A noisy home can disturb your downtime or make you feel as if you have no privacy from other occupants. Although log cabins tend to make the list of noisy homes, there are a few methods you can use to soundproof your log home and get the peace and quiet you deserve.
The key steps you should take when soundproofing your log cabin include:
- Keeping the “noisy areas” and “quiet areas” apart
- Minimize noise transmission by using dead space
- Using fiberglass insulation
- Try out fiberboard or RC Channel
- Using acoustic foam
You can use one of these ideas or combine some of them, but if you’re really interested in keeping the noise down, you should keep reading for more details:
Why You Should Soundproof Your Log Cabin
If you’ve never lived in a log cabin, you might be curious as to why you need to soundproof it in the first place. While there is some evidence to suggest that log cabins provide natural insulation and a buffer for sound, that isn’t always enough to keep things quiet.
Your log cabin might naturally produce cracks and pops, especially if it’s a recent construction project that’s still settling. Unlike an older cabin that’s been settling for decades, new logs continue to shrink as they slowly lose their moisture content.
A creaky house is often reason enough to start soundproofing for a lot of homeowners, but it’s not the only one.
Like any house, you might want to soundproof specific rooms in your log cabin. If you work from home, it’s often important to soundproof your office or workspace, especially if you live with other people. Trying to get anything done while you can still hear every step your family takes or the hum of the refrigerator can feel impossible.
Other quiet, undisturbed areas you might want to soundproof include your bedroom, library, or even a game room.
Even if log cabins aren’t the noisiest homes around, they don’t always muffle sound well. Whether you’re hypersensitive to the hum of appliances or you have trouble being productive with noisy housemates, there’s plenty of reasons to soundproof your log cabin.
Optimizing Dead Space
When it comes to reducing the noise in your log cabin, you’ll need to think like a scientist—and that means understanding how sound and “dead space” work.
How Noise Transmission Works
When sound waves enter your home or room, they bounce off or go through solid objects like walls and furniture, making everything in their path vibrate. Sound waves will continue to go through these things until they eventually slow down.
Solid objects don’t always stop sound completely, but they can slow it down. If you’ve ever wondered why everything inside of an empty room seems louder, it’s because there’s nothing to slow down any noise you make.
This empty space inside a home is often referred to as “dead space.” Too much dead space makes it easier for sound to transfer between rooms, so if you want to soundproof your cabin, you can try eliminating as much dead space as possible.
Using Dead Space to Your Advantage
Finding troublesome dead space in your home isn’t usually too difficult. You can try adding furniture, rugs, or even appliances to areas that feel too empty, but you can also try containing noisy features too.
If you’ve got two bathrooms that share a wall, try placing noisy fixtures like the toilets or sinks back-to-back. Louder sounds like flushing or turning on the water will keep the noise in a smaller area rather than spreading it out.
Unfortunately, not everyone always has the budget to purchase extra furniture or the capability to alter the floor plan. While you should try to optimize that dead space any way that you can, this isn’t the only method to soundproofing your cabin.
Distance “Quiet” and “Noisy” Areas
If you’re still in the structural planning phase, there’s a lot you can do to eliminate noise—and that includes putting some distance between the “noisy” and “quiet” areas of your home. Noisy areas of your home might include the laundry room, the kitchen, or even the living room, whereas a quiet area could be your bedroom or office.
It makes sense that putting the laundry room next to your bedroom might cause extra noise. If you’re trying to sleep and someone’s running the washing machine, you’re more likely to hear it if the rooms share the same wall.
Try containing those “noisy” areas in the same zone, like putting the kitchen next to the laundry room. If someone’s puttering around in the kitchen, it’ll probably cause less of a disturbance if you’re also doing a load of laundry.
While distancing loud rooms from quiet ones can go a long way in soundproofing your cabin, many homeowners might be limited. In a small log cabin that only has a handful of rooms, there might not be much space to begin with.
This technique works best for homeowners that are still in the planning stages of moving in or constructing their log cabin. You can still rearrange rooms if you’ve already moved in, but it might just be a little more difficult.
Try Using More Insulation
Another way that you can try to slow down sound waves is by dampening them with insulation. This gives sound another barrier to pass through before it reaches your ears, but you want to make sure you use the right type of insulation. No insulation will block sound completely, but some can block it better than others. Check out our guide on all soundproofing materials here.
With log cabins, fiberglass insulation is a popular choice for a lot of homeowners. You can put it in the studs of an interior wall. Since fiberglass is a porous material, sound waves enter those tiny holes, but the friction causes them to lose energy.
Not to mention, another pro of opting for fiberglass is that you might not need professional installation. If you’re handy with construction tools, you could soundproof certain rooms or areas yourself.
Keep in mind that fiberglass isn’t a perfect solution, but if you’re on a budget, fiberglass batt might be able to meet your needs. If you’re looking to completely silence a room, you’ll need to look at other, more expensive alternatives.
Thicker than fiberglass, another option is cellulose insulation. Sound transmission tests have found that using thicker cellulose can be more effective at blocking sound. Cellulose is still rarely inexpensive, but it’ll probably cost you more than traditional fiberglass insulation.
Cellulose does tend to be more tricky to install, and often requires an insulation blower and plenty of training before you can soundproof your cabin.
Try Sound-Deadening Boards
If insulation like fiberglass or cellulose still doesn’t seem to be enough, you can always look at purchasing sound-deadening boards for your log cabin.
Sometimes also referred to as particleboard, fiberboard is a sheet made of wood shavings that you can attach to the studs. If you use another layer of drywall, adding fiberboard after the fact can be tricky since it goes behind the drywall. You’ll want to make sure the fiberboard is oriented opposite of your drywall. Otherwise, its soundproofing abilities might not be as effective.
Certain brands manufacture sheets of fiberboard that are specifically for reducing sound transmission, but you might be able to find medium-density fiberboard on your own.
Keep in mind that, unless you’re a professional, you probably want to have a contractor or technician install your fiberboard. That way, they can make sure it’s in the correct position to block sound.
While it’s a little bit more costly than fiberboard, a more effective option at deadening sound is an RC Channel, or a resilient channel. An RC Channel is easiest to install when you’re still in the construction phase, and it consists of a lengthy strip of “formed metal.”
If you also use drywall inside your log cabin, resilient channels are a great option. An RC Channel isolates the drywall from your studs, which will cause sound waves to lose more energy when they try to pass through. It also creates a little bit of “dead space,” which provides another barrier that sound waves need to pass through.
You can use multiple RC Channels along your walls, especially if you plan to soundproof more than one room. Like fiberboard, an RC Channel will most likely require professional installation, especially if you’re trying to add one after the construction phase.
It’s also worth noting that RC Channels work best with drywall. If you don’t have drywall in your log cabin, this might not be the best solution for soundproofing.
While it might not be the best idea if you want to soundproof your entire log cabin, acoustic foam is an easy solution if you’re only looking to silence one room. Whether it’s a workspace or a music room, acoustic foam is usually easy to come by and easy to install.
This foam works by “dampening” the sound waves. It’s a neutralizer, and it should convert the vibrations in the sound waves to heat energy. Depending on where you buy it, you might be able to purchase ready-made soundproofing acoustic panels. Sticking these panels to an existing wall will work, but if you don’t want to risk losing the soundproofing effect, you can use the panels to separate two walls and “decouple them.”
Final Thoughts on Soundproofing Your Log Cabin
The good news is that while log cabins don’t naturally block sound, they also don’t naturally produce much sound either. Other than a few creaks or pops you’d experience from newly-built log cabins, you don’t need to worry about your housekeeping you up at night.
Unfortunately, you still have your own noise to contend with. From family members puttering around the living room to drowning out excess noise while you work, even the softest sounds can be a distraction. Luckily, you’ve got plenty of options for getting rid of disturbances, including getting rid of dead space, adding insulation, or even putting some distance between quiet and noisy areas.
A single method might not be able to completely eliminate noise, but when you combine these a couple of these methods together, you might be able to finally get some peace and quiet.