Fairfield County, CT is a busy place. Towns like Greenwich, Westport, and Darien are heavily populated, with homes built, in some locations, very close to one another. If you’re building a new home or renovating near town, or on the water, your property may be positioned close to neighbors. And homes that are in town often have to deal with traffic noise. Everyone wants peace and quiet, however walls and windows can only do so much to limit noise from the outside. Soundproofing can be a great way to keep noise out. The home building or renovating stage is an excellent time to consider soundproofing.
Sound is essentially vibration; you speak, or play music, and it pushes the air at a certain frequency. Some of these frequencies travel easier than others, which is why you’ll hear a car with a thumping bass system from miles away, but not the treble from the same music. Soundproofing is largely about filtering out these frequencies using discreet materials that absorb the vibration.
The first step in keeping sound out of your home is to make sure the home has as few gaps as possible. For example, fiberglass insulation is considered a poor sound baffle due to the fact that it’s rarely forms a tight seal within walls. Filling in these gaps with foam will help, or if you’re remodeling, replace it with insulation that’s better rated to reduce sound; many insulation manufacturers create products for exactly this purpose.
Adding a second, or even third, layer of drywall can have a significant impact on noise reduction. Special drywall, called acoustical drywall, is an even more effective solution. This specially designed gypsum board can reduce sound by 25 to 40 percent, compared to standard drywall. QuietRock is one brand of specially designed acoustical drywall that is used in recording studios and nightclubs.
Often, windows are the source of the most noise infiltration, and it can be the hardest to limit, as glass vibrates easily. Most windows are rated on a scale of sound transmission class (STC.) The standard window has an STC of 27. Even double paned windows only have an STC rating of 28. So look for special soundproofed windows. They typically have thicker, laminated glass and a larger air space between the panes. While they won’t completely eradicate outside sounds, they often have an STC of 50 or higher.
Another important step is to ensure your new windows are installed properly. Poorly sealed windows won’t just create drafts and let in moisture; they’ll also let in sound. Make sure that any windows are properly caulked and sealed around the edges to keep out the unwanted noise.