Are you renovating? Consider noise control!

Soundproofing & noise control while renovating

If you are doing home renovation as a contractor, or having it done as a homeowner, you need at least to think about soundproofing and noise control.  This aspect of home renovations is usually overlooked, but this is a mistake.


Noise control should be considered while planning any home renovation or home improvement project. This is true in all cases, not only if the project involves an acoustically sensitive space, such as a home theater or a music room.

In this article I will list noise issues that should be addressed.  Solutions to some of these issues are described in other blog articles. Soundproofing and noise control, if it is included in a project during planning stages, can be very effective and inexpensive, compared to trying to upgrade soundproofing later, after the renovation is completed.

Home Renovations:

These types of home renovations should consider noise control issues:

Type of Reno

Noise Control Issue

Demolition of existing wall partitions

Will your space be compatible with lifestyle, when sound envelops the open space?

Building new wall partitions or moving wall partitions.

Should the new wall be soundproofed to reduce transfer of noise from one space to another?

Building new washrooms or renovating washrooms

Will washroom and plumbing noises disturb you?

Upgrading kitchens

Should you consider how usually noisy activity in new kitchen will affect other occupants in the house?

Finishing or re-finishing basements

Do you have a need to reduce noise transfer between basement and upstairs?  You need to consider not only floor/ceiling, but also walls and ducting.

Home theatre, home recording studio or music practice room

These are noise sensitive spaces.  You need to consider soundproofing from external noises, and from noises inside this space.

Home office

Do you have a need for privacy in your home office?

Quiet bedroom

Do you sleep during the day?  Are your children noisy at night when you need to sleep?

Basement apartment

Building code requires minimum sound attenuation between residential units.  Do you want to meet or exceed the minimum?

Problems to be avoided by adequate noise control

Informed acoustical consideration at planning stage of a home renovation project can reduce or eliminate the following noise control problems:

  • Mechanical noise - Select quiet equipment: Dishwasher, Refrigerator' Kitchen range hood, Bathroom fans, Furnace noise, A/C unit noise, Central vacuum.
  • Plumbing noise
  • Ventilation noise
  • Noise through wall
  • Noise carried by ventilation ducts
  • Rain noise on the roof
  • Exterior noise through doors or windows
  • Noise through interior doors to sleeping areas, office, bathroom

Very few architects and almost no contractors will address all these noise control issues. Some architects will consider some of the issues but will forget many. 

How to address noise control issues

Contractor, unless they are specifically asked by architect or home owner about soundproofing, are ignoring these issues.  It is important to include noise control and soundproofing items in project contract at the outset. If you are not sure how to do it, get advice from an acoustical engineer.  The consulting cost is negligible compared to the cost of the renovation project.

Did I forget any areas that should be considered here?  Please let me know by providing feedback below.

About the Author Ivan Koval

The author is the publisher of the Soundproofing.Expert website. He is a soundproofing and building acoustics consultant working in Toronto and GTA, Ontario, Canada. Telephone (416) 471-2130

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