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Soundproofing is the key to having a peaceful home free of noise pollution. One of the most effective ways to do that is to add mass to your walls and floors using cement board. But does this solution work?
Cement boards are dense, making them suitable for insulating airborne and impact noises. Since cement boards are heavy, they make it hard for sound to move through them. For this reason, cement boards are excellent for soundproofing.
Soundproofing is essential, especially if your home is near a noisy area and has many solid mediums where sound waves can bounce. So, if you consider using cement board, you should consider adding other soundproofing materials for an added effectiveness.
Check out my recommended soundproofing materials for home.
Is Cement Board Good For Soundproofing?
A cement board is a sheet of fibers and cement that contains cellulose. Generally, boards are 4ft. by 8ft in dimension. Their thickness can differ between 1/4 and 1/2 inches.
The primary use of cement boards is as backing for tiles. But they are more popularly used, soundproofing your walls and floor.
The reason why it is suitable for soundproofing is that they are very dense. So, it serves as an excellent insulator against impact and airborne noise.
Airborne noise is the sound transmitted by the air. Some examples are:
- Musical instruments
The air picks up and carries sound waves until they crash into a solid medium, such as your home’s walls, ceiling, or floor.
On the other hand, impact noise is the physical impact on solid materials like buildings. For instance, banging doors, pushing furniture, and knocking on doors.
Impact sound happens as the impact causes the two sides of a solid medium to vibrate. As a result, the impact generates sound waves.
The cement board also has more mass than gypsum. For this reason, it makes it difficult for sound waves to bounce against it.
However, you should note that this soundproofing material will not entirely silence your home. You will still hear some low bass sounds because a heavy wall will vibrate like any other.
So, if you want to use a cement board to soundproof a room, you can use other soundproofing materials for improved effectiveness.
When your floor is not soundproof, it will create annoying noise every time you walk on it. Cement boar adds mass to your subfloor. This additional mass acts as a medium that absorbs low-frequency noises like footsteps.
In addition, the cement board will absorb some of the airborne noises produced by your television or people talking. For this reason, less sound will reverberate into your home, making it a lot quieter than rooms without any soundproofing materials.
Soundproofing Materials that You can Add on Cement Board
Sound absorption does not mean complete soundproofing. It only lessens the amount of noise inside a room. Such is something that cement boards do.
If you installed cement boards on your floor and walls and you think that it is not enough, there are other soundproofing materials that you can utilize.
Carpets, paddings, and rugs
Wood flooring does not absorb sound at all. While tiles and linoleums are less noisy than hardwood floorings, they still produce unwanted noises. To get rid of that noise, you can use sound-absorbing carpets.
With their soft and fuzzy top, carpets work very well in absorbing impact noises. You can also add foam-rubber backing beneath it to further improve its soundproofing capabilities.
As add as it may sound, your furniture can absorb airborne noises. The reason is that they catch bouncing sound waves, making them less audible once they reach your ears.
Your sofa set, coffee table, and shelves will help you make your home soundproof.
Soundproofing curtains and draperies
You can use draperies for both sound blocking and sound-absorbing. The reason is that they are made of thick and heavy materials.
For sound-absorbing curtains, you should opt for heavy materials, including wools and velvets. Mass-loaded vinyl works better than thick and heavy curtains, so it is better if you purchase such.
Soundproofing curtains will also help you prevent external noise pollution from penetrating your windows. However, your windows also need to be soundproof if you want soundproofing curtains and draperies to be more effective.
A lot of external noises can pass through your windows. Even the smallest gap between your window and window frame can serve as an invitation for noise pollution to seep into your home.
To prevent sound waves from passing through your windows, you can try caulking any gaps.
Window seals are more a radical solution than caulking. Sealing makes it possible for you to add another layer of airtight glass right in front of your window.
After installing window seals, it is essential to note that you can no longer open your windows.
Frequently Asked Questions Related to Cement Boards
Can I use a cement board instead of drywall?
Regular drywall is not enough as they are not water and mold-resistant. On the other hand, cement boards do not warp, rot, deteriorate, or grow mold even when they get wet. For this reason, they are better for soundproofing than drywall.
Can I leave cement boards exposed?
Cement boards consist of fiber molded into sheets. They are highly waterproof and rugged, so it does not deteriorate over time. While you can leave cement boards exposed, they are not designed to add design to your home.
How long do cement boards last?
Cement boards are an excellent investment because they last long indefinitely. So, if you are looking for a soundproofing solution for your floor and walls, cement boards are a great choice because they do not rot or deteriorate.
Can I use liquid nails on cement boards?
Liquid nails or glues are not for cement boards because they are not bonding mortar. Instead, a structural adhesive is commonly used to adhere the subfloor to the floor joists before nailing it.
- Alexis Lin, Sound proofing our floors, Houzz.Com, https://www.houzz.com/discussions/3686186/sound-proofing-our-floors/
- A Guide to Soundproofing Materials, RS Components Corporation, https://ph.rs-online.com/web/generalDisplay.html?id=ideas-and-advice/soundproofing-guide/
- Quiet, Please! How To Cut Noise Pollution At Home, Forbes, https://www.forbes.com/sites/houzz/2013/09/09/quiet-please-how-to-cut-noise-pollution-at-home/?sh=560df94e445b/
- Lee Wallender, What Is Cement Backer Board and How Is It Used?, The Spruce, https://www.thespruce.com/cement-backer-board-1821658/
- Michael Presutti, There’s A Big Difference Between Waterproof And Water-Resistant, Silive.Com, https://www.silive.com/homegarden/homeimprovement/2008/02/theres_a_big_differrence_betwe.html/
- James Hardie, Frequently Asked Questions, James Hardie.Com, https://www.jameshardie.com/product-support/resource-center/frequently-asked-questions/