Basic Apartment Soundproofing Guide
Here are some questions to consider when you decide to pursue apartment soundproofing, which can protect your privacy and reduce the noise you receive from surrounding apartments. Depending on your answers to the questions, you will choose the appropriate materials or methods for apartment soundproofing.
What Are You Hearing?
Is it your neighbor? Is it your own television? Is it outside noises? Maybe you want to stop noise in your apartment from bothering others.
Where Is the Noise Coming From?
By determining the origin of the noise, you can decide on the appropriate solutions.
Methods of apartment soundproofing will depend on how you answered the questions above. The frequency of the noise will also help determine the type of treatment. High- and mid-frequency sounds have shorter wavelengths. The shorter wavelengths are stopped, or reflected, by solid materials. To deal with these types of problems, you should use dense materials.
Lower-frequency noises have longer wavelengths. These longer wavelengths tend to travel through solid objects. They will lose strength, but it takes more to stop them. They tend to lose strength faster through air. Using looser insulation and air spaces will help curb these sounds.
Styrofoam insulation comes in sheets which you may cut to any size to fit into the space you need to fill. The density of the foam is regulated by the insulation factor. R-12 is denser than R-10.
Dense Foam Tiles
These are tiles that are generally used for flooring. They are also used in the production of children’s play mats. Once again, you can cut these to different sizes to fit into different spaces.
Acoustic Ceiling Tiles
These tiles are designed to reduce sound transmission, and they are the final step in the ceiling design process. They are designed to be used in a hung, or suspended, ceiling. The tiles are suspended with isolation hangers, and rails to support the tiles. This setup leaves an air space between the joists and the ceiling.
Although this treatment is slightly more expensive than fiberglass batt insulation, it is far superior in acoustical applications. It provides excellent sealing capabilities over wall plugs and any other small holes that might let sound through.
Acoustic sealant stops sound transmission through holes or cracks in a surface. You can use it to seal edges and joints in Styrofoam insulation and dense foam tiles. Sealing is important because even tiny cracks will allow sound to flow between spaces.
Soundproof windows do not replace your current windows. They are an addition to the inside of the window frame. They are constructed from laminated glass. (This is two sheets of glass with a plastic laminate between. The plastic stops the vibration of the glass to reduce outside noises.)
It is also possible to use cut sheeting (drywall or wood) to reduce the noise coming through the windows. You should only use this method in spaces where outside lighting and visibility is not required.
There are also some methods of sound reduction which do not require construction renovation. These include thick area rugs and thicker curtains. These methods also offer the advantage of not needing landlord approval before implementation.
These are the most common forms of apartment soundproofing. They will solve most sound problems you encounter in apartment living.