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Is sound reducing insulation worth it???

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I am having a new home built with a dedicated home theater room (15x18) and there is an option to upgrade to sound reducing insulation for this room. It is $350 for them to do the walls and $200 for them to do the floor. So if I decide for both it is a $550 upgrade. My question for you (the experts imo), is it worth it? Will I notice a big difference? Will the sound quality improve because of this upgrade? I am very close to my max budget already because of a number of other upgrades but I can cut something else if I have to.I need to make a decision by tomorrow so any help will be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 13
My opinion is that insulation alone will not provide sufficient noise reduction. You also need decoupling and mass. If sound isolation is a primary goal and you plan on making a significant investment in your theater room, I'd save the money and properly address it later as part of your theater build with clips, channel, double drywall and green glue.
Edited by Spaceman - 8/2/12 at 6:36am
post #3 of 13
first to read about soundproofing there are good articles at soundproofingcompany.com. Ted drops in here all the time and will answer your questions. As for is it worth $550? is it worth that to be able to crank up a good movie after a hard day without disturbing others in the house for all your years in this house?

Now having said that I'm not sure what you are getting for the $350 and $250. I imagine it will help but not come close to what we consider soundproofing of a theater space. Can you find out what products they propose to use. If they are talking about in-wall insulation (maybe Roxul) then it will help reduce hearing normal conversations between rooms. It will not keep the subwoofer rumble out of the bedrooms. Not sure what they are planning for the floors.

Also where is this room located relative to the other rooms?
post #4 of 13
While we don't know what the builder is really doing for this upgrade, I can say in the vast majority of cases, these "upgrades" have disappointed the homeowner by not meeting their expectations. So, while getting the details about just exactly what this upgrade may be, you also need to express what it is you hope to achieve. If what the builder is doing will meet your goal, then fine.
post #5 of 13
I would ask the builder exactly what products they are going to use. There are many products sold for "soundproofing" purposes that are either "expensive for what they do" or "just plain don't help". Simply insulating the walls with cheap fiberglass is better than nothing - and according to the experts - works just as well as more expensive materials (e.g. Roxul).

The location of the room, what is next to it, above/below will make a big difference as to how much effort you should apply to soundproofing given your budget...

post #6 of 13
All of this is relative to what your goal is. Are you somebody who likes to listen to movies/music loud? Where is this room located in reference to bedrooms? Do you have kids, or light sleepers? Insulation is not enough to soundproof a room. Also keep in mind that you are also trying to eliminate noise from coming into the room just as much as you are trying to let sound leave the room. So if the room is above a high traffic space that has hardwood floors, for instance, you would want to add soundproofing to address the footfall noise.

I can tell you that insulation and solid core doors do make a noticeable difference, but again, it comes down to what your goal is.
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your help guys. I decided against it for now. I will see how everything sounds once the house is built and go from there.
post #8 of 13
I actually think that is the wrong decision, no matter what, you want insulation in the walls and ceiling. Even if later you want to add additional layers of drywall with green glue to get more sound control.
Edited by BIGmouthinDC - 8/5/12 at 2:49pm
post #9 of 13
I am finishing the rest of my basement and for kicks I insulated the ceiling (no other decoupling, etc). The insulation was a waste of money or at least did not have as much of an impact as I had hoped. I still hear the trash compactor upstairs, cabinets closing, etc. Now in my theater with WhisperClips, Green Glue, caulk, insulation, double drywall and attention to detail (not shorting and making flanking paths)...priceless. Its a system and insulation has little to no impact by itself. Insulation is a key component of an engineered system, but by itself does not provide a lot of improvement.

If I remember, insulation only improves STC values by 3 or so, which for a theater, STC does not account for the lower frequencies and thus has even less impact. "Special" insulation on top of that is not attacking the weakest link, and I would ask for data showing that it provides improvement over standard insulation. I doubt it exists.

Sound quality will not be upgraded. You are talking about isolation. If it helps reduce the noise floor it helps, because you do not have to turn up the volume as much to hear dialog and then turn it down during an action scene. But again insulation will not reduce your noise floor enough to improve isolation. Sound quality will be improved with acoustical design of different materials and placement within the room, not in the construction of the room.

Start running if they are recommending spray foam insulation for the upgrade.
Edited by GRBoomer - 8/5/12 at 11:09am
post #10 of 13
I had "soundproofing" as an option in my build. They did it by default for the laundry room. It was just insulation "sound batts". They recommended an additional 3" of spray foam on the ceiling/floor section because of better coverage in the joist area. They were also familiar with stagger studs & clips/channel for drywall, but I had to ask.

I was going to do the spray foam (ceiling only), batts everywhere, and drywall clips/channel. That keeps them within the realm of what they're familiar with. I figure I can add a layer of GG / DD at a later date by someone more specialized if I want, although I am still debating if it would be best to push through the 2nd layer now. For batts I have the option of rock wool or standard fiberglass. Rock wool is $200 more. Is rockwool worth the extra?

The foam insulation is pricey (for what it is) @ ~$1000. I was told it would help with the floor noise, but not sure how much.
post #11 of 13
Foam is maybe not the last material you want for soundproofing... but it's close to last. Too dense and it conducts vibration, not to mention the cost.
post #12 of 13

Sent you a couple of emails, was wondering if you got them. Thanks.

Sorry for jumping in to the post
post #13 of 13
Dave, call him.
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