Archive for June, 2009

Sound Absorbent Materials: Drapes

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

When entering an empty room, most people have more difficulty hearing than they would in a normal, furnished, room. The reason for this is because the sound reverberates off of the walls and ceilings, sometimes causing vibrations that the ears can not pick up on properly.

In order to make sure your room is as conversation-friendly as possible you’ll want to make sure that at least 40% of the surfaces in the room are covered with sound absorbing materials. These materials include furniture, rugs, and even curtains.

Curtains, also referred to as drapes, can be a wonderful sound absorbing material – especially if they are used creatively. You can use ceiling to floor drapes to cover your windows but you can also use them to cover entire walls – giving you an eye appealing decor while saving you the time and money usually associated with painting.

Drapes provide a colorful and cost-effective alternative to sound proofing a home with traditional materials. Give them a try in your home theater or office and we’re sure you’ll agree.

Help! My floors are squeaking!

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Do you live in an apartment or a condo? Do you have a house full of lovely hardwood floors?

Do you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night to the sounds of a squeaking floor? Your teenage child is coming in late or your spouse got up for a glass of water and the next thing you know you’re lying in bed with your eyes wide open wondering exactly how long it’ll take you to fall back to sleep.

The sounds made by squeaking floors – as well as the sounds made by your neighbor’s dog barking or the early morning drone of a landscaper getting to work – can be quite annoying, not to mention disrupting. If you ever want to get a good night’s sleep again you’ll want to seriously consider soundproofing parts of your home, if not the entire thing. The sooner you get to work the sooner you’ll be back to counting sheep in your sleep!

Apartment Soundproofing Issues

Friday, June 19th, 2009

I have the worst upstairs neighbors in the world. You will never really understand what flanking noise is until you’ve listened to them tread above your head. They walk heavily; the kids play and jump around the entire apartment; and their television are always set at a volume no human should have to endure.

Sadly, I’m not exactly in a position where I am able to tear down my ceiling in order to soundproof it. I doubt my landlord would be very happy with me. Some, however, aren’t as difficult to deal with and would recommend you do the following to block the noise from above:

  • Remove the existing ceiling
  • Fill the joint cavities with sound proofing insulation
  • Add whisper clips so that you can float your ceiling
  • Add new drywall
  • Finish over and repaint

Alright – it’s really a bit more complex than that (in work, not theory) but its not unrealistic either. If your upstairs neighbors are really bothersome you should ask your landlord if he’d allow you to make a few modifications. After all it’ll only increase the value of the property for when you’re ready to move on!

Soundproofing the Air Conditioner

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Not all of us are as warm blooded as the rest. As your body temperature rises with the warm weather you may find it necessary to kick on the air conditioner while your cool-blooded neighbors are still content with the windows open. So what do you do when your air conditioner fan turns on and makes noises that disturb the neighbors?

In most cases you will find that you cannot build a box around the air conditioning unit. The reason for this is because the air conditioner needs air in order to function properly. What you can do, however, is build a fence or wall around the sides of your air conditioner and include absorbing materials on the inside that will form a sound barrier. The fence or wall will really only need to go around three sides of the air conditioner and will only need to be about 6 inches taller than the air conditioner itself to be effective.

Use latticework for the exterior, apply mass loaded vinyl or some other soundproofing material to the inside, and plant some flowers or plants on the outside. You’ll not only cut down on noise but have an eye appealing addition to your landscape!

Soundproofing a Pool Pump

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Summer is right around the corner and that means dozens of you will be opening your pools if you haven’t done so already. On those warm summer nights we love sleeping with the windows open to enjoy the breeze but then something dreadful happens. The pool pump turns on.

Most pool pumps, regardless of whether they’re attached to filters, waterfalls, swim jets or anything else, are going to make noise. The standard pump has vibration pads attached to the feet but once they’re installed on a concrete surface there’s no telling how much noise the pumps will make.

A common solution to this problem is the building of a soundproof box to cover the pump equipment. You will, of course, need to build the box out of soundproof materials, including mass loaded vinyl, and you’ll want to use acoustical caulk to ensure there are absolutely no gaps in the box.

Trust us when we say that covering your pool pumps is the way to go. It’s cheaper than soundproofing your entire home and, to be honest, your neighbors will appreciate your efforts as well!

Soundproofing Mistakes: Hay Bales

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Alright – this is the last soundproofing mistake we’re going to cover – at least for a while. What’s the mistake, you ask? Using hay bales to create a soundproofing unit.

To be fair, hay bales actually really do make great sound deadening barriers. The problem is that they’re really better for outdoor use and pose quite a number of problems if used inside.

They’re flammable, they’re more than likely not up to building code, and they’re easy to steal – for starters. If you or anyone in your household suffers from allergies the hay bales are sure to set you off on a sneezing spree. Oh – and hay bales are usually dirty. Even if you cover them in plastic they’re going to make quite a mess.

Why you’d choose to use a hay bale to insulate your home, we have no idea. It may seem economical at the time but we guarantee you’ll regret the decision. Find something a bit more hygienic, ok?

Soundproofing Mistakes – Carpet on the Walls

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Here’s another soundproofing mistake/myth for you to consider.

Should you, or should you not, attempt to soundproof a room by attaching carpet to the walls?

The answer is a resounding NO. First of all, the carpet won’t make much difference when it comes to the level of sound capable of entering the room. It may help the acoustic absorbency, or the amount of sound the leaves the room, but why would you want to settle for something that only solves 50% of the problem (and, honestly, looks pretty terrible).

The problem you will have with carpet is similar to the problem you will have if you attempt to nail a mattress to your wall. In the end, it’ll deteriorate, look bad, and may even begin to smell bad.

Don’t waste your time on materials that won’t get the job done. Get yourself the right materials and build yourself a sound barrier that will last.

Soundproofing Mistakes – Dark Paint

Monday, June 8th, 2009

A while back we stumbled upon an article where a woman admitted that she had used dark paint on the walls in the room she wanted to soundproof. She truly believed that the darker the paint the better the chances of sound being absorbed and/or not being able to pass through the walls. I wish I had been the salesperson selling her paint that day – he probably made a pretty penny.

Apparently this is a pretty common misconception when it comes to soundproofing, so let’s take the time to clarify this point right now. The color of the paint you put on your walls will have absolutely no impact – zip, zero, zilch – on the amount of sound that enters the room.

You’ll need to instead focus on installing insulation, applying acoustical caulk, or taking some other type of soundproofing measure. Don’t get drawn in by the hype and – most important – save your money so that you can buy a color of paint you might actually enjoy looking at every day!

Soundproofing Mistakes – Old Mattresses

Friday, June 5th, 2009

We’re not 100% sure why people think this technique works but please (pretty please) do not attempt to soundproof your room by nailing old mattresses to the walls. This concept is wrong for a whole host of reasons.

Yes, you read that correctly. Some people literally take old mattresses and nail them to the walls thinking they’re adding insulation. This would work if you were able to seal the mattresses together so that there were no seams, spaces, or open edges – but we’re not even sure that’s possible with the best soundproofing caulk on earth.

Besides, mattresses stink. They’re old for a reason. Throw them away. Why would you want to nail your dingy used mattress to the wall? If, by chance, you live in a place where this is your only option – go for it. But seriously, folks, if anyone tells you this is the way to go we suggest you turn and run in the other direction. Find a better sound proofing expert and do so quickly!

Soundproofing Mistakes – Using Foam Rubber

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Individuals who are attempting to soundproof their homes often look for the most cost effective ways of doing so. For some this means bypassing traditional sound proofing materials and attempting to get the job done with more commonly found items.

One of our favorite soundproofing mistakes is the use of foam rubber. By foam rubber we mean the type of stuff manufacturers use to make thin rubber mattresses. The idea, in reality, isn’t all that bad – but when the foam starts to go bad (especially if you use it on a floor) you’ll suddenly realize that foam rubber isn’t as durable (or soundproof) as you thought.

It’s better to use a formal soundproofing material like a mass loaded vinyl product. This type of material is designed for soundproofing, won’t rot with time, and actually costs just as much or less than the foam rubber you were considering!