Rooms in houses and other properties may need soundproofing for a range of different reasons, whether to stop the noise leaving a room or to block it from coming in, as sound can affect people in various different ways. However, when it is unwanted, it can be distracting and disruptive to people’s everyday lives, such is the importance of tranquillity on living and work spaces.
It is totally natural to want some peace and quiet in certain settings, particularly when at home or at your place of work, which may also be the same thing for many people. Soundproofing a room can help provide the peace and quiet you need that, whether to cut off any distractions whilst working, keep your private conversations private, or to help you relax away from busy streets nearby.
There are a few different components to a room to consider which can be utilised in the soundproofing process, including fundamental and ever-present structures like the floor, the walls and the ceiling and factors like double glazing will play a role in soundproofing a property.
In order to soundproof a room properly, it is important to firstly understand what the soundproofing process involves and how it works in practice to provide you with a peaceful, noise cancelling, private space.
How Does Sound Transmission Work?
Sound is a form of energy that stimulates the sensation of hearing. It moves as vibrations that are processed by our auditory systems to produce the sounds that we hear. Sound can be altered by a host of different influencing factors, which will need to be considered when looking at soundproofing, including:
- The direction of the wind
- The mediums it travels through
Certain sounds can be more distracting and unpleasant than others and can even have an impact on the quality of your day, being a distraction whilst you work or keeping you up at night.
Thankfully, the impacts of noise pollution can be drastically reduced through soundproofing and there are many things you can do to aid the soundproofing of the room in question. Before deciding on the best soundproofing options for your space, it is important to understand how the process works and thus, which options would be most effective for your situation.
For those building a block of flats, terraced or semi-detached houses, you may have to have a sound insulation test carried out. This is a requirement enforced by the Building Regulations Approved Document E, and helps to prevent noise pollution issues within these properties.
Types of Sound
There are two distinct types of sound to consider before being able to determine the specific nature of the soundproofing to follow. It is these two types of sound which also determine the sound tests a property may need:
Airborne Sound – This is the sound which travels through the air, which will include sound from things like televisions, radios and normal conversations between people.
Impact Sound – This will generally apply to sound which will travel through walls, ceilings, floors and structures. This is also what will typically be experienced by people living is blocks of flats for example, with neighbours dropping things and transmitting sound through the structure of the building. Bear in mind that when sound testing is carried out by any building acoustic testing expert, they will consider the sound for habitable rooms, rather than the likes of the bathroom or similar.
How Does Soundproofing Work?
Soundproofing works by helping to reduce the amount of noise going into a room or space. There are three key ways in which the soundproofing process achieves this, as follows:
- Reflecting the sound by adding a heavy weight
- Separating two structures to stop sound travelling through to the second structure
- Absorbing the sound with effective materials, thereby preventing it from travelling through the structure
It is important to understand that although soundproofing can significantly reduce the level of noise from entering a room, these noise issues may not be blocked out completely. However, soundproofing can still reduce, and even stop its disruptive effects whilst in the room, thereby proving to be an effective method to consider when suffering from noise pollution.
Things to Consider When Soundproofing a Room
Before starting the soundproofing process, you should consider the precise nature of what you need the soundproofing for, as this will help any soundproofing professionals to find the most effective solution to your noise pollution problems. When considering how to soundproof a room, it can be useful to note the following:
- The type of noise: listen to the noises you can hear, is it a door slamming, footsteps, conversations, or a mixture of these?
- The level of noise: are these noises at a background level, muffled or clear – e.g. can you hear the words in a conversation?
- Issues with noise: which noises are causing the most issue? For example, are the sounds of footsteps more problematic than other types of noises you can hear such as muffled conversations?
- Surface vibrations: feel the surfaces of the room, can you feel vibrations coming through them?
- Sounds affect people in different ways, and what you find disruptive could very well differ to what disrupts others. By taking note of that listed above, you can help to tailor exactly how your room is soundproofed, making it most effective for you and your needs
There are a variety of different ways in which you can soundproof a room, the right options for you depending on the types of noises you find most disruptive. It is best to speak to a soundproofing specialist to explore these options properly.