Soundproofing your home office

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Ensuring zero-distractions as you work from home during the COVID19 Pandemic.

woman working at her home office during the coronavirus pandemic.

https://unsplash.com/@mimithian

The Coronavirus pandemic has forced us all to work from home. Governments from around the world are enforcing lockdowns. This means that it does not matter if you have local or international clients. Nobody can take international flights for meetings, and it is unwise to have local face-to-face meetings as well.

Your home is now your workplace too. This is both exciting and worrisome. Exciting, because you no longer need to take a shower and can simply work in your PJs. Worrisome, because there are distractions everywhere. Your child may want to play with you, your partner may want to sweet-talk you, and your upstairs neighbour might decide that this is the best time to take YouTube tutorials for tap-dancing.

How do I stay focused?

Change starts with you. Having said this, we know that even having a dedicated workspace and avoiding procrastination cannot help you if your surroundings do not cooperate.

So what do you do? Yep, you guessed it—you change the surroundings.

No, we don’t mean rearranging the furniture or kicking your child out of the house. We mean soundproofing the home office. (The title gave it away, didn’t it?)

 

How do I soundproof my workspace fast?

“Haste is of the Devil”.

We’re kidding, don’t beat yourself over it. In this fast-paced life, nobody has time to waste. This is why we are offering multiple options. Depending on how much time you have and how much noise you’d like to reduce, user discretion is advised. Be mindful of the fact that bigger the air-gap, more the noise.

We will try to eliminate as much noise, and get rid of as many air-gaps as we can.

Option 1—Acoustic Windows

Here’s an easy-peasy option. Call us and we will come and fix an additional acoustic window on top of your existing window. This method is called secondary glazing, and it works great for sound control because each piece of glass acts as an independent barrier to noise.

This option is also doubly beneficial because it reduces heat gain or loss by up to 50%.

 

Option 2—Use sound absorbers on walls/ceilings

You can use absorption panels and affix them directly on your walls. These need to cover the wall that you share with the noise-source (perhaps the apartment next door). All gaps between panels should be sealed with an acoustic sealant.

The Fibertex may not be too visually appealing, but you can always wrap it in fabric for aesthetic purposes. Another option is using Stratocell® Whisper™, which is a moisture-resistant sound absorption foam. This is a costlier option but some might prefer it.

If you don’t want to change the simplicity of the wall, you can also put sound absorption material inside your walls. Mineral wool or Fibertex are both good candidates for this task. You will need to remove the existing plasterboard, and then insert the absorption material at the back of the noise-source room’s plasterboard.

Once done, you re-install the plasterboard with the help of an acoustic sealant.

Soundproofing inside the wall is always trickier and is more time consuming. We can assure you however, that if done well, you will have zero regrets about your decision.

 

Option 3—Use sound barriers on the walls/ceilings

Sound barriers, unlike absorbers, block the direct path of soundwaves. This works well for enclosed spaces like rooms because you can cover the entire wall with a sound barrier. At Soundproof Warehouse, we recommend sound barrier sheets the like Sound-Stop 5 for this purpose.

You can affix these directly on the wall using the super-grip tape and acoustic sealants. You can also layer the sound barrier between the plasterboard and sound absorption material inside the wall or ceiling. For detailed instructions on installing this acoustic barrier, click on this text.

 

Option 4—Seal all holes

We might have mentioned the importance of sealing holes before but this deserves a special mention of its own. Air gaps will let sound through, so ensure that you seal any teeny-tiny holes using an acoustic sealant.

What kind of holes you ask? These could include cable holes, recessed lighting holes (ceiling), termite exit holes, or simply drilled holes.

 

Don’t fall for these ‘hacks’

Here is a small list of ‘fixes’ that you are better off staying away from. Soundproofing hacks more often than not, do not work.

  1. Egg cartons – Egg cartons are not made for acoustic solutions. Leave them in the recycling bin.
  2. Soundproof Paint – This might work if you are trying to avoid very low-frequency sounds. If your baby is crying next-door, not so much.
  3. Soundproof Curtains – These will help control some reverberation but will not isolate the noise.
  4. Rugs and Carpets – These are adequate for reducing echoes in your room. They will however, not avoid noise coming in from your downstairs neighbour.

We hope that this article was helpful for you if you’ve been having a hard time concentrating around distracting sounds. If your annoyance towards certain sounds is extreme, you may want to consider a test for Misophonia.

It is a trying time for us all, but we hope that with a little soundproofing help, you will be able to work to your full potential. For tips, suggestions, and product enquiries, feel free to call Steve on 07 3287 7647.

 

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