Quieting My Son’s Drum Room?
I’m not sure if you can help me, but we are considering some level of soundproofing for our son’s bedroom. He plays the drums, and our house is not large, so we would greatly benefit from something that would help block/absorb some of the sound. Can your company help with this? And if so, what kind of price range would apply?
Your problem is quite a difficult one to approach. Typically, in order to block a noticeable amount of sound you will need to re-do the basic wall and floor (or ceiling) assembly of the room which is understandably unlikely. I get a lot of calls and E-mails from people who have similar problems and it is a very common misconception that one can put up a couple of foam panels onto the walls like you would see in a recording studio and it will fix the problem. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Foam and other things that are light weight and generally soft to the touch will do a fair job at absorbing the echo and reverberation inside of the room itself, but they are not designed or intended to block any sound at all from passing through them.
In order to block sound, one needs to do one of two things. First would be to build a room within a room so that the sheet rock of the drum room does not have any hard surface contact with the sheet rock on the adjacent rooms. There are a few ways to do this without totally ripping the walls out, but it would involve putting up an additional layer of sheet rock in the drum room. The other is to increase the mass and density of the wall assembly. The more mass something has, the weaker the sound wave is when it gets through it. For instance, a wall made up of 8′ of concrete will block more sound than a piece of sheet rock.
Two other things that make this a difficult situation is the door and the heating/cooling duct work. Doors are generally the weakest link in the wall and the duct work is basically a hole in the room. Sound travels through air so any kind of common air space this room has with the rest of the house is going to be an easy path for sound travel. Most people are surprised by these, but if there is a 1% air gap in any kind of a sound barrier (1/4″ between a door and the floor) that 30% of the sound will leak out of that room. If that air gap is increased to 5%, the sound leak increases to 90%.
A few simple, low cost products that may offer some help are our Echo Eliminator wall panels and a door seal kit. The wall panels will absorb some of the echo in the room so that the sound waves do not keep reflecting around inside of the room and the door seal kit will help make the door more of an air-tight assembly. I might also consider putting a barrier over the room vents while your son is practicing, but keeping in mind that they will need to be removed or the room will not get circulation. That could be done with our Mass Loaded Vinyl barrier.
I would just like to note that likely no matter what steps are taken, the low frequency “thump” of the bass drum will likely still make it’s way throughout the house. It is just an unfortunate truth in physics that the lower the frequency, the easier it is for the sound wave to make it’s way through whatever you put in front of it.