You might think that this is a bit of an oxymoron; to have a quiet home with little ones. However, it’s an important topic to cover. Noise is one of the most difficult pollutants to live with. Because it literally gets inside your head, you can become mentally sensitized, so that even quieter sounds begin to make you tense and even silence can become filled with the tension of waiting for the noise to begin again. Nobody is going to achieve complete silence at home, but there are things you can do to feel that you are in control and winning the battle.
Sound’s Favourite Medium
However sound moves around, it enters your ear through the air, and air is a good medium for it to travel through. It also travels well through materials that can transmit the vibrations efficiently from one side to the other. Remember that game with two cans and a string—when the string loses its tension the sound stops. So you are looking for materials solid enough to block the air and flexible enough to absorb vibrations.
Seal the Gaps
Since sound travels well through air, reduce to the minimum the air spaces into your house and between the rooms. Gaps around doors are a particular issue. You probably have weather strip around your outside doors to keep the draughts out, but it is a good idea to put it around inside doors as well.
Explore the rest of the house to check for any pipe or wire inlets that are not completely sealed and fill them with putty or expanding foam. If inside noise is a problem, consider replacing hollow doors with solid ones, as hollow doors are not an effective barrier to sound.
If it is the sound of people tramping about in the bedrooms or of domestic machinery in the basement that is destroying your peace, thick carpets are a good way to deaden the sound, as are sound-absorbing tiles on the ceiling, or better still a suspended ceiling.
If you do not have insulation in your roof, then installing this will not only save you money on your heating but will also help to reduce outside noise nuisance. Insulation within the external walls has the same effect.
If you have thin internal or external walls, one of the most effective sound blockers is a drywall layer. This is a good material for sound control and covers the entire wall where the problem may be coming from. It does of course slightly reduce the space in the room but that may be a small price to pay for quiet. A simpler method which may appeal is to use soundproofing wallpaper. It is not going to have the same effect as drywall but it makes a difference and is much easier to apply.
Modern house building techniques often leave the householder exposed to more noise than was the case with older houses, but all is not lost. Though you will never eliminate noise, by recognizing its source and placing the right sort of barriers in its way you can go a long way towards making it bearable.
This is a guest post from Sophie Little. She runs a daycare center from her home and is also a Mom to four kids who range in age from 3 to 15 – There’s rarely a quiet moment! She enjoys writing articles as a way to relax and unwind tucked away in her study with a cup of tea!