Friday, March 30, 2018

Reducing Noise Pollution in the Home


Upgrading your house with soundproofing products is a great way to reduce unwanted sound from inside and outside the home. Reverberations from large appliances and noise from outside the home can be more distracting than you realize, disrupting your daily life and especially your sleep. Many simple projects can be done to improve the sound quality inside your home, on even the most modest budget, without the need to hire a contractor. So, we’re going to review a few fast, easy ways to improve the sound quality in your home.



Insulation

A great way to improve the sound quality, while increasing your home’s efficiency, is to make sure that your home is well insulated. Older homes will likely have insulation that has been compromised due to water damage, small animals, and temperature changes over time. Any damaged insulation should be removed and leaks properly sealed as a first step. Once any issues have been remedied, you’re ready to move forward. Since we understand that many home projects are DIY, we recommend using our UltraTouchcotton insulation for the job. This is a LEED Green Certified material that’s safe for the entire family to work with. Sorry kids! UltraTouch is made from a durable cotton material that has the benefit of being both exceptional at absorbing sound and improving the heating and cooling efficiency of your home. The attic is a great place to start. Install these insulation batts between studs and joists while leaving ample room for all fixtures and appliances. Don’t forget to wrap any noisy pipes or ducts with our mass loaded vinyl insulation, as well. 

Windows

Leaks from windows are a major source of noise pollution for many homeowners. However, replacing windows is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. In reality, the issue can likely be remedied without replacing the entire window and frame. An affordable, effective solution is our SoundAway window plugs. We took our SoundAway mat designed for soundproofing enclosures around motors, generators, and A/C units to create a moisture-resistant window plug. The window plug creates an airtight seal between your window and frame. This is a closed cell foam sponge designed to block, reflect, and absorb sound across all frequencies. These window plugs install in minutes and will be effective for years to come.

Doors

Even when closed, sound can leak through from under and around a door frame. If sound is able to penetrate your doorways, sealing up the area around the door jamb is the best way to rid your rooms of this unwanted noise. We’ve come up with an easy way to block noise for seeping through doorways with our surface-mounted door seals and door seal frames. These are affordable options that are easy to install and provide an effective means of blocking sound for doors of all sizes. Whether you only need to block sound from the bottom of the door or need a complete frame kit, we can cut it to fit your exact needs.

These are just a few of the easy and affordable ways you can improve the sound quality inside your home. Your family will enjoy a more pleasant home that leads to improved sleep and a healthier environment overall. What are your quick and easy DIY soundproofing tips for the home? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Everything You Need to Know About Mass Loaded Vinyl

If you’re looking into soundproofing, then you’ve come across Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV), also known as “Limp Mass Barrier.” This material has been a keystone in soundproofing for decades. It’s incredibly effective because of its flexible and limp structure, but also its weight. It’s most popularly used in homes and personal studios because it’s such a great material for DIY soundproofing, but it’s also used commercially. Some may even use it to dampen road noises in their car by covering the interior with it. This miracle sound barrier was first introduced as a replacement for dangerous and toxic lead sheeting. As a safer alternative, it’s become one of the most popular soundproofing barriers on the market.

What is Mass Loaded Vinyl and How Does it Work?

Made from limp vinyl and heavy Barium Sulfate or Calcium Silicate, this material combines these materials to create an exceptional sound barrier. The added sand or salt compounds give the vinyl more weight and density making it weigh in at a pound for every square foot. Mass Loaded Vinyl’s remarkable combination of weight and flexibility helps it reduce the amplification of sound waves as they attempt to pass through it.
Sound Transmission Class (STC) is the unit of measurement used to measure the effectiveness of mass loaded vinyl on structures. Sound scientists take measurements of the sound transmission loss between the source and the target area in a soundproof lab. The end rating indicates the performance of the MLV by calculating the difference in frequency between the source and the target area. The STC lets you know how effective the MLV is and how to best use that level of thickness.

How is Mass Loaded Vinyl Used?

Just as the name implies, Mass Loaded Vinyl is used to add mass to surfaces, as well as dampen and absorb sounds.

Here are four practical noise control uses for mass loaded vinyl:

1.    Drown Out Loud Neighbors or Roommates: Whether you’re hearing noise from above, or outside, you can use mass loaded vinyl to create more mass and drown them out. This is the most popular application of MLV. Use it to cancel noise between floors and ceilings, or between walls. Don’t press it between drywall and plywood surfaces, because that’ll take away the flexibility, which is key for canceling noises. It also works well to prevent sounds from leaking in through doors and windows.
2.    Silence Your Appliances: If you have noisy appliances or machines in your house, like an AC unit or dishwasher, you can line it with MLV. It’s not always the easiest material to use, but it’ll look nice if left exposed on appliances.
3.    Sound Deaden Your Car: This was alluded to earlier, but anyone who cherishes exceptional audio in their car or at least can’t stand the road noise from driving on the highway, would benefit from soundproofing their car with mass loaded vinyl.
4.    Dampen Pipe Sounds: Have you ever been lying in bed at night and then hear the flow of water moving about the pipes? Noisy water pipes and air ducts aren’t always a high priority for soundproofing, but they’re notoriously loud at night when you’re trying to sleep. Although some pipe wraps are made with MLV, you don’t have to use a traditional pipe wrap. You can combine it with a decoupling layer of SoundAway’s soundproofing Mat then wrap it with MLV.  Secure with MLV Mylar Seam Tape.

Where to Buy Mass Loaded Vinyl?

There’s a number of places selling MLV online, but at SoundAway, we offer a wide selection of mass loaded vinyl noise barrier in four different strengths: non-reinforced MLV 1#, non-reinforced MLV 2#, reinforced MLV 1#, and MLV 1# with closed cell foam & carpet underlay.



You can even pick up our super strong adhesive black vinyl seam tape to match perfectly with our mass loaded vinyl products. For the full product specs on our MLV, click here.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Why You Should Soundproof Your Bedroom

We all need sleep to maintain a healthy mind and body. The average person needs about 7 hours of sleep each night, totally about 2,555 hours a year! In the end, you’ll have slept for almost 30% of your entire life. However, sleep isn’t a numbers game – not exclusively at least. The quality of your sleep is crucial to your daily performance, mood, and overall health. If you are not waking up refreshed each morning, it could be that you aren’t sleeping well enough because of unexpected noise pollution disrupting your sleep.

When you don’t sleep well, you know it. You might be cranky and irritable, your eyes are heavy, and you’re more accident prone because of a serious lag to your mental processing. However, there are ways that poor sleep affects you of which you may not be aware. Things like your heart rate and blood pressure, muscle tension and stress, and even hormonal changes that can influence your mental health.

One of the biggest factors that is disrupting your sleep is noise – particularly if you live in an urban environment. A study done by the World Health Organization found that sleep is disrupted with just a noise increase of 32 decibels. That means a birdcall or just the ambient noise in a residential area is enough to cause biological effects, like bodily movement or rousing from deeper stages of sleep. Even if the noise isn’t loud enough to wake you, it’s still preventing you from getting the deep and restful sleep that you need.

If you’re exposed to noises over 40 decibels, like rainfall or an air conditioner, you’ll start experiencing fragmented, disruptive sleep. This is when your wellbeing starts to suffer, leading to Environmental Insomnia or worse.
Table 1: "Effects of different levels of night noise on the population's health"

Ironically, everyone’s heard of light canceling or blackout curtains for bedrooms and offices, but not a lot of people are familiar with noise canceling or soundproofing in the bedroom for improved sleep. Most people know better than to sleep with the TV on nowadays. But, what about the noises over which you don’t have control? The crazy neighbors arguing in the middle of the night, the motorcyclist that likes to go for a midnight ride or the random animal calls that happen throughout the night. It’s the sounds that you can’t control that likely disrupting your sleep the most.

Soundproofing your bedroom isn’t as hard or as expensive as you might think it is. It might not be quite as simple as light-canceling curtains, but the reward is tenfold. With technological advances, you can easily soundproof the bedrooms in your house with acoustical panels, fabrics, tiles or insulation on your walls, ceiling, and floors. You can even forgo noise-canceling windows by installing window plugs that block out noise to create the perfect sleep environment.


Don’t let the early birds or night owls destroy your chances of getting restful sleep. Soundproof your bedrooms now for a healthier, restorative night’s sleep. Check out our tips for soundproofing on a budget.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Soundproofing on a Budget

In the past, soundproofing on a budget meant stapling empty egg crates to the walls and hanging blankets from the ceiling. However, times have changed. Today, if you need to soundproof your home, office, or an outdoor area, there are plenty of available materials from which to choose an affordable solution. The materials you use will depend on the type of room you will be soundproofing and what level of noise reduction you require. In this post, we’ll go over some simple tips for soundproofing any room on a budget.

When it comes to soundproofing, it’s important to start with the “low hanging fruit.” This means sealing all windows and doors first. While these will be your main sources of sound transmission, they can be remedied quickly and affordably. Our SoundAway window plugs can be cut to fit into any size window for the ultimate in soundproofing. These window plugs are made of a dense, closed cell foam specifically designed to block and absorb sound. We also have the most durable and reliable door seals for doors of all sizes.

If noise from above is a problem, try installing carpet with a thick padding in your upstairs rooms. In many cases, this will be enough to eliminate the excess footfall noise. If the level of noise reduction is not sufficient, you may need to isolate the ceiling with Sound Isolation Clips and Drywall Furring Hat Channels.

Floors are the final item in our soundproofing on a budget list and may be the most important. It’s best to install an acoustic underlay to prevent reverberations off tile, wood and other types of flooring. We have soundproofing materials for all types of flooring specifically designed to reduce noise associated with walking and other sounds. Whether you need an acoustic floor underlay for carpet, tile, stone, or wood, we have the most reliable materials available with great prices.


These are just a few tips for soundproofing on a budget. Remembering to take these small, preliminary steps can help you save time, money, and a world of effort. At SoundAway, we have everything you need to soundproof rooms of any size with the best materials on the market and the expert knowledge to help you find exactly what you need.


What are your best soundproofing tips and ideas? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below! 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A Brief History of Soundproofing

There are quite a few modern inventions that it would be difficult to imagine life without. Your TV, your mobile phone, and yes, even sliced bread are all fairly recent developments in global technological timelines. One other technological advance of the past that is often overlooked is soundproofing. While we may not always notice the effects of soundproofing, we would definitely live in a much louder and less productive world without it. Therefore, we’ve put together a brief history of soundproofing as a reminder of just how far things have come.

Humans didn’t begin attempting to tame sound until around the middle of the last century. Somehow, we were able to build planes and rockets that could go faster than the speed of sound, but we couldn’t figure out how to control or maintain soundwaves. That is, until we started using the simplest foam prototypes to pad rooms to deaden sound within the room. However, people quickly realized that the silence created by the foam padding inside the room didn’t do much to deaden the sound coming from outside the room.

After realizing that outside noise simply became more apparent when deadening the inside noise, people started implementing materials including sheet lead which could completely block outside sound (as well as radiation) from getting into an enclosed space. However, the amount of lead required to produce this soundproofing capability proved to be more expensive than it was worth.

From this point on, if the average individual wanted to sound proof a room, they didn’t have many professional options. Of course, the popular shag carpet walls became a popular aesthetic choice in the 70s both for their appearance as well as their ability (albeit limited) to provide some soundproofing for a room. Other people got creative by using egg cartons, beanbags, or the traditional foam padding as a way to soundproof rooms.

Thankfully, in the 21st century, the price of soundproofing has finally been able to keep pace with the technology, allowing for affordable soundproofing solutions that actually work on even the most conservative budget.


As you can see, soundproofing technology has not always been as affordable or efficient as it is now. It took a while for the soundproofing technology available to professionals to make its way into the homes of average consumers without costing a fortune. With current technology, soundproofing both works better than it used to as well as looks better than previous versions of this technology. No longer do you have to deal with bulky, unsightly foam or heavy paneling around your home or office. Regardless of what soundproofing solution you choose, we hope that SoundAway can be your go-to solution for all of your acoustic needs.