Soundproofing can be applicable in different scenarios. This can include a space, a room, your basement, home, office, car or even a fridge. The materials or method you will use in each case will depend on what or where you want to carry out the soundproofing and what you want to achieve.
The reason for soundproofing is usually to reduce noise and make whatever or wherever you are soundproofing quieter either totally or to the barest minimum. Noise comes from sound energy produced when an object vibrates and creates waves in the air. It is these waves and vibrations carried in the air that the human ear detects and this information is sent to the brain. While sound is one of the important sensory stimuli for both humans and other living things, there are times when it becomesundesirable and is then described as noise. You can learn more about noise here.
There are two ways to handle this issue. First is to disable or remove the source while the second is to soundproof the space around you so it does not get to you. You can actually also soundproof the source. Since sound primarily travels through the air, if for any reason, air can pass through a material or substance, noise can also get through. The same applies to the amount of vibration that a material can allow.
Soundproofing is about making adjustments and amendments to the structure of whatever you are soundproofing so that it can absorb, block or disperse sound waves. Imagine soundproofing as a wall. A ball thrown at it will bounce back. If you pour water, while some of it may be absorbed, it will just flow down the wall and unto the floor but will not penetrate it. What it does is stand in the way of the sound waves present and not allow them to pass through by either absorbing or reflecting them.
Two important things in soundproofing are either to add a vacuum or mass. A vacuum is the only thing that sound waves cannot travel through. Secondly, when mass is added to a substance, the waves will find it difficult to get through so theyare absorbed.
Soundproofing is done using soundproofing materials. There are several types of these materials and they offer varying qualities and characteristics all contributing to achieving the same end goal. Common materials used for soundproofing include acoustic foam panels, soundproof curtains, drywalls, mass loaded vinyl, soundproof blankets, fiberglass, floor underlay, sealants, etc. All of these prevent sound waves to varying degrees.
Categories of Noise
This type travels through the air. This could be from a conversation, music playing, children playing, TV and radio or even from external sources. Thin walls and poor insulation will make it possible for these sounds to travel freely. To adequately deal with it, you may need to add some mass to the walls to either reflect or absorb the sounds.
These occur as a result of contact between two or more materials which causes vibration that is then carried through the walls and floors of a building. Some examples include rattling from different parts of a car, sounds from the floor when people are walking, closing of doors, hitting a nail or hammers on the walletc. Some solutions to this will include creating space and small gaps between the two materials in contact or placing dampening materials between them.
You can get more information regarding different types of noise here: https://www.cirrusresearch.co.uk/blog/2015/01/4-different-types-noise/.
Methods for Sounding Your Space
Soundproofing methods and techniques include creating setups for sound to be absorbed, reflected, or prevented from passing through using decoupling (isolation). There is also noise cancellation which may involve the use of electronic instruments. To achieve any of the different methods mentioned above, specific kinds of materials will have to be used.
The method or material you use is largely dependent on the unique nature of the problem and the end result desired. Now let us take a look at some of these methods.
This method involves fitting materials in a way that they are not in direct contact with each other. Things like floors, walls, ceilings, doors are fitted or fixed in a way where there are small gaps between them so they are not completely in touch with each other. It is useful for impact noises that cause vibrations. Decoupling is often achieved by using resilient channels which are clipped to floor and ceiling joists. Another way to achieve this is by using rubber pads or green glue between the wall and the floor, between the door and the door frame or anything two contacting surfaces.
This is one of the most common soundproofing methods you will likely find anywhere. It involves placing absorptivematerials along the path of sound waves. When the waves try to pass through the material, they are absorbed and then converted to heat energy. Some examples of materials that help achieve this are acoustic panels and foams. They are used on walls, ceilings and as underlays.
This is very similar to absorption but slightly different. In this case, instead of absorbing the sound, it is rather muffled. Mass loaded vinyl, mats, rolls, sprays and floor underlays are examples of materials that one can use to achieve this.
This is another of the many methods of soundproofing. It is mostly used outdoors. This is especially good if you have a lot of outside noise coming into your home. By placing appropriate materials in strategic positions, the offending sound waves can be reflected back rather than allowed to come into your space.
This works by limiting the sound to a particular location or space. That is, using materials that will prevent the sounds from traveling out of a room. This is especially good in music studios or anywhere they produce a lot of sounds and do not want to be a disturbance to others.
Another method that works is creating space between the source of the noise and where you are. The farther the source, the quieter it is. The major challenge with this is that it is not a viable option a lot of times as a person might not be able to move the source of the noise or them self. If it is possible to move, then it is a cheap, cost-effective method of soundproofing.
Active Noise Cancellation Systems
These systems are electronic high tech noise canceling solutions. In this method, a microphone is used to detect the spectrum of the sound wave entering a room. Then using inbuilt speakers,the same wave is played but in a transverse form, such that there is a cancelation. It is quite expensive to implement and also has its limitations.
Choosing the method that is right for you may be difficult given all the different options available. To help you make the right choice, you can any soundproofing professionals review to either find professionals who can help you or suggestions on how to go about it.
You should however note that because of the complexities that could arise during some of these projects, you stand a better chance of achieving a more profession outcome when you allow professionals handle the job for you.