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Soundproofing Myths Debunked

Updated: May 2, 2023

With people staying at home more often and spending more time in their already compact living quarters (apartments and shared housing, in particular), soundproofing rooms have become a popular trend. Many advantages come with soundproofing your shared living spaces, primarily providing both you and the people you live with more comfort and privacy.

While soundproofing is beneficial if executed properly, there are still many myths surrounding this concept, so let’s break down some of these common misconceptions.

Soundproofing Myths

Using yoga mats, carpets, drapes, or mattresses

Adding any of these common household materials to the floor and walls will help to absorb sound energy created inside the room but will do little, if anything, to create a soundproof barrier. For instance, some of these items — carpets, for instance — can provide a sound-absorbing effect, but otherwise, these common household items will not make much of a difference when it comes to soundproofing. Structure borne noise generated outside the room will still find its way to your eardrums unimpeded.

Applying multiple coats of paint or darker paints

Using multiple layers or darker colored paints has no effect on soundproofing. If measured, the effect would that you wouldn’t be able to hear any difference whatsoever. Darker materials have an effect visually, but regarding the sound we hear in a room, you won’t tell the difference.

Using soundproof paint and insulating wallpaper

Along the same lines, soundproofing paint is supposed to help deaden sound, but its effects are minimal, at best. Because of the thinness of the paint, the sound passes through it with absolutely no ability to reduce the noise coming through the wall or ceiling.

Wallpaper as insulation falls under the same category. While certain heavy wallpaper surfaces can help reduce reverberating sound in a room, the actual effect is minimal and it will have no effect in helping to control the movement of structure borne noise transiting through the walls.

Soundproofing Facts

Soundproofing and sound absorbing are different things

Probably one of the biggest myths is that simply adding styrofoam sheets to the wall will provide a soundproofing effect. However, this technique is, instead, used to reduce echo within the room. While reducing an echo through sound-absorption will prevent sound from reverberating off surfaces, this will not sound-proof a space, as it will not stop sound from penetrating through surfaces (walls, ceilings doors, etc). Perhaps styrofoam and other sound-absorbing materials are useful when speaking into microphones that can pick up on these small echoes, but there is minimal effect on the overall reduction of sound transmission.

Sound decoupling is the most effective way to soundproof

Sound decoupling is achieved by separating the surface of the wall or ceiling material from the structural frame of the building thereby interrupting the path that sound energy needs to travel through the construction.

The original decoupling technique was to build double-studded walls and secondary suspended ceilings, but these techniques are very wasteful of materials and building volume. The recent invention of HushFrame Raft connectors now makes it possible to completely sound isolate a room with very little additional material.

How to Soundproof a Room

To soundproof a room you will need to address the various components individually. Walls will need to be decoupled along with any electrical outlets and switches. The ceiling will need to be decoupled along with any recessed lighting fixtures, exhaust fans, and HVAC ducts and grilles. Doors can be treated with weather stripping and windows can be covered with heavy fabric curtains to maximize acoustic privacy.

How to Soundproof a Wall

To soundproof a wall, first you must remove the existing finish surface, typically sheetrock and then install HushFrame Raft connectors in a grid pattern on the sides of the studs. Next you must fill the stud bay cavities with a soft insulation material such as unfaced fiberglass batts after which you attach furring strips to the HushFrame followed by sheetrock mounted on the furring.

How to Soundproof a Ceiling

As you might expect, soundproofing a ceiling is essentially the same as soundproofing a wall. Following the same steps as for the walls, it is possible to decouple a ceiling utilizing HushFrame and effectively stop the transmission of noises from the floors above, particularly footsteps and other noise generated by people moving things around and dragging chairs across the floor. The effort and time it takes to do this properly will pay dividends far into the future.

Soundproofing Made Easy with HushFrame

When it comes to soundproofing or sound decoupling walls or ceilings, HushFrame is without question the most effective solution. Using a patented design, we can show you how to reduce noise by providing effective soundproofing solutions. Contact us to get started on a quieter and more comfortable home today.

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