Soundproofing Methods for Walls and Ceilings
What’s That Sound?
By Rob Robillard
When I think of soundproofing my mind immediately wanders to the Buffalo Springfield lyrics: “Stop children, what’s that sound, everybody look what’s goin’ down.” You can’t escape noise. It’s everywhere, both inside and outside the home, distracting you from work and disturbing your leisure.
While we can’t escape noise we can certainly muffle or reduce it. On a recent project a client asked us to install a ceiling and wall system using Kinetics Wood-Frame Ceiling Hanger (Model ICW), IsoMax Sound Isolation Clips, and resilient channel beneath the drywall.
This project intrigued me, so I reached out to a local sound proofing expert for some advice and background information. Here is what I learned.
The first step in soundproofing ceilings, interior walls and floors is identifying what your sound issues are and where they are coming from. Is noise bouncing around the room making it hard to hold a conversation? Is there an echo? Do downstairs neighbors complain about the noise you make?
Controlling noise can be an active or passive means of reducing sound emissions, most people want to achieve this for personal enjoyment, whether it’s to reduce internal noise from a home theater, child’s TV room, a band rehearsal space or to reduce external environmental noise such as adjacent neighbors, traffic, train or airplane noises.
The first step in noise control is to identify the source of the noise. The best course is to reduce the noise as close to the source as possible. This is why many apartment or condominium complexes build fences around their units. Ever wonder why businesses put AC units up on roofs?
When dealing with loud air conditioning compressors, fans or other HVAC mechanical equipment, enclosing them often significantly reduces noise.
When thinking about reducing noise inside a home you need to reduce reverberation. Reverberation is the echo that sound creates as it bounces off surfaces in a room rather than being absorbed.
I’m not advocating bringing back the shag carpet, but it did help absorbs sound.
You can reduce reverberation by installing the following:
• Double- or triple-pane windows designed for noise reduction
• Acoustical wall and ceiling board
• Additional insulation
• Commercially available coverings designed for noise control
• Double-wall framing
• Double layers of 5/8-in. drywall, seams sealed with silicone
• Commercially available vibration isolation systems, rubber sheets, panels and baffles
Four Basic Principles of Noise Control
If you want some peace and quiet in this noisy world, the best approach (besides moving to the country) is to understand four basic soundproofing principles: