If neighborhood and family noises are making your interior living space louder than you'd like, you're in luck -- there are home remodeling strategies designed to minimize unwanted sounds whether they come from outside your home or inside. Following are just five of the available options for those seeking more silence in their home interiors.
Install Acoustic Sealant Around Sound Leaks
Sound leaks occur anywhere that provides an opening for sound waves to easily move through. The most common sound leaks found in residential structures include the area around light fixtures, switch boxes, and door cases as well as used between drywall panels to provide an extra layer of protection against traveling noises. Acoustic sealant can be purchased from your local home improvement retailer, and, as an added benefit, it also acts as a vapor barrier and helps keep household humidity levels down.
Install Double-Drywall in Problem Areas
For extra sound protection around your kids' rooms, your bedroom, and around your home office, consider adding double drywall. Drywall is an extremely dense, tough material that significantly cuts down on noise going in or out of the rooms in which it's used. This is a pretty big project, however, which will require the use of specialty tools and a certain amount of expertise because you'll have to remove the existing wall. Because this isn't a project for beginners, it's best to hire a local contractor is you decide to go this route.
Install Acoustic Panels
If the trouble and expense of installing double drywall isn't for you, consider installing acoustic panels instead. These are often used around sound studios to minimize noise, and they're fairly easy for do-it-yourselfers to install because they can be applied directly to the exterior of the wall. You can even get acoustic panels in colors and designs that complement your household decor and even act as accent points in their own right.
Install Doors With Solid Cores
Many of today's household doors are hollow, particularly the ones used in the inside of the house. Replacing them with solid core doors helps keep sounds from traveling from room to room. Solid core doors can also help keep unwanted neighborhood noises from invading your home interior.
Install Acoustic Underlay Flooring
Acoustic underlay flooring has its origins in industrial applications, but it's being used more and more frequently for residential purposes as modern homeowners discover it's many benefits. Wall-to-wall carpeting used to be the go-to material for those seeking to minimize noise, but it's fallen out of favor among many homeowners for a variety of reasons.
Carpeting harbors allergens, bacteria, dust, and other unwanted debris and are also time consuming and difficult to clean. As a result, people are turning to laminate, but this option does come with a cost -- it's noisy, and if you've got a two-story home, you'd rather not have to listen to the sound of sharp footsteps overhead every time someone walks down the hall to the bathroom or otherwise moves around. Even footsteps in one story homes can be problematic for some people.
As its name implies, acoustic underlay flooring is fitted directly onto the subflooring and provides a sound-reducing buffer underneath the final flooring material. Acoustic underlays are typical made of rubber, foam, vinyl, or cork. Acoustic flooring also provides a moisture barrier as well as helps keep floors warm when seasonal outdoor temperatures get chilly. Certain materials, such as cork, can also have a cushioning effect on laminate and hardwood flooring.
Your local acoustic underlay flooring contractor can help you determine which type is the best option for your specific situation.