Want Soundproofing? Make Sure It’s Done Right.
Learn What Goes into the Professional Soundproofing Process
There are a lot of good reasons to soundproof your home. Perhaps you want to enjoy stellar surround sound in your home theater without bothering people in the next room. Perhaps you have noisy neighbors or a musician in the family. Whatever the reason, professional soundproofing is definitely worth considering. “Professional” is the key word here, because a lot of companies in the New Jersey or New York area claim to do soundproofing, but when it comes to actually stopping the sound, that’s another story.
The Difference Between Acoustic Treatments and Soundproofing
You may have spoken to a home theater installer who used the terms “acoustic treatments” and “soundproofing” interchangeably. This isn’t just blatantly inaccurate, but it can lead to big problems down the line. The difference is pretty simple: soundproofing keeps audio from transferring from room to room. Acoustic treatments reduce unwanted reverb, echo and noise for a more enjoyable listening experience in the treated room.
In the case of new construction, planning ahead for soundproofing is much more important. Whereas acoustic treatments are applied after a room is built, soundproofing can change the materials you use to build a wall.
How NOT to Do Soundproofing
Before I get into the best way to do soundproofing, I’d like to share an example of a botched job so that you know the risks of a low-end solution.
We recently worked with a client who had commissioned someone to soundproof their theater. They hired someone who promised to fully soundproof everything.
Their amazing, quick and simple process to soundproof the room? Insulation Blown into the walls As you can probably guess, it didn’t work.
Blow-in insulation can help with some climate control and lower the transfer of sound from room to room very slightly but it is not soundproofing!
It just goes to show how important it is to do your research and hire a company who knows what they’re doing.
So what is the right way to soundproof a room? It is a process that involves adding mass, sealing penetrations and decoupling walls.
How Soundproofing Works
You probably have an idea of how sound travels. When a sound is made, vibrations travel through the air in waves until it finds a solid object to bounce off of. The object then vibrates, causing the sound. Depending on the make-up of the object (whether it’s rigid or flexible), the sound can be loud or faint.
Most rooms are made up of pretty rigid materials like wood, plaster and concrete. That means any sound coming out of a speaker will make those materials vibrate. Of course, the vibration isn’t exclusive to one side of the solid object, meaning you can hear the sounds on both sides of the wall. Sure, there’s some level of dampening and absorption, meaning the sound will be fainter, but it will still be loud enough to annoy the person in the next room.
So you can probably guess one of the most common methods of soundproofing: filling wall cavities with acoustically rated insulation, to reduce the vibrations and minimizing the sound on the other end. While this method is common, it is not the answer to your soundproofing problems.
The Best Way to Soundproof a Room
Decoupling is the process of separating the inside and outside of a room’s walls, so that sound can’t pass through. Some professionals refer to this as building a room within a room.
By separating the gypsum board from the studs, the sound has a very difficult time transferring into the studs and through the wall. We use a variety of products with very high stc ratings including resilient isolation clips, mass loaded vinyl, acoustic insulation, acoustic sealant and more. With the right mix of products and techniques you can build a home theater that allows the user to play audio as loud as they want, without disturbing the rest of the family or the neighbors.
Think of sound like a leaky pipe. Just like water is going to escape that pipe, sound is going to escape the room. If you don’t want that, then professional soundproofing is the way to go. It’s more involved and expensive than just blowing material into a wall, but I promise you that the results are worth it.
There are no shortcuts, and if someone tells you that they can do it for a couple hundred dollars, they’re lying, and you won’t be happy with the results. Soundproofing is an investment, so do it right the first time.
If you want quality, then give us a call. My team would be happy to walk through the process of soundproofing your home or construction project.