Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tips for Soundproofing Walls in NYC

By Kelvin Prufwall

If you live in NYC, then you know how hard it is to keep noise out of your apartment. As one of the busiest cities in the world, NYC boasts some of the highest vehicle traffic and train noise. That isn't even counting potentially noisy neighbors.

It is important for you to be able to live in an apartment or condo in NYC that is relatively quiet. Not only does this make it easier for you to sleep but can also help attain that feeling of independence from the rest of the world. After all, who wants to hear the outside world 24 hours per day? You need that quiet time to relax and do your own thing.

Soundproofing walls is the best way to achieve peace and quiet. But how can you accomplish full soundproofing in such a crowded environment? Of course, the most expensive way is to hire a contractor in who specializes in soundproofing walls and floors and even HVAC piping! However, construction for the sake of soundproofing walls, while the most effective way to soundproof, can be extremely pricey for the average person.

You've probably heard about the myths of soundproofing walls. Egg cartons, Styrofoam or carpeting placed on the walls to dampen the sound. The truth is that some of these materials are proven to be completely futile. For instance, egg cartons really don't help to reduce sound and you can't really put them on your walls unless you want to look silly. You may get mixed results from foam, bedding or other materials, but you can also waste a lot of time and money doing that. Not to mention it simply doesn't look good.

The problem that many people face when trying to soundproof by themselves is that they simply don't understand how sound control works and they think that covering the walls is the only way. But owning heavy objects helps. Sound travels in low frequency waves and heavy objects like furniture will absorb sounds from noisy neighbors. Of course, some floor rugs and carpeting will help absorb some of the sound of your noisy neighbors but not entirely.

Soundproofing walls will always be tough. Unless you can get inside your walls and add insulation or other soundproofing materials, your only real solution is to dampen the sound with some sort of professional soundproofing material like soft sound acoustic panels. You can paint or decorate these and it won't look as bad as carpet or egg crates.

To dampen street noise, there are a couple of things you can do to soundproof your windows. You can install modern double paned windows or acrylic framed windows. However, this may not be possible depending on your home " if this isnt a viable option, then window plugs or sound dampening drapes can help. Window plugs are an easy to install solution; these are simply pieces of soundproofing materials which are cut to fit snugly in your windows and can be put in and taken out any time you want to cut down on street noise.

These tips can help you to reduce those distracting street noises and the noise from your neighbors. The idea is to use materials which offer a balance of soundproofing and looks. Carpet, egg cartons and Styrofoam are simply not good options. Whether you live in Gramercy Park, Astoria or Park Slope, you really can balance the excitement and convenience of living in NYC with the peace and quiet of home without resorting to unattractive and ineffective soundproofing materials.

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