"Noise-Proof" Your Home
Whether it is aircraft overhead, traffic on the street, a
neighbour practicing the saxophone or your own kids at
play, our homes are often not as quiet and peaceful as we
would like them to be. That's why taking some measures to
soundproof your home has a lot of pay-offs. Not only will
you reduce noise and add value to your property, but you
will be helping to reduce the stress that excessive noise
Start by determining which areas of your home are most in
need of soundproofing. Noise can be annoying when it comes
into the house through windows, the basement and the
attic. Noise from inside your home can also be annoying to
your neighbours, as well as to others in your home.
First a bit of advice. If you are trying to prevent noise
from entering your house or keep it from escaping from
your house, and it turns out to be anything but a simple
problem, you would be wise to seek the help of a sound
Use the handy check list to determine what your problem
Windows are the most common way for noise to get in or
out. Single glass panes and wood window frames are the
least resistant to noise. Double pane glass can reduce
noise by about 20 percent, while vinyl frames can reduce
it by as much as 50 percent.
If replacing the window with a double pane glass or vinyl
frames is too expensive an option, consider using a
"removable" plug to block the sound coming through the
window. A plug will also block light but will make little
difference if it is your bedroom window and the noise is
keeping you awake at night.
And let's not forget the added benefit that the extra
insulation of a plug will keep you warmer in winter and
cooler in summer.
A plug can easily be made by measuring the window frame
and seeing how much depth there is to the window sill.
This will determine the size and thickness of the
soundproofing material you can use. Check home building
stores for soundproofing materials available.
Usually, one thickness of a two-inch mat will do. While a
soundproofing mat is relatively stiff, you may need to
attach it to a lightweight wood or fiber board using
contact cement. A plug should fit a window very tightly
without any cracks. For easy handling, attach some handles
Many attics, especially in older homes, lack insulation.
Adding insulation not only helps cut down on your heating
bills but can help soundproof your home. Materials used to
insulate your home also help to reduce noise.
Extra layers of asphalt roofing can also increase your
home's noise tolerance, especially to aircraft. If you
live near an airport, try stapling some extra asphalt
sheeting on the roof rafters inside the attic. This is a
cheap and effective way to reduce noise.
In well-built homes you will notice that doors in a
hallway don't line up across from one another. This is to
prevent sound from travelling across and through the open
doors. Staggering entrances is one way of minimizing
noise. Another, of course, is keeping doors closed.
At least 25 percent of a room should have some absorbent
material, like carpeting or furniture, to reduce
reverberation from footsteps.
Rooms located right over living areas should have some
form of carpeting for soundproofing. Special carpet
padding and floorings are available for use in
soundproofing, but these tend to be more expensive. Often,
a thick rubber padding and carpet are all you need.
One way of soundproofing walls is to add another layer of
drywall. Double drywall on walls facing a noisy street can
substantially reduce noise in many homes.
Never soundproof a garage when you can soundproof a
basement. The cement foundation of a home absorbs noise.
However, you will still need to soundproof the basement