There are many reasons why you'd want to sound-proof a room. Maybe you want a fortress of solitude, or better still, you want to build something like a music studio. If this is what you're aiming at, the following are the steps and tips for soundproofing your room for cheap, and like a professional.
How to soundproof a room: The construction
1) Thick material is needed
Sound is absorbed well when the material used is thicker and denser. For this reason, you could choose a 1.6cm drywall instead of a thinner one.
If you already have an existing wall which you want to improve, create a basic wall frame and attach it to the surface using studs. Cover this with a new layer of sheetrock or drywall.
2) Separate the layers in between the walls
Sound energy is partly absorbed and deflected whenever it travels through substances. So you have to take advantage of this effect by building the wall with two sheets of drywall -- at the same time increasing the space between the walls as much as possible. They call this decoupling.
3) Planning your stud placement
Most walls feature single row of studs to touch both layers of the walls. However, sound tends to travel easily through the studs, and this can jeopardize your work. Therefore, when building a new wall, use the recommended stud placement below.
- Use double rows of studs (one along each interior side). So far, it's the most popular method, though it requires more space to leave a good gap between the two rows.
4) Use sound clips/channels
These should be placed between the studs to offer additional barrier. They come in two main options:
- Sound clips feature heavy rubber material which absorb sound well. They need to be screwed into the studs before hat channels can be inserted. Finally, a drywall is screwed into the channel.
- The second option is called resilient channel, which is a special metal channel that offers excellent soundproofing capabilities. Using offset screws, they should be screwed securely into the studs. Note that they enhance high frequency sound blocking at the expense of low frequency.
5) Fill up the walls with a damping compound
These materials convert sound into heat. You can use them in between the layers of the walls, ceiling or floor. They are great at absorbing low frequency sound. So if you're expecting a home theater system with loud bass, this is the right material to use.
- This material may be sold as noise-proofing glue
- Keep in mind that these materials may take days before they cure completely
You can use damping compound for this purpose. However, another material that can be used is fiberglass, which is cheap yet fairly effective. Otherwise, you can use thermal insulation.
7) Acoustic caulk for sealing the cracks
Sound proofing won't be as effective in the presence of gaps or cracks. Therefore, you should look for special acoustical sealants for this purpose. Fill up all the cracks and seams on the walls and windows. However, keep in mind that the caulk material you use is a perfect match for the walls. Otherwise, go for a brand that indicates it can be painted.
8) Soundproof panel installation
If you think your soundproofing efforts are not sufficient for your needs, you might also consider using acoustic panels too. However, just keep in mind that the price tag will determine the level of their effectiveness.
Install thick blankets or sound curtains. Thick blankets absorb a good amount of sound energy. However, if you're not restricted by your budget, you could go for sound curtains instead.
Bookshelves can also make your room resistant to the penetration of sound energy. Use a book shelf to enhance the sound barrier effect on your walls. You should also end up with a nice library from this deal.
Use 12"x12" acoustic wedge panels with a 2 inch depth curve relief. They should be able to perform well in absorbing low to high frequency sounds. If your purchase didn't come with an adhesive peel, you should get a 3M spray adhesive and seal the walls and ceiling. The amount of dampening you want is entirely up to you, so you can seal just part of the space or cover the entire room with your 3M spray adhesive.
When using panels, choose brands that are made of fiberglass featuring a thin Mylar perforated facing. These have the most sound absorption ratings, so you should expect to pay a high price for them.
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