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Thanks to the advancement of technology and the thirst for solutions, the world has become noisier and busier. After a long day’s work, all you want is a peaceful rest in your home. Unfortunately, this is not the case with most families.
Noise pollution is a significant problem in most homes. Materials used in building most houses attribute to our rooms being noisy. They allow sound to pass through. There is no way you will concentrate, sleep peacefully, or enjoy your rest with the dogs barking, children yelling and crying, cars honking, ambient noises, and other sounds in your room.
Fortunately, there is a solution – soundproof your room. As a homeowner, you need to know how to dampen noise in your house. Suppose you have no clue, no need to worry. In this article, you will grasp how to soundproof your room.
Because soundproofing a room can come with a budget, this article will teach you how to dampen noise in your house cheaply. As you will learn in this guide, there are many ways of soundproofing a room. If you have no budget for the noise-reducing procedures and the sounds are getting on your nerves, you will need to continue reading this article.
For optimal results, you need first to understand how sound works. Here is the insight;
How Does Sound Operate?
When an object vibrates, it produces some energy that creates waves in the surrounding air, also known as sound. Our eardrums detect these waves and register them in our brains as different sound types. Treble frequencies come with short wavelengths, while bass frequencies consist of long wavelengths.
Different materials affect the sound in different ways. It is the reason some noises are more challenging to block than others. For example, sound from a loud subwoofer in the next room is hard to prevent than conversations in the same room.
Surface uniformity also affects the sound. Hard flat surfaces make a sound bounce around, creating a long echo in parallel walls. If the wall is soft and less uniform, the sound may find it difficult to bounce off.
Now that you are aware of sound and how it comes about, you need to differentiate it from noise. Can you define noise? Here is the answer;
Noise is the unwanted sound. Most people don’t differentiate noise from other sounds. To others, any sound is noise. What might be noise to you might be just sound to others. It depends on the person, time, and where the sound comes from.
For example, if your teenage son is listening to music in his room and you get to hear it from your space, you may consider it noise. It is because you don’t need it at that time. When you want to listen to music, it ceases to be noise. To your teenage son, the music is a fantastic noise. When you watch the news on your television, he may consider it noise. That’s the idea.
Noise in a room can be of different levels. It depends on the following factors;
Factors Affecting Noise Level in a Room
i. Sound Source
Various sources attribute to sound in a room. It could be from specific points like televisions music systems, televisions, electrical appliances, traffic, instruments, or fans. Before soundproofing your room, you need to locate where the sound comes from first. That way, you will be in a position to silence or dampen it effectively.
ii. Point of Entry
It is where the sound passes into or out of your room. Mostly, you will find a good entry point near the sound source. For example, when your room’s wall is adjacent to a street, it will allow the noise from outside to come into your room. Also, shared walls such as in duplexes, apartments, and condos allow sound from the neighbor to pass through. Sound can again enter a space through windows, doors, and other openings.
iii. Point of Reflection
Sound reflects after entering a space. The reflection takes place on that same entry angle. It is the reason you can’t soundproof your room without a plan. You need to use some techniques. Otherwise, you will fail miserably.
With the above information that determines the amount of noise you experience in your home, you can go ahead and start soundproofing it. Unfortunately, there is a misconception about soundproofing. Before we continue, let’s clear out the misunderstanding.
What Does Soundproofing Mean?
Most people misunderstand what soundproofing means. They think it’s absorbing the sound but are wrong.
Soundproofing is blocking the sound. Sound absorption entails reducing the noise amount traveling into a room.
When soundproofing a room, you need to consider some elements for optimal results. They include the following;
Things to Note When Soundproofing a Room
A wall has got two sides. Decoupling entails separating these two sides to create space, making it hard for sound to travel through. Inside the area formed by separating the two wall sides, you can soundproof further by inserting a mass.
It is reducing the resonance of a sound using a damping material. The sound waves’ kinetic energy gets transferred into heat by the damping material, making it soundproof.
It is very crucial when blocking noise in a room. A massive mass prevents sound from entering a wall than a lean mass. It means the more extensive the mass, the more effective it is in blocking noise. Large structures in a room like furniture reduce sound.
Unlike soundproofing, it reduces the amount of noise into and from a room than eliminating it. Through absorption, the sound distance and echo get reduced. Recording studios improve acoustics by using equipment that absorbs sound.
Because of the sound-absorbing materials’ fluffiness and lightness, they cannot block a sound entirely.
You now understand better about soundproofing and what to consider before doing it. If you are struggling with noise in your room, you need to block it using the following inexpensive methods.
Different Ways of Soundproofing a Room Cheaply
Though some methods are cheap to implement, they may need to be done by a professional. You can do others yourself, making them excellent DIY home projects. You may need a helping hand in some DIY cases to hold and lift things. But generally, you can handle most techniques alone. They include the following;
1. Place Rugs and Carpets on the Floor
If your house stands alone, putting carpets and rugs on the floor may not be necessary. May be when you want to add warmth into your room. But if you live in a condo complex or apartment building, soundproofing your floor is essential. Some sounds travel into or out of your room through the floor.
Placing rugs and carpets on the floor works excellently in reducing or eliminating echo in a room. When renting a house to stay, check the material used in making the floor. Avoid homes with concrete floors, for they are perfect sound transmitters.
You may also need to consider this factor if building your house in a noisy place like in the city. Impact noise passes through the floor into or outside the room. It is one of the famous noise pollution sources. Impact noise can come from various sources like water pipes, elevators, people walking around, building work, and operating electrical appliances from your neighbor.
Though you hear the noise from the background, it can get very annoying. It is not ideal for light sleepers. If on a low budget, spreading heavy rugs or carpets is a great option. They cost less and block sound effectively.
Carpets also insulate your room, making it a worthy investment. Besides, you hardly need help in installing a rug or carpet. You only need to lay it on your floor. What makes the rugs and carpets become excellent sound absorbers is the material used in their making.
Synthetic fibers or wool get used in creating rugs or carpets. These materials contain perfect absorption qualities, making the carpets and rugs great in reducing noise through the floor. Heavy carpets and rugs work best in blocking sounds. The heavier the rug or carpet, the better it is.
Some carpets are permanent, and you would require the landlord’s permission to install them if living in a rented house. But rugs are purely temporary; you just spread them on top of your floor. You need no permission to use them. When it’s time to move out, you leave with your rug.
You need to add an underlay beneath the rug or carpet for optimal results. Underlays for floors are many on the market. Though their main aim is to enhance heat insulation, they also add mass to the floor, improving soundproofing.
Because underlays cost a few coins, you can put more than one layer if you have the money. They are easy to install, and they hold the floor quickly. An example of one of the best underlays found on the market is cork.
2. Add More Furniture
If your room is experiencing more noise, placing more furniture will help. If you have not even a coin for soundproofing your home, this method may excite you. It requires using the items you already have. Increasing the number of furniture in a room raises the mass in that space. In return, it helps in reducing the noise in the room.
More furniture also reduces or removes an echo in a room. Have you ever moved house? What happened when you removed stuff from the rooms? You will have noticed that the echo increased as more property got removed. Things also started sounding louder. It tells you that more furniture block sound.
But you just don’t use any kind of furniture. Go for the heaviest ones. Mass is the issue here. When the item is thick or has a lot of mass, it will effectively block noise. Lightweight furniture may get made of cheap materials, which are good conductors of sound.
The ideal furniture to use are things like;
- The squishier and softer armchairs and sofas
Adding furniture in your room is not only an excellent cheap soundproofing method, but it’s something you can do alone. You need not buy anything or pay for the service fees. It qualifies as a great DIY home project.
3. Put More Door Seals
When doors have spaces underneath them, they allow sound to pass through. Gaps below the door could be a result of many reasons. Maybe the door got fitted when the room was carpeted. Afterward, the carpet got removed, leaving some space underneath.
The door could also be shorter than the intended size, leaving some space below. Inadequate installation of the door could also lead to some space or gap being left underneath. Whatever the cause, you need to seal that space. Otherwise, you may soundproof the walls and floor but still experience some noise escaping out or coming into your room.
You can soundproof your door using various means. The best cheap method is using a sealant like the famous acoustic sealant tape. It comes as a tape roll attached to a rubber seal on one side to stick onto the door.
A sealant tape is ideal for sealing any small gap. You can place it anywhere on your door, like the top, bottom, or sideways. It depends on the location of the space or hole.
Other sealants mold themselves inside the gap or space surrounding the door. Most fill gaps or openings of up to 3mm in size.
If you have some extra coins, you can permanently seal the gap or space. You will need to install a seal mount around your door. Permanently mounted seals are cheap though they cost more than sealant tape. Seal mounts get attached to the door directly. They usually come with an adjustable drop-down seal to fit the space on the door.
Because door seals get made of rubber and metal, they provide mass. As a result, they help in absorbing sound. Better quality door seals work out best but cost slightly higher than the standard seals. The market will spoil you with door seals options. It is therefore essential to consider some factors before buying one. Otherwise, you will end up with a useless seal for your door.
Here is what to have in mind while buying a door seal.
What to Consider When Buying a Door Seal
- Is the seal capable of covering the entire space or gap?If not, avoid it; if it will, then buy it. Some seals can only seal specific openings or space sizes.
- When you install the seal, will your door function as usual? If yes, buy it. Some seals interfere with the normal functioning of the door, creating more problems. There are door seals designed to use with hardwood floors or carpets. Consider your type of floor.
- Is the seal ideal for all types of spaces and gaps? If your door has all manner of cracks and holes, you will need a seal that will work for all of them.
- The process Is it easy or hard? Go for the easy to install seals.
- Is the seal safe to use? Will it affect your door, floor, or harm you when touched? Consider safe to use door seals.
6. Reinforce Your Windows and Doors with Weather Stripping
Generally, weather stripping gets designed to prevent air leaks and drafts. But they can also block noise pollution because the same concept applies. Don’t forget we said earlier that air carries sound from one point to another. If you can block or reduce the air entering your room, you will be soundproofing it.
Like the door seals, you will get spoilt with options for weather stripping. You will have them in all manner of varieties. Fortunately, most of them are pocket-friendly. You can decide to go for permanent weather stripping or temporary. The price may vary but in small amounts.
The kind of weather stripping you use depends on your door’s or window’s material. Most external doors and windows of today come with weather stripping. But you will also need to soundproof your interior doors and windows. Soundproofing a room and leaving out the door and windows is useless. Noise will pass through them, making your room noisy.
The process requires some time and knowledge, but it’s not hard. Most weather stripping gets made with EPDM rubber, a mixture of filler blend and polymer, or rubber and plastic. These materials are excellent in blocking noise as they contain much mass. They will effectively block sound, just like they block air leakage.
The self-adhesive strip types are cheaper compared to other brands. They are like the door seals discussed earlier. But they fit differently on the door. They get installed in between the door and its frame. Door seals sit on the door’s exterior edge.
Look for all places on your room door and window that air or sound can leak and seal it with the weather strip. Though some doors and windows may come with installed weather stripping, they may wear out with time. If yours had them, check whether they are still intact. If not, replace them with new weather stripping.
The process is not hard, but you need to know what you are doing for effective results. Before you start, read the manufacturer’s installation manual or watch some tutorials online. You may seek the services of a professional if you find it hard to fix. But remember, it will add to your expenses, and you are trying to minimize the soundproofing cost.
7. Use Cheap Soundproof Curtains
Though some soundproof curtains are expensive, they are nothing special than the cheap ones. Both block noise from or into a room effectively. Windows are among the weakest places in a room that allows sound to pass through. You may seal the window joins, but it may not be enough. It would help if you reinforced it with soundproof curtains.
Soundproof curtains get designed thicker than the standard curtains. Some get stuffed with foam or other sound-blocking materials. Their prices differ due to their sizes and materials used in their making. Like the carpets and rugs, the heavier a curtain is, the better it is in soundproofing the window.
Blackout curtains work out best because of their light-blocking ability and heavy-duty nature. To minimize your budget, look for curtains with many layers. Drapes will also work out great. Summer curtains and blinds will do nothing to contain or prevent noise from a room. Avoid them.
Heavy curtains also insulate the room, making it hot. It is best to use them during the cold season. You may not feel comfortable when you install them during the hot summer. The heat from the sun and your room may be too much to bear. Choose your soundproofing method wisely.
Drapes are usually expensive. If you want to use them and don’t have a budget, try buying second-hand ones. Some are usually in perfect condition and comes at a very low price. Go for the heavy ones. You may also consider using traditional curtains. They got designed to insulate the house, meaning they are dense and made with materials that block air and sound.
If you can’t get the second-hand drapes or the traditional curtains, try making some for yourself. It is cheaper, and you get to add as many layers as possible to block the room effectively. Use dense materials like velour or velvet. They are affordable and easily available.
All the above methods work out efficiently in controlling sound into and out of your room. But there is a misconception about insulating your room with foam. Most people use foam to soundproof, but is it effective? Here is the insight;
Will Foam Be Efficient to soundproof a room?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Just because people use foam in noise-producing rooms like in the studios doesn’t make it efficient. Foam usually has spaces that allow air to pass through. When you use it to soundproof your room, the results will be terrible as noise will pass through it.
As illustrated above, it is possible to soundproof your room cheaply. You only need to be creative, like with the soundproofing methods discussed above. Do not allow noise to disturb your peace. Also, protect your neighbors from disturbing sounds from your room.
You don’t need to have a budget to soundproof your space. Some techniques like adding furniture don’t require a dime.
Though the soundproofing ways discussed above are inexpensive, they can be expensive when combined. The solution is to deal with one method at a time. Also, concentrate only on the weak and vulnerable parts.
But if you want to soundproof your room effectively and permanently, you will need to dig deeper into your pockets.