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Common Soundproofing Materials

Common Soundproofing Materials and How to Soundproof a Room

What is everything for? There are many different materials used in sound proofing. Some of these materials are readily available and fairly affordable. Others are proprietary and have “hidden” specifications and/or design characteristics and are usually expensive. Beware, it is often the expensive proprietary materials which also come with the most outrageous claims. In reality it is possible to achieve good soundproofing with readily available and inexpensive materials if you know what you are doing CMILC.

How much does it all cost? It is very difficult to put a budget on soundproofing. There are a lot of variables like where you will be purchasing your materials from, how much material you will need, the sort of surface that you be working on and so forth. If you are doing it yourself, perhaps a rule of thumb is total cost will be twice the price (per square foot or square metre) of the main material which you are using. In other words if you are using a material which is $5 per square foot you might want to budget $10 per square foot to do the job. Obviously the second $5 goes towards other components of the soundproofing. This is just a very rough rule of thumb and it assumes that you are not factoring in any labour costs.

Which ones do I really need? A quantity of a material is considered to be cost effective if it offers a good measure of soundproofing at a relatively low price compared to other materials or compared to a greater quantity of the same material. So there is every chance that you might have heard of a perfectly good soundproofing material which is not discussed here. If you were to put together a basic list of soundproofing materials it might include the following:

Drywall/plasterboard and possibly mass loaded vinyl
Flexible acoustical caulking & a caulking gun
Laminated glass
Solid core doors
Resilient fixings e.g. furring channels
Basic timber frames

Which soundproofing materials are the easiest to work with? Unfortunately most soundproofing techniques and materials require a bit of effort. The secret to success is to take your time and to read as much as you can about best practice installation. For example plasterboard (drywall) installation is fairly straightforward if you do it recipe style. On the other hand if you try to make it up as you go along you will probably create an unsightly mess. Again the materials and techniques presented here are the ones which are considered to be suitable for DIYers while also effective for relatively inexpensive soundproofing.

Which soundproofing materials are the most effective? The effectiveness of a material or technique will very much depend on the quality of the installation. The key things to watch for are:

Avoid any rigid fixings like screws and nails and use resilient mountings wherever possible.
Ensure everything is airtight.
Pay particular attention to any joints and ensure that they are properly caulked.
Ask yourself what will happen to the effectiveness of your soundproofing system at any edges or junctions.
Is it possible for sound to “flank” or travel around your newly constructed barrier?
Sometimes you will need a strategy to deal with this “flanking noise”.
The easiest flanking strategy is to continue the soundproofing technique beyond the edges of the surface in question onto the adjoining surface eg ceiling to wall and vice versa.