Architectural Design Soundproofing Materials

When it Comes to Soundproofing Materials, What Really Works?

Architectural Design Soundproofing Materials – There are as many reasons to soundproof a room or building as there are rooms and buildings that leak noise. Whether you’re building a home theater in your house or just looking to keep noise out and enjoy some peace and quiet, determining which of the different types of soundproofing materials available will work best for you isn’t easy.  Some companies offer tiles and other materials that can be attached to the walls and ceilings, others manufacture sound abatement material that is installed under the drywall and floorboards where it isn’t visible.

It’s important to understand what kinds of materials absorb and dampen sound. The way the building and room are constructed also plays a role in how noisy the room is. If there is plenty of insulation and space between the inner and outer walls, you might experience a slight amount of noise reduction or muffling. If you cannot make structural changes to the building, acoustical sound panels may be attached to the walls to absorb sound.

Architectural Design Soundproofing Materials

Irregular surfaces can prevent sound from transferring, while flat, smooth walls and ceilings do just the opposite. Sometimes, hanging heavy drapes on the walls can have an impact on the amount of sound transferred into and out of a space. Heavy carpeting also helps to dampen sound. You can install wall-to-wall carpeting, or you can use remnants over the whole area of the floor. Carpeting can be tacked onto the walls as well to dampen sound, but considering the aesthetic drawbacks most people are not willing to sacrifice the appearance of their living room for a moderate (at best) level of sound abatement. Sound abatement  material such as Acoustiblok 3mm attaches to wood or metal studs under drywall, floors and ceilings and reduces more noise than older methods of sound abatement including poured concrete. Since the Acoustiblok material goes under the drywall, it needs to be installed either during construction or renovation, or it can be attached to an existing wall and a new later of drywall installed over it.

Noise is often transferred through doors and windows.  There are sound abatement measures you can take that are designed  just for doors and windows. Weatherstrips and other draft guard materials can help eliminate sound in these areas. Double-pane glass in the windows will also provide a buffer zone that can reduce sound. For further soundproofing of windows, hang heavy drapes or sound abatement shutters developed specifically for noise problems that are unique to windows and doors. Mixing two or more methods of soundproofing – for instance, layering heavy drapes over sound abatement shutters — will more dramatically affect the sound levels in your room.

When Noise Reaches Unbearable Levels: Where is the Sound Proofing?

Architectural Design Soundproofing Materials – Edward L. Sadowsky of Long Island City complains that officials have not muffled the fans in a building visible from his 39th floor apartment. Below: The fans seen from Sadowsdky’s window.

In New York City, industrial fans that clean subway airspace when workers are making repairs are driving people to distraction – and sleepless nights. In fact, for some residents of Queens the noise from the fans makes sleep virtually impossible.

They have been in place for decades and sound like a giant rattle shaken at great speeds, unrelentingly and with no set pattern. One weekend they might run for just an hour, the next weekend for 24 hours straight. At a subsidized housing complex for the elderly that sits right next to the fans, the sound became so intense and lasted so long,  people approached the building’s superintendent crying because the noise prevented them from sleeping.

The fans are necessary for maintenance crews to do their jobs. However, the sound that one neighbor compares to “a blender running at full speed on the pillow next to him,” and another to the roar of a jet engine just before takeoff, the potential for serious health effects is high. .

“I wear earplugs, I put a pillow over my head, but I still can hear it,” said Nancy Haitch, who lives on the 11th floor of the building, Citylights, the first residential high-rise built in what was once an industrial wasteland.

Area residents affected by the fan noise have lodged complaints through the city’s 311 system and with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, but to no avail.

Architectural Design Soundproofing Materials

Transit officials say that it would cost $300,000 to muffle the noise, but that money would be hard to come by with the agency facing serious financial problems. The authority offered a reprieve last weekend: It instead turned on fans in Manhattan, on the eastern edge of Tudor City, according to a transit worker stationed by the fans in Queens.

“These are real people, and it’s real lives being affected,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents the neighborhood affected by the fan noise and organized the meeting. “We’re talking about sleepless nights here, not just an inconvenience.”

Charles F. Seaton, a spokesman for New York City Transit, which operates the subway and bus service, could not say when the fans would come on during this period.

“I don’t have the schedule in front of me,” he said in an interview. Mr. Seaton added that while the agency has been considering a couple of alternatives to address the problem, “It would be a little bit premature to say what they are and how they would affect the fans’ noise.”

At Citylights — which has 42 floors and offers breathtaking views of the city — the noise has become the topic of conversation among neighbors who bump into one another in the lobby, in an elevator or at the lounge next door. And in some ways, it has brought them closer together. Mr. Christie, an office manager who has lived in the building since 1997 when it welcomed its first residents, said that though he welcomes the camaraderie, he is more concerned with how the noise might be affecting his health.

“I find myself going to bed at night wondering if the fans will come on and wake me up,” Mr. Christie, 44, said. “This unpredictability is psychologically draining, and after a while, it really gets to you.”

Excerpted from an article by By Fernanda Santos, New York Times

How Can I Reduce City Noise in my Back Yard?

If you live anywhere near an arterial or collector street, you know that traffic noise is one of the greatest generators of noise in cities and suburbs. In fact, if your home is on a busy street, or close to one, traffic noise can actually become a quality of life issue, making it difficult to enjoy time spent outdoors and even inhibiting sleep. Add to that the fact that most municipalities have laws in place that prohibit the construction of walls and fences tall enough to provide an effective sound barrier, and you’ve got a real challenge on your hands.

Tall hedges, effective landscaping, smart backyard design, and natural sources of soothing white noise can all make a huge difference when used together effectively. Talking to a quality landscaper about developing the right landscaping for reducing city noise on your property is the best way go. Nevertheless, here’s some tried and true ideas for combating that urban din.

One popular way to both provide an effective noise barrier and comply with city building codes is by planting hedges. Tall hedges aren’t subject to height limitations, and when cultivated and planned properly, and in combination with high-quality sound abatement fencing, they provide beautiful and effective sound barriers between your yard and busy streets.

Architectural Design Soundproofing Materials

Hedges and trees are also an excellent way to provide your yard and home with more privacy, another common concern for those living on busy thoroughfares. Be sure to talk a landscaper or nursery about choosing the right plants for your situation, space, and climate. Ideally you want a hedge that grows up without growing out, and the faster it grows the better. You can enhance the soundproofing effects of this type of berm landscape by incorporating acoustical fence into the foliage. Acoustifence is easily hidden within foliage, providing a much more effective sound barrier than the foliage alone without, interfering with aesthetics.

 Avoid plants that put off fruits or berries since they can make more mess than they’re worth, and always look for vegetation that won’t demand much upkeep or watering on your part. Choose low maintenance acoustical fencing as well; the best noise abatement fencing should be easily cleaned simply by hosing it off,

Besides vegetation and acoustical fencing, there are other options for landscape design that can help make dealing with city noise easier. Building a deck on the opposite side of the home from the road, for example, can seriously reduce the amount of city noise you deal with when you’re grilling, entertaining, or just enjoying a good book on a warm spring day. If that isn’t an option for you, building a privacy wall or hanging acoustical fence on the street-facing side of your deck can work wonders. And while height restrictions can limit their effectiveness, an acoustical  privacy fence or a rock or brick wall bordering your property can still make a difference when used in conjunction with tall hedges and other sound reducing strategies.

Excerpted from an article by Matt Goering on