Whether you have a two-story home, a duplex or someone living below you, many homeowners want to know how to reduce noise for their neighbors. Keep reading for 15 ways to choose flooring, windows and walls that will soundproof your home.
5 Ways to Reduce Noise with Your Flooring
- Choose your flooring carefully. Carpeting and cork are the best for low sound transference on their own. In fact, cork has wonderful sound-deadening properties that can help reduce noise!
- Accessorize. If you have or want hardwood flooring (or another hard surface floor), a fun option is to use area rugs and play mats. In addition to reducing floor noise, this allows you to customize your space over and over again as the area is used in different ways.
- Choose underlayment effectively. If you’re installing your floors, use underlayment that will help reduce noise. There’s a wide range of sound-deadening underlayment; the material and thickness you choose will make a difference. It’s also worth noting that if you own a condo, your HOA will almost always have specific requirements for the sound transfer ratings for flooring. Be aware of this and have your flooring contractor keep it in mind when planning the install so you comply with the HOA guidelines.
- Build in some space. If you’re building a new home, keep in mind that the amount of space between the ceiling and the floor above it makes a difference. Unfortunately, a lot of apartments and condos reduce this space to reduce building costs, which ends up increasing floor noise.
- Make an effort. Remember there are things you can do day-to-day to help reduce noise. Walk lightly. Think about the shoes you’re wearing (e.g. high heels vs. sneakers) or remove them when you’re indoors. Talk to those below you to find out what they actually hear. There may not be anything else you can do to limit floor noise, but even letting them know you’re aware and concerned can make a difference.
6 Ways to Reduce Noise with Your Walls
- Add more drywall. A second layer is an affordable way to reduce noise throughout your entire home or even just one room of your home (such as a music room). You can also separate the drywall layers with 3/8-inch-thick beads of acoustical caulk to create even more of a sound barrier.
- Hang absorbing materials. Mass-Loaded Vinyl, for example, is made to help deaden the sound. In addition to hanging it on your walls, you could even lay it on your floor to reduce noise for those below you. Another common option, acoustic panels made from porous expanded polypropylene, can improve the sound inside the room as well as keep it from escaping to neighbors next door. As an added bonus, some manufacturers even make custom panels from a digital photo, creating a unique design element to your space.
- Plug the leaks. Sound waves can seep into tiny crevices; HouseLogic recommends plugging holes or gaps commonly found around:
- Ceiling fixtures
- Switch boxes
- Receptacle boxes
- Door casing
- Decorate with soft items. Adding rugs, drapes and even potted plants can help reduce noise in your home.
- Follow STC ratings. As you consider a soundproofing product, check its Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating. As HouseLogic explains, "STC is a measure of how many decibels of sound reduction a product provides. The higher the STC rating, the better. An improvement of 10 STC makes the noise seem like it’s been cut in half. On the other hand, a rating difference of 3 STC or less is nearly imperceptible — worth knowing when comparing products."
- Add insulation. If you're building or remodeling, invest in batt or blanket insulation in between your walls' studs and joists to reduce noise from room to room. HomeTips.com shares some fantastic advice on which types to consider and their STC ratings.
2 Ways to Reduce Noise with Your Ceiling
- Install acoustic tiles. While not everyone likes this look in their bedroom or kitchen, these fiberglass panels can be a natural fit in a home office, or even a music room.
- Add drywall. While you may not think of this as a way to minimize ceiling sound, there are a few ways you can do this easily. By attaching isolation clips, you can install a channel that will support another drywall layer. This second layer is thought to reduce noise by 50 percent.
2 Ways to Reduce Noise with Your Windows
- Install soundproof windows. These windows reduce noise due to their thicker glass, increased space between the two panes and a glass-plastic-glass 'sandwich' that minimizes the sound even more.
- Patch holes. Close the gaps around your window frames and seals.
Want more suggestions to improve your home’s comfort? Come visit our showroom and talk to our experts about ways to personalize your flooring to fit your family’s personality and lifestyle! Remember to contact us for a free in-home consultation, too.