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December 4, 2013

If one looks around the Internet for tips on soundproofing a room, the results can be pretty discouraging. People say things like, “Even if you’re using the best acoustic materials and Green Glue, there’s no way to really soundproof a room without literally ripping the building apart and remodeling the room completely.”

This is obviously more of a task than the average person wants to tackle, so most abandon the idea as unfeasible. The good news is that, in spite of the discouraging internet chatter, soundproofing a room can be a very easy and effective project in all but a couple of specific circumstances.

Why all the Naysayers?

The reason so many people discourage soundproof rooms as a project is that most people are concerned with making a noisy room soundproof from the rest of the building. For example, someone builds a theater room and wants to make the room soundproof to the point that someone in the next room cannot hear the explosions and gunshots that come from the huge subwoofer they installed.

There are two things that make this a very difficult proposition. The first is the fact that deep bass sounds penetrate more easily than high pitched ones. In other words, while it requires minimal soundproofing to screen a whistle, it takes far more to screen a rumble. The second difficulty with this sort of soundproofing is that the room is part of the same structure as the other rooms. Sound energy is vibration. This vibration can resonate through the actual structure of the house in spite of soundproofing. To make one room silent from others in the home, it must be entirely cocooned from the rest of the building with acoustic dampening material – hence the idea that a complete remodel is necessary.

What is being ignored is the other reason to soundproof a room – keeping out noise from neighbors. Living in communities, we are forced to accept certain things that we would prefer not exist. Things like barking dogs, lawnmowers and loud vehicle engines are part and parcel of having neighbors.

The key to making a room soundproof from external noise is Green Glue. Any building material can screen sound to a greater or lesser extent. What happens is the sound vibrations hit the material and some of the vibrations are reflected and absorbed, while the remainder pass through as a less loud sound. Green Glue is formulated to add a step to this process – the sound energy passing through is actually converted to heat energy. While the heat is rarely noticeable because a great deal of sound only has the same total energy as a small amount of heat, the drop in noise level is dramatic.

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