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Soundproofing On a Budget
Soundproofing your home doesn’t have to cost a fortune. If you are in new construction, we all know that money is tight. There are many common hardware store items that can be used for soundproofing that won’t break the bank. Most people don’t think of sand as a soundproof material, but it’s actually very good for soundproofing. If your walls are reinforced again, you can use sand in the column cavities as a soundproofing material. You need to be sure that your walls can support the weight of the sand. Always use refined or purified sand, not regular beach sand, which can cause mold or have other bacteria in it that will cause you problems.
Let’s say you’re in the middle of renovating your new home and you know one of the rooms will be your new home theater. You want to soundproof the room, but your budget is already stretched to the limit. Did you know you can use regular roll roofing material from Home Depot or Lowe’s? Rolled roofing is generally used on buildings such as chicken coops and other roofs where the concern is not for aesthetics but to stop leaks. Rolled roofing usually comes in 30′ long rolls and is 3′ wide. I can hear the little wheels in your brain turning at a hundred miles and hours. What am I going to do with all that rolled roofing material? Well, I’m glad you asked. One of the best soundproofing agents on the market today is Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV for short) Mass Loaded Vinyl is a high quality vinyl material that is impregnated with barium salts and silica to give it the same soundproofing properties as lead foil without the hazards. associated with lead.
Now, MLV can cost anywhere from $1.25 to $2.00 per square foot, and when you’re building your new dream home, it may be out of your budget. So now it enters rolled roofing. If you are soundproofing the ceiling, I suggest that you stretch the rolled roofing material over the studs or joists. The rolled roofing is sewn or nailed directly to the structure of the studs as a membrane over the face of the studs. The next section of rolled roofing should overlap the first piece by at least 1″. It is essential to seal the overlap with acoustical sealant (hey, you have to buy something from an acoustician to advise you on all this for free, right? Acoustical sealant can be purchased from any reputable soundproofing company, such as Acoustical Solutions, Sound Isolation Company, or Soundproofing America. Any of these companies will supply you with a quality acoustic sealant and can ship it to you. Now back to our soundproof walls. Once you have the roll roofing in place and have the 1″ overhang sealed, you will need also caulk around newly installed rolled roofing. In the soundproofing business we have a little saying, “Caulk is cheap”. I think you get the pun. The point is to use as much caulk as you need to seal every joint or crack in your soundproofing membrane. You want this roofing material to be as tight and airtight as possible. Since rolled roofing does not have the same sound insulation aci like MLV, I would strongly recommend using a second layer of rolled roofing on each wall and on the ceiling area you are soundproofing. Spread the seams wherever possible. It’s a small investment to have a soundproof room for a home theater or just a quiet place to study.
Once you have 2 layers of rolled roofing installed on the walls and ceilings and everything is generously sealed, it’s time for the finished layer of drywall. I would suggest installing a layer of 5/8″ fire coded drywall to complete your soundproofing project. Be sure to glue down the mud and paint the finished drywall.
Now, finally, I would like to say a little about acoustic sealing. Acoustic sealing is an inexpensive commodity compared to the cost of other soundproofing agents, but it is one of the most important components of any soundproofing effort. Buy a good acoustic sealant and not some cheap silicone sealant. We have already saved on soundproofing material; we don’t skimp on seals. A good acoustic caulk is OSI-175 SC caulk or Tremco Smoke and Sound caulk. Both of these sealing compounds have excellent acoustic properties. If you have questions about acoustic sealing, call one of the online soundproofing companies and they will be happy to help.
Once the plasterboard is finished and the roll roofing is completely covered, you will find that you have a well soundproofed room and you have done it at half the cost of using professional soundproofing products. That being said, today’s modern soundproofing products are extremely effective and I find them very reasonably priced compared to other specialist building materials. In this article, I just wanted to show that there are other ways to soundproof a wall or ceiling without using more expensive professional soundproofing products. I hope this story was informative; it was a pleasure to write this because there is so little information on the net about soundproofing. Once again, this is Dr. Bob…Out!
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