There is nothing worse than trying to fall asleep after a long day at work, and not being able to relax, because you can hear the “doof, doof” coming from your neighbours’ stereo speakers or the revving of a local hoon. If you’re suffering from sleepless nights and not sure how to handle the next time that hoon drives past your house… Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered.
It might be time to consider whether you want to experience the benefits of soundproofing or sound absorbing in a room. I know what you’re thinking, there’s probably no difference, right?
Here’s a quick explanation to help clear things up for you.
Sound proofing refers to the resistance or blocking of sound. Blocking sound in a room prevents noise from entering or leaving the space. Soundproofing material is usually installed within the wall itself such as sound insulation. These products are commonly heavy and dense so they can reflect noise and contain it in that area.
Sound absorbing refers to material that can absorb sound and lowers the sound energy when sound waves come into contact with it. These products are designed to absorb echo within a room and are generally light and fluffy. Acoustic panels that are mounted on a wall are sound absorbing. It is important to remember that sound absorbing material does not block sound from passing through the wall.
Does sound proofing really work?
Well, broadly speaking there are two main ways you can block sound. The first is by adding mass/density to the wall and the second is by decoupling the wall.
By adding mass/density to the walls it prevents vibrations transferring through the wall in response to sound energy. Adding mass can be as simple as it sounds as the heavier the wall structures the less it will vibrate. Additionally, acoustic batt insulation can be installed for further sound proofing and thermal benefits.
Secondly, decoupling the wall is an effective way to reduce sound from passing through to the other side of the wall. Decoupling means that a wall is mechanically separated so that two side don’t touch and so that they vibrate independently from each other. This essentially means that one side of the wall does not have a hard surface contact with the other.
Can Sound Insulation help?
Sound easily travels through hollow walls with timber studs. By installing a high-density acoustic batt insulation, such as Bradford SoundScreen batts, noise can be absorbed, thereby reducing the amount transferred through the wall. Additionally, improved acoustics can be gained by installing acoustic rated plasterboard, decoupling the wall, and upgrading to solid doors.
What are the different types of noise?
There are two types of noise, airborne and impact. Most noises are airborne, which means they travel through the atmosphere. Such as voices, traffic, TV, and music playing. It doesn’t take much for noise to travel between rooms in your home. Other ways that sound travels between rooms are through cracks in the door or window frames, and electrical sockets, essentially any place air can travel sound can also. The other type of noise is impact noise which is created through the physical impact on a solid creating vibrations that radiate through a structure. For example, the footsteps of a person or the sound of an object falling on the floor.
In reality, both noise types are closely related, occurring together.
How to prevent airborne noise?
The smallest crack can allow airborne noise to enter a room. That’s why making your room airtight it the first step to reducing sound levels. Start by installing sturdy, fitted doors and windows (making the room airtight), as this can drastically improve the noise reduction in a room. Additionally, you could install materials known to decrease sound energy upon contact, such as foam panels that absorb noise.
How to reduce Impact noise?
The best way to manage impact noise is in the architectural stage. It is known that metal studs transmit less noise than wooden studs. When designing your home it’s important to consider all areas that may experience impact noise. Consider using carpets and an acoustic floor underlay to absorb some of the impact vibrations of footsteps, especially in multi-storey dwellings. Consider installing a product like acoustic pipe lagging to reduce the impact noise emitted by pipes within your walls.
Q1. Do you want to block sound or absorb echo in a room?
Q2. Is my room airtight?
Q3. Does my room have sound insulation?
Q4. What is the room for? Bedroom, recording studio, cinema room etc.
I encourage you to write down your answers and follow up on what you wrote to the questions above.
For example, if you require sound blocking material consider installing an acoustic insulation such as Bradford SoundScreen batts. This product is high-density designed to absorb and deflect noise transfer. On the other hand, if you decided your room echoes, consider installing acoustic panelling that can absorb sound to reduce the ‘tinny’ sound of a room. If you have a recording studio, try using acoustical foam panels along the wall, this should also help reduce impact noise transfer.
If your room isn’t yet airtight, take a closer look at where the gaps are. Remember that anywhere air can move, airborne noise can also travel. Check that doors and windows are properly sealed. Making your room airtight is a low-cost, yet successful way to reduce sound transfer into and out of your room. Additionally, consider installing sound insulation within your internal walls if you don’t already have it. Remember that the type of room will also determine the type of sound proofing or sound absorbing materials to be used.