10 Ways To Soundproof Your Home / Condo

By: John T. Ormond

Protect Yourself Against Neighbor Noise

Whether it's because of their weeknight parties or just their love of blasting Marilyn Manson from the speakers after midnight, your neighbors can invade your privacy and disrupt your life without ever setting foot on your property.

Luckily, you can drastically curb the effects of these sonic assaults, or even eliminate them entirely.

I've compiled the ten most effective tactics you can use to shield your home from noise intrusion. The first set comprises ways you can design a noise-proof home or condo before it's built. The second set of strategies can be used in an existing home or condo.

Pre-Construction Noiseproofing

1) Use 2 x 6 plates for your interior walls, making them thicker. Attach the wall studs so that they're lined up alternately between the front and back edges of the top and bottom plates-this will reduce the amount of sound that passes through your walls.

2) Buy soundproof wall sheeting from a construction-supply store (most drywall contractors can provide it, as well) and hang the sheeting over your framing before you put up the drywall.

3) Insert fiberglass batt insulation into hollow interior walls before closing them up with drywall-the insulation will muffle sound. If you are going to do the insulating yourself, remember to wear gloves, long sleeves, and safety glasses.

4) Make sure that doorways opening off the same hallway aren't directly across from each other. This will stop sound from traveling directly from room to room.

5) Buy and install double- or triple-paned vinyl windows. This is a worthwhile investment because not only will the windows protect you from noise, but they'll also provide you with superior insulation against heat and cold.

Existing-Construction Noiseproofing

1) The most basic steps you can take are to carpet your floors and put up drapes or shutters on your windows to absorb outside noise. You can also replace your standard hollow-core interior doors with solid doors to keep sound out of individual rooms. And it's been shown that soft, padded furniture absorbs sound, making rooms quieter.

2) Add insulation. The best and easiest way to do this is to make a series of holes in the wall between the studs (put them near the ceiling if you can). Then, blow cellulose insulation into the wall through the holes-you can rent a machine to do this yourself if you're ambitious, but you should probably consider having a contractor do it. Once the insulation is in, patch the holes in the drywall and refinish the wall.

A much messier approach you could take is to remove one side of the wall, pack in fiberglass insulation, and close the wall up again.

3) Construct a second wall inside the existing wall. Use "sound isolation clips" to both separate the two walls (make sure they don't touch) and provide a way to fasten drywall. The air space between the walls will prevent sound from passing through.

4) Purchase and apply sound-absorbing latex paints. These special paints are made with resins and fibers that absorb sound waves, and are just as easy to use as normal paint.

5) Add sound deadening-wall coverings to your walls. These are available pre¬finished or unfinished from home-supply stores and paint and wallpaper suppliers. You can also put cork tiles on your walls, although this look doesn't appeal to everyone.

Put these simple tips to use and enjoy the sound of silence!

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