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Soundproofing your home in Singapore: What to buy and what you can DIY

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Design: Enoch ID

 

Whether you are a light-sleeper, have noisy neighbours, or are the noisy neighbour (musicians who rock out at home, we're talking about you!), acoustically-treating a home is popular amongst new and old homeowners. Here are some solutions:

Doors

Air movement — whether in and out, and from windows doors, or vents — allow sound leakage. To ensure there are no air gaps, Soundzipper recommends buying a draft block or door sweep. “Though this can only muffle sounds and not a complete soundproof, it is an easy DIY way. Alternatively, you can drill a thick/sturdy sheet of rubber to the door (on one or both sides); it should be able to sweep on the floor,” says the team at Soundzipper.

To make the door completely air-tight, Soundzipper recommends a drop seal for the space under the door. A drop seal releases a mechanism to seal the gap between door and floor; this occurs only when the door is closed, and features a material that will not scratch the surface of the floor. When the door is opened, air pressure is released again.

The type of doors matter, too. Different types of doors have different acoustic properties. “It is not recommended to go ahead with the previous two steps if the door is lightweight or hollow. If you want to convert your room into a studio or home theatre, it would probably require an acoustic door,” says the Soundzipper team. For more information on soundproofing doors, head over to this article.

Ceilings and floors

Noise and vibrations from chairs being dragged, items being dropped and so on will travel easily through the concrete slab that is your ceiling and your upstairs neighbour's floor. So if the height of your ceiling permits, you could install a plasterboard drop ceiling or a false ceiling, then fill the gap between it and the slab with a material such as Rockwool to reduce noise transmission. You might also want to consider using a gypsum board ceiling material of a higher grade such as the Soundshield from Knauf — this high-density material helps absorb sounds. 

Ikea also suggests opting for a high pile rug like the Adum rug; the dense, thick pile helps to dampen sound to help create a peaceful environment.

Windows

Changing the windows to laminated windows or acoustic windows will greatly increase the soundproofing. The latter is expensive, says Soundzipper, but specially designed with vacuum in between non-parallel sheets of glass. You can also check out this window, which cuts noise even when it is open.

Walls

Plasterboard walls or partitions are ineffective for soundproofing. An inner plasterboard wall that features a cavity in between layers, is a better option. This is so the sound vibrations transmitting through the other wall is reduced. The heavier and denser the wall, the better it will be at soundproofing; a masonry wall is more effective than a plasterboard.

An even better option to acoustically treat your walls is a cavity with insulation. Placing insulation such as rockwool and fibreglass into he cavity will mitigate this effect and provide more sound and heat insulation. Yup, this keeps the home cool, too!

Have time on your hands, or prefer a cheaper alternative? With picture frames and thick wadding, you can block noise from outside (like traffic) and inside (like a game or movie room). Follow Ikea’s easy, step-by-step tutorial for both window and wall.