When it comes to soundproofing, every property is different. Soundproofing requirements can be a response to irritating external noises from the neighbourhood, or it can be required to deal with internal noise from people, pets, machinery or other household gadgets.
Soundproofing technology can be applied to almost all areas of the house, including doors, walls, ceilings and loft space.
So, whether you have noisy neighbours, live near a busy road or airport, or want to keep noise inside your home, this guide is here to help.
Sources of household noise
Unless you live in a particularly quiet neighbourhood, unwelcome noise is simply a fact of life. There are two main types of noise that homeowners may find themselves dealing with:
- Traffic noise
- Other transport noise (trains, aeroplanes, tram)
- Local businesses
- Local noisy pets
- Anti-social locals
- Noisy neighbours
- Your own vocal pets
- Televisions and music systems
- Noisy kids or teenagers
How can rooms make noise a problem
There are three basic areas in which a room can struggle to deal with noise. These are the areas you will need to look at when soundproofing your home.
- Noise Source: This, put simply, is the thing making the noise. This could be your dog, your TV, your teenager who loves vocal Zoom chats. It could also be something outside, like traffic or business noise.
- Entry Point: How does this noise get into your room? This could be an exact point, such as a gap, or it could be an entire wall separating you from a main road. Windows and certain types of doors are also common points of entry.
- Reflection Point: Sound travels; when it hits something, it bounces back in the direction it came from. This can lead to sounds being amplified without noise dampening items obstructing its path.
The trick to soundproofing your home is to tackle the noise at all three of these points!
How to soundproof a room
If you are dealing with mild to medium noise levels and simply want to quieten your home slightly, you should not need any heavy duty soundproofing. Some effective soundproofing can be achieved by simply choosing the right doors and windows.
Noise reducing solid doors
While the majority of doors are not designed with specific soundproofing technology, there are choices you can make to ensure your standard internal and external doors help reduce noise.
All doors play an integral role in noise reduction; however, some are more effective than others.
Doors often present a weak point in a wall with regards to noise transmission. Solid timber doors are a practical way to reduce both noise and heat loss thanks to the weight and density of the material.
One of the simplest ways to reduce noise is to replace any hollow core doors with solid doors. You may be surprised at how big a difference this simple change can make to overall soundproofing in your home.
How to soundproof a door
A sturdy, solid and well fitted door with minimal gaps will already offer a decent amount of soundproofing. If you require further soundproofing, there are additional options available.
Escutcheons (Keyhole covers)
They say every little helps, and a well chosen escutcheon, or keyhole cover, can also help reduce the amount of noise that makes it past your external doors. Keyhole covers help with noise reduction by covering the otherwise open, albeit small, keyhole.
Installing keyhole covers is a simple DIY job that will help reduce draughts and external noises, such as traffic.
Weather strips for doors
Weather strips aren’t just for protection against the elements; they also help reduce the amount of external noise to enter your home. Weather stripping is a very cost-effective way to reduce noise, as well as the impact of the elements, with easy installation.
By reducing the size of any gaps between your doors and their frames, you will not only reduce noise, but also heat loss, which is good news for energy bills.
Fill and fix gaps with acoustic sealant
If you live in a particularly noisy area, such as a city centre or within earshot of a noise center (like a music venue, sports stadium or night club), acoustic sealant can also make a big difference to the amount of noise you must live with.
Acoustic sealants are strong and permanently flexible sealant and adhesive that are designed to seal gaps where sound may travel through. Ensuring any gaps leading from your home to noisy areas (indoor or outdoor) are sealed correctly will go a long way towards soundproofing your home.
Easy DIY Soundproofing
Beyond your doors, there are other tricks you can use, involving everyday items that most residents will already all have access to, or are widely available in hardware or home stores.
Experiment with your furniture layout
This one you may not have considered before. Did you know that the layout and positioning of your household furniture can actually make a big difference with how sound travels throughout your rooms?
Upholstered furniture, such as sofas and chairs, is very effective at dampening sound. But how do you position it for optimal noise reduction?
Simply position your furniture, where possible, as close as you can to the source of sound penetration in your room. This could be an external wall with a busy road on the other side, or an internal wall separating your quiet room from a noisier room.
Furniture for sound dampening works the other way too; by placing more furniture in rooms that produce more noise (TV rooms, kids’ bedrooms, etc), you can dampen the noise before it even reaches other rooms.
Empty rooms can produce an echo, which amplifies noise; rooms with lots of well placed furniture are much better at reducing noise.
Fabric and upholstery for sound dampening
The effectiveness of fabric and upholstery for sound dampening extends well beyond furniture. If you have rooms that produce harsh or annoying sounds that you wish to keep under control, or if external sounds are an annoyance, consider replacing hard surfaces with fabric or upholstered alternatives.
If you have bare walls and hard floors, sound will bounce around and propagate more, making them louder and harsher. By choosing a good quality carpet instead, you can help dampen and soften these sounds. If you would prefer to keep your hard floor, a smart compromise is to purchase a decent sized rug for a similar effect.
The same principle applies for your windows. Consider high quality, thick fabric curtains instead of wood or plastic blinds for additional soundproofing.
Heavy duty noise reduction
What if your soundproofing needs are more serious? Perhaps you are a musician who wants to play the drums without disturbing your neighbours or family members, or maybe you live quite close to a noisy building site, airport or nightclub.
To successfully tackle this noise, you may need to invest in a more substantial soundproofing set-up.
While unlikely to be part of your decorative plans, rooms requiring significant sound-proofing, such as music rooms or those containing noisy household appliances may benefit from acoustic foam installation.
Often called studio foam, the material features a distinctive pyramid shape and is highly effective at absorbing sound. This foam is commonly sold as panels, which can be fixed to walls or hung from ceilings.
This insulation is made of mineral wool, fiberglass and rock wool, and is designed to be installed between the studs of your walls. This comes in batts, which fit snugly between studs to take up airspace that can transmit sound.
Certain household items, such as curtains, can be made of thicker and heavier fabrics. These are commonly used in live performance venues and cinemas, but can also be adapted for the home where extra noise reduction is needed.
Acoustic underlay is popular in high rise residential buildings where noise can enter your home from above and below, as well as from outside.
Hard floors are exceptionally popular due to their low maintenance and aesthetic look; however, they are not known for their soundproofing benefits. Untreated hard floors do not perform as well as carpets acoustically.
There are a large number of soundproofing underlay options available to choose from, including acoustic underlayment, sound absorbing floor insulation, acoustic floor tiles and sound deadening vinyl.
Thank you for reading!
Noise can range from mildly annoying to stressful and anxiety inducing; it may also be a fact of live for many people with large families, or those living in busy urban areas.
We do hope this guide has been helpful in presenting both minor and major soundproofing techniques that can be applied to just about any home.
If you require any advice on doors specifically, you are welcome to contact Doordeals for expert advice on all things doors.