Soundproofing for a cosy home
Reverberation in the room and hollow sound, and reverberation - does this sound familiar to your own home? Especially if you live in an apartment with many high rooms, you are a lover of reduced style and have many smooth surfaces, you probably know this phenomenon a little too well.
What is often perceived as uncomfortable or annoying can be easily managed with a few tricks, structural measures, and the right materials. The important thing is that you become aware of what you want to achieve. We're going to shed some light on this and show you what options are available to dampen sound within your own four walls.
Sound absorption vs sound insulation
Sound insulation and sound attenuation are two fundamentally different concepts, but they are often confused with each other. First of all, you should be clear about what you want to achieve. Are you tired of your neighbour's noise, or do you want to create the best possible sound in a room?
Soundproofing (also known as sound insulation or sound blocking) is the acoustic separation of rooms to reduce the propagation of sound. Are you bothered by the noise of your neighbours, or do you just want to enjoy your home cinema in peace without getting complaints from those around you?
Or maybe you have your own studio or rehearsal room where you really want to let off steam? Structural measures such as soundproof windows, ceilings, or walls as well as impact sound insulation can reduce the noise as much as possible.
When talking about sound absorption (also known as acoustic treatment), the aim is to change the room sound within a room in order to improve the room acoustics. For this purpose, sound absorbers on walls or ceilings made of a material such as acoustic foam or acoustic felt are used to absorb certain frequency ranges.
This is required, among other things, in recording studios, speaker booths, music rooms or simply in one's own home in order to eliminate reverberation. This guarantees improved acoustics within a defined area and eliminates disturbing background noise.
Eight measures to improve room acoustics
Knowing how sound is transmitted in the first place helps to understand the fundamental problem and take the right action.
Every noise source emits sound waves that hit solid objects such as walls, doors or ceilings. This results in a conversion into structure-borne sound and subsequently vibrations or oscillations. The sound waves are therefore reflected, resulting in the well-known Hall Effect.
There are various ways to dampen the sound in a room. The choice of measure always depends on what you want to achieve and on the structural conditions in the room you want to optimise.
1. Furniture and textiles
To improve the acoustics in the room and dampen sound, furniture, carpets and curtains are a first step. Each of us has already visited an unfurnished apartment and remembers the reverberation, as if you were in a huge hall.
As soon as the first furniture and textiles are added to your own four walls, this impression changes and the acoustics almost regulate themselves.
2. Sound level of household appliances
Washing machines in particular are often considered a source of noise, as they generate vibrations that can even be transmitted into the next apartment. Additionally, they are often placed in rooms which absorb little sound due to the hard surfaces. Now you can imagine the sound here.
Of course, the same also applies to the dryer, fitness routines or kitchen appliances. The fact that you can soundproof household appliances with soundproofing mats is known only to a few, but it is worth it.
3. Soundproof curtain
Curtains can also absorb noise and reduce reverberation times. Soundproof curtains, which are denser and thicker than conventional curtains and made of special materials, can also be used to create a spatial separation. In any case, soundproof curtains should have an overhang so that as little sound as possible gets past them and the sound attenuation is optimally successful.
4. Soundproof door
Soundproof doors, i.e., doors that are equipped with sound insulation, also help to dampen room noise. The sound insulation function can be integrated into a door so discreetly that no visual difference is noticed. However, a door can also be equipped with sound absorbers that are attached to the door leaf.
5. Acoustic absorbers and acoustic pictures
How about improving the room acoustics and sound absorption with a picture? Special acoustic pictures allow you to choose your own motifs and give the room a personal touch. Even a single acoustic picture refines the overall situation and provides a better room climate.
Likewise, there are also acoustic panels that can be arranged individually or in groups. Depending on the application, different frequencies are absorbed.
6. Acoustic panel
Sound absorbers in the form of acoustic panels are also suitable for insulating the ceiling. Here it is advisable to consciously pay attention to the inner life, because acoustic panels are often made of plastic. Better for this are boards made of wood wool or sheep's wool, whose air purification function is permanently preserved.
7. Acoustic wall
To prevent sound from passing through the wall, wall insulation is recommended to be placed where the sound source is propagating. The acoustic wall can also be an elegant alternative to a conventional wallpaper.
However, if the noise comes from the neighbours, it is advisable to build an additional wall in front of the actual wall for sound insulation and to equip it with insulating material.
8. Acoustic sails and ceiling canopies
Acoustic sails on the ceiling are a good way to reduce the noise level, especially in offices, which often prevents concentrated work due to telephone calls and other background noise. Noise over the long term can even have a negative effect on health and leads to more frequent sick leave.
Ceiling sails are also ideal for schools and kindergartens. In addition to sound absorption and a targeted reduction of the reverberation time, an acoustic sail for walls and ceilings can also be used to set specific colour accents that create a pleasant atmosphere.
What materials dampen sound?
Acoustic foam such as pyramid foam, nap foam or foam can be used for inexpensive sound damping. It is often used to optimise the acoustics in sound and recording studios.
Basotect foam, which is also available with a smooth surface, is particularly popular. Basotect is a melamine resin material that shines with excellent absorption properties, does not yellow and is very flame retardant. Disturbing reverberation is reduced by the open-pored material. Due to its low weight, the foam is easy to install and glue.
Acoustic foam shines because of the price, but because of the material melamine resin, it is not popular with everyone.
PRO Pyramid or nap foam:
- It specifically attenuates very specific frequencies - often the mid and high ones.
- The show fabric has hardly any weight and is therefore also easy to process
- Acoustic foam can usually be found at reasonable prices.
CONTRA pyramid or nap foam:
- Unfortunately, the transitions from one mat to the next are often clearly visible, which is commonly seen as a visual shortcoming of nap foam.
- The foam is usually made of the plastic melamine resin and contains formaldehyde.
Sheep wool felts
Sheep's wool felts are ideal for filtering and neutralising pollutants and irritants from the room air. These are the best prerequisites for a healthy indoor climate.
In addition, the room acoustics are improved and unpleasant sound is muffled.
Due to the very high flash point and the high self-ignition temperature, sheep's wool felts offer maximum safety and also represent a sustainable alternative to polyester felts.
The natural, dirt-repellent property of virgin sheep's wool also pays off in the use of acoustic felts. Light soiling is best removed by vacuuming.
- Polyester felts are made of synthetic fibres and are therefore an inexpensive alternative to wool felt for successful sound absorption.
- Although the synthetic fibre is colourfast, durable, and easy to care for; it is not to everyone's taste due to its synthetic origin - polyester felts are made of polyethylene.
Of course, wood is also suitable for improving acoustics and for sound insulation, e.g., as a diffuser as part of the studio equipment. It is not for nothing that wood is also used for the construction of musical instruments.
In rooms, however, it cannot develop the same effect as with a resonance box. An exception to this is the wooden floor, where resonance is quite intentional. It makes sense to use wood as a sound absorber in rooms, which shortens the reverberation, dampens noise and achieves speech intelligibility.
Acoustic fabrics are also used for sound absorption, especially in cultural environments such as recording studios, rehearsal rooms, theatres and lecture halls.
However, care should be taken when selecting the acoustic material, as some materials have a sound-permeable effect. This is especially used in the construction of an absorber to improve the acoustics in the home theatre. However, this material is not suitable for acoustic curtains.
Silencing – our conclusion
For a comfortable home, one should always pay attention to the room acoustics, among many other aspects. To find your way through this jungle, you should first be clear about what you want to achieve.
There are not only different measures, but also different materials to improve the room acoustics, to dampen the sound and to fight annoying reverberation. You'll immediately experience the big difference for yourself. It's worth giving it some thought. Nothing will stand in the way of a new feel-good experience at home.
Optimise acoustics and create a healthy room climate
With the Silentum sheep wool products, we offer a wide range of acoustic products. It is not only the sound absorption level that is convincing: an extra plus are the healthy properties of sheep's wool, which improve your indoor climate. Whether lamella or acoustic felt by the metre or ready-made absorber modules, the choice is yours - take a look around our shop.
- Acoustic felt«Light grey»as low as €120.00
- Felt panel module 1«Olive green»Olive green | 60 x 60 cmas low as €219.00
- Lamella panel module 1«Mountain lake»Mountain lake | 60 x 60 cmas low as €289.00
- Lamella panel module 1«Flower fields»Flower fields | 60 x 60 cmas low as €289.00
Picture 1+2, "Sound insulation”, "Sound absorption": Designed by pch.vector / Freepik
Picture 7, "Acoustic absorbers and acoustic pictures": climapaneel.de