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When you look at what is involved in caring for your chimney, without having an experience where the need becomes obvious, soundproofing the chimney breast is an uncommon thought to cross your mind. You might think to check to see if the chimney bay is clear of excess charcoal. You may think to check if the chimney is clear of spider webs or if the flue is working.
There is a need to soundproof the chimney breast because, over time, they can form weaknesses throughout the body of the chimney, which allows sound from outside to enter into the home. Soundproofing is the only option to make sure the chimney breast does not leak noise.
In this article, we are going to give you some practical measures you can take today in order to assess whether or not you even need to soundproof your particular chimney breast, and how to go about soundproofing your chimney breast and why you should do it. We also will be providing some additional information for those with uncommon fireplaces.
How To Check If Your Chimney Breast Even Needs Soundproofing
Many people do not really pay attention to their fireplace outside of the winter months and therefore are inexperienced with the ins and outs of the chimney. You may be one of those people and now find yourself being unsure if your chimney breast even needs soundproofing. The simplest test available to you is to do the ear test. Walk up to your chimney.
Then simply place your ear to the alcove wall. If you do not hear any sound coming in through the chimney then you are covered. If you do hear sounds coming in from the outside, then you need soundproofing. Duplex homes or other multi-complex home structures where your chimney is back to back with your neighbors’ chimney are more likely to run into this issue.
The same is true even if your chimney is connected to your neighbors unit without a chimney.
Why You Should Soundproof Your Chimney Breast In The First Place
You may be asking yourself why you would even care about soundproofing your chimney breast. First and foremost, the added privacy for your home is well worth getting it soundproofed. It will lend you a sense of ease, knowing that you have the privacy in your home that you deserve. Having thin walls in your home can feel nerve-racking.
It can feel even more nerve-racking having to worry about your neighbors hearing you outside your home. You want to have some level of peace of mind within your home again. Your home is your sanctuary and when you are home you want to feel safe and separated from the world with the level of privacy you expect.
If you can hear sounds from your neighbors’ home, coming through your chimney, then it’s very likely they can hear you as well. So if you already did the ear test and discovered that your chimney breast does, in fact, require soundproofing then you should continue reading.
How To Soundproof Your Chimney Breast
For the most part, proper soundproofing the chimney really just comes down to adding additional mass to the chimney breast. That means the more dense materials you add to the wall the better.
The heavier the materials you add to the wall the better. As you can imagine, this can become a labor-intensive job to finish in a reasonable amount of time.
So in hopes of saving you a bit more time as well as some money, we will take this time to point out to you that it is also entirely possible for sound to come in through the chimney and it may not actually be the chimney breast that needs soundproofing. In most cases, the actual culprit that needs soundproofing tends to be the alcove walls more often than not.
And alcove wall soundproofing is another process entirely, which we will get into a bit later. While the alcove walls are the ones that tend to be the most likely culprit that needs soundproofing, there are still a handful of specific circumstances where it is certainly your chimney breast that needs soundproofing.
These specific scenarios that are the most common causes are as follows.
4 Scenarios That Your Chimney Breast Needs Soundproofing
1. Your neighbor happens to have removed the chimney breast on their side of a multicomplex home unit, which leads to less overall mass within the chimney as a whole and leads to air gaps.
2. The chimney flue has eroded over a long enough period of time and sounds are now passing through the chimney, into your home from your neighbors’ end of the multicomplex unit, with the air pockets being the path for more noise.
3. The chimney you have in place right now is not the original chimney that was present at the time of home construction and the new chimney you have in place does not quite fit perfectly, due to not being designed for your home.
4. The shape of the original chimney framework has been altered due to renovations.
Additional Note: What If My Chimney Is Different? Do I Still Need To Soundproof? If So, Is The Process Still The Same?
Chimneys will inevitably have the exact same basic framework for their design. Even if you have a modern design chimney or more of a niche kind of fireplace in your home, the principle ideas that are associated with how you go about testing whether or not you need to soundproof your chimney breast is the same. And how you should soundproof is also still the same.
You use the simple ear test in order to check for sounds from your neighbors home, coming into your home through the chimney. And if you do hear sounds coming in your home.
You add additional mass to the chimney breast to soundproof your side of the home. You can do this using special bricks designed for this that are much denser for soundproofing purposes.
Now that you understand the principles don’t change in general. Here are slight differences that may be involved in soundproofing your chimney breast, depending on the fireplace type you have in your home.
A Chimney That Does Not Have A Fire
This particular situation is a bit of an oxymoron. You have a fireplace that does not hold a fire. We got you covered on this one as well! If you have an empty fireplace in your home and you find that sound is still somehow coming in through the chimney breast, using your simple ear test. To soundproof the breast In this case, you can use a special type of mineral wool.
You apply this mineral wool, by placing the wool inside of any crevices you find throughout the walls or anywhere you can visibly see openings within the fireplace This is a solid quick-fix option that you have available to you and a cheaper option at that. We want to help you soundproof your chimney and also save you money too!
A Chimney That Has A Log Burner
While you could simply just go ahead and use the specialty mineral wool in this circumstance as well, in this particular instance, you might actually be better off going with an acoustic soundboard that is specifically designed for soundproofing your fireplace. This is certainly the most practical solution available because the fire log burner takes up a great deal of space.
The Log Burner also blocks visibility. So you can not readily see all of the nooks and crannies that would need to be filled in, with the specialty mineral wool. Deciding to go with the soundboard option instead would cut out the most likely scenario of you having several holes that you overlook simply because you can not see them with that fire log burner in your way.
A Chimney That Has An Open Fire
In a lot of smaller home units, families have an open fire chimney, with a log small rack set in place that provides just enough room for a small fire to warm their family home. In this particular instance, you are once again going to be a bit limited in terms of the options you have available to you.
The one practical solution, in this case, once again is a soundboard for all of the walls, ceiling, and floor. Because with an open fire you are at risk of lighting other materials on fire. This same issue will also apply to propane gas fireplaces as well.
While the winter months are currently coming to a close and spring is just starting to come out in full effect, it will still behoove you to prepare yourself. By arming yourself with the tools and the knowledge that you need you will get this job done in no time at all. Right now is a great time to get started. Go ahead and give this information a quick test for yourself.
After you are done reading, just walk over to your chimney breast and do the simple ear test. Maybe you find that you need to soundproof your chimney and you did not even realize it. With this information now you can know for certain!