How to soundproof a media room or home cinema
Creating a home cinema or media room has become a trend circling home improvement blogs for the past few years, especially during the pandemic. Many homeowners have used their spare rooms or extended rooms to recreate the big-screen experience, plush with bad boy seating and surround sound speakers. but it is not without its challenges – particularly where soundproofing is concerned.
Unless you are creating the cinema room in a stand-alone building, such as an outbuilding or purpose-built garden building, you will need to consider how you can prevent sound having an unwanted effect in other parts of the house. The key is to think about it at the earliest stage so you can integrate proven solutions into your proposed design.
In order to reduce sound transmission through any separating floor or wall, materials which add density will need to be incorporated along with a means of creating separation between the ceiling and floor. By doing so, sound transmission paths will be interrupted, thus cutting the amount of sound that can be heard between rooms.
Adding density and separation can be achieved in a number of ways and the way to do it will depend on the design of the property and its construction type. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach, but in the products and systems available from Hush Acoustics, architects and property owners have an excellent acoustic insulation toolkit at their disposal.
Preparing your media room
Before embarking on on your home cinema journey, there are a few things you need to consider…
- Is the room a New build or refurbishment/renovation?
- If the property is already built and being adapted to create a cinema room, the acoustic floor or wall design will look very different to that in a new build.
- How much room height or floor space are you prepared to lose?
- Adding separation and density will need adding depth to a floor/ceiling or wall construction. This can have implications for furniture, doors and windows in all rooms treated.
Floor finishes in rooms above?
- If you are soundproofing a separating floor, the best approach is to treat both the ceiling and floor. So you will need to consider what the floor finish is in the room above and whether it can be disrupted.
- Is underfloor heating being used?
- If the room above has an underfloor heating system installed, you will need to think about how that can be retained in conjunction with sound insulation – and the good news is that both goals are compatible!
Cinema room soundproofing solutions
To give you an example of how sound insulate a media room, let us explain how we recently advised an Architect how to reduce and isolate sound.
The architects client wanted to reduce sound transmission from a cinema/games room to a bedroom above, where underfloor heating was also installed.
The property had a fairly typical timber floor construction including 22mm T&G chipboard flooring on 220 x 50 sw C24 floor joists at 400 centres. It already had 100mm of mineral wool insulation between the joists and the ceiling created using 12.5mm plasterboard plus skim.
The client sought to provide a sound reduction solution without significantly increasing the height of the flooring as they wanted to avoid issues with the existing door openings, and the limited scope for trimming of the doors.
The refurbishment project solution recommended by Hush Acoustics was to install a continuous acoustic floor product with minimal floor height build-up which would be suitable for the underfloor heating system.
Firstly, dealing with the underfloor heating design, it was recommended that this is placed within the joists and not covered with an acoustic material, otherwise it would act as thermal insulation and slow heat transfer into the floor finish. Effective treatment of the joists would therefore be achieved using a joist strip, a suitable acoustic material could then be placed within the joists and a suitable acoustic ceiling system added.
The action plan for this property’s cinema room soundproofing upgrade was as follows:
- Remove the existing 22mm chipboard and install the underfloor heating system within the joists.
- Install the underfloor heating system to finish as flush to the top of the joists as much as possible.
- Install Hush Isolation Tape 50 over the top of the joists before the structural deck is installed.
- Install a new 22mm chipboard deck to the joists. Ensure the chipboard is glued at the joints as well as being screw fixed down with fixings at least every 300mm centres. Screws to be used, not nails, to reduce creaking in the floor.
- Remove the existing 100mm insulation from between the joists.
- Install Hush-Slab 100 Sound Absorber within the joists, underneath the underfloor heating system.
- Remove the plasterboard that forms the existing ceiling.
- Install Hush Deep Resilient Bars to the underside of the joists.
- Install two layers of 15mm Soundbloc Plasterboard to the underside of the Hush Deep Resilient Bars.
Providing the most effective solution
In this project, the design goal was to enhance what was already there. It would allow the underfloor heating system to continue to be used without building up the floor in the bedroom excessively, and drop the ceiling in the cinema room by no more than 50mm – a straightforward solution that isn’t over engineered. The result would be to show a better than normal acoustic performance between two floors – given the design limitations, a very effective solution delivering improvements that the client will value.
Specialist acoustic advice for cinema and media rooms
Soundproofing can be a complex issue, so it is important to talk to an expert to get the specification and design right to maximise the improvements. This is where Hush Acoustics can help – with our range of products and systems, we have the solutions capable of achieving the sound reduction levels many homeowners are seeking in cinema rooms and other types of rooms.