Soundproofing for Older Homes

soundproofing older homes

There’s two types of people out there, those who love old, historic homes and those who want to live in a newly built, or at least recently built home. In my case, I love the look and feel of an older home, especially if it’s an older bungalow style. However, those of you that live in older homes have probably experienced the downsides that can come with living there. Keep reading to learn about soundproofing older homes.

Old homes likely weren’t built with any sort of soundproofing in mind, they have thin walls and thin windows, and you can hear anything and everything going on inside or outside of your home. This can even be an issues in newer homes where builders were looking to cut costs, but no matter what you should be able to have access to soundproofing products that can help.

Sound Issues in Old Houses

The house I live in now was probably built in the 70’s so it’s not super old, but also not very new. I’m lucky to not live on a busy road, but if there ever is noise outside my window I can hear it pretty clearly. It’s usually just stray cats (I hope) running around in the bushes, so nothing too disturbing, but it sounds like it’s happening in my room.

Don’t worry though, it’s not just you this is happening to. Even some newer (poorly built) apartment complexes can have poorly soundproofed windows. I used to live on the first floor of an apartment complex with my bedroom window right next to a bus stop, and I can’t tell you how many times I would actually hear people talking, and even arguing out there. Really, I could hear what they were saying word for word. I probably could have helped them solve their problem with one another through the window.

Soundproof Windows in Historic Homes

If you, like me, can hear a cat walking by outside your bedroom window, it might be time to take some action. Now of course, if you live in a quiet area and your only problem is hearing animals walk by or a car drive by every so often, you probably don’t need to take any drastic measures. However, some people have very thin windows in their old homes and they just so happen to live on a busy road. Now whether it was busy when they originally moved in to that house is a different story.

soundproof old house
Windows in old houses have notoriously thin glass panes with very low STC ratings, resulting in a lot of sound passing through them. Rather than replacing all of your old windows with new windows, use soundproof curtains throughout your old house to soundproof the windows at a fraction of the cost.

I spoke to someone a few months ago who told the story of how their dream home in a rural area was disturbed without any warning. This couple had been living in a 1920’s farm house with very little disruptions, until construction was begun on a factory. Now, it wasn’t the construction that was bothering them, 18-wheelers and other utility vehicles are now driving by at all hours of the day and night. Their solution – soundproof curtains.

The dense core blocking material of our soundproof curtains has an STC rating of 21, so it can block between 21-25 decibels. These curtains mount over the window that the sound is leaking through and seals around it with either a velcro or magnetic perimeter seal.

Soundproof Doors In Old Houses

Another sound issue in older homes is the noise transfer that occurs between different rooms. A lot of this noise can be coming through the doors, especially if there are gaps under and around the door. If you haven’t heard it from us before – remember the 1% rule. It states that 50% of sound can get it through a 1% opening, because sound always takes the path of least resistance.

The solution here is to use a soundproof door cover. In terms of installation and sound blocking abilities, it functions just the same as a soundproof curtain, it’s just made to fit a door. If you feel that this doesn’t suffice on its own, or you’re really experiencing very loud noises within your house you can use the AcoustiDoor along with door sweeps and seals.

soundproof old house
Similar to the original windows in an old house, the original doors in an old house are likely not very soundproof, and it would cost a pretty penny to fully replace them. A soundproof door cover combined with door sweeps and seals will help to seal any sound leak around a door and reinforce the soundproofing abilities of the door itself.

Sound Masking in Your Older Home

Another option to help lower the noise level in your home is to actually add sound into the room. This is actually how white noise machines work if you haven’t tried using one before. By raising the ambient noise level in a room, white noise machines helps to cover, or mask, abrupt or distracting sounds. Large scale sound masking systems are often used in large, open office spaces to decrease distractions while increasing productivity for office workers.

So if you aren’t experiencing a lot of disruptions, you can use a white noise machine on its own to help with soundproofing your older home. Or if the noise still proves to be too much, use a white noise machine in conjunction with soundproof door covers and soundproof curtains.

Soundproofing Older Homes – How to Soundproof an Old House

To review, you can take the following steps to soundproof an old house:

  1. Soundproof the windows using soundproof curtains
  2. Soundproof door using a soundproof door covers, door sweeps and door seals
  3. Use a sound machine in your older home to drown out distracting noises

Soundproofing for older homes is very similar to soundproofing more current homes. Throughout our time as a company we’ve notice that a lot of our customers are people who live in old homes and have issues with sound coming through the thin windows and doors. Of course they love the look of their homes and don’t want to make too many modifications to it, so this is where we come in with soundproof curtains.