Noise is a popular complaint among neighborhoods, and you don’t want cops coming to your door just because of an overzealous neighbor. Of course, you can still crank the volume as long as it stays inside your house.
Closed Doors and Windows
Noise can get in and out of your house the same way you do, and an open door or window can leave your house open to more than just scrutiny. Without a decent barrier to cross, sound travels to your neighbors quite easily, possibly with embarrassing results. Check if your doors and windows are closed before starting an action-packed movie, blasting metal (or pop), or performing boisterous activities. All other measures you make will be void if you leave a door or window open.
The simplest and least expensive way to soundproof your home is drapes. Heavy drapes on your windows can significantly muffle sound coming out. They’re great for hosting late-night parties or a rowdy mahjong game with friends. You can also opt for specially-designed soundproof curtains. These curtains are heavier and thicker, sometimes lined with 3 or more materials to absorb sound better. Curtains require minimal effort to put up or take down. You can even line a whole room with curtains for impromptu band practice or a night of beer and karaoke. Soundproofing drapes can have noise reduction coefficient (NRC) ratings of around .70 (with 1 being the highest).
Indoor moss installations are becoming quite popular for many reasons like air quality, stress relief, improved brain activity, etc. However, green walls are also one of the most efficient soundproofing options you can find. Reindeer moss walls can achieve NRC ratings of .90 and above – comparable to the most efficient custom soundproofing options. Of course, you can’t line your entire house with moss, but it works well with other soundproofing options while making your house look and feel more unique and fresh.
Wooden slatwall panels over acoustic felt is another quick and fast option for soundproofing. Slatwall can blend with the design of a room, giving it a more elegant and intimate feel. Sound is broken down and absorbed by the gaps in the wooden slats, and the acoustic felt underneath. Slatwall panels come with NRC ratings of .50 to .70. They are good enough to prevent echoes and improve acoustic quality, but they can be lacking if you want to turn your speakers up to full volume. Slatwall is best used for kid’s rooms and the walls separating you from your nosy neighbors.
If one surface isn’t enough, try two. Double layers of drywall or plywood have been the traditional option for soundproofing before the advent of acoustic foam. While a layer of air between the two walls can be enough to dampen most sounds, filling the gap with green glue increases their sound-canceling properties. Green glue works by converting sound vibrations into heat, trapping most of it within the walls. Unfortunately, layering (even with glue) does little to prevent sounds from bouncing, so there might be slight echoes that can ruin delicate acoustics. Of course, if you’re trying to keep the noise down (like in a workshop), layering is an effective and inexpensive option.
Acoustic Foam Panels
When it comes to soundproofing, acoustic foam panels are the optimal choice. These panels can achieve NRC ratings of 1, which absorbs sounds and prevents echoes by 100 percent. Professionals – whether in the music industry, podcasting, or video streaming – opt for acoustic foam panels for the best results. Foam panels are usually reserved for specific rooms that require higher degrees of soundproofing and acoustic control, like home theaters, music rooms, and studios. Installing acoustic panels can take 2-3 days and should be an easy DIY project.
Lining your walls with soundproofing options won’t matter if sound escapes through your ceiling. Acoustic tiles on your ceiling can ensure your house is sealed tight and that your business stays private. Acoustic ceiling tiles can vary in design and performance, with the most efficient tiles garnering NRC ratings of .85. Ceiling tiles can blend into any office or home design and is fairly affordable.
There are several ways you can keep things down and avoid embarrassing and intrusive noise complaints. Make sure what goes on in your house stays in your house – and not to the ears of your nosy neighbors.