Soundproof: What I need to know?
What does it mean to “soundproof” a room?
To soundproof a room means to insulate it from noise, or in layman’s terms, to prevent noise from entering or escaping a room. Soundproofing is used in professional recording studios to make sure a recording of music, dialog, or sound effects does not include any extraneous noise from other parts of the building or street noise, and to make sure the neighboring tenants are not disturbed. It has also become common for people to soundproof their apartments and homes, due to street noise, loud neighbors, shared walls and ceilings, or noisy teenagers.
What do I need to soundproof a room in my home?
This is a tough question. There are many sites that will tell you differently, but the key to remember is that it all depends on your unique situation. For example, if you want to soundproof a room on the top floor of your house so noise does not escape, you will likely need to treat the walls and the floors, but not the ceiling. However, if you want to soundproof that same room so noise does not enter, you will have to treat the walls, floors, and the ceilings. See? It all depends on what you need and what room you want to soundproof. Don’t be fooled by anyone who tells you differently. There is no magic formula that works for everyone and every structure. You have to assess your individual needs and move forward accordingly.
Okay, I get that soundproofing is complicated. Can you tell me about the basic materials I might need to soundproof an existing room?
Sure. Again, the materials you need will vary slightly depending on what you are trying to accomplish and the existing acoustics of the room. However, in most cases you will use sound-engineered drywall or SED to soundproof the walls and ceilings of your room. SED is like regular drywall that has been treated with a proprietary soundproofing material and can be applied over existing drywall. To soundproof floors, mass-loaded vinyl is frequently applied as an extra layer between the existing floor and the final top layer. Finally, a drywall adhesive is normally used to connect layers of drywall and may have the ability to reduce impact noise.
There are likely materials you will need beyond the ones mentioned above. Keep this in mind when planning your project and take your time to get it right. The result will be worth it.