Soundproofing your business is essential to ensuring comfort and livability for those inside and outside, so we at Air Tightness Solutions have provided a list of easy solutions to help mitigate any airborne noise.
How to soundproof a business
Both airborne (conversation, music sounds travelling through the air) and impact (footsteps, moving objects around, hammering and construction) noise can be mitigated cheaply and effectively with these various listed solutions, but it may also be a good idea to check with a professional before deciding on anything too drastic.
1. Sound foam and tiles
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to protect your impact noise from escaping is by surrounding yourself with special sound-insulating foam. While this is certainly the simplest and cheapest method of soundproofing, it does have its drawbacks. It can contain your sounds fairly well if the coverage is significant, however outside sounds such as a lawnmower or construction, will not be stopped by the foam, and so it is not a complete solution for sound dampening.
In addition, it very much depends on the size of the space being used, as a small space can be quite well soundproofed, however, a large space would need to be completely covered, meaning that it is circumstantial at best and can significantly affect the budget.
2. Using furniture
Something as simple as moving your furniture around can significantly help mitigate the sound from other areas of the house and outside. Large objects like wardrobes, sofas and even carpets can work shockingly well at keeping a room quiet. If you live in an apartment and you have wooden floors for example a carpet will help to dampen the sound of your footsteps.
The most common problem with sound issues in a flat will be the small gaps between wood panels and your footsteps echoing below, so carpeting and potentially floor mats can be a perfect non-intrusive solution.
3. Window sealing
Windows are effectively massive holes in your house, and while this can be useful for letting light and oxygen in, it does present somewhat of a problem for sound insulation, and they are usually focal points of sound entering and escaping from a room.
The best solution to insulating your window is weatherstripping, which you may need to replace if the window already has some. Check to see if there is a breeze coming through with a match or lighter and see if there is a flicker when passing it over the area with the weatherstripping.
Another significant outlet for noise could be a vent or any other kind of opening in your house. Ensure that all holes are sealed properly and as long as the vent is not important (make sure that it is not providing airflow and there are windows in the room) you may want to fill the vent with sealant or acoustic foam. A maze may be best if you want to minimise noise while also allowing airflow through the vent.
5. Wall audio insulation
One of the best ways to ensure that you live enveloped by the silence you crave is to soundproof your walls. This may require some time and work, and not all walls will be able to be soundproofed. You will need enough space between the wall to install the damping compound (fibreglass for example) and any small crack will need to be caulked and sealed shut to ensure that no sound escapes. This can be expensive and you will likely need to hire a professional team to do this job.
6. Room dividers
As mentioned above one of the best ways to absorb sounds is to minimise the size of the room with the integration of soundproof foam. A simple but effective way to do this is to use thick soundproof drapes or curtains to divide up a room. Ideally, it will be made of multiple layers of fabric to ensure that the sound is sufficiently dampened.
Ultimately you want to minimise sound escaping so having the curtain cover up any holes is ideal. If more is needed than a curtain then a wall divider will need to be built which again as mentioned will need to have no gaps and ideally have a sound insulator built-in.
7. Floor and ceiling
We have already mentioned that a carpet can be an effective sound insulator, but some you may need to do more to truly effectively soundproof your ceiling. Similar to the walls it is a good idea to install fibreglass wool into the ceiling to help mitigate any sound waves you may be producing or that may be being produced upstairs. Another method could be using mass loaded vinyl underlay beneath your carpet which due to its thickness can very effectively stop sound.
8. Acoustic caulk
Use the acoustic caulk in a similar way to how you checked for draughts by feeling for any sign of cracks or airflow. You will then need to use the caulk to seal the gap and check to see if the air is still passing through, as even small gaps can lead to sound escaping. Another way to reduce airborne noise is to fill in gaps in doors and windows. Doors are very often a primary place for sound to escape, so insulating them is important.
9. Soundproofing paint
A relatively new invention, soundproofing paint can be applied similar to normal paint over a wall or on a ceiling and is effectively a membrane that helps to reflect the sound from the room back. While it can help to slightly lower noise levels, it is best used in collaboration with other types of soundproofing solutions.
Similar to using furniture to help mitigate airborne sound, painting and other forms of wall decoration can significantly help to reduce noise levels. The current aesthetic in office spaces is to have large open areas to encourage a free atmosphere, and while this certainly helps make a space more inviting, it can also negatively affect the sound levels, as these spaces can produce a lot of sounds.
Ultimately the key things to consider when soundproofing your home or business is to figure out how much noise you are really producing, and on your budget what can be done to deal with these problems posed.
At Air Tightness Solutions we can provide a UKAS accredited evaluation of the audio levels of your business to make sure that it is compliant with building regulations part E. We will work closely with you to ensure the best possible results and are able to give free advice on how best your business can be made noise level compliant.