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Soundproofing Walls, Ceilings, Windows, and Doors

Squeaky floors and heavy footsteps plague sleepers around the world every day and night. Therefore, soundproofing is vital to the lasting enjoyment of any home, especially in shared-wall situations such as apartments, duplexes, and condos. Subsequently, in the building or remodeling process, great pains should be taken to soundproof walls and ceilings.

Walls and Ceilings

The most effective and expansive way to soundproof is through insulation. You can hear someone cough through an uninsulated wall. Tightly insulated walls not only reduce sound but also heat loss. For that purpose, insulation is now required in all exterior walls and in the floors and ceilings. However, sound walls are often built in the interior of homes and buildings and insulated to protect against sound transfer. Sound walls are typically thicker (i.e., 2"x6” rather than 2"x4”) because more air space equals better soundproofing.

Holding all that insulation in the wall or ceiling is sheetrock, or drywall. Soundproofing drywall is another step in the process. Before attaching the sheetrock to the wall, apply a bead of silicone caulking, Green Glue, or other soundproofing agent to all the studs in the wall and use screws to attach the drywall. The silicone will help put a halt to sound vibration. For even more soundproofing, such as for a music room, add another layer of sheetrock directly over the first.

Windows

When it comes to soundproofing, windows are your worst enemy. Single pane windows are the least effective at blocking noise. Simply replacing single pane windows with dual pane windows can reduce noise levels by up to 25%. Also remember that the thicker the glass, the better the soundproofing. You can replace the thin glass in the window with thicker panes, which will make a significant difference. However, this can often be as costly as buying new windows, so it may not be a cost-effective option unless you are trying to preserve the existing window, such as in a historic building.

Doors

Doors are naturally more soundproofed than windows. Hollow core doors will pass sound rather easily. So replacing it with a solid, exterior door will work wonders in soundproofing. The door should be well fitted to its frame with no gaps or crevices. At the bottom use a door sweep seal and set it so that it will just brush the floor.

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