How to Soundproof Your Home

Toronto Life
Drummer by Bill S
Drummer by Bill S

Has your teenage kid recently started working on a career as a drummer or saxophonist in a rock band? Do you spend days and nights in your home praying for her to take on a less noise-loving activity, like knitting or poetry? Are you subliminal encouragements not seeming to bear fruit? Do you already deeply regret that you made your young musician wanna-be listen to Ozzy Osbourne as a child? Well, maybe it’s time for you to consider facing the fact that being a musician is a life-long commitment, and the music may not disappear any time soon… But there’s no reason to lose faith: simply go for proper sound insulation that will ensure your peace of mind.

It might be interesting to note some stats. Sound is measured in decibels; a logarithmic scale noting that a 10 dB increase is twice as loud, and an increase of 15dB is three times as loud. Ordinary walls and floors before soundproofing are usually able to contain sound levels of about 40-50 decibels. However, the typical sound level of conventional conversation between two people reaches as high as 60 decibels. Now imagine how loud the music sessions taking place in your house might be. Just for fun, guess how many decibels are enjoyed by rock concert audiences. Some say that it can be up to 140db (regular exposure to sounds above 85 decibels is considered harmful!).

Noise Level Regulations

Noise Level by Michael Sandoval
Noise Level by Michael Sandoval

Where possible trouble could stem from is the fact that Ontario has rather blurry regulation on acceptable noise levels. The Environmental Protection Act states that discharge of a contaminant into the natural environment that causes or may cause an adverse effect is prohibited. Furthermore, the municipal public health board is encouraged to act if a potential health hazard is identified or the noise is likely to disturb neighbours… The bottom line is that as soon as someone complains about your noise level, you can’t be sure you won’t end up with an unpleasant fine.

The good news is that these days, there are many companies that deal with sound insulation, and you have plenty of actual insulation options to choose from. As ILT honours your earnings as well as understands that sound insulation within houses does not necessarily need to have professional, music-studio quality, this article will provide you with a handful of tips on the most common insulation types without mentioning the new and excessively costly inventions. (On the other hand, bass guitar sounds are not easy to get rid of…)

Sound Insulation

Sound panel by Wikimedia Commons
Sound panel
by Daniel Christensen

Now the important part begins. Seal all the gaps that allow sound out properly. Unless you do that, there’s no need to consider any further investments. When you’re ready with that, start looking for the most suitable material for your home. The best materials on the market seem to be dense fibre matting, sound breaker Bars, and barrier shields.
Dense fibre matting or an acoustic mineral wool is particularly well-functioning as an filler between floor joists or stud walls, but can also be used by layering on the outer side of the walls from either side. Its pros are that it’s one of the cheapest and easiest to install solutions. Furthermore, it’s often made of recycled material!

Sound breaker bars or resilient bars are acoustic isolation channels that are useful as undersides of timber joists and metal or timber stud partition walls. Unlike porous absorbers, sound breaker bars belong among the resonant absorbers that dampen sound waves by reflecting them.

Barrier shields are a soundproofing material of a very high density composed of thermoplastic organic polymers and minerals. Thanks to their flexible nature, they can be applied to any part of the room. This high-density mat has similar effects to lead sheeting but remains much cheaper and more versatile. Furthermore, it’s very easy to handle and install the shields, so there’s often no need to call in a pro for assistance.

Home Made Sound Insulation

However, besides these “authentic” soundproofing materials, there are also some less conventional options. Why not trying old carpet scraps or the technique whose credibility has been proven by generations of garage musicians, plenty of egg cartons glued to the walls!

Toronto Sound Insulation Companies

AcousticGuard 
Airseal 
Signature Reno’s 

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