How to soundproof your home

Can I sound proof my home myself?

It is completely possible to sound proof your home yourself, although the key is to get the correct products for your particular needs. Most sound proofing companies such as Soundstop provide sound proofing materials that need only low to medium DIY skills, but can also offer a professional fitting service in the UK if required.

Whichever route you choose, it may be worth considering that if you intend to spend a lot of money on sound proofing your home, and you possess only basic DIY skills, then it might be more cost effective to use a professional. It would be very frustrating to fork out and then have to cover your ears!

What a din!

The first step when sound proofing your home is to work out where the sound is coming from, and what part of your property most needs sound insulation. The problem with sound is that it will find every crack in your home in which to sneak in, so a thorough examination of walls, doors and windows is in order.

A useful way to do this is to turn everything off in your home, and listen carefully to where external sound is emanating. Try to do this at different times of the day when there will be different levels of sound in your neighbourhood. In order to most efficiently sound proof your home, you will need to know what level of noise you are attempting to block out.

All sound is measured in decibels (dB) and the table below will give you an idea of what level of sound you are dealing with. This vital information will determine what type of materials you need for your particular property.

Common sounds measured in decibels (dB)
Type of Noise Audibility (in dB)
Rustle of leaves 0 dB
Quiet conversation 30 dB
Ambience in a city at night 45 dB
Background noise in an office 50 dB
Average radio 60 dB
Car passing on the street 70 dB
Intercity train/loud music indoors 80 dB
Pneumatic drill at 3 metres 90 dB
Jet plane taking off at 100 metres/Rock band 100 dB
Screaming baby/Industry legal limit 115 dB
Deafening 120 dB

Materials used for sound proofing rooms are all rated for their effectiveness at dampening sound. These ratings are known as Sound Transmission Class (STC) ratings. Basically the higher the STC rating, the better the sound proofing capabilities of a material. Most windows, insulation, and carpeting all come with STC ratings, even if they are not specifically for sound insulation. Specialised sound proofing materials will not only have these STC ratings, but have additional qualities that are designed to deal with all decibels of noise pollution.

As we have already mentioned, sound proofing companies such as Sound Service (Oxford) Ltd, Noise Stop Systems, Sound Proofing R Us, Sound Stop, Sound Reduction Systems, iKoustic, or Karma Acoustic Solutions can supply you with soundproofing materials, or supply and fit your materials for an additional cost.