Soundproofing Basics: Sound-Proof Materials, Methods & Tips

We are surrounded by sound. What we may not realize is that some of these sounds can be disruptive, and in a worst-case scenario, result in hearing loss or even danger to life.

This article will guide you through the basics of soundproofing so that you know what it is and how to do it properly. We’ll also go over the different types of materials that you can use as well as a few tips for making your home more noise-free.

What is soundproofing?

Soundproofing is the act of reducing or eliminating unwanted sound from entering (or exiting) a particular space.

Sound waves do have the ability to penetrate certain materials. What we use in soundproofing is a way of absorbing these waves and preventing them from entering our space or reflecting off objects within it back into another space which may be very loud or dangerous, such as an airplane hangar.

Reducing unwanted noise is essential to our well-being. What we hear can be disruptive. What many people don’t realize is that even though soundproofing can help mitigate some of the noise in your home, it does not mean you won’t hear anything at all.

Soundproofing, sound absorbing and noise-isolating – What’s the difference?

These terms are often used interchangeably when meaning anything that can be done to remove unwanted noise.

Soundproofing is the act of reducing or eliminating unwanted sound from entering (or exiting) a particular space. What we use in soundproofing is a way to absorb these waves and preventing them from entering our space or reflecting off objects within it back into another space which may be very loud or dangerous, such as an airplane hangar.

Sound absorption is the act of reducing or eliminating unwanted sound by absorbing it. What we use in this process are materials such as acoustic tiles, cork panels and other materials that absorb noise; or by installing sound-absorbing materials around (or even inside) of the appliances which may be noisiest.

Noise isolation is what we do to reduce or eliminate the noise between two spaces. What we use to do this is often a barrier that prevents sound from crossing it, and there are many different materials which can be used depending on what you’re trying to accomplish.

Different types of soundproofing materials

There are many different soundproofing materials that you can use. Some of them will vary in cost and how effective they actually are at noise control, but there is something for everyone’s budget.

Materials such as acoustic tiles or carpet flooring may work well to reduce sound from entering your home through the ceiling or walls while still providing a surface that is comfortable to walk on.

There are other soundproofing materials that may be more expensive, such as some types of insulation or certain floor coverings and window treatments.

Acoustic foam

Acoustic foam is often used inside of appliances, pianos or other instruments as a way to reduce the noise that comes from them. What it does is absorb sound waves which can be very effective for reducing these types of noises.

Most common things or places to soundproof

Here are a few of the most common places to soundproof:

Home

Soundproofing your home can be a relatively quick and easy process. What you use will depend largely upon the type of noises coming from different parts of your home, how often these sounds occur and what they consist of (i.e., yelling, dogs barking or traffic).

If you live in an apartment building with thin walls or near a busy street, then some type of soundproofing may be necessary to help reduce the noise level.

Soundproofing your bedroom is an excellent way to get better sleep or make it easier for you and your partner to talk without shouting at night.

Walls

Soundproofing walls is a great way to reduce the noise from outside coming in, or for creating sound isolation between two spaces. What you use will depend largely upon what type of material your walls are made out of and how much control over them you have.

The most common materials used for this purpose is insulation due to its ability to absorb sound waves which can be very effective for reducing these types of noises. If your walls are made out a hard material such as tile then acoustic tiles may work well to reduce airborne noise.

Kitchen

Kitchen appliances are noisy. Soundproofing for a kitchen can be done in two different ways: through materials such as acoustic tiles, cork panels and other materials that absorb noise; or by installing sound-absorbing materials around (or even inside) of the appliances.

The most commonly soundproofed kitchen appliances are dishwashers and refrigerators. They tend to be the noisiest and can disrupt a peaceful kitchen.

Car

Cars make a lot of noise. What may not be so obvious is that these sounds are amplified inside a car because there isn’t as much air to get in the way, and many cars have windows made from thin glass which doesn’t offer any soundproofing properties at all.

There are different ways you can go about soundproofing your car, but one of the most common is installing sound-absorbing materials, such as acoustic panels and other items that can be purchased at an auto parts store.