Kathy had to admit it: her son’s rock band was getting better. What started as a cacophony of electric guitars and kick drums now sounded like actual music whenever they played. The band was scheduled to play a high school talent show in just a few weeks, so the game room of her home had been turned into a rehearsal space. Kathy was very proud of the progress they had made, but at the same time she was hopeful that once the show was over, things would go back to normal and the house would go back to being quiet and peaceful. Yes, the band was getting better – but they were still so LOUD.
Most people think of paint as existing for two primary purposes. First, the aesthetic or decorative properties of paint can transorm a surface or structure. Second, some paints and coatings have a functional reason for existing when they’re specifically formulated to protect the substrate from harsh elements like sunlight or water to ensure that the strength and structure of the surface underneath is preserved for years and years.
But what about paint that blends appearance with purpose? We’ve discussed paint that cleans itself and paint that prevents fouling on watercraft, so it’s no surprise that there are paints that do more than just look good and keep the substrate safe. Luckily for Kathy, many paint companies are now manufacturing soundproof paint as a cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing way to alter the acoustics and sound properties of buildings and amphitheaters.
For example, a coating product called “Coat of Silence” uses a two-step process to dampen sound transmission. First, a base coat is applied that serves as a sealant and primer for the subsurface. Second, a mass-building coat is applied that literally increases the thickness of the wall or surface to which it is applied in a way that blocks sound transmission. Since the coating absorbs sound as well, the end result means that noise between rooms or areas can be significantly reduced without utilizing bulky and expensive soundproofing foam or insulation.
As a practical matter, Coat of Silence and soundproof paint products like it make it possible for hotels to offer quieter rooms to guests and hospitals to offer greater privacy for patients. Home theaters and school music rooms can be insulated with regard to sound better than before. Perhaps the best part? Applying soundproofing coatings such as these can actually be done by a single painter using a spray gun or roller in a fraction of the time that it would take to add soundproofing tiles, and for a fraction of the cost necessary to replace insulation with a thicker product.
In Kathy’s case, sound-dampening or absorbing paint won’t completely eliminate the tunes of the rock band practicing in her house. In most cases, soundproof paint reduces mid-range frequencies (like everyday conversation) much better than high shrieks or deep bass booms. But a single application would greatly reduce many of the frequencies and some of the volume ringing through her house, and it’s an especially good investment in reverberant spaces – for example, larger rooms with hardwood floors. Considering the short application time and low cost, the investment would certainly be worth it. You never know, there might be another talent show next year and with it, lots more practice! Click here to learn more about some of the other amazing developments taking place in paint chemistry!