As working from home becomes a viable option for more and more of us, soundproofing your home office may be high on your list of DIY projects. When you have other family members working and playing in close proximity, soundproofing is a surprisingly cost-effective and sustainable way to make sure everyone gets the most out of their time at home. Read on for tips and insights on the benefits of soundproofing, and how to make it a reality in your house or apartment’s home office.
Home Soundproofing Explained
As sustainable soundproofing experts Rockwool explain, acoustic insulation is the technical term for soundproofing a room or area of your home. Acoustic insulation can be applied in several different ways, depending on the construction of the space you’re working with, and your particular needs (for instance, between two rooms, between two floors, or both). The benefits to productivity and peace of mind for everyone in your home can be massive, as you can reduce noise emanating from your office, as well as sound entering from the rest of the house, and from the outdoors. Soundproofing is measured by an STC (sound transmission class) rating. You can choose an STC rating based on your needs for your home office—and the rest of your home—then choose a soundproofing product that fits those needs. Check out the chart on this page from Rockwool for an overview of what you can achieve with different STC ratings.
Finding the Right Insulation Product
For most home offices, at minimum, you’ll want to soundproof the walls of the room. Whether you’re soundproofing as part of a new build, or constructing a retrofit, there are options to meet both needs. Determine whether you’re working with wood or steel stud interior walls, and whether you’re interested in additional features such as fireproofing. Rockwool’s Safe’n’Sound stone wool batt insulation has multiple applications. For one, it’s fireproof, withstanding temperatures up to 1177ºC. It can be used in floors, interior walls, ceilings, partitions and party walls, whether you’re working with steel or wood studs. Safe’n’Sound has other benefits in addition to being soundproof and fireproof: its stone wool construction is recyclable, resists rot, mildew, and fungi, and is water- and moisture-resistant. Of course, before the install, make sure you’re adhering to your local building codes to ensure your build is up to spec.
How Much Material Will You Need?
Whether you’re working with a contractor or doing the soundproofing yourself, with a few numbers on hand, you can use Rockwool’s online calculator to determine how much product you’ll need. Choose your application (e.g. interior walls), calculate the size of your room, determine your stud size, type, and spacing, and the calculator can give you an estimate of how many bags of insulation you’ll need to get the job done. Another pro of working with Rockwool is that you can cut it with tools you already have, such as a serrated kitchen knife, and it doesn’t require working with PPE, as there’s no off-gassing or harmful chemicals in the product.
Safe’n’Sound comes in 3-inch and 6-inch thicknesses, so you can achieve the level of sound insulation you need for your space. For instance, 6-inch may be needed for ceilings and floors, while 3-inch could be applied to walls (watch this video to see the 6-inch batts in action). Since they’re so easy to cut, the batts can be sized to fit perfectly in the trickier areas you need them, such as around pipes, wiring and electrical boxes.
Working With a Shared Space
What if you’re sharing your home office? You can still use batt insulation by constructing a partition wall and applying batts like Safe’n’Sound, which is suitable for partition walls, to both sides of the wall.
Other Areas to Consider Soundproofing
Within your office, there are other simple ways to achieve your soundproofing goals once you’ve tackled your wall, ceiling or floor insulation. Wall-to-wall carpeting or area rugs, triple-paned windows, and solid doors are three ways to make sure you’re maximizing the effects of your sound insulation job. If your office has a hollow-core door, the more popular and affordable type of door in most newer homes, swap it out for a solid-core door. You can also add a door sweep, available at most home hardware stores or online, which attaches to the bottom of your door and adds soundproofing along the gap between the door and the floor. You can also add weatherstrips along the remaining edges of the door for further sound dampening.