The Quest for a Quiet Room
Successful sound control requires a basic understanding of acoustics, the right materials, and attention to detail.
Synopsis: The noise that travels from one room to another has a big effect on privacy and comfort. So it’s no wonder that sound-control strategies are often important in house construction. Whether you are dealing with new construction or remodeling, nationally known drywall expert Myron R. Ferguson explains the materials and construction techniques you can use to diminish sound transmission.
In my experience, residential sound control goes something like this: “Hey Myron, can you insulate the bathroom walls after you get the drywall attached to one side? The owner wants the room soundproofed.” Unfortunately for those homeowners, throwing in a few extra fiberglass batts at the last minute won’t have the dramatic effect that they want.
Some parts of sound control are highly technical and complicated, but I’ve found that you can get great results with just a basic understanding of acoustics, a little bit of planning, and a whole lot of attention to detail.
Sound control begins with plumbing and HVAC layout
When I was hired to do the drywall and sound-control work for the house featured here, the framing, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing already had been completed. The common wall between the bathroom and the bedroom was pretty typical: studs spaced on 16-in. centers, 1⁄2-in. copper supply lines for the vanity and shower, PVC vent pipes and drainpipes, standard electrical boxes and wiring, and a metal HVAC duct running from floor to ceiling. In short: an acoustical nightmare. Yet with a little forethought, this bathroom could have been laid out, framed, and outfitted so that the bedroom would have been much quieter.
Both the shower and the vanity could have been moved to the opposite bathroom wall, which is adjacent to the kitchen, a much less critical area for soundproofing. Be sure to think about…