Soundproofing Office Spaces
The noise of airplanes overhead. Road traffic outside the window. Or worse yet, other people’s conversations. Whether it’s in your home office, or a shared commercial spaces, noise can be an overwhelming distraction and drastically reduce your productivity.
Discover how we soundproof offices to create distraction-free zones that let you focus on the job at hand.
Soundproofing A Home Office
The majority of home offices will suffer from noise disturbances that originate outside of the property. As such, the first step is to pinpoint exactly what the main source of the noise is, what frequency range it tends to fall into, and inspect the room for any entry points for sound. In many cases the windows will be the main culprit, being the weakest part of the structure.
When it comes to your home, you will want a solution that is both effective and elegant. With specialist timber soundproof windows you can not only add value to your home, but stop sound dead with reductions of up to 51dB.
If the noise complaint is particularly bad – or if you cannot alter the exterior for your building – secondary windows can also be installed within the current frames. These products, although cumbersome, actually boast the greatest levels of noise reduction – up to 55dB.
Alternatively, for a cost effective solution you can put up noise deadening curtains. Whilst these can slightly reduce noise pollution, they will block out all natural light and so aren’t a perfect solution if you’re working from home during the day.
Finally, the existing window should be inspected for gaps through which noise can enter your property. These holes can be easily plugged with acoustic sealants, though do be wary of any air vents.
If peace and quiet are integral to your work, you should also consider soundproofing your doors to cut down on those decibels. This can be done by simply placing acoustic seals on the inside of the frame to prevent sound transmitting around the door. However, if you require a more robust solution – for instance if you’re creating a private conference space – two door systems provide far greater reductions.
External doors – especially those which contain large glass panels – are a key focal point for soundproofing. Replacing external French doors with soundproof units that contain specialised glazing can offer a reduction of up to 45dB without compromising on that all-important natural light.
For a simple, inexpensive solution, noise deadening curtains can be installed inside the door that will reduce noise inside the room. Just don’t expect these curtains to stop road traffic noise entering your office.
The noise of neighbours, music pulsing through the wall, or the sounds of conversations breaking your concentration. These disturbances – also known as airborne noise complaints – can be caused by small gaps in the wall, or by sound flanking around poorly insulated areas.
To deal with these complaints the adjoining wall needs to be investigated for gaps, which will need to be plugged with acoustic sealant or caulk. More severe cases and structure-borne noise complaints require a different approach.
Noise transmission through the material of the wall is prevented by decoupling the wall from the existing structure. In most home offices, both sides of the wall are connected to the same stud. This allows noise to easily vibrate the wall and pass through into your room. By either creating a double stud, staggered stud or resilient clip and hat channel, the wall on your side is ‘decoupled’ from the adjoining wall greatly reducing the noise the amount of noise that can pass through.
If your home office is below someone with heavy feet, a washing machine or other impact noises you will want to treat your ceiling to reduce noise. Compared to other solutions, treating a ceiling for noise is a more complicated and expensive process and is only recommended when:
- the noise complaint is significant enough to warrant the work, and;
- the room is tall enough that you could lose some height without feeling cramped.
In these cases we will decouple the ceiling from the structure. This is achieved by installing resilient bars on the underside of our ceiling in conjunction with other acoustic products such as plasterboards and mats to reduce any impact noise.
Alternatively, and in situations in which decoupling the ceiling cannot deal with the heavy vibrations from above, an independent ceiling can be installed. This requires that new ceiling joists are installed from which an independent ceiling is fitted along with resilient bars and acoustic materials. Typically these ceilings can encroach on your office by up to 9 inches.
Noise Pollution and Working From Home
Noise pollution is annoying. There are no two ways about it. But the actual effects may be taking more of a toll than you actually think, especially if you work from home.
The World Health Organization recommends an upper limit of 35dB to allow good teaching and learning conditions. However, many of those with home offices by busy high streets will encounter noise pollution far exceeding this level on a daily basis. This is not only distracting, but can have long term effects on your health.
Studies have discovered that noise can impair performance in working environments, meaning that you’re less productive when faced with even minor noise pollution. This makes multi-tasking particularly troublesome. And whilst reaching for a pair of headphones might seem like the perfect solution to block out unwanted noise, it has been demonstrated that performance is reduced even if you are enjoying the sound compared to quiet.
Though noise pollution in your home office doesn’t just affect comprehension and concentration. Prolonged exposure to noise has been shown to increase blood pressure, heart rate and cardiac output. Over time this has been proven to increase your chances of suffering from arterial hypertension, heart disease and stroke.
As independent experts on soundproofing home offices, we guarantee to only ever advise you on the products and solutions that we think will work best for your property.