Soundproofing 101 - The Basics

We believe the best way for you to make an informed decision is to understand the fundamentals of how sound works. That's why we created Soundproofing 101, a collection of educational articles for anyone who's curious about how sound works - and how to keep from hearing it.

What is Sound?

Sound is a form of energy, just like electricity and light. A sound is made when air molecules vibrate and move in a pattern called waves, or sound waves.

4 Elements of Soundproofing

How exactly do you build a soundproof room? Start with a basic understanding of soundproofing construction. If you understand the basics, you’ll have a more educated eye to view your problem room. In general, we are trying to stop vibrations from getting to “your” side of the wall or ceiling. Below is an illustration of…

Understanding STC and STC Ratings

Sound Transmission Class (STC) is an integer rating of how well a building partition attenuates airborne sound.

What is STC, OITC, IIC, and Delta IIC (ΔIIC)?

STC STC stands for sound transmission class. This is the most common rating used in North America for determining airborne sound transmission loss between 125 and 4,000 Hz. This range covers the majority of common noises we hear including speech, television, music, dogs barking, and other similar annoyances. A higher STC rating often shows improved…

Soundproof a Room Basics

You can soundproof a room very well at a reasonable cost if you follow some basic, tried and true methodology. 1. Decouple The Framing This can be done with staggered stud or double stud walls. To decouple the ceiling, consider clips&channel. Resilient Channel (RC-1) attempts to decouple, however, there is no industry standard or specification…

Building a Room Within a Room

Casual noise can be reduced to a tolerable level by simply “beefing up” existing walls, floors, and ceilings. However, if you want to achieve significant sound isolation, then a dedicated room construction is in order. This construction is seen most commonly when there is a great deal of noise to be contained within the room,…

Dealing with low-frequency sound (bass) in your soundproofing project

We all want great sound in our home theaters, gaming rooms, rehearsal spaces or other rooms where there’s bound to be a lot of bass, which is low-frequency sound. Not surprisingly, specialty rooms generating a great deal of bass create special challenges in room design. Generally, the most difficult aspect of high-level isolation is controlling…

Building a Staggered Stud Wall

1. Removed the first layer of drywall from the wall to expose the stud framing. Set up a table saw to rip the 2×4 stud material down. 2. The red boards are 2×1 furring strips we cut down to run around the perimeter of the wall. 3. Cut 2×4 into 2×1 furring strips. 4. Apply…

Do I need to soundproof my foundation walls?

If you’re building a room in a basement, you’ll have some walls that are built next to the foundation walls. And you might be wondering what you need to do in terms of soundproofing. Basically, we’re not worried about sound leaking through the foundation into the surrounding soil. We’re worried about sound traveling straight up…

Soundproofing Tip: Ceiling to Wall Seam Intersection

Above is a ceiling to wall assembly illustrating how a ceiling and the wall drywall layers should intersect to provide a good seal. Note that we want solid drywall to drywall contact. Don’t try and leave a gap. The illustration shows a gap that is 1/32 of an inch. Most drywall installers do not hang…

How Sound travels through a Ceiling

On average, noise coming through a ceiling is the worst soundproofing problem you’re likely to encounter. The reason is two-fold. First, the hard flooring choices of today don’t help the noise control problem at all. Carpet and pad are used to reduce a lot of the noise. Hardwood, linoleum, and tile are not the friends…

Soundproofing considerations for suspended dropped ceilings

If you’re watching costs on a soundproofing project, you might be wondering about priorities. Focus on soundproofing the walls? ceilings? A balance of both? The best answer is to save your money and not treat the walls. You could have the most impressive soundproof walls in the world, but you will not see their value…

Building a Dead Vent System

When you create a room of any kind that’s dedicated to controlled sound, you will inevitably have sealed it up tighter than a drum. This is great for avoiding flanking noise via leaks, but not so great for cool, fresh air exchange. A typical room will need a 6″ supply and comparable return. These ducts…

How can I Ventilate a Sealed Room?

How to Ventilate a Sealed Room Soffit Mufflers and Dead Vents It’s unfortunately a very common scenario to build a soundproof room, with massive walls and ceiling, only to forget about the ventilation. You are going to need to seal the room tight to prevent leaks, yet you’ll need to get air in and out…

How Sound Travels through a Floor

Serena Mat™ Flooring Underlay is your noise control solution for residential floors.These days most people want to remove carpet and pad from their floors. The build-up of dust and dirt makes many want to go to a hard surface that can be cleaned more easily. This is fine, except it makes the person below very…

Watch out for the Stairs when Soundproofing

If you’re building a soundproof room, it’s often in the basement. In that instance, more times than not the stairwell becomes an issue. Many people want to use the stairwell wall as the back wall of their new room. Others want to use the space under the stairs for an equipment rack (that’s what I…

Flooring: Protecting a Concrete Slab

A concrete slab is generally an asset for airborne sound isolation. The large mass (weight) provides for a great deal of sound isolation from vibrations entering or leaving the room. The slab does have an airborne sound weakness at its Coincidence Point (frequency). A floated plywood floor is often used to guard the slab against…

The Triple Leaf Effect & Air Cavity Depth

When you think of a wall that is “really soundproof,” you tend to think of a big heavy concrete block wall. It’s thick, it’s massive… must be good. It may be interesting to know that not only is it expensive and generally impractical to build a concrete wall, but that the sound isolation will only…

How Does Constrained Layer Damping Work?

Breakdown of Constrained Layer Damping: Damping is the conversion of energy over time and distance. We are relying on the panel flexing when hit with a sound wave. This includes wall panel movement as a wave (bending wave) that is traveling laterally in the wall through the drywall (whatever). This flexing of the two panels…

Volume is the cubic space of a given enclosed space by using the calculation: Volume = Space Length x Space Width x Space Height.

Volume is similar to Loudness in that it is a subjective measurement of the perception of a sound’s intensity

intensity

Mass loaded vinyl isn’t the only key to good soundproofing

When researching soundproofing solutions, it’s common to hear terms like mass law, mass loaded vinyl (MLV), and massive drywall. From these terms, it’s easy to conclude that mass is the only thing that matters to soundproof a room. This is only partly true. Essentially, mass is not the only factor to consider with soundproof construction.…

Building Materials Weights Guide

Below is a guide to the building materials weights for typical supplies used during the construction of your walls, ceilings and floors. Soundproofing Company recommends 5/8″ gypsum drywall for its heavy weight, at 2.5 lbs per square foot.

Flanking and Indirect Sound Leaks

Sound flanking is the factor that most often causes soundproofing efforts to fail. Let’s suppose you share a common wall with a neighbor that keeps you up at night, or perhaps you have an upstairs neighbor that has big heavy feet. Let’s further imagine that you put 12 inches of lead on that wall or…

How Does Constrained Layer Damping Work?

Damping is the conversion of energy over time and distance. Back in 2003 when we were running damping trials with an accelerometer, we found that damping pads and mats didn’t damp as well as products that started out as a paste. The conclusion was that the pad damping layers were too thick and not intimately…

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