It’s kind of nice being in the “do it yourself kind of business” like soundproofing. In today’s world taking the family out on a Friday night for dinner and a movie might cost you more than your monthly mortgage payment. That is why many families are opting for their very own home Theater. If you have a spare room or an empty space in your basement or attic, you have a potential Home Theater.
It used to be that the best way to build a home theater or a home studio was to construct new wall within the existing room and then build what we call a “Room within a room.” Though this method of soundproofing is still quite effective, it is costly and eats up a lot of wall space in your already cramped theater room.
A better suggestion is to work with your existing walls by applying a new layer of drywall to the existing walls and ceiling but applying a layer of a product called Green Glue on the new drywall and sandwich it in between the existing wall and the new drywall. If you do this to all the walls and the ceiling you are well on your way to a great soundproof home theater. Now if your home theater is on a second floor, the ceiling now becomes less of a concern and now the floors become more of an issue. Floors can be soundproofed in many different ways depending on what the finished floor is going to be installed. If you are planning on having carpet and pad for the finished floor in your theater, then a soundproof floor underlay would be in order. Something like American Impactless soundproof floor underlay or American Impact Standard underlay. These are both recycled rubber products that would lie atop of the wood or concrete sub floor to stop the airborne sounds of the home theater from traveling down to the people below.
The Impactless is a less dense rubber underlay and would be perfect for under carpet and pad. The American Impact Standard would also be effective under the carpet and pad, but is more suited for hardwood and ceramic tile floors due to its sheer mass.
Other concerns that you might have with your home theater would be doors and windows. Let’s talk about doors for a minute; if you are trying to keep the movie in the home theater, then a hollow core door could be your worst enemy. Most modern bedroom doors are hollow core and do little in the way of soundproofing. Your best bet would be to go to Home Depot or Lowe’s and purchase a solid core MDF or solid wood door. You could ad an automatic drop down transom seal to the bottom of the door and also a door perimeter seal kit to seals around the door where it closes into the jam. A real soundproof door could cost thousands, with a little time and careful planning; you can get the same results at 1/4 the cost.
The last thing we need to talk about are the windows in your home theater. If neighbors are a concern, then I would suggest building window plugs with the 2″ America Mat closed cell vinyl nitrile foam mat. For example, if your window were 3′ X 3′, you would cut the foam to 3’1″ X 3′ 1″ thus giving the window plug and extra 1/2″ around it’s entire perimeter. This extra 1/2″ will help to hold the window plug tightly into the window frame much like a cork in a bottle. If the window is 4′ or more on either dimension, it is suggested that the window plug be glued to a backer board, something like wood paneling or Luaan. These wood panels can be found at home Depot or Lowe’s.
Well, I think we have covered every aspect of building your very own home theater; next time we will discuss acoustical treatments for your theater, until then, Dr. Bob…. Out!!!