Have you ever been on the receiving end of a noise complaint? Knowing that someone is affected by noise from your room can be pretty upsetting.
To be fair, the sounds inside your room should not be bothering anybody outside no matter how loud. The music that you play in your room should be a bother to your neighbor.Well, one need not necessarily be affecting the other if only you know how to stop sound from leaving a room.
Well, the good thing is that you found this guide. After reading through it, you will know exactly what to do in order to prevent sound from leaving a room so that your neighbor can never complain again.
The process to dampen noises leaving or entering a room is called soundproofing. There are many ways to do this, ranging from cheap and DIY methods to methods which are expensive and need professional workmanship.
Here, in particular, the focus will be laid on how to keep sound in a room or how to prevent any sound from leaving a room.
Before we move on to explain effective ways to deal with this situation, let us first familiarize you with how sound travels outside your room despite keeping your doors and windows closed.
It can travel through three mediums- through the air if there’s a gap in the wall such as a vent; through solid structures such as the walls of your rooms; and through leaks in the doors, walls, or floor known as flanking transmission.
In this article, effective ways to deal with all three forms of transmission have been provided.
9 Ways to Stop sound from leaving a room
Here is a list of things you can try to stop sound from leaving a room:-
Weatherstrips for the Door
Unless you are using a very heavy-duty material for your door, chances are that most of the noise is being transmitted outside from this very area. While a lot of attention is given to front doors or main doors, room doors are overlooked from an acoustic context.
Weather strips are a good way to rectify this situation without changing the door.
Weatherstrips are a cheap and easy way to seal off the gaps in your door to stop sound from leaving. Often, the material of the door isn’t the problem but the way it is fitted is. The edges may have gaps for sounds to freely travel to and fro.
Closing that off with weather strips is a good way to dampen any noise that leaves your room from the door.
Sound-absorbing curtains for the window
Before we move to elaborate on the function of sound-absorbing curtains, you should know that these curtains cannot stop sounds completely but they can simply reduce sound coming out of a room.
In other words, these are really useful for sound dampening applications but as good as useless when it comes to blocking sound.
A sound absorbing curtain absorbs a section of the soundwaves that leave so that from the outside it doesn’t sound as loud. Another positive feature of such a curtain is that it kills the sharpness of sounds, that is to say, by the time it reaches outside, it will not be a clear decipherable sound but more of a muffled noise.
It is made with thick sound-absorbing materials such as polyester, suede, and velvet. These materials have a porous surface that helps them in absorbing sound waves and reducing the sound from traveling outside the room.
Soundproofing the room walls
When someone says they are soundproofing their room, most would assume they are renovating the room walls with a soundproofing solution.
Walls are the most vulnerable area for structural transmission of sound. Thin walls cannot keep sound in.
Ideally, sound waves should be reflecting off from hard surfaces like walls but sometimes the walls are not made thick enough or coated with enough layers to prevent sound from escaping a room. Such walls are a menace to privacy as every word you utter can be heard from outside.
There are 3 effective solutions to this:
Resilient Channel and Drywall
Resilient channels with drywalls are a type of soundproofing that is done to stop all kinds of sounds, both high-frequency and low-frequency ones from leaving the room through its walls. It is a metal bar that is attached to the wooden frame of a wall so that the drywall coming on top of it doesn’t touch the wooden frame.
There are two kinds of Resilient Channels, namely RC1 and RC2. The main difference between the two is that while RC1 is constructed with a single leg, RC2 uses two legs.
In terms of functionality, RC1 is better as it stops the sound waves before they can travel outside through the wooden frame.
But in terms of sturdiness, RC2 is better as it can hold more mass.
So if you have a large wall that is going to need a lot of drywall or if you are planning to install two drywall layers, go for an RC2. The functional difference between the two is not stark.
Installing drywall with green glue
Installing drywall with green glue is a very good way to deal with the structural transmission of sound as green glue in itself is a well-liked noise reducing agent and is a go-to choice for many soundproofing architects.
Drywall too provides an additional layer over the original wall so that the sound waves can meet a surface where it gets absorbed instead of being reflected back. This is why drywall is used to reduce echo inside a room as well.
The only downside of this is that if your room is large, then you need to purchase a lot of drywall which might cost you quite some money.
Another way to keep sound from leaving a room through its walls is by layering them with acoustic foam. It is a dedicated material to stop and absorb sounds, and also to reduce echo inside a room.
Both in terms of price and functionality, it is a grade lower than drywall but it is not entirely useless.
If you are a musician or if you run a podcast and need to use your room as a recording studio, the acoustic foam is an ideal choice- even better than a drywall.
While installing both, make sure that all surfaces of the walls are covered and there are no gaps anywhere.
Soundproofing the floor
The floor of a room that is situated at least a story higher than ground level is also susceptible to sound leaking. Those who live downstairs can probably hear every screech of a chair and the dropping of a phone that goes on inside your room along with any other noise.
There are several ways to stop noise from leaving a room through the floor and the method you choose depends on how much sound is leaking outside your room.
Soundproof Mat or Carpet
Using a soundproof mat or a carpet is a cheap but effective way to dampen sounds that leave through the floor. This is especially true for wooden floors with tiny gaps in between. Concrete floors can also benefit from rubber mats and fluffy rugs.
Interlocking mats are another effective sound-reducing solution. It is different from a regular rubber mat in terms of its design and functionality. These work best if used underneath a rug, thus providing a thicker insulation against escaping sound.
Floor Underlays & Green Glue
You can also use a green glue soundproofing compound on your floor. It can be directly applied to the existing hard floor or between two hard surfaces, that is between the floorboard and underlayment.
Applying green glue on your floor does not require professional skills and can be done by anyone as it is a non-toxic and eco-friendly compound. Apply it to your floor and after it dries, you can layer carpet or a mat for more effectiveness.
Floor underlays are also quite a popular choice when it comes to soundproofing the floor. It is easier to renovate the floor with soundproof floor underlays if the pre-existing floorboard is naked and without any protruding barriers such as cracks or nails.
Floor underlays can also be installed under a floorboard but that becomes more labor-intensive as the entire floor has to be removed and then reattached.
Floor underlays used with another acoustic treatment such as mats or a rug raise the chances of a more effective solution to keep noise or sound from leaving your room.
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Soundproof the Air Vents
An air vent is essentially a hole inside your room to facilitate the circulation of airflow. It is an often overlooked area of soundproofing and rooms with vents tend to leak sound more than rooms that do not have any vents.
There are a few ways in which you stop sound from leaking through the vents.
Install Flexible pipes
Replacing metal ducts inside the vent with flexible pipes can help in dampening the sound before they exit your room. This happens because metal is a hard surface and the sound waves reflect off from it in quick successions until they reach outside.
With flexible pipes, the surface is soft and this slows down the speed of reflection and consequently the frequency of the sound making it less loud before it can be heard outside the room.
Installing a sound baffle inside the vent is another way to lessen the intensity of sounds that leave your room while keeping it open for airflow. Sound baffles are maze-like barriers set up in a zigzag pattern inside the vent space so that sound waves are forced to travel in a zigzag manner instead of a straight line.
Using sound-absorbing materials such as wood or acoustic foam is preferred when creating a sound baffle because it can absorb some part of sound while reflecting the rest of it thus reducing its intensity.
Soundproof the Ceiling
Soundproofing a room to reduce noise that travels outside isn’t complete if you don’t soundproof the ceiling. If the room in question has more floors above it, then the sound that is generated inside your room is going to travel upstairs through the ceiling.
There are two effective methods or ways in which you can make sure sounds don’t undergo structural transmission through the ceiling.
Mass Loaded Vinyl Mat
MLV os Mass loaded vinyl is a dedicated material used for the purpose of sound dampening. To deal with noise that leaves your room through the ceiling, you can line it with MLV mats.
To install it on the ceiling, you have to first measure the dimensions of the ceiling and cut out the MLV mat according to those dimensions. Since you are installing it against gravity, it is advisable to further cut the MLV mat into smaller squares.
MLV is a heavy material and has more chances of falling off from the ceiling if attached like a sheet.
Acoustic Ceiling Panels
Ceiling panels are a bit different from regular soundproofing materials, as it primarily is used to offer an acoustic treatment for unwanted sounds and echoes. So, it is often used as a sound absorbing material on the ceilings to reduce noise that leaves a room.
Acoustic panels are made from soft foam that can easily soak the sound waves before they can penetrate through the wall.
This is why acoustic ceiling panels do not have a flat surface, instead they are made with a lot of grooves on the surface in order to create many angles.
The majority of sound waves that travel in straight lines will reflect off from the groovy surface and it will be absorbed by the material, thus making your ceiling soundproof.
Add Bookshelves along the Wall
Filling the immediate vicinity of walls with bookshelves filled with books can greatly reduce the reverberations and echoes from within a room.
Books are technically solid objects and should be classified as hard reflective material but in reality, the surface of books and its pages is porous and can therefore absorb sound effectively.
Thus it is a unique way to stop minor sounds, or forms of noise from leaving your room.
Sound Absorbing Plants inside Your Room
Go for this method only if the room in question is large enough and is not your bedroom or a room where you stay throughout the night. Plants that have leaves with sound-absorbing features are a great way to stop sound from leaving a room and in the most eco-friendly manner possible.
Some of these plants are – Ferns, Baby’s Tears, The Peace Lily, The Rubber Plant, The Weeping Fig, The Fiddle Leaf Fig, etc.
Some of these plants have very large leaves and create congestion in a small room. So a large room is preferred if plants are going to be used as a sound-absorbing agent.
Seal Off Holes with Acoustic Caulk
After you have applied one or more than one of these above-provided methods to stop or reduce sounds coming out of a room, it is time to do a thorough check for any remaining gaps or holes on the door, windows, and walls. It is possible to find one or two. What you have to do is to plug those holes off with a sealant.
First of all, get a caulking gun and load it with an acoustic sealant. Use the caulking gun to apply the sealant to the gaps and holes. To be safe, you can apply it along the edges of all the walls and ceiling as well. It is a stable material and does not come off due to any freeze and thaw action resulting from a change in weather.
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It is no secret that the more money you spend on a project, the better results are going to be. So with an extended budget, you can definitely block all sound from leaving your room and make it a haven for all the loud music in the world.
However, if you wish to accomplish the same with a lesser amount of money then there is no problem with it as well. Effective methods that cater to different budgets have been provided so that you choose the one that is suitable for you.