I work from home, and apparently I’m in good, and growing, company. There are 3.1 million of us in the United States who now work from home, and this amount is increasing. Do you know what we do to at least a part of our day? Get distracted by a sound: music blaring, a bus passing or a neighbor’s dialog about what is for supper.
These seems seep into a space through these pathways called doors and windows, in addition to floors, ceilings and walls. To reduce sound you must block or soften the sound wave. The good thing is that many newly constructed houses and multiunit buildings possess noise-blocking requirements. Just like there is a fire code, there is a sound code,” says San Francisco Bay Area architect Andy Morrall.
But let us say you don’t fit into this new-build category, or your landlord has somehow managed to escape city ordinances. There are two main techniques to make more silent in the home: 1. Adding surfaces that absorb the noise, or reverberation, before it gets to your ears, and 2. Blocking it.
Sound Absorbers for your Home
Blocking noise and absorbing noise are two Distinct things, ” says Matthew Boughan of Acoustical Solutions at Richmond, Virginia. Absorbing it is easier. Some ideas to try:
Add 1-inch-thick acoustic panels. Sheetrock, a dreadful absorber of sound, may be the culprit of that tinnyness you hear when speaking on the telephone. To cure this, pay your walls with materials with a noise reduction rating (called NRC, or noise reduction coefficient) of 0.85 or over, Boughan says. He recommends a 1-inch-thick fabric-wrapped acoustical wall panel.
Acoustic panels come in a range of colors and fabric designs and may be designed into your interior decor. Installation is somewhat more involved than simply hanging a photo, Boughan says.
That you want to spread out the absorption evenly among all partitions as well as place panels on the ceiling. Panels may also be turned into a gallery wall.
Acoustical Solutions can duplicate a high-res digital photograph on the fabric, so it looks like artwork. Digital picture reproduction costs $30 per square foot, rounded up to the closest even increment. (by way of instance, a 3- by 4-foot panel prices the same as one that’s 4 by 4 ft square).
Cork flooring. If your floors are concrete or cork (shown here), congratulations. These are one of the best materials for noise absorption.
Carpets, rugs and texture. If your floors are sporting hardwood, tiles or linoleum on subfloor concrete, then you might want to try rugs or carpet coupled with a sound-absorbing padding. Cut-pile carpeting, with its fuzzy top, analyzed better at absorbing noise than loop pile. Also useful is that a foam-rubber backing, according to the Carpet and Rug Institute. Acoustical Solutions offers a cushioning named Iso-Step for $2.25 to $3.75 per square foot.
Engineered hardwood. There are alternatives for flooring, such as floating hardwood, Morrall says. This sort of flooring installation includes a gap between the subfloor and your actual floors, which effectively dampens sound.
Tommy Chambers Interiors, Inc..
Draperies. Draperies can be equally sound absorbing and sound blocking. For noise absorption, look for thick materials such as velvets and wools. And if there is a vinyl coating.
A recent breakthrough in sound-absorbing draperies came from EMPA, a lab in Switzerland, and Swiss fabric designer Annette Douglas. They are gauzy, allowing in certain pure lighting, but made from a modified polyester made to absorb noise. They are available in three different designs (Carmen, Formoza and Marmara) that range from $72 to $123 per linear yard, and also are available through U.S. distributor Wolf Gordon.
EMPA analyzed the curtains for noise absorption with good outcomes.
Homes by Tradition
Now for the Hard Problem of Sound Blocking
“If sound is massaging the window, it means the framework is substandard, the panes of glass aren’t airtight, or there are inadequate panes of glass ,” Boughan says. “You want to replace it or pay it.”
Caulking. A great deal of outside noise can float through windows. A mere 1 percent gap from the noise barrier transmits 50 percentage of noise — that’s the principle of acoustics, Boughan describes. Try something easy like caulking around your windows, sealing any gaps.
Window seals. More radical solutions are acoustical seals. A seal is a path that makes it possible to add a second layer of glass before your current window. Once it is set up, your window will not open anymore. Window seals are roughly $10 per linear foot.
Accoustical blankets. Acoustical blankets seem like the ones mover’s blankets in cargo elevators. They cost $10 per square foot.
Triple-pane windows. A prettier solution that nonetheless entails fresh light and air: You can replace double-pane, or double-glazed, windows with triple pane, says Morrall. Installing triple-glazed windows requires the expertise of a contractor, and they typically cost 10 percent more than double-pane windows.
Acoustical Door Seals – $217
Buy a solid-wood-core door. Boughan finds that the largest sound culprits in house offices are doorways. For the best sound blocking, put in a solid-wood-core doorits mass will dampen sound. “The little crack running around the door is transmitting far more noise than anybody would ever dream,” Boughan says, reminding us of the 1 percent rule. A door seal kit ($220 to $550) will seal gaps. A solid-wood-core door prices about $200.
Farm construction corp
If you’re in a workplace with pocket doors, think about moving your workplace to another area. They create a wall cavity that can not be insulated, Morrall says. And there aren’t any jambs to close the doors against.
Can you work at home? How have you created a quiet zone?