More people are working from home today than ever before. While there are numerous benefits to working from a home office, there are also a few challenges.
Learning how to soundproof a home office can minimize or eliminate distraction and unwanted noises so that you can maximize your productivity.
Where to Start
Unless you’re concerned about a significant issue contributing to the noise level in your home office, you don’t have to hire a professional to conduct an inspection. Instead, inspect your office yourself, as well as the rest of your home, to find out if there are any holes or gaps in the walls and ceilings.
Small perforations can be quickly and easily patched and even larger holes can be fixed with sound absorption materials like fiberglass batt insulation.
Install a Solid-Core Door with Weatherstripping
Solid-core doors do a much better job at absorbing sound than hollow-core doors. Install a solid-core door and add vinyl weatherstripping to minimize the noise entering your office through your doorway.
A solid-core door is a wooden door that consists of a wood frame completely filled with wood or wood composite materials. Solid-core doors are an easy soundproofing solution that can significantly decrease the amount of unwanted sound penetrating the doorway of your office.
To block out even more noise, you can add vinyl weatherstripping to your office door. Vinyl weatherstripping is an easy way to seal gaps between your doorframe and the door to block outside noise.
While soundproofing your door, you can take it one step further by adding a door sweep. Whether or not you have a large gap between your door and the floor, adding a door sweep makes it that much harder for sound to get through.
How to Soundproof Windows
Are you constantly distracted by the sound of traffic or loud neighbors? Soundproofing the windows in your office is another great way to decrease the level of sound making its way into your office. Fortunately, there are several great soundproofing solutions designed specifically for windows!
Choosing the right curtains means you can benefit from window treatments that do more than just block out light and add to your decor. Soundproof curtains are different from standard curtains in that they effectively absorb quieter sounds and minimize louder noises.
There are three types of soundproof curtains:
- Insulation curtains: Insulation curtains look just like standard curtains but they’re made with dense materials to help block outside noise. Insulation curtains have the added benefit of also functioning as blackout curtains due to their heavier material.
- Industrial blankets: Industrial blankets are typically used to protect items during a move, but they work great as soundproofing blankets and can be hung over your window. They are made of a thick, padded material that works like sound absorbers to help minimize the noise coming through your window.
- Audio insulation sheets: Using audio insulation sheets to soundproof your window will cost you more than curtains or blankets, but they can be a great soundproofing solution. Audio insulation sheets typically have grommets to make them easy to hang from a curtain rod and are made of several layers of dense fabric.
Install Window Inserts
One of the most effective ways to soundproof a window is to install window inserts. Glass window inserts are placed in the window frame, typically 5 inches in front of your existing window on the inside. The space between the window and the insert helps block sound vibrations to greatly reduce noise.
Laminated glass inserts are the most popular type of window inserts. The thick glass is constructed of two layers of glass with a layer of plastic between them.
Install a Double-Pane Window
If your home is 15 years old or older, there is a good chance your home office has single-pane windows. A single-pane window has only one piece of glass in the window frame and doesn’t offer a barrier between the window and the noise outside.
Double-pane windows are constructed of two pieces of glass with air between them to prevent vibration of outdoor noise from coming through the window. If your home office has one or more single-pane windows, consider replacing them with double-pane windows.
Seal Window Gaps with Acoustic Caulk
You might be surprised to discover just how much noise can get into a room through even the smallest gaps between a window frame and an interior wall. To seal those gaps, fill them with acoustic caulk.
Acoustic caulk is a noise-proof, latex-based sealant that reduces the transmission of sound without permanently sealing your window closed. For the best results, remove any silicone caulk that is currently around your door frame, then apply a thin bead of caulk in the space between your interior window frame and wall.
Ceiling Soundproofing Solutions
A noisy neighbor can be a major distraction when you’re working from home, especially if your upstairs neighbors are the ones making the biggest commotion. Soundproofing your ceiling can reduce the amount of noise and help to create a more productive workspace!
An acoustic panel is a panel that absorbs sound and reduces the echo and reverberation in a room. An acoustic panel can keep outside noise from getting in and keep inside noise from getting out. These panels can be put on your ceiling, wall, or both in order to reduce noise.
Adding a single layer of drywall to your ceiling is a great option, but a double layer of drywall is ideal as a soundproofing solution for your ceiling.
Soundproof Your Floor
If noise is making its way into your home office through the floor, consider utilizing one or more of the many available floor soundproofing solutions.
Floor Mats or Rugs
One of the easiest ways to soundproof your floor is to use floor mats or rugs. Interlocking floor mats can be installed directly on top of your existing floor and can be cut to fit the corners of your room. They are durable, easy to clean and come in a variety of materials.
Professional Floor Soundproofing Solutions
Installing a soundproof floor underlayment or adding a noise-proofing compound can significantly reduce the noise coming through your floors. However, unless you have experience in home renovation or construction, you will likely want to hire a professional to tackle these projects for you.
With either option, an extra layer is added to your flooring to make it more soundproof and create a quieter workspace!
Common Mistakes People Make When Soundproofing
Using Home Objects to Deflect Sound
Many people make the mistake of thinking that stacking or placing objects next to a wall will somehow help to deflect sound. This is not the case. In reality, you risk attracting more noise since sound travels through solid surfaces.
Like we mentioned before, it’s always best to use verified soundproof materials, such as soundproof curtains or acoustic panels.
Not Checking for Wall, Door, or Window Damage Beforehand
Soundproofing will only be as effective as the structure itself. In other words, don’t expect soundproofing to work if you’re trying to soundproof damaged walls, doors, or windows.
Examples of damaged walls, doors, or windows would be if there are any cracks, gaps, leaks, rips, or tears. Prior to soundproofing, ensure that you fix any of the aforementioned problems. This will not only make your soundproofing more effective, but it will help eliminate any potential future problems.
Not Doing Adequate Research
Soundproofing takes time, and not everyone will automatically be an expert at it. That’s normal! The best way to become good at soundproofing is, like anything else, to research!
Perhaps the most important step in the entire soundproofing process is to figure out what you’re dealing with. What kind of material are you trying to soundproof (walls, windows, floors, ceilings)? What kind of noise are you trying to keep out (noisy neighbor, traffic)?
No matter what the material or noise is, make sure that you do proper research beforehand in order to be prepared and more knowledgeable. This knowledge will serve you well during the entire process. If not, you could be left not knowing what to do and end up hiring someone to not only soundproof your home, but fix the mistakes you made.
When working from home, your office should be a place where you can be the most productive. If outside noises are constantly distracting you, it’s time to learn how to soundproof a home office. There are plenty of solutions that can reduce unwanted noise and provide the peace and quiet you need to work, many of which you can easily install yourself!