This guest post was contributed by ValueChampion
Since working from home is becoming a norm, setting up your home to make it conducive and noise-free so that you can focus on your work and video calls without interruption is becoming more than essential.
Just for a cost estimate, getting professional help to apply sound insulation materials on the ceiling and wall to effectively reduce sound transmission can cost anything from S$113 m² to S$248 per m². Based on these estimates, applying such material on the four walls and ceiling of an HDB bedroom of size 13.5 m² can cost S$5,932 to S$13,020, a pretty hefty price that can topple your monthly budget unless you can put it in a home loan!
Are there more affordable methods of soundproofing your room? Sure there are and we have researched six options that are much easier on your wallet:
Installing a soundproof window is the most expensive recommendation on our list but it is also the most valuable investment if you are serious about shutting out external noise. Replacement of windows can start at S$2,400 a panel with professional help for installation.
There is a wide selection of such windows in the market and many of them are not just able to block out common noise but also have heat insulation properties and shatterproof toughness for extra security.
Soundproof Door Strip
Instead of spending a huge amount of money replacing your doors, a cheap alternative is to install sound dampening door strips These strips can be easily found online between S$3.69 to S$10 per piece of nearly one meter long. They usually come in rubber or foam material and can be easily customised to a specific length with scissors or penknives.
Depending on the quality and material used, such seals can achieve acoustic attenuation up to 40dB, which is equivalent to the noise level of a library! A pretty decent result for a DIY method.
Seal Air Gaps
Look out for holes or cracks between your floors and walls, they could be the culprits that are allowing noise to seep through. Since sound waves bounce around, they’re likely to pick the path of least resistance and travel through these air gaps. Sometimes these gaps can be so obscure that you won't even notice them.
A simple DIY solution is to fill up these gaps with sealant or gap fillers. Some fillers have an expanding formula that turns into large foams once they are injected into the gaps; effectively sealing up holes and cracks within the walls even when you can’t see them. A quick search on Lazada and you’ll find such fillers ranging from S$12.50 to S$27. With a bit of effort, you can pretty much handle this task on your own, hence saving the cost of hiring help or engaging professional contractors.
You’ll usually see them in studios and soundproof rooms where walls are mounted with thick paddings that feel somewhat like rubber or compact foam. Soundproof panels are great at blocking out mid to high-frequency sound waves, they are also effective for absorbing sounds within the room to prevent echoes.
What’s so interesting about these panels is that they come in different patterns and colours to let you customise your wall to your liking. If you’re handy, try mounting them yourself with spray glue or 3M double-sided tape to prevent damaging your walls. Alternatively, you can always engage professional help to relieve you of this cumbersome task, but this usually comes with a bigger price tag.
Keen to DIY? Here are some suggestions on where to buy these panels:
Carpet and Rugs
Noise and sound can bounce off our walls and hard floors to create echoes, especially if a room is mainly open spaces with little furniture. A simple trick to counter this problem is to invest in rugs or carpets to damp the sound.
You don’t need an expensive Persian rug to help with sound insulation, budget-friendly ones from Ikea, Castlery or iRugs may serve the purpose too. Here’s a tip to select a carpet that’s good for soundproofing: Choose those with multiple frays and fuzzy tops because they are best at absorbing sound.
Fabrics are great for sound absorption, especially those that are thick and weighty like curtains can effectively dampen noise and reverberations in the room. Installing soundproof curtains are becoming a popular choice because they have added functions such as improving the aesthetic of the room, blocking out external light and even heat insulation abilities.
However don’t assume that any curtain will do the trick, the fabric needs to be dense, which is why many soundproof curtains in the market are crafted with a triple-weave fabric. Pure suede and polyester are also great materials for soundproofing purposes. When in doubt, you can always seek the assistance of a curtain specialist.