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How to Stop Sound from Transferring Between Rooms

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Hugh in North Carolina needs some help with a beach home. What can we do for you?

    HUGH: Hi, Leslie and Tom. Thank you for taking my call.

    TOM: You’re welcome.

    HUGH: A little quick summary. We bought a beach house last year that we live in full-time. It was new but hadn’t been lived in for four years. Basically, it’s a reverse floor plan, which means your living quarters are on the top floor and you’re sleeping – bedrooms are on the second floor (inaudible at 0:15:09).

    TOM: OK.

    HUGH: And when you’re laying in bed at night, if the dogs are walking around or if anybody’s upstairs, you can hear through the ceiling. And the floor is just – I’m trying to figure out a way to dampen that noise or maybe soundproof. But the walls are intact, so I don’t really want to tear anything out. I didn’t know if you had any ideas how to retro some kind of dampening – sound dampener.

    LESLIE: In the ceiling of the bedrooms, are you dealing with a lot of high hats or hard-wired light fixtures? Like would it be a huge pain in the butt to put a second layer of drywall up there?

    HUGH: Really, the only thing that’s on the ceiling is a fan and a light.

    TOM: Well, there are a couple of ways to quiet the transference of sound between rooms. Unfortunately, most of them require taking apart your existing ceiling or walls. There are specialty types of wallboard that can go up that will deaden the sound. These are laminated wallboards that are designed to have sort of a sound baffling inside them.

    I know Lowe’s sells one called QuietRock but replacing the wallboard is only part of it. You also have to get into the frame of the ceiling and seal up any gaps – like where wires go through, plumbing vents go through, things like that – because it really is a comprehensive solution. And that’s the right way and sort of the long way to do that.

    Short of that, I guess you could try to do this from the top side by replacing the floor, pulling the carpet up if that’s what’s down there, putting some sound deadening underneath that and then re-laying it down. But it’s kind of hard to chase it after the fact. The best sound deadening is done when the walls are open and not drywalled.

    HUGH: Yeah, I agree with that. Yeah, I was trying to think of a way without doing a big remodel. We’ve only been in here not quite a year.

    TOM: Well, you could put a second layer of drywall on. Maybe it wouldn’t be as good as if you tore the whole thing out but you could do something really inexpensively and use a product called Green Glue, which basically creates sort of an insulation space between different layers of it. The Green Glue is still pretty expensive but it is designed to stop some sound transfer.

    HUGH: Well, have you ever heard of anything – I’ve been trying to work this through my mind and I just don’t know enough about it – if there’s any type of that – maybe doing holes and using some type of expanding foam or something that would be designed to do that maybe.

    TOM: You know, there’s a rumor that insulating spaces like that will quiet the sound and it does a little bit but it doesn’t make a big difference. So, no, I don’t think you can do anything like that.

    HUGH: OK. Well, I do appreciate your help.

    TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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