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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

2010 PCBC Show: Home Technology Finds - Sound Proofing

by Lori Cunningham

This article is a part of the series I am writing about the Pacifiic Coast Builders Conference I attended a couple of months ago.  In this PCBC series, I cover different innovative home technology products.  Today I'm going to write about something that does not have any technological features.  In fact, some would consider this subject to be even boring. Before arriving to the 2010 PCBC Show, I was contacted by Roxul to meet with them about their products.  As with most non-technological home product vendors, I turned them down.  I was attending the Pacific Coast Builder's Show to write about great technology products for the home.  Roxul makes insulation for residential and commercial walls. 

But Roxul saw it differently.  They asked me to review the Safe'n'Sound product on their website, and see how it's designed to keep noise out of the baby's room and greatly diminish the sounds stemming from a TV room.  I became intrigued as I know that with all of today's great home technologies -- like multi-room audio, surround sound, home theaters, the latest Xbox and Wii games, etc., knowing a little more about soundproofing a room is a valuable resource to homeowners.

I'll be the first to admit that insulation is not a product I've thought a great deal about.  Nonnetheless, while at the PCBC show, I met with representatives from Roxul.  In the house we are building, we were scheduled to have insulation installed within one month at the time I met with Roxul.  I have to say that I was impressed with what they had to say. 

Roxul's"Safe'n'Sound" product is made out of stone wool instead of the typical spun fiberglass insulation.  Roxul uses basalt rock and recycled slag rock to spin a wool-like substance, similar to what you see with regular insulation, but that's where the similarities stop. 

Roxul's Safe'n'Sound includes these features that regular insulation cannot live up to:
  • excellent sound absorbency
  • water repellent
  • fire resistant (can withstand temperatures up to 2150 degrees F)
  • non-combustible
  • The density of the Roxul Safe'nSound versus regular insulation.
  • completely resistant to mold, mildew, bacteria growth, and rot
  • highly energy efficient
  • more than 40% of Safe'nSound is made from recycled content
  • GreenGuard Air Quality certified
  • easy to cut - can cut with a butter knife
  • provides a tight fit between wall studs - won't slump or settle in your walls over time

Roxul Safe'n'Sound provides two huge benefits above normal insulation - sound proofing and fire resistance.

Soundproofing
Safe'n'Sound has a unique fiber structure of tiny interconnected spaces which traps sounds and vibrations.  Many home and commercial theaters use Roxul to soundproof the room so you can't hear the movie outside of the room or theater.  

Ideal rooms to soundproof would be TV rooms, bedrooms - especially the kids rooms - laundry rooms, furnace rooms, basements, and bathrooms.  Yes, with a Roxul insulated bathroom, you might not need to buy the TOTO Neorest 600 toilet with a built-in MP3 player.

Fire Proofing
In addition to sound proofing, Roxul provides for incredible protection against the spread of fire.  Watch this YouTube.com video showing an enclosed building fire test with stone wool versus regular insulation, the stone wool withstood the fire with minimal damage, compared to the insulation which had nearly completely burned. 



In a typical year there are 500,000 home fires reported.  The death report averages out to 3,000 deaths a year from these home fires.  A home insulated with Roxul would greatly deter the quick spread of a fire and provide for extra time to help get family members to safety.  In addition, Roxul insulation does not smoke or produce toxic fumes.

Ideal rooms, besides every room in the house, are attics, basements, kids' rooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, etc.  Kitchens are the number one area where home fires are started.


A Homeowners Perspective
If you are building a home or about to renovate your home or a room in your home, I would highly recommend you consider using Roxul for better sound and fire proofing.  It makes sense to 1.) ensure rooms that could potentially be loud - game rooms, bonus rooms, TV rooms, home theaters, and kids rooms are soundproofed so the rest of the house doesn't have to hear the noise.  2.) Fireproofing your kids' rooms and the kitchen just makes sense.

I arranged to review the Roxul Safe'n'Sound insulation in the home we're building.  I installed it between our 5.1 channel TV/Xbox bonus room and our master bedroom.  To soundproof this room, our builder was going to put up normal installation and extra drywall; he was not aware of Roxul.  I have a lot of confidence in the Roxul Safe'n'Sound product and feel that this will be a better solution.  Once the house is built and we move in, I'll give my review on how well it keeps the Rockband sounds from entering into our master bedroom.


Where to Buy
Roxul Safe'n'Sound is available at certain hardware stores.  You can also special order it through the contractors desk at your local Home Depot.  It typically takes 9 days for it to arrive.  I ordered Roxul through my local Home Depot and it cost $41.85 per bag --- not including tax.  Each bag covers 60 sq. ft. and weighs 37 lbs.  Safe'n'Sound is produced for two wall stud sizes:  16 in. On Center or 24 in. On Center.  Roxul typically costs roughly 25% more than other types of common insulation, but it also provides sounder soundproofing and fireproofing that common insulation products do not provide.

If you have used Roxul, or other types of soundproofing, please leave a comment with your experience.

1 comment:

  1. Sound proofing is really helpful in every home. Simply, admirable what you have done here. It is pleasing to look you express from the heart and your clarity on this significant content can be easily looked. Remarkable post and will look forward to your future update.

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