Quiet is what’s needed for a home office. It’ll be nice for a gaming room as well, but honestly, I may be the loud one in that scenario. Either way, I thought a lot about this and tried to keep things as cheap as possible. Luckily, I was only doing one room. Green Glue was my one splurge and I’ve never used it before this, but the research and testing behind it seems solid enough.
Now I’m not planning on making this room studio quality quiet, but I have a few noisy issues I’d like to remedy a little.
#1 – Limit noise from above floor
#2 – Dampen noise from duct work
#3 – Reduce noise from the furnace starting up
Let’s attack each point one at a time.
#1. So I have a kid and another on the way. I realize I can’t eliminate physical thump noises from walking, jumping, etc. but I can minimize them and cut down on higher frequencies such as screaming, laughing, TV, and the list goes on. Like I said I don’t need studio quiet, but if I’m making work calls or studying, the less noise the better.
Resolution: I insulated the ceiling as best as I could with Roxul Safe’n’Sound Insulation and opted to drywall it, instead of, using a drop ceiling, which would’ve also reduced head room.
#2. If anyone has ever had ducts they already know sound travels through them extremely easily. They also tend to vibrate and rattle when someone upstairs is jumping up and down.
Resolution: The only thing I did here was again use sound isolating Roxul Safe’n’Sound Insulation and made sure I put a layer between the duct work and my office ceiling/wall. So now most of the ceiling is insulated and it’s making a nice difference. I can’t fully evaluate the situation and quality of quiet until I finish insulating the duct work and dry-walling the ceiling.
#3. Noisy furnace…. it’s about 34-35 years old and when it kicks-in… BANG. I still prefer it over electric though. It’s a nicer heat and I don’t have to listen to baseboard heaters warming up (dink…..dink…..dink..dink..dink..dink). However, when you’re 10 ft from the furnace it can be startling when it starts up and some may say, “you’ll get used to it”, but I don’t wanna.
Resolution: Reducing noise through the walls was where I spent most of my consideration and planning. First, I thought of separating the wall with another independent wall creating a vacuum-like noise trap between two walls. This is supposed to work well, but I didn’t want to lose that much space.Then I thought sound channeling, but I didn’t want to drop the cash on it. So I came up with an anti-vibration idea of my own. Bicycle inner-tubes. I stapled these to the studs basically separating the drywall from the wall. Do they work? I don’t know. Did I test it? Sort of, but not really. You see the drywall screws still had to be sunk into the studs so sound will vibrate through them, so the drywall isn’t independent from the wall as it would’ve been with sound channeling. However, the tubes were previously-loved and free from a local bicycle repair shop. So I didn’t lose anything by using them. When knocking on two different walls though, it definitely did seem more solid or damper than the wall without rubber. I also used Roxul Insulation in the walls. On top of this, drywall was installed, then I used a product called Green Glue Sealant to fill in gaps and seams. Then a second layer of drywall was installed with Green Glue Compound sandwiched in between the two layers. Some parts of the room were second layered with wood or plywood, so I used the Green Glue Compound on the back of them instead of installing dual-layer drywall.
As for sound, so far, everything seems to be doing its job. I’m happy with my decisions. On a budget, I think I spent my money where I needed it the most. I just want a quieter, comfortable office where I can concentrate.
As with most things, your chain is only as strong as your weakest link. One link I identified was my outlets. Mostly made of thin, hard plastic and some metal with many air gaps, its not very good at keeping sounds out. So to resolve this issue I was going to purchase sound pads that stretch over the back of the outlets, but I have so many and they aren’t cheap and need to be ordered in. So I opted for a product called duct seal, which isn’t made for this application, but should help stop some sound regardless. They come in 1lb blocks usually and never harden. I spread a layer of this play-doh like compound over the back of all the electrical boxes. No more air flow and much less noise flow. You are no longer the weakest link 🙂
All in all, I think I did okay. What do you think? And what would you have done differently?