26. March 2013 07:04
Not too long ago we discussed controlling unwanted noise in the home. Your feedback confirmed this is a hot topic so we'll look deeper at reducing noise from within the home, starting with sounds that originate within an area.
Ever walk into an empty house for sale? Sounds echo as sound waves bounce back and forth against hard surfaces (flooring, walls, windows, ceilings). Materials such as rugs, carpet and carpet pad, upholstered, padded furniture and soft, lined window coverings help absorb sound.
Noise also echoes in tall ceilings. Design Basics lead designer Carl Cuozzo notes that even in big custom homes he's designing today, buyers are opting for 11-foot high ceilings rather than 2-story high spaces. According to Cuozzo, "You still get the drama and taller doors and windows without so much echo and energy loss."
Soft close hinges for cabinet doors and drawers virtually eliminates the sound of these closing. Similarly, soft-close toilet seats eliminate that "bang". Having a dishwasher in a kitchen island introduces more noise than if the dishwasher backs up to a wall. And of course quieter dishwashers, refrigerators, laundry pairs, exhaust fans, food waste disposers, and furnaces will reduce noise at its source.
Another source of unwanted noise in homes comes from sound traveling into one area from other areas. Solid core doors block significantly more sound than hollow core doors. For walls themselves, Quiet Rock® and SoundBreak® are special drywall products which absorb considerably more sound than standard drywall.
QuietZone® Acoustic Sealant
George Auen at Fougner Engineered Sales suggests, "If you want the best sound isolation, use the acoustic drywall over sound isolation clips. The resulting sound transmission is so good you could swear you were deaf! Auen also recommends using an acoustic caulk (like Owens Corning® Acoustic Sealant) around the perimeter of the walls, lid, and any gaps need to be addressed (like electrical boxes, pipes, etc.). Thanks, George!
From the perspective of a home's layout, having a separate entertaining place for the kids when entertaining other adults is golden. That way their Xbox games or even loud conversations don't have to disrupt the adults.
Finally, you can enjoy a more serene environment by minimizing sounds transmitted through the structure of the home by vibration. Certain sound waves cause vibration which is amplified as it passes through walls. When possible, locating items which create noise and vibration (i.e., big screen TV, clothes washer, dish washer) to exterior walls rather than adjoining interior walls will help.
Here again, product choices can go a long way in minimizing noise and vibration. An excellent example is your choice of garage door opener, especially if there is a room over the garage! Then there's Acoustiblok®, an 1/8"-thick, flexible sound proofing mat that can be glued, stapled, nailed or screwed to floors and walls. According to the manufacturer, Acoustiblok® actually transforms sound and vibration into inaudible friction energy. So if your son's is a drummer...
National Gypsum - Gold Bond® SoundBreak® XP® 5/8" Gypsum Board
Owens Corning - QuietZone® Acoustic Sealant
Acoustiblok® - Residential Soundproofing