Lets Take A walking tour of a soundproofing job of an apartment.
Go with us now and suspend your everyday view as you enter our virtual world..
It’s an old, but sturdy apartment building near downtown. You take the elevator.
You walk down the hall; loud music plays ahead of you coming from an apartment a bit further on down the hallway. Garlic odor is in the air. Kids roller skate down the hall. A barking dog is heard in the distance. “This better be good.” You mutter grimly.
Looking about a bit timidly, you raise your hand and knock on the door marked “APT 22B”. Some faintly heard activity takes place on the other side, chains are dropped, lock bolts are un-shot, etc. The door swings open; “Hi!” says Robby, a young dude with blonde hair.
He smiles openly. “Come on in!” He steps back so you can enter. “I guess you’re here to find out how I soundproofed my apartment?” He waves a hand about expansively.
“That’s why I’m here!” You say as you step in. You notice the loud annoying noises in the hall seems to drop away as you enter and the door shuts tightly.
“Come over here and have a look. This “Party” wall faces my neighbor, APT 22D. He likes to play loud heavy metal music late at night, but I have to go to sleep early to get up for my AM job”.
He laughs. “Everyone has to work two jobs now-days, one to pay the taxes and the other just to live!”
“Yes, Yes”, you say impatiently, “What about soundproofing?”
“Well, without knowing much about it, first I took Celotex drop-in ceiling tiles and covered this existing wall with them, but that didn’t help much. So I pulled them off and covered the wall with 1/8″ Masonite board from the hardware store. That helped and it was even better when I put the tiles back up, but it still was quite annoying, the music, you know”.
Punching a button on his stereo, he says: “This is what it used to sound like”: LOUD
“You see, soundproofing involves two principals, noise blocking and noise absorption. They work hand in hand to perform their job best. The hard Masonite blocks, the soft Celotex absorbs. It depends on the level of noise as to how far you have to go. I didn’t want to spend much, that’s why I tried that system. It was only partially effective and the level I reached wasn’t at all satisfactory.
He got a gleam in his eye. “But I was determined to shut this guys music down, so I went back to the hardware store and bought some material called “Wonderboard”. It’s a cement panel with a heavy mesh cloth embedded in it for strength. They are quite heavy. I also bought some 1″X 3″ wood furring strips. This is to create a 3″ dead air space. I carefully put up the Wonderboard on my wall using screws, butted tightly together and caulked with acoustical caulk, covered it with 1″ “Super Soundproofing Mat” using contact cement. I then mounted the furring strips as spacers, (I used drywall screws through the mat and wonderboard to the studs behind, not too tight) and then attached lightweight interior wallboard panels (I chose a nice walnut finish type), with MLV (thinner), (1/8″), cemented onto onto their back side mounted to the furring strips with the MLV facing his apartment and ‘Walla!’ the noise was pretty much gone!”
“Yes,” he waved his hand at the wall, “You could use anything, such as other types of wood grain wall panels or even white 1/8″bathroom wallboard.
“How did you attach the mat?”
“I used regular contact cement to keep the cost down. The nice thing about this is that when I move, the most expensive material is easily removed to take with me, leaving the wonderboard on the wall, but the mat is available with a peel-off backing for easy application.
“Say. this apartment is very quiet. I don’t hear any hallway noise, nor traffic noise”.
“I really value my quiet. I got this apartment cheap because of the noise. I used the info on the website to soundproof my door and put noise barrier under my carpet. I even soundproofed my washer! The acoustical drapes help reduce traffic sounds coming through the outside walls. Want to see how I soundproofed my window?” Pointing, he asked.
“Sure, I’m here to find out all I can about soundproofing! But I don’t want to re-invent the wheel!”.
“How did you learn how to do this?” You ask.
“From the info on this website and I read the EPA Manual that covers “Soundproofing In The Home”. Now I’m an acoustical engineer and have a State class C2 Contractors license! Most states require licensing of acoustical installers. Now I soundproof walls the easy way- I just put a layer of “Mass Loaded Vinyl” on the wall and cover it with sheetrock and tape it off and paint it! If I need more sound control I put up 2 layers of sheetrock over the MLV with a layer of “Green- Glue” between.
“Where do you get the Super Soundproofing Mat and Green Glue”? You ask as he ushers you out the door.
“From the guys that sent you here! Seriously, you can call me at 1-760-752-3030 (really!) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll answer your questions, or you can post them to the Q&A Forum BBS! (See the sidebar). “Bye!” he replies cheerily as the door shuts behind you. The noise out in the hall is as loud as ever.
“Well, that was short and sweet!” You think as you hurry down the hallway back to the elevator.