All About Sound Proofing

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Reduce Sound in your Home or Business

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Today more and more homeowners are looking for ways to “soundproof” their homes to diminish unwanted noises from both inside and outside the home.
Sources of Noise in a Typical Home Dishwashers, washers, dryers,garbage disposals, blenders,vacuum cleaners,radios,computers, CD players, stereos,TVs, lawn mowers and leaf blowers.

What is Noise?
Noise is simply unwanted sound that is transmitted by vibration through air,walls,floors or ceilings. In a home, most people consider noise to be just about any sound other than those made by what they are doing. For example, if a person is on the phone, they don't want to hear the television in the next room. Conversely, if a person is watching TV, they don't want to be able to hear the telephone conversation. Unfortunately, most walls and ceilings in today's homes are only marginally effective at blocking noise.

Noise Is Measured in Decibels (dB)
Whispers – about 20 dB
Normal conversations –about 60 dB
City traffic – about 80 dB
Lawn mowers/leaf blowers– around 103 dB

Sound Transmission Class (STC)
An STC value is a single number rating used to characterize the sound insulating value of a partition (wall, floor, or ceiling). A partition prevents sound from being transmitted from one area to another. The higher the STC rating, the less sound will be transmitted through the wall, floor,the higher the STC value of a floor/ceiling, the better its ability to control impact sound transmission. A rating of 50 or higher is considered acceptable.
56 and up=Excellent
45-55=Very Good
As a reference, you can hear normal speech through a wall with an STC of 25.
At an STC of 42, loud speech is audible as only a murmur.
A standard metal framed stud partition lined both sides with ˝" drywall with fiberglass insulation in the wall cavity,gives an STC rating of around 20-25 or less.

Improving on an Existing Conditions: I am going to take you through a series of improvements beginning with the least expensive which has some good sound control to more expensive but much better sound control. What you choose to do depends on how much sound you are dealing with.
Walls & Ceilings:
Acousti-Coat is a latex based, slightly textured paint that can be applied to painted walls and ceilings. Acousti-Coat will reduce about 30% of the noise that is in the mid range frequencies, normal voice and city traffic. Acousti-Coat also has tremendous insulating properties that helps to insulate and reduce transfer of heat through the painted surface. Acousti-Coat web site

Various types of wall coverings absorb sound--from plain fabric wallpaper to acoustical wall coverings that can be applied on walls and ceilings; most come in solid colors with ribbing or texture. They normally are 54" wide and appx 3/16" thick, fire retardant and very easy to clean. Choose polyester over other materials as it has the best properties for absorbing sound vibration.
You can buy them thru most commercial Paint and wallpaper outlets in their commercial lines. The very best prices I have found are online at American Blind and Wallcovering
they even beat my local wholesale distributor.

Another solution is to apply cork tile squares to the wall. Cork is quiet because 50 percent of its molecular structure is air. These are available in 12" x 12" self stick squares, are easy to apply and can be wallpapered over if you need a more decorative finish.

Install a solid wood door with a good seal to keep sound from coming in under the jamb. Weatherstrip it well and make sure you have a tight fitting threshold or door sweep.

As for your windows, double-paned and vinyl-frame windows are the best sound barriers. If a neighbor's noise is so obnoxious you find yourself closing the window and pulling the shade, consider stuffing a layer of two-inch-thick Poly-Foam panel in the window and put wood shutters on the inside. For a more decorative solution heavy lined drapes are a good choice or the new foam filled plantation shutters.

We have even installed inexpensive foam backed "indoor outdoor" carpet to walls. The real cheap ones are a level loop with foam back appx 1/4" thick and they work really well for deadening sound. (easy to clean too:-)) The carpets come in widths of 12' and can be applied with mastic

These solutions are the minimum improvements you can make and will help with low level sound problems such as conversation, radio and TV sound
The next set of improvements are for more intense sound problems.

Controlling Sound...Basic You are here now

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