Misc. Getting used to new house, but what's best for noise elimination?

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CPW

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My wife and I would like to deaden the noise in our new house. Our previous house was much quieter. Any suggestions?
So, my wife and I really like our new house, but after living in it for two months we desire to find a smart way to deaden the noise. You see, our previous house was smaller, had carpet mostly, and did not reflect the noise inside near as much as this new house. Our new house is larger, has hardwood floors, an open floor plan, and noise seems to really carry.

I'm posting this question before I go shopping for any wall hanging echo eliminators. I'd like to know if any PF members have any advice or experience in this DIY project to reduce noise levels inside a home.

And no, installing carpet in the new home is not an option.
 

anorlunda

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I have seen home made sound absorbers made by simply stretching a fabric over a frame and hanging it on the wall like a picture. The color and pattern of the fabric make it decorative. Something with a coarse weave (not unlike carpet) is better than a fine weave. Call it a tapestry.

The ones I saw were about 4x6 feet in size.
 
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fresh_42

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You have only two options: absorb sound or scatter sound. If carpets are a no-go then it is difficult to absorb sound otherwise. Scattering usually comes automatically with more and more stuff placed somewhere.
 
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Heavy window curtains should not be ignored as a possibility. Go Baroque........
 
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And no, installing carpet in the new home is not an option.
Not even some smaller carpets to put on the hardwood floor?

If the floor plan is open enough you could hang something soft (sound-absorbing) in free spaces to make it less open.
 
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Tom.G

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Don't forget the multiple reflections between the floor and ceiling. Everyone does walls, but the floor and ceiling are also two parallel reflecting surfaces. I don't know details, but I've heard of ceiling treatments that absorb and/or scatter sound. Hmm... you could even put some tapestries up there, drooping down from the ceiling.

Since you are in a large U.S. city there are probably businesses that do acoustics for the entertainment industry, or at least architects that have some familiarity with the subject. Worth a try.

And then there are always those "acoustic ceiling tiles" with the little holes in them, not very pretty for most homes though... and if you paint them they stop working.

Or just wear slippers when indoors and leave those street shoes for the street! o0)

Cheers,
Tom
 
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CPW

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Not even some smaller carpets to put on the hardwood floor?
We have a large area rug on the floor. Perhaps I should put another one under the kitchen table in this great room. But with the family, the hardwood floor is easier to clean up after meals.

Thank you for your advice.
 

berkeman

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You mention that your new house is larger (congratulations, BTW!). Does that mean that your furniture is fairly sparse right now? As you add soft sofas and chairs and other furniture, that may help to absorb and diffuse the noise a bit. Also, you will likely get used to the sounds of your new home after a little more time in it. :smile:
 

Stephen Tashi

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Our new house is larger, has hardwood floors
Is the floor made of thick hardwood planks or is it a "laminate" type of floor? If it's laminate, pity you. Dropping a coin on that stuff sounds like a gunshot.

Are you trying to deaden sounds that originate within the house or sounds from outside? - or both?
 
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Summary: My wife and I would like to deaden the noise in our new house. Our previous house was much quieter. Any suggestions?

So, my wife and I really like our new house, but after living in it for two months we desire to find a smart way to deaden the noise. You see, our previous house was smaller, had carpet mostly, and did not reflect the noise inside near as much as this new house. Our new house is larger, has hardwood floors, an open floor plan, and noise seems to really carry.

I'm posting this question before I go shopping for any wall hanging echo eliminators. I'd like to know if any PF members have any advice or experience in this DIY project to reduce noise levels inside a home.

And no, installing carpet in the new home is not an option.
Maybe purchase or DIY a device that detect the sound waves around it and re-emit it in anti-phase? Something called active noise canceling and used on advanced headphones...
Such device can be obtained within a few hundred dollars I think. I once find this amazing device on TechZone
 

marcusl

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I second berkeman. When I finished our basement, it had vinyl floor over a concrete slab and drywall on walls and the low ceiling. Everything echoed when you walked or talked. Once we installed an area rug, entertainment unit and 6' sofa and ottoman, the acoustics were great. Heavy curtains or tapestries, area rugs and stuffed fabric furniture (easy chair, sofa, etc.) will do wonders.
 
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CPW

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The noise level is getting slightly lower in the main living area as my wife and I put your recommendations into our furniture and decorations. Thank you again for all your comments and advice.
 
You have only two options: absorb sound or scatter sound.
I do realize that scattering is a good option, but reading this thread got me thinking that maybe it's worth teasing out exactly why scattering helps.

Consider a room with smooth, hard walls and nothing inside. If a handclap sound is emitted by a small speaker embedded in one wall, that sound will echo around for a pretty long time. But now if we consider a room where the walls are equally hard and reflective, but they have a coarse random pattern of bumps. In this case the handclap's energy will still bounce around for pretty much the same time, except that it might quickly smear into a slowly decaying white noise as the individual echoes merge more and more. This might be subjectively less annoying, but the energy per se would still be there in an objective sense, decaying at the same rate as the smooth-walled room.

Is this how the benefit of scattering works?
 

anorlunda

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Some people buy white noise machines, and say that it calms them. Personally, I hate white noise or fan noise, but I do love the sound of waves on the shore or a gurgling brook. Those like/dislikes are all subjective and individual.
 

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