5 Soundproofing Myths

We get asked a lot of questions at soundstop. And it has helped us create a tope five list of soundproofing myths that we wanted to share.

Five Soundproofing Myths
1) Egg boxes on the wall. Or the modern equivalent of acoustic foam on the wall. This will only improve the internal acoustics of the room.
What we mean by this is that the room will have less echo. The foam egg boxes rugs on the wall all act to break up the hard surfaces meaning the sound doesn’t easily echo back into a room. So, if you have lots of hard surfaces and are troubled by echo then think about adding soft furnishings wherever you can.

2) Soundproofing wallpaper will fix my problem.
The science of soundproofing is much simpler than most people think. But one of the key ingredients which can’t be got around is the need to add weight. This is governed by a thing called mass’s law. All soundproofing reverts back to this simple idea. The more weight between you and the problem the better the soundproofing.

3) Injecting foam into the cavity will do the trick. The problem with this is twofold. First foam is very weight so although you might cut down on the echo in any void but you are not adding to the mass. Secondly You can’t see where all the foam is actually going and hence you won’t know if the whole wall is completely filled. Even tiny gaps in soundproofing can have a very material effect on the soundproofing.

4) Sticking on a layer of acoustic plasterboard or even two! Now you would think that you are on the right track here. Plasterboard is heavy so if I stick it on the wall it will do the trick. Unfortunately, wrong! Plasterboard is heavy but so is the wall. So another absolutely key thing you need to know is that the plasterboard needs to be added to the wall but not direct to the wall. Your need to add it in a springy way. But more of that later.

5) Install a built-in wardrobe or cupboards this will do the trick.
The wardrobe might work providing it was well fitted floor to ceiling leaving no gap at the top filled lots of clothes and the doors were nice and heavy and fitted well. This would reduce the sound. Book shelves with books sadly wont do the trick as the sound will leak all around them.

Ok So don’t try any of the above if you want to soundproof.
So what should you do?

Well first and foremost you have ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones.
These are great things and don’t cost an awful lot to buy. Silence is now golden. The only real drawback is that you can’t hear anything else or if you want to chat or communicate in any way you will hear the dreaded noise again. Earplugs at night I think are a real winner.

Try some white noise.
This is especially effective if you are trying to have a decent night’s sleep. Running a fan by the bed will drown out all other sounds and you get used to the sound of the fan quite quickly. There are other fancy white noise machines on the market but a fan seems to the trick for many people.

Finally you coulkd try negotiating with the neighbours

This can often be a great way to get to know the neighbours. It’s a good idea from the outset not to open with the line” turn your bloody music down” This will just open up battle lines and its doubtful you can get back on good terms.
More tactful lines might be. I didn’t realise the walls were so thin. I hope I didn’t disturb you last night. A conversation will follow and you might come to an agreement without any finger pointing.

Soundproofing a thin wall

A customer writes,

I have looked at your website and need further advice.My family and I have bought a 1928 semi-detached property in a “nice” area of Leicester, but the neighbours enjoy their music at different times of day and there is a substantial content of bass, which has driven my wife to her mother’s house, with our 2 very young children. This is an unacceptable situation for all concerned. The council’s noise pollution team have done all they can but 2 issues appear insoluble, from an enforcement perspective.  Continue reading