If you have a home office and small kids running around the house all the time, I’m pretty sure your productivity levels are not that high. That’s unless you’ve managed to soundproof the place correctly.
As a freelance writer, I spend A LOT of time in my home office. I also need complete silence to focus on my writing. Otherwise my thought process leads me from “best marketing tips for 2018” to searching for funny cat videos and browsing Instagram models. I’m weird, I know.
So how did I solve this problem? I first used a sound board, acoustic foam, insulation, a pretty thick carpet, plus a thick soundproof door. All of this was fine, but it simply wasn’t enough because I didn’t soundproof the above-door air vent.
That small gap is enough to make you hear everything that’s going on in the other room. However, after doing a lot of research online, I managed to fix this problem, and my office is soundproof at last.
There are two methods you can use to fix this problem.
1. Block The Air Vent Completely
This is the most effective way to soundproof the room. You simply remove the vent and add drywall over the gaping hole that is left. Of course, it’s not that simple. This method involves a ton of work and it costs more than it should.
A much easier method is to use a gap filler (like this one from Amazon). So you take the vents off, spray it with the gap filler so that is seals the area and then return the vents back. This way everything will look completely normal.
But this whole method of blocking the air vent completely is NOT the best idea because the air vent is there for a reason! It might get extremely hot and you won’t have any plausible solution for getting some air circulation going if you decide to drywall the vent completely.
This is a rookie approach that many people use, but it contains that one pretty big downside. Still, if you live in an area that doesn’t have extremely hot summers, perhaps you could pull this off without regreting it afterwards. But if you live in a place like Miami, think twice. The second method will definitely serve you much better.
2. Create A Sound Maze
Sound maze? That sounds pretty cool right. Well, it is, AND it’s very effective. A sound maze is basically a labyrinth that you can create within the vent by using thin pieces of wood. You tape on acoustic foam on the wood scraps and let the laws of science do the rest.
In this Leonardo DaVinci painting (warning: I have a big ego) you can see how a sound maze looks like. The grey bars inside the air vent represent the pieces of wood covered with foam and glued inside to act as barriers. You can follow this image to soundproof your above door air vent successfully.
By creating these barriers within the vent, any sound coming in or out will crash a couple of times into these barriers. This way the sound will be very quiet or almost completely nullified by the time it’s able to reach your ears.
In order to create a sound maze you will need:
- acoustic foam or cotton. I used this acoustic foam from Amazon.
- a small amount of ¼” plywood. Nothing fancy.
- wood saw
- small screws
- wood glue
This method is very effective at deadening sound, but it’s obviously not as effective as drywalling the area off completely. You might still hear some sounds coming in, but it will drastically cut off the annoying sounds that probably get on your nerves the most.
What if you want to block sounds from escaping your home office?
If you have an office where you conduct private conversations, you’d definitely want to soundproof the air-vent so that people outside the office can’t hear your conversations. This is especially true for doctors and lawyers whose offices have a waiting room. In this case, the same methods apply.
By using a gap filler you will ensure that no sounds are able to escape through the air-vent. On the other hand, the sound maze will reduce the noise, but not completely.
It’s ultimately up to you which option you choose, but I suspect your clients would be more comfortable if they knew they had complete privacy, so I would go with the gap filler option.
Which of these two methods you choose is entirely up to you. Both of them will work well. If you want to completely stop the noise coming into your home office or any room with an above air door vent for that matter, then use the first method.
But if your problems are not that drastic, and you fear getting suffocated by dry and hot air in the summer, use the sound maze method instead.
This helpful article was written by freelance writer Jim Gruber. To contact Jim for writing assignments, shoot him a message at email@example.com.