Soundproofing – Keeping noise out of your new build

Tips on How to Soundproof Your Home | HGTV
Excessive noise makes a home feel chaotic and stressful. By planning and soundproofing during construction, you keep interiors quiet and peaceful. Soundproofing is especially important in new builds and renovations where walls are open for insulation upgrades. Sound travels through homes in two key ways airborne and impact transmission. Airborne noises like voices, TVs, and music transmit through walls, ceilings, and vents as sound waves. Impact noises like footsteps are vibrations that pass through floors and into the structure. Soundproofing aims to block both airborne intrusion and impact transmission using special construction techniques and materials. An acoustic specialist help design a customized plan based on room adjacency and sound source locations.

Insulate for sound control

Strategic insulation dampens both airborne and impact sound transfer. Upgrade exterior walls with soundproofing insulation like Roxul Safe Sound or QuietRock. These types have noise reduction coefficients (NRC) of 0.9 or above. Use sound clips and channels along interior walls, then double up drywall on each side for extra density. Next, fill the gap with insulation like unfaced fiberglass or sound-attenuating insulation. For flooring, opt for soft surfaces like carpets and rugs which absorb footfall noise. Underlayments further dampen the impact before it reaches the structure. Combine with acoustical mats and insulation between subfloors and under flooring. Muffling attics, interior walls, and mechanical rooms keep equipment hum and isolated from living areas. Adhesive soundproofing sealants around outlets, trim, and fixtures also block noise intrusion.

Strategic materials selection

  • Insulated exterior doors with full weather stripping
  • Double-pane, laminated windows with air gaps 
  • Staggered-stud walls with insulation 
  • Extra thick insulation in attics and exterior walls
  • Soundproof drywall like QuietRock 
  • Acoustical mat underlayments 
  • Carpet, rugs, curtains, and upholstered furniture

Avoid noise-conducting materials like concrete floors and hollow-core interior doors located between bedrooms or other quiet spaces. Work with an acoustic designer to optimize material selection for active sound control.

Isolate noisy areas 

Prevent sound transfer by positioning noisy areas away from those needing quiet. Place HVAC equipment, laundry rooms, and garages as far as possible from bedrooms and relaxation areas. Never share walls between a nursery and a home theatre! For rooms that adjoin noisy zones, add extra soundproofing layers like resilient channels and double drywall to isolate sound. If plumbing runs through quiet zones, wrap pipes with acoustical insulation to deaden flow noise.  

Seal all penetrations 

Holes and gaps in walls, floors, ceilings, and ductwork provide pathways for sound leakage throughout a structure. 

  • Outlets, switches, fixtures, and trim  
  • Windows and exterior doors
  • Wiring, pipe, and vent penetrations 
  • Behind wall plates and electrical boxes
  • Floor and ceiling joints
  • Attic hatches
  • Ducts, shafts, soffits, and dropped ceilings

Use acoustical sealant, gaskets, fire block caulk, or expanding foam for the best soundproofing. Airtight construction also improves energy efficiency. Sound masking systems produce subtle background noise to cover up intrusive ambient sounds. The white noise effect helps disguise conversations, footfalls, and other noises that might disturb light sleepers or compromise privacy. Systems are available to install in existing homes, but wiring in components like speakers and controllers is easier during the build. White noise distributes through ductwork or dedicated ceiling speakers to mask the distracting sound. Users adjust the volume and tone to personal preferences while maintaining confidentiality and peaceful environments.