A good rest is what you need after a long day of work. On your way home, you can even imagine the soft bed that awaits you.
But surprise! It’s the time of the year when your neighbor hosts a party. In your comfy pajamas, you turn off the light ready to sleep. Then, kablam!
Sipping your coffee, you read the new novel ready to be taken away. Then, blah blah!
Ever been in these situations- that you felt hopeless the outside noise is haunting you? I’ve got one answer for you: soundproofing a room from outside noise.
When the world is as busy as it is, the last thing you'll want is a disturbance in your own room. Supposedly, it should be your quietest & most relaxing place on Earth.
If by chance, this has been the opposite, maybe you should try soundproofing your room from the easiest possible option to the most expensive ones requiring a professional. It just all depends on your budget.
Possible Noises From Outside
For some reason, most outside noises generated are for improvements. You'll hear yourself sounding too selfish if you happen to decide to talk about your complaints.
However, your neighborhood is not innocent either. Maybe a neighbor owns dogs and they bark just right when you reached your bed. Children playing sometimes produce noises too especially not their laughter.
Most commonly, these are the sources of noise you hear around the area:
Reasons You Might Want To Have A Quiet Time
Choosing to be alone does not necessarily mean separating one's self from the outside world. There are just some moments we prefer silence rather than 'too friendly' ambiance.
Our house before moving was right beside a road. And no, we don't have a backyard so noises are clear to me. We only had a chain-lock security fence.
Every morning, as if having a live alarm, I'll wake up with the loud chatting of neighbors who talk more than they sweep streets- the reason they’re out. It's annoying, really.
Like in studying, if you are not a universal type of study buddy, watching TV or having people around while focusing on your studies isn't your thing.
Or when we try to tuck our baby some sleep, noises are unwelcome. There are moments we need silence.
Take these possible reasons as to why the quiet room is badly needed:
So much of understanding your possible sources and reasons, let us straightforwardly jump onto what you can do to soundproof your room from outside noise.
How to Soundproof a Room From Outside Noise?
If we are talking about soundproofing rooms, windows and doors are the real sources of noise from outside although we must not discount the other parts of the room.
No matter how they are beautifully engineered, noises (though unwanted) are invited in if left open.
As a general rule, soundproofing is the blocking or absorbing sound through mostly by sealing gaps. But accept it or not, soundproofing can never be absolute.
It is nearly impossible to the majority because ventilation will be compromised and not everyone has the luxury of owning an quiet air conditioner.
Fret not, there are other ways we can try to make your room soundproof from outside.
1. Soundproof your Windows to reduce noise pollution
As much as windows being the number 1 source of noise, ways to soundproof it is several too. Options range from DIYs to calling professionals for help.
.......Let's start with our own little ways first.
If lighting is not your priority, the use of soundproof curtains that may dampen sound is recommended.
The curtain must be thick and dense enough to absorb sound and long to touch the floor. Mostly recommended are curtains twice as long as the window's width.
Blinds may also contribute and substitute curtains are but don't expect much from this option. It lessens the intensity, but not much if you will rely on it solely.
It will help if in conjunction with some furniture that will serve in blocking sound as well.
Moving blankets are possible substitutes too especially if you have the time & patience to install it manually. Again, this is an option that does not consider much of lighting.
Some people choose to use Acoustic Caulk that seals gaps on windows. This is an option to rooms with another source of ventilation only because it will result in an absolute shut of windows.
Acoustic caulks are products with an appearance similar to glue but rather stick gaps in windows. Even the tiniest opening can be an entrance for noise. This sealant is durable and for the long term.
For people with the utmost need of soundproofing and willing to spend some bucks, call some professionals and install glass windows with multiple panes.
Replace your existing window with a double or triple pane kind and it will surely reduce noise significantly. It is an expensive option but soundproofing is guaranteed for a long time.
2. Fix any holes or cracks in your walls
Although walls pose no great danger in allowing noise in your room, it is still a good practice to inspect it.
If proven guilty of few cracks, acoustic caulks can also be used- the same product used in your windows. As mentioned, it is alike glue to cracks and gaps.
For those living in apartments, renovation is not an easy choice. You may opt to just install acoustical foams and acoustic wallpapers, for example, this Arthome wallpaper from Amazon.
Acoustic panels are thick and dense to absorb sounds that happen to enter your room.
Meanwhile, acoustical wallpaper is very similar to ordinary wallpaper except for their composition.
This type of wallpaper's installation is pretty much the same as ordinary wallpapers. After installing, you may use it with soundproof latex paints.
If possible, a sure way of soundproofing wall is the addition of another layer of drywall but of course, this again is work for professionals.
Drywalls are best partnered with green glue which also dampens sounds. Blowing insulation is an option too for those who can freely modify their walls
3. soundproof your interior door
Main doors can be one of the major culprits as opening for outside noise.
Thus it is better to soundproof it before your room. However, you may also choose to do these steps in your room.
Probably the first test as always is to check doors for gaps. You may use door sealants like
- Acoustical caulk. You can use this after a thorough inspection of possible holes or gaps. Through caulking gun, seal this and sound outside passing the door will be absorbed.
- Weathering strips. Attach this in your door's gap between the floor. With the use of weather strips, sealing this gap is a sure thing. Not only does it help in soundproofing but even hinders insects like cockroaches from entering your room through that opening. Both are an affordable option and is readily available in the market.
Another DIY option is placing acoustic drapes over the door. These are sound-absorbing curtains you can place directly on your door.
The use of this works similarly in using curtains on windows. You just have to mind that doors efficiency should not be hindered.
Mass loaded vinyl or MVL are effective soundproofing tool you can easily install. MVL comes in different thicknesses, and thicker (but pricier) ones are more effective for sound protection.
Foam tiles are cheaper alternatives though noise reduction is not super effective.
MVL and foam tiles/rubber flooring choices are best for renters who cannot easily alter doors, much moreit's hardware, without permission from the landlord.
Crazy tip: If you cannot change anything, then just add something. Leave your door untouched and place a thing directly after your door and soundproof it. It may be your empty bookshelf or cabinet. You did not modify, but you are sound-protected.
If by chance you are permitted or actual owner, the same options are viable with addition. Sound deadening paints are available.
These paints are different from ordinary. For those willing to spend, choose a solid door instead of hollow ones that are usually thin. Thin, hollow doors allow sound entrance more easily.
4. Soundproof Your Air Vents And Ductwork Fast
The primary purpose of air vents is to regulate air circulation in and out of the house. But sometimes, they can be culprits in allowing noises to enter your room.
If you have one, your biggest challenge will be soundproofing it without defeating its main purpose.
First, you may try to seal gaps from ducts, but this will completely forfeit air vent purpose. You may choose to completely remove it and cover the wall instead.
Renters cannot easily decide to do this because this will modify the space's layout. The best option is to use sound blocking curtains or moving blankets.
They are temporary, so you may just apply it whenever you deem necessary.
Yes, good ventilation equates a relaxing, fresh ambiance. But sometimes our air vents also generate own noise and worse, contribute to allowing noise and some vents add to it.
There are few ways, you can soundproof your vent without sacrificing its main function to ventilate, of course!
Use sound maze. This is the best option for vents so far because as mentioned, this solution allows both air circulation and soundproofing.
What is Sound Maze? A sound maze provides insulation against noise or sound waves. The waves find it difficult to travel through them hence reducing their energy (Sound waves) significantly.
The maze comes with turns inside their construction. They also leave some spaces to allow air to flow in an out.
You have extra cash? Buy the acoustic air vent instead. It is good for soundproofing and regulates airflow in your room.
5. Reduce Traffic Noise In Your Backyard
Before going through all the hassle of soundproofing your room, you might want to check out your fence if you have one.
Generally, they are the first-hand defense you have against outside noises.
Before the fence, try hedges. They are surely thick, soundproofing must, and green so it is relaxing. Study proves that green color calms our mind.
If you still choose a fence, it must be again dense and thick. There are different types suitable for soundproofing purposes.
There is also DIYs option. Plus, your fence must be higher than your room to effectively deflect sound.
6: Blocking Road Noise with Trees and Shrubs
More than additional greenery in your yard, trees, and bushes are effective tools in the soundproofing category.
Aside from the fact that plants freshen the air and produce oxygen for human consumption, the thick and wide leaves are sound-absorbent too.
In the end, planting trees or bushes behind your room or even around the house is more than your nature-loving personality.
You'll have the benefit of a relaxing view and soundproofing help from them.
7: Get A White Noise Machine
In my own battle against noise, I chose to play soft music than the torture of noisy background. A school exam was coming up and I have to study.
The music player was right beside me so hearing it was more prominent than the sounds of the street.
Another incident was when my sick uncle had trouble sleeping. The room is troubled by outside noise.
In my attempt to help him, I downloaded calm music and indeed it helped him a lot. The music seems to be a river flowing with birds chirping.
Without realizing, I used white noise in aiding my study time.
In general, white noises are a type of sounds used to mask background noises.
Usually, nature sounds are the preferred signal generated from white noise machines such as rainfall, ocean waves, raindrops or leaves rustling.
The addition of sound-masking products that help in distracting you from outside noises is recommended.
Water fountain or a white noise machine will be a great inclusion for soundproofing techniques.
Final Conclusion ON soundproof a room from outside noise
Every noise meant something. From one way or another, we must learn that not all things are under our control.
But that realization must not stop us either to try what we can to reduce its volume reaching our ears.
Soundproofing is not in any way means insulting the producers. It just a simple gift for thyself craving for relaxing, quiet room. It may be your room-office or baby's room or own bedroom.
You do not want to be suddenly woken up because of dog barks, raindrops or beeping cars in the middle of the night, agree?
Soundproofing if done right may even block sounds absolutely. If all else fails, just grab some earplugs and carry on.
Jessica is a Acoustical Engineer, currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. After graduating from her degree in Master of Engineering degree in Acoustics from Solent University in 2014, Jessica worked for a few companies before She will be blogging about her past and current experiences in the studio and sharing her journey as she pursues her career goals. She enjoy the balance of work inside and out of the office, solving practical problems on a daily basis as every project is different and requires a different solution, the variety of work (sound insulation testing, background noise survey, mechanical plant commissioning, external plant assessment, plant room breakout assessments) and the mix of independent and team work.