How to Soundproof a Home Office: 10 Ways that Work!
Working from home can be great. You get to be your own boss and determine how long you actually work.
However, any noise, however little, can be quite distracting. For you to get work done, your home office should be able to block out as much noise as possible.
When I quit my job to work from home a few years ago, the biggest challenge I faced was all the noise in the house. The kids were a ruckus and that meant I couldn’t get much done from my home office.
It was then that I decided to soundproof my home office. I took a couple of the steps I have highlighted in this article and of course, the outcome was amazing. I have added a few other steps you can take should the ones I took not work for you.
You can soundproof your home office in a couple of ways. The best part is that it doesn’t even have to be an expensive project. Most of these steps are cost friendly.
While soundproofing your home office, take into consideration how much noise you are prone to and how much of that you actually want to block out.
In this article, we will look at some of the basic steps you can take to turn your home office into a noise-free work environment.
How to Soundproof a Home Office
1. Seal the holes
When you consider soundproofing your home office, this should be the first step you take. A concrete wall with even the smallest of holes will let some sound through.
Inspect your home office for any holes in the walls and ceilings and seal those first. Although this will take you quite some time, you will be glad to have done so once you are done.
You can use a variety of materials to fill in the holes. I have particularly found fiberglass batt insulation to be a good option.
Fiberglass is used for insulation against heat. However, it also makes a great sound-absorbing material.
Installing fiberglass batt insulation to seal the holes on your walls forms a barrier that absorbs vibrations from the source to the adjacent areas. This limits the transmission of sound from one area to another.
2. Soundproof the Door
Most doors that are used in homes’ interiors are usually hollow. This makes it quite easy for noise to pass through them.
The door to your home office is, therefore, a major way through which noise passes through. You should consider soundproofing your door to minimize the noise.
Soundproofing your door can be quite challenging. There are a couple of ways you can do this. You will just choose what works best for you.
If you are working on a tight budget, a soundproofing weatherstrip should work for you. Simply purchase this and place it on your door jam. The weatherstrip comes with an adhesive so setting it up is just a matter of minutes.
Weatherstrips are initially meant to prevent rain and water from getting into a room. They are usually strips made of materials such as fiberglass that come with an adhesive. However, newer models of weatherstrips have been made soundproof.
Given that the weatherstrips are made of fiberglass, they can also act as sound absorbing materials. Although the weatherstrip does not absorb all the noise, it certainly dampens it.
Another inexpensive option would be to purchase a soundproof door blanket. These are placed behind the door and are effective in blocking out most of the noise.
Changing the door entirely is another option, although this would certainly cost you more. You can change your home office door for a more solid one. You can simply buy the door and fix it up yourself.
You may also need to purchase a draft stopper like this, especially if you have a carpet under the door of your home office. The draft stopper will glide across the bottom of the carpet to provide insulation against sound.
Like the weatherstripping, draft stoppers were initially meant to insulate against heat loss. However, nowadays, draft stoppers are made from sound absorbing materials. They dampen the sound that passes through them thereby reducing the intensity.
If the design of your home allows it, you could also consider getting a second door fixed. This would mean that you would have to go through two doors to get to your home office. The second door would provide more soundproofing.
Read the full guide on soundproofing a door.
3. Soundproof the Air Vents
Whenever one is thinking of soundproofing any room in the house, the air vents are often overlooked. This is usually a big mistake.
The air vents are probably the biggest holes on your walls and as such, the biggest way through which noise passes through to your office.
There are a couple of ways to soundproof your air vents. You may decide to block up the air vent with some material or expanding foam.
Alternatively, you may decide to build a sound maze in the vent. This reduces the amount of noise passing through while at the same time retaining the air flow into the room.
See the full guide on soundproofing an air-vent with sound maze.
4. Soundproof the Windows
The windows are another way through which noise gets into your home office. They can be quite a problem particular;y if you live on a busy street or have loud neighbors.
Just as is the case with the door, you can either go the cheap or the expensive way.
The expensive way would have you buy soundproof windows and have them professionally fitted. Soundproof windows are basically double paned windows separated by a spacer.
The cheap way would be to buy soundproof curtains. You will have to ensure that these fit from the ceiling to the floor so that they are extra effective.
Here's a detailed guide on how to soundproof the windows.
5. Work on the Floor
Another source of the noise in your home office is the floor. Well, not literally. But if your home office has a hard surface for a floor, say something like wood, chances are echoes in your home office are as a result of that.
Hard surfaces reflect sound waves, and as a result, any sound in your home office is echoed back. To counter this, you can decide to add some soft rugs in the room. Soft surfaces absorb noise and will, therefore, help in soundproofing your home office.
Another idea would be to add some soft rugs outside your home office. Placing the rugs outside will help in absorbing noise before it actually gets into the office.
If the noise is coming from underneath your home office, say, for example, your office is directly above the garage or laundry room, you may want to install an acoustic board under your carpet.
An acoustic board is simply a special kind of board, made of sound absorbing materials. When placed underneath your carpet, the board helps in reducing the intensity of the sound.
Of course, this will certainly require some time and effort but it will totally be worth it.
Want to learn more? Here's how to soundproof the floor!
6. Prevent Echoes Within the Room
As I have mentioned above, echoes can be another source of the noise that keeps you from working in your home office.
Although reducing the echoes within your home office won’t make the room quieter, it will reduce the impact of any noise coming into the room.
You can test if your home office is prone to echoes. Simply yell as loud as you can and listen for any echo afterward. If it is a problem, then you will need to fix it.
Fixing the problem of echoes in your home office is quite easy. The first step would be as mentioned above; taking care of the floors. Get a plush rug on the floor that will absorb any sound, rather than reflect it.
You may also want to hang some large canvas art gallery on the walls. You can also put up curtains to prevent sound from bouncing off the windows. The secret to dealing with echoes is to add thick, soft materials all around the room.
If you would want to test the difference echoes make, go into your bathroom and try to play some music on your phone. The bathroom is a high echo room and chances are that you will not be able to hear the words clearly.
However, if you were to do the same in your closet, the soft materials from all the clothes there would absorb all the echoes making it easier for you to hear the words.
7. Soundproof the Ceiling
Although this option is not necessary, you could go for it if all other options have failed.
As is the case with the acoustic board on the floor, this will take up much of your time. It is, however, a great option if the noise in your home office comes from the room above it.
Soundproofing your ceiling will involve you attaching a drywall to it. Build a frame and attach in to the ceiling. You can then attach an extra layer of drywall onto the frame.
A drywall is also known as a wallboard and is just a panel used in the construction of interior walls and ceilings.
It is made up of several materials which work to increase the panel's sound absorbing features as well as increase its resistance to fire. When used on ceilings and walls, drywalls can significantly reduce the amount of sound that is transmitted through them.
You could also purchase acoustic ceiling panels. Like the acoustic boards, they are made of sound absorbing materials. For these, you can choose from a variety of colors, styles, and designs. You can, therefore, get something that matches with the existing décor.
As this involves a lot of work, you may decide to call in your handyman for this.
8. Use sound-absorbing paints and wall foams
I know you are wondering if sound-absorbing paints really do exist. And the answer is yes. Some companies make paints that can reduce noise by up to 30%. If the noise has been quite a bother, it may be time to redecorate.
You may also go for acoustic wall foams. Just like the acoustic board underneath the carpet, you can easily get the wall foams at pocket-friendly prices.
Acoustic foams increase air resistance and by so doing, they reduce the amplitude of the soundwaves.These foams reduce the amount of noise transferred through the walls.
In addition to that, you may consider getting some fabric paintings to hang on your wall. Not only will they improve the room's sound-absorbing techniques, they will also be additional decorations to the room.
9. Get a white noise machine
If you really cannot do much about the noise, you may want to consider getting a white noise machine.
A white noise machine will produce sounds that drown out all the other noises. This leaves you with a suitable work environment.
You do not have to purchase an expensive machine for this. A cheap simple model that gets the work done should do just fine. What’s more, the white noise machine could be used elsewhere, say for example if you have infants, you can use it in the nursery.
10. Prevent structural sound
Structural sound is bound to be a distraction if you have a home office. This is sound that travels as vibrations through the walls of your homes.
Say, for example, your home office is just above the garage. The opening and closing of the garage door will certainly send some vibrations your way.
Dealing with structural sound involves using isolation techniques. This means that you will have to separate the layers of your wall so that the vibrations can be dampened as they travel through the walls.
The sound that eventually gets to your home office will be very minimal.
For structural sound, you will need to install a second layer of drywall on all the walls of your home office. Although this will push in the room a bit, the change will not be noticeable. The reduction in the level of sound, however, will be.
Sound-deadening vs Sound blocking
When it comes to soundproofing your home office, you will need to know the difference between sound blocking and sound deadening.
For most people, when they think of soundproofing, they will immediately want to get the wall foams and put them up against the walls. As I have explained earlier, this will be effective only in preventing the echoes.
As a result, noises from within the room will not be reflected. However, sound from the adjacent rooms will still get in.
Therefore, if you are looking to block the noises from getting inside the home office, you should work on the door, windows and other gaps in the holes.
On Soundproofing the Home Office
Working from home certainly needs a lot of discipline. And if there is any noise, the distraction can be quite a bother.
If you are living in a house that is a bustle of activities, or perhaps one that has children and teenagers, you will certainly have to think of soundproofing your home office.
I only had to take about three of the above steps before I achieved the results I was hoping for. You can, however, take as many steps as necessary for you to make your home office as soundproof as possible.
Take the above steps to soundproof your home office. The results? A quiet suitable environment for getting the most out of your work.