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I've got a laundry room immediately behind a kitchen that will soon be doing double duty as a server room of sorts - a rack with a decent amount of computer gear is going into it.

If you know anything about rackmount equipment, you should know that it's generally loud. Imagine a few really good dust busters all running at the same time - that's what it sounds like.

I have two things working against me here:

  • Laminate flooring across 75% of the home that is an excellent sound reflector
  • The entrance to the room opens immediately into the kitchen, via an open doorway, which is centrally located in an open floor plan.

Kitchen doorway

Result: The whole damn house can hear when this equipment is turned on.

And it's not just my computer equipment that's the problem here. A washer/dryer in the same room has the same problem in that it echoes out everywhere. To the point where you need to raise the volume on the living room TV when there's a load on.

With that in mind, I want to do some kind of sound isolation between this room and the kitchen. I don't care much about the sound through the walls, (thank god for good insulation) just that open doorway.

Putting an actual swinging or sliding door there probably wouldn't work. There's very little room on either side of the doorway for both rooms. That leads me towards a heavy sound-dampening curtain on both sides, but I question how effective that would be.

What should I be looking at, here?

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  • A mass-loaded vinyl curtain would probably be effective, but fairly ugly. A bi-fold door might be an option with your space limitations; backing it with mass-loaded vinyl and using weatherstripping to ensure an air seal would help keep the white noise out. Also, you could look into raising the washer and dryer off the floor -- even just putting them on some rubber would help keep the vibration from moving the floor. – Robert Nubel Nov 15 '17 at 18:55
  • start with a thick rug in the back room: those bare floors aren't doing you favors. – dandavis Nov 15 '17 at 21:58
  • Egg cartons!!!! – Hot Licks Nov 15 '17 at 23:36
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You can add a pocket door-use an outside type door that way is is more dense. Mount it on a track inside the laundry room and slide to open or close. Whatever gap is there between the wall and door cut some trim or dense foam to fill it in..if you use the foam attach it to the door...If you do not have enough wall space maybe you could use two solid pine folding doors but take off the hinges and add top slides. And match or paint to the kitchen area......They will look very nice..

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  • It's a good idea but won't work. I should have taken a picture of the inside of the laundry room, but there's no room for sliding door to slide on either side of this room. I suppose I could get away with a bifold, but those are hardly airtight (hence soundtight) – Mikey T.K. Nov 15 '17 at 22:11
  • "Mount it on a track inside the laundry room" -- I'd use 'barn door' or 'sliding door' to describe that arrangement. To me, 'pocket door' is one that slides into a pocket recessed inside/between the sheets of drywall. The pocket style may be complicated here because there's going to be an electrical outlet behind the fridge which would have to move, and I'm not certain a pocket door frame will hold those cabinets up (would have to ask the door manufacturer). Maybe the right-hand wall could be revamped to contain a pocket door. – Greg Hill Nov 16 '17 at 0:06
  • @GregHill Would an acoustic divider work here? One of those "accordion"-like room dividers you see in motels and convention centers.. – Mikey T.K. Nov 16 '17 at 16:45
  • @MikeyT.K. Mechanically I think an accordion door could work. I don't have experience to advise whether it'll achieve the acoustic effect you're after -- but I would guess that if it has a good sweep on the bottom and gaskets around the top and sides it surely would help. It would probably be just part of a total solution; the soft surfaces suggested by others would likely help too. – Greg Hill Nov 17 '17 at 18:41
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I'd line the room (walls and ceiling) with high-performance sound absorption media. Most of the sound energy getting out the door is reflected, so this would cut it dramatically.

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You will never 'sound proof' the room, but you can dampen the sound. You mentioned hard reflective surfaces everywhere. You need something to stop the echo affect in that laundry room and hallway. Accoustic products are expensive but you could make sound panels filled with Roxul (or some other sound insulation product) covered with a cloth cover. The product I looked at come in 15.25" width X 3" thick. A number of panels 15" wide will friction hold the pieces. Make the depth approx 2.5" deep. ½ - ¾" plywood on edge would work well for the frame. Make the frames as long as you need with some cross braces where needed. The cloth can be stretched over the plywood and stapled to the back for a nice finished look. place the panels on the 3 walls of the laundry room above the machines and perhaps on the opposite wall of the hallway. If you want to reduce the noise of the machines transferred through the floor try placing the machines on a plywood base with a thick excercise mat type flooring underneath the plywood (between the plywood and the floor)

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