There are a number of benefits to working from home. There’s no commute, no need to dress in business attire, and you can often work on your own schedule. However, there is one major drawback – noise. Whether its from your kids, the TV in the other room, or just the traffic outside, noise can be incredibly distracting when trying to work. A solution to this is soundproofing your home office space.
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Should you soundproof your home office?
Soundproofing your home office can be a costly investment, and so should not be taken lightly. Before reading on, consider what you do in your home office. Are you actively on Zoom or other videoconferencing calls, and therefore need a quiet environment? Is your home consistently noisy, or is it just an occasional inconvenience?
How to soundproof your home office
If closing your office door does not help in reducing sound, you can try soundproofing the door. Installing weather stripping along the bottom of the door can help reduce this. It blocks out any airborne sounds, and can also improve the comfort in your office by preventing drafts and keeping heat inside.
Another option, albeit more expensive, is to replace your door with a solid-core door. Solid doors are significantly more effective at absorbing and dissipating sound than hollow-core doors.
While walls are great at absorbing sound, they are redundant if there are any small holes in them. Inspect your walls carefully, and, should you find any holes, cracks, or perforations, fill them in with caulk or another sound-absorbing material. If cables run through a hole in the wall between adjoining rooms, sound proofing foam or insulation can be stuffed into the hole, around the wires, to minimise the amount of noise that enters the room. Holes may seem small, but they allow a surprising amount of noise through.
If your home office is located on an upper floor – above the garage, or living room, and sound from downstairs is audible upstairs, it may be worth it to invest into soundproofing the floor. If you can afford it, installing a new floor with a soundproofing underlayment, such as mass load vinyl or soundproof padding will make a world of difference. Cheaper options include covering up the floor in a carpet or an area rug, which creates a sound-absorbent cushion that can block out or muffle noises from below.
Soundproofing windows may also be worthwhile. This can be down in two ways. The first, and cheapest, way, is to purchase noise reducing curtains. Noise reduction curtains are thick and dense, and can be effective at dampening noise by absorbing it, but they do not truly soundproof a room.
A more expensive, but subsequently more effective option, is to use a window insert. Window inserts create a dead air space between the insert panel and the glass, which drastically reduces the amount of noise that is able to permeate into your office.
Installing soundproofing panels is one of the best ways to soundproof a room. However, it can also be expensive, as enough panels must be purchased and installed to cover all four walls of the room. Additionally, installing these panels can be time consuming, as furniture would need to be moved.
Acoustic panels are often made from fabric, perforated wood, or foam. There are two main types – wedge ridge and egg crate panels.
Wedge Ridge panels use a pattern of squares with alternating designs, switching between horizontal and vertical ridges. They work by deflecting sounds off in different angles. They are cheaper than egg crate panels, but are not as effective at blocking out sound, as they were designed to improve the acoustics within recording studios.
Egg Crate soundproof panels are significantly better at absorbing sound. As the name suggests, they faintly resemble egg cartons. They tend to be around two and a half inches thick, which is significantly thicker than the Wedge Ridge models. However, this also means they are more expensive.