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Posts Tagged ‘Soundproofing’

Soundproofing with blinds or shades!

June 9th, 2015

window blindsWhile most of the time we talk about curtains on this site there seems to be a lot of interest in blinds and shades and if they can help with sound issues. Lets dive into our options and take a look!

Curtains, The Best Option


Curtains will always be your best option in terms of blocking and reducing external sound. Curtains are usually thicker and have multiple layers compared to thin blinds which helps reduce noise a lot more. With blinds and shades there are slots between each one which will allow sound which you obviously don’t want! Remember from other various posts, when ever you can see light and space you basically have a hole in front of you that has a free pass into your entire house hold. However not all blinds and shades are the same and there are some that are thicker and thinner than others. We’ll go more over this later on.

 

Shades, The Best Alternative Option


Shades typically have much better protection against blinds as they cover most of the white space out so something at least is in the way even if they are thin. Costs can vary with shades so its hard to put a price figure on anything but go with the thought that the thicker and more extravagant they are going to be more expensive. When comparing prices to curtains the chances are the cost will be more for shades than curtains. Lets get to it though and look at some different types of shades!

The first being roller shades, which are going to be a common thing you run across in offices and various homes. These literally “roll” off a spindle at the top of the window and the fabric comes down. Now in some cases this fabric can be very very thick and soundproofing/sound reduction (exactly what we want!) however this is sadly rare due to cost and sizes available. If you’re a fan though of shades/blinds vs curtains these are likely going to be a favorite. They are simple and hassle free.

Another type of shade is roman shades which are a bit unique in the sense these “stack”. They are typically great at blocking out light (sound as well then of course) which makes them a good choice. Depending on the type of shades you get these can be very thick and even contain types of wood which will really block out sound! Though the downside is cost and weight though in some cases the benefits outweigh those. Various hardware stores can typically create custom setups for your house but be careful not to spend too much unless cost isn’t a factor but you could be looking at spending several hundreds just for one window setup.

The last type of fabric like shades we’ll be quickly looking at is cell shades. These are weird and different than most types of shades you see especially if you’ve never seen one before. Cell shades have a sort of honeycomb like weave that is typically between one cell to triple cells thick. While in a lot of cases they may seem thin the fact they are so thick with the honeycomb weave provides great benefits! Most important of course in our mind, noise reduction! The other benefits like blocking out light completely and insulating can really help keep heating and cooling costs down. I rarely see triple cell shades being used but when I do I think they look amazing even if they are quite thick and will likely take up an entire window sill. Definitely worth it in my book!

 

Blinds, The Okay Alternative Option


Blinds you’ve probably seen everywhere in your life especially in your very first apartment. Typically very very thin metal and will bend easily which brings in why they are so cheap and break easily. While an open window with no protection at all, metal blinds will help a decent amount with sound and light though in my mind its worth spending the little extra on curtains or a great set of shades. Now there are some not super cheap metal blinds that will help and some will be plastic or a mixture of various materials. You’ll want to look for blinds that close tight together and show very little of what’s behind them. Plastic will be the better option over metal if you want to help keep out sound as they are usually thicker. One special note is that the heaviest plastic blinds can actually be a bit too much for some people to open up so be careful on your selection. But if you never need to open that window or want light to come in from that window you’re in a perfect situation! Always want to look on that upside of things.

 

Overall thoughts


I’ll still prefer curtains over anything else as they look nicer and give a lot more variety of what you can put inside your house to make it look nice. Not to also mention the fact curtains block the sides of windows for noise and light and not all blinds and shades do this so lots of noise can just come in through there. Plus you’ll be more insulated with blackout curtains than your typical cheap blinds and that run up to the same price depending on where you buy them. Good luck on finding those perfect shades or blinds for your home!

Summer is here again so keep cool and enjoy it as much as you can!

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What kind of curtains help to keep a room cool?

August 20th, 2014

With the insanely hot summer here you’re wondering to yourself, “what kind of curtains help to keep a room cool?” Well lets take a look deeper into the real problem of summer as there’s two main schools of thought of whats causing the warmth.

Sunlight and Outside Air.

Lets dive a bit into the problems with Sunlight. During the day for sure sunlight is going to be your main cause of warmth unless you have the windows completely open. Immediately you maybe thinking well if I just buy really dark curtains then it will be much cooler. Yes and No unfortunately. As you see black curtains will just absorb the sunlight and then get warm themselves to the point that you now have hanging heaters near your windows. It’ll reduce heat a bit since the sunlight won’t be able to actually fill up the room but it will still keep things pretty decently warm. Time to move to the upgraded version of curtains, white backed/thermal insulated curtains. These curtains have a special backing to them that faces the outdoors that reflects the sunlight and heat far greater than any other type of curtain. There will be a considerable feeling of difference between these and normal curtains because all the heat from the sun just goes right back out the window. The good thing is these types of curtains aren’t that much more expensive than the normal curtains, you just got to look out for them. Curtains in general also help keep a barrier between the rest of the room and the windows so it does help even with the smallest and thinnest of curtains. But we always recommend going for thermal insulated/white backed curtains for all seasons. Plus for winter they help keep heat in when you want it. :)

Another thing to consider along side your curtains is just typical blinds. Usually a type of plastic of sorts these will help even more considerably because they are usually closer to the windows than what a curtain can do. Thus having both curtains and blinds will be a live saver in terms of keeping out the heat especially when you live in the southern states where the summers are brutal.

Outside air can be an issue but its not as big of an issue as sunlight. Any curtains unless they are just pure thin silk will help alleviate warm air from coming in past the window. The thicker the curtain though the more protection you’re going to have. If you don’t get much sunlight but get really warm still. What to do really is not worry about curtains so much as making sure your windows are sealed tight. Feel around the edges of windows and if there’s any sort of air movement get out the calking gun or make sure to push down tight on your windows. Make sure that things completely close as even just a small amount of air flow can make a huge difference. Not to mention an increase in air conditioning costs!! If your windows are really worn down it may be a good idea to get replacements. It maybe a bit costly up front but it’ll save you so much money in the next few years especially if you have long summers. Newer windows in this day and age are wonderful in that technologically they are more weather proof, soundproof, and insulated to keep your summers cooler and your winters warmer.

Thermalogic Ultimate Curtain LinerWhat to avoid: Silk! Silk curtains really won’t do you much good if they are super thin. They will help a bit if you’ve opened the windows and want to keep a bit of sunlight out just to air out the house. But they won’t do anything for you on those super hot days because the sunlight will still find a way right through them.

Other options: Thermal additions like a curtain liner is another good alternative. These go behind your curtains to help insulate without having to replace your current curtain sets. Maybe you have that absolutely lovely set of curtains that work all year round and look great inside but during the summers they really don’t help out. Well you’re in luck because companies like Thermalogic make curtain liners to help out.

You can purchase some of these here: Thermalogic Ultimate Window LinerThermalogic for less than $20 dollars currently.

 

Thank you all for reading and I hope you all have a fun and cool summer!

 

 

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Soundproofing your home from the outside!

September 22nd, 2013

Soundproofing a house can be an overwhelming task especially in area with lots of noise from traffic, parks, or the local college party town on Friday night. You’ve perhaps put up soundproof curtains and made sure the house is blocking the noise from the outside but it just isn’t enough. If you live in an apartment there really isn’t much you can do outside to help. However if you live in your own house you may have a few more options available to you. Take a moment today and review the information below on some ideas to help soundproof your home even more!

 

Nature

Trees
The first option that’s often over looked is Trees and Bushes! Trees not only provide shade on a summer’s day but also can also help reduce that noise by quite a bit. Other quick benefits include more privacy and beautifies your yard. While pine trees or massive oak trees will do the best it may not be the best available because they block the view of the front yard and street. They may also take over your yard in time! Pine trees can get quite massive in 5-10 years that it may even surprise you. If you don’t wish to do upkeep on these you may want to look at other options. However the upkeep may not be too much if you have only a few trees. At the same time bushes may not do as much since they are lower to the ground but they do still help absorb and stop some of the noise coming in. Remember that the more you have in the way between you and where the sound is coming from the less you’ll hear!

Don’t forget you need to follow rules on where you can and can’t plant trees and always call your local electric company before you dig! You don’t want a small project become a road hazard or cause yourself some injuries.

 

Fences

FenceAnother option you have is a fence and this can help out quite a bit if its built quite high. With a solid wooden fence between your house and the road you’re almost in a sense putting up another wall in your house between you and the noise. These can make such a considerable noise difference from all things around you from cars to noisy neighbors. There is of course a downfall to putting up a fence and that is cost. Depending on the size of your yard a fence can easily reach several thousand especially if you’re looking to build one that will last a really long time and looks beautiful. Never want to go cheap on a fence materials and installing it as you can regret it a year later when Winter has taken a hold of it. The other benefits though include more privacy and safety for the family. This with a combination of trees can really drown out the noise coming into the household and something everyone should look at. Just make sure its reasonable for you and call before you dig!

 

These are just two options to help further soundproof your house to keep the sound out and make it a more enjoyable place to live. Don’t forget to plan ahead and get multiple quotes on putting up a fence if you do decide to invest into one.

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Soundproofing Quick Tip #3 – Furniture and Art!

February 12th, 2013

Soundproofing Quick Tip #3

Here’s another quick tip to help soundproof your room or rooms to make it just a tab bit quieter.

When soundproofing windows and curtains you may not be able to do everything you want to help keep your living space as peaceful as possible. Perhaps you rent so you can’t change the windows to soundproof ones and maybe your roommate doesn’t want heavy curtains but silk ones instead. What ever the various reasoning maybe there are still a few options available to you so don’t give up hope just yet!

Furniture and art! You obviously don’t wish to block any windows or exits trying to keep out the sound but various furniture and art will help you out as any sound will get absorbed just at least a little bit in most circumstances when coming into the room.

furnished roomLets look at art! While paintings may not seem like they would help due to being so small/flat, sound loves to bounce off very large flat surfaces like a bare wall. A wooden frame around the painting not only helps reflect sound coming from the side but the entire painting creates a small space between itself and the wall which can also help reduce sound. Another popular option is a tall bookshelf as a full bookshelf creates a very solid “wall” that will likely be at least a half a foot thick and will stop sound in its tracks. As like the painting it helps reflect sound coming from the side (in a much bigger way obviously) and is a solid barrier against any sound coming from directly behind it. Just make sure the bookshelf is filled with thick and heavy books or it may not be as helpful as you would hope. The other types of furniture can be anything like a couch or seat will help but usually due to the lower height they won’t help as much as like a bookshelf could.

What about Placement!? Placement location of the furniture is also important because if there is a noisy wall behind you due to neighbors, you should look at what you can place between them and where you’ll be in the room. Placing a few bookshelves behind you with your couch in the middle facing your entertainment center should greatly help keep the neighbor’s party noise out of your room while you’re trying to pay attention to a movie. When filling up the room with furniture and various art you will not only reduce the options for noise to easily bounce off of but will also help absorb it before it gets to your ears. A side benefit to all of this is it also helps prevent sound you’re making from leaving the room and creating a noisy situation for others.

Good luck on decorating your rooms and reducing the noise!

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Drywall and keeping out the noise!

January 25th, 2012

Lets talk about the basics of drywall in your house.

Drywall is your first line of defense in keeping unwanted noise from coming inside. Due to the fact that it’s a solid panel of plaster it gives great reduction to noise and a benefit towards thermal resistance. In most cases drywall between one house from the next will be fairly standard with the chance of thicker drywall being used in which case helps reduce noise even more. Usually however thicker drywall is put up in areas where more privacy is wanted like in an office area or between bathrooms.

The great part of drywall is the noise reduction.

DrywallAs pointed out in an older post your standard drywall usually has a rating of around 30 STC which is good for stopping noise but could be a lot better. Typically if more noise reduction is wanted the standard drywall which is 1/2″ thick is replaced by a 5/8″ thick drywall. In a few cases this thick drywall can be doubled up but then you have the problem of shrinking your rooms in order to accomplish this, especially if you’re upgrading an existing home. However a lot of people do not know of the possibility of upgrading your house’s drywall to special soundproofing drywall. These types of drywall normally will stay at the 5/8″ thickness but provide significant noise reduction.

The STC rating can almost double which in return in some cases is just like putting up two more layers of noise reduction from just one wall(if not more!). The best of the best which can be up to an STC rating of 80 would make it pretty much impossible for you to hear outside noise through the walls. You could probably be able to put a running lawn mower next to the wall and not hear anything. Perhaps you would hear a very very quiet hum in the background if you listened closely. Imagine never hearing a car on the road while next to a busy intersection or people talking near your house. However these really high end STC rated types of drywall are typically for commercial uses like in hospitals and areas where there is a lot of noise from machinery. Though don’t rule out the lower end version as they can make a world of difference and still be quite affordable.

Costs between different drywall types.

Unfortunately there is no real standard pricing in terms of drywall but the general guideline is something like around $8-10 dollars for a panel. Soundproofing drywall will typically be between 3-4 times that a panel so it is quite the difference in price. But if you want to stop outside noise for good or at least in part of your house that extra expensive will be quite worth it. Always shop around though and get estimates as there’s a good chance you can get a discount between various companies. If you’re a do-it yourselfer, you have even a better chance of saving additional money but it will of course take some time to be properly installed. Installing drywall is something that can’t be rushed as every crack and hole just means less sound reduction and higher heating/cooling costs. Which brings us to the last point that while the costs maybe higher you will save money on heating/cooling costs due to the thickness and special materials used.

Is it worth it for me?

It really depends on how bad of a sound issue you are having. If it’s just a little bit a noise then drywall is probably not the best path to take. Not to mention that if it isn’t a lot a noise your main issue may just be your windows in which case that will probably be typically cheaper to replace/upgrade than an entire room’s drywall. Or just some thick curtains will help resolve the noise. If you’re really unsure though ask around for free estimates and for builders to come out and give you their professional opinions. (Always get a second and third opinion too of course!) Also ask if you could get in contact with any past customers of theirs who had special drywall installed to see their thoughts on if they think it was worth the change.

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