing products have seen significant increases in sales in recent years.
What if you could barely hear extraneous noise, thanks to such simple soundproofing measures as carpet, caulk, and even a no-shoes-in-the-house policy?
Randy Trainor, principal at C. Randolph Trainor Interiors in New Hampshire, USA, says when a room is well-designed, you should “immediately feel a sense of comfort and ease”—and that includes reducing noise.
So think softness, she recommends, as step No. 1.
Start soundproofing by adding fabric to each room of the house. “Specific rooms in your house don’t tend to have a lot of soundproofing,” Trainor says.
“Specific rooms in your house don’t tend to have a lot of soundproofing.”
— Randy Trainor
Looking to get the most soundproofing impact out of your floor? Thickness and height, the two factors that make up a carpet’s density, are going to play a role. Thicker, taller carpeting will likely be more sound absorbent than thinner, shorter carpeting.
Add to the underlay, too. Upgrading to well-engineered carpet underlay when you work with an installer may improve the sound absorption.
Find that you can still hear the loud stamp of children’s feet after all your soundproofing efforts? Instate a no-shoes-in-the-house rule. It’s the perfect complement to that nice, soft, padded carpet—and it’ll help keep your floor clean. This new policy is a win-win.
Like drafts of cold air, sound can leak in or escape through windows. Insulating them helps prevent sound from traveling in and out. Let’s be honest: You don’t want to hear your neighbour’s buzzing leaf blower any more than he wants to hear your kids’ ice princess serenades. Acoustical caulking on windows absorbs sound while keeping pesky drafts at bay.
Inside, exchanging hollow-core doors for solid-wood doors can help provide a better barrier from room to room.