Home Improvement: Understanding Sound Insulation

Your neighbor's dog barks all night long. Your teen has a loud garage band. The traffic at night keeps you awake to stare at the ceilings. The good news is that sound insulating materials can be used in your home to keep noise from entering - either from the outside or from another room. Some of these materials can be installed as your home is built while others can be easily added as part of a home improvement or upgrade project.

Most of these projects are DIY, but you can hire a professional to take care of things if you're uncomfortable with this type of task. If you're willing to try, you may find that your local home improvement store offers workshops on how to install soundproofing or insulating materials. Check the schedules before you plan your project.

Learn More about Soundproofing

How Does Soundproofing Insulation Work?

Sounds is made up of vibrations and those vibrations pass through the air. They pass through open spaces as well as through porous materials, especially those that make up your ceilings, floors, and walls. They can either pass through the materials themselves or through holes in those materials. Insulation absorbs the sounds you are hearing - from outside or other areas of your home - and essentially minimizes it.

In order to soundproof a room, you must create a barrier of sorts. This barrier will stop sound from passing through the space you've modified. You can do this by absorbing sound or by attempting to block it altogether.

Choosing Soundproofing Materials

Cork squares are very common but are perhaps the least effective. While these tile-shaped items can be placed on any surface, they will destroy the look of your room. They're also porous, which means that even though the sound may be reduced, it won't be completely eliminated.

Acoustical panels can be attached directly to your finished and painted drywall. These special panels are usually covered in some sort of polyester and can be purchased in plain colors or in more decorative designs. If you need to absorb small levels of sound, such as in an office conference room, these panels are inexpensive and aesthetic.

Green glue damping compound is by far one of the most effective methods for insulating and soundproofing a room. You apply the Green Glue material over your existing drywall and then attach a second layer of drywall over the top. The material effective blocks sound from entering or leaving a room.


Soundproofing a room with insulation materials sounds simple but can be tricky. While the insulation materials used to keep your home warm may help to absorb sound, you should always attack your soundproofing issues with the right materials to ensure you get the best benefit for your money spent.

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