The Simplified Science Of Soundproofing Your Home
Excess noise – like a motorcycle blaring down your block at the wee hours of the morning or the rattle of neighbors who always seem to be on the move – can easily get on your nerves. In the never-ending battle against incessant noise, there’s a few fairly simple steps you can take as a homeowner to combat the annoying clatter.
- More Wall Mass – Walls that face the street, or noisy neighbors, can be soundproofed a bit by adding some additional drywall or by planting a line of trees, hedges, or even a fence. But since these last suggestions lack mass, they won’t block out all that much noise . . . a little but not a lot.
- Top Quality Storm Windows – Storm windows with good weather stripping, sturdy frames and thick glass will be the best at blocking excess noise. Also, the wider the airspace is between your primary and storm windows (3 to 4 inches is the ideal room), the better the sound blockage will be.
- Sealing Cracks – Noise can find its way inside your home through even the tiniest opening. Use flexible polyurethane or latex caulk to seal up cracks and holes around windows, doors and siding. Pack putty or squirt expanding foam around pipes and wires where they enter the house. You can even go a bit more extreme by getting rid of your front-door mail slot and opting instead for an old-fashioned mailbox.
- Insulation - By carefully installing fiberglass batt or blown-in insulation throughout your walls and in the attic will greatly reduce outside noise levels from leaking inside.
- Central Air Conditioning – This one’s quite a bit more costly than just sealing up wall cracks, but if you can afford to take out those window unit AC’s and install a centralized system, you’ll obviously reduce noise that way.
- Chimney Capping – These protective coverings for chimneys are usually made of stainless steel, or copper, and are very good at blocking out noise. Plus, you may want to replace any open turbine roof vents with some more heavily constructed, low-profile baffled vents to eliminate noise as well.
Since noise travels primarily through the air, the surest way to block it is to put something in its path. To be most effective at blocking sound, the chosen materials need to be gapless, it should have a good deal of mass, and it needs to isolate sounds so sound vibrations don’t directly pass from one object or place to another one. These steps above should get you going in a good – and hopefully more sound proofing – direction.