Unless you’re extremely lucky and live in a house with loads of land around it, or perhaps a very old place with incredibly thick walls, you’ll have come up against the bane of modern living – noise pollution.
Whether it’s noisy neighbours, loud TVs, busy roads or general people noise, it’s almost impossible to not have to deal with some kind of noise when all you want is to get home, relax and enjoy some peace and quiet in your own home.
Most people just put up with it, assuming it would either cost a fortune to soundproof their home, or assume that it can’t really be done. Well, they’d be wrong on both counts. We’re here to talk about how you can take the DIY approach to soundproofing your home and enjoy blissful silence when you want it.
How sound travels
It’s always good to have a bit of science. Sound is made up of low frequency waves, similar to radio waves. They keep travelling until they meet a form of resistance – a wall or some furniture for instance.
There are two things you can do: Noise reduction (by blocking the passage of sound waves by putting objects into the sound path) or noise absorption, by transforming the soundwave itself, which is what happens when it comes into contact with certain materials.
Doing it yourself
It’s totally possible to effectively soundproof your house all by yourself. You just need to get the right kind of products.
There are soundproofing companies who sell materials you’d need and you only need pretty rudimentary skills.
Firstly you need to decide whether you want to keep noise from escaping the room – perfect if you like to have loud parties or play the drums at midnights every night, or whether you want to stop noise from entering the room and would like to make your home a haven of peace and tranquility.
A product like the polyurethane foam sound insulation liner from Wallrock works well when you want to keep noise from escaping. It comes pre-laminated with Wallrock Skim Liner (basically a very thin wall covering) and is ready for painting, so it’s dead simple to use on walls and ceilings. It is important to remember that sound doesn’t, of course, just travel through walls. Noise will also travel through your ceilings and floors and if these aren’t insulated as well then they can act as an amplifier.
As mentioned above, you can either paint directly onto it or use a paste-the-wall wall covering and paint on top of that. Bear in mind that conventional wallpapers like normal lining paper or printed papers are likely to expand and contract as room temperatures and humidity change which can lead to lifting on the product surface over time.
Problem areas for sound entering your house
Obviously windows are pretty big culprits and single paned windows are the worst. Upgrading to double glazing can reduce your noise levels by around 20%, and if you choose double glazed with acrylic frames, this can reduce noise levels by up to 50%.
If you don’t want to do that then you can invest in heavy curtains – it is possible to get very heavy sound-deadening curtains, that would work out cheaper than upgrading all your windows, so that could be something worth thinking about.
Stopping sound entering the room
You want to look for something like Latex Sound Insulation Liner. It’s the perfect kind of DIY product and works well on walls and ceilings. It gives really good protection against lower frequency sounds such as the human voice. Made of technically advanced micro cell latex foam, it’s also easy to paint straight on to.
It’s a paste-the-wall kind of product and will also cover damaged and rough surfaces pretty well. If you’re using it on a ceiling, you’ll need to apply two layers of adhesive.
You can find the DIY soundproofing liners at CoverYourWall along with further product information and the recommended paste for application.
Some quick fix extra tips
- Attack noise at the source – use rubber or cork under the legs of heavy appliances.
- Always have stereo speakers on stands or off the floor to prevent turning your room into an amplifier.
- Hang carpeting or bedding or push mattresses against walls – if you’re really stuck and you really want to keep the noise in!
- Try and have at least 25% absorbent materials in every room – things like curtains, carpets, furniture, drapes – these help to dampen sound a lot.