Insulation OverviewDuring the construction process, standing in the interior of a half built home is deafening.  With carpenters nailing, compressors running and boom boxes playing competing melodies on every floor, you can hardly hear yourself think.  The day after insulation is installed both in the exterior and interior partitions, it seems like a different place.  With sound insulation between the floors and within the interior partitions, it is hard to get the attention of someone in the next room even when you scream.
Spray foam insulation in the exterior walls and roof of a home take the howl of a storm down to a whisper.  Filling the spaces between the studs stops drafts, making the home more energy efficient and helps increase the stiffness of the structure further reducing noises.  Insulation in interior partitions can be spray foam, fiberglass batt, remanufactured denim, or any number of sound absorbing materials.
There are many ways to reduce the noise transmission within a home and to diminish unwanted sounds from outside:
  1. Spray foam in all exterior walls and roofs.
  2. Use double or even triple paned windows if required.
  3. Insulate all interior walls and floors.
  4. Use cast iron waste pipes in upper floors and walls (or wrap plastic pipes in sound deadening material).
  5. For home theaters, use double walls (insulated) and sound deadening board.
  6. Place all mechanical equipment on rubber bushings to prevent sound transfer.
  7. Isolate ductwork so there is no transfer between rooms.
Each of the items mentioned adds cost to a project, but only a small percentage of the construction budget would be devoted to even the most complete soundproofing.  A good nights’ sleep in spite of noisy neighbors, traffic, or family members is priceless.
Insulation Close Up Lr

About the Author: James Crisp

James M. Crisp has been an architect for well over 30 years. His architectural firm, Crisp Architects, designs projects throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. In April of 2007, Taunton Press published 'On the Porch' by James M. Crisp and Sandra Mahoney.

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    Jonathan Meyer April 16, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Great article. Looking forward to using this on some of our Aging In Place projects.

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    Kristen April 25, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    You can also do "wall upholstery" which you add batting and fabric to the walls.

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