Be Quiet!!!

I am often asked by current or past clients how we can make an area of their home quieter.  Perhaps they require a media room below a bedroom or they simply wish to reduce sound between rooms.  There are various ways this can be achieved  without a lot of technical expertise.  Firstly it is important to understand how sound travels.  Sound travels through solid objects better than through less dense materials.  Also, if there is no way for the sound to pass through one solid object and into another, sound can be attenuated through separation. 

One inexpensive way to attenuate sound in a wall that is to be built is to offset the studs so that there is no direct path for sound to travel through the wall.  If the wall is already constructed then the drywall can be separated from the wood framework by using acoustical bars (these is sometimes referred to as soundbar or resilient channel)  It is fairly inexpensive and is simply screwed in place perpendicular to the studs or floor system on 2′ centers.  The channel can be purchased from drywall retailers.  Then the Drywall is applied by screwing into the channel only, thereby reducing the surface contact area significantly.

Another way to achieve separation is to sheet the wall with a low density product like buffalo board before the drywall is applied.

An added measure that is essential to any acoustic wall , floor or ceiling is the addition of sound deadening insulation.  I prefer to use Roxul brand for its superior acoustic properties and it has an added benefit of being extremely fire resistant.

Lastly, you may want to consider the environment after all the work is done.  Carpet, drapes and cloth-covered furniture will absorb sound waves and increase the effectiveness of your efforts.  You may also wish to construct sound attenuating panels that can be simply hung on the walls.  They are typically manufactured from sheets on buffalo board, and wrapped with a loose thick fabric.  I have seen people get very creative by making these decorative elements in the living space by carefully choosing shape, colour and placement to suit the room.  they can also be installed as backings of open shelving units or paneled wainscoting around the perimeter of the room.

So now you can plug-in the iPod, crank  up the amplifier, and rock out to your favorite tunes!


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