Q: We are putting an addition on our home that is to include a bedroom and bath. I am concerned about soundproofing of the common wall between the bedroom and the bathroom.
Our previous bedroom had a common wall with the bathroom. For years, my pet peeve was the sounds that transferred through this wall into our bedroom. My husband laughs at me, saying that our existing bathrooms are all insulated and the doors are standard, and there is nothing more we can do.
The interior is drywall. Would wood paneling make a difference? Any suggestions on what we can do in the new addition to alleviate some of these sounds would be appreciated.
A: There are several methods of construction that will provide a better sound barrier than the standard interior drywall installation. Installing a second layer of drywall to each side of the common wall is one method of reducing sound transmission. Use a manufacturer's recommended adhesive to attach the additional drywall layers.
If the first layer of drywall is installed vertically, the new layer should be installed horizontally, and vice versa. You can include the installation of a sound-deadening board under the drywall to gain further noise protection. If you have the room, soundproofing can be added by nailing furring strips to the first drywall layer and putting insulation between the strips before attaching the second layer of drywall.
These methods will do a lot to block sound transmission and are fairly simple. However, the best way to achieve sound resistance is to build a free-standing wall two inches away from the existing one, which leaves a dead airspace and provides a barrier to traveling sounds. This requires five to six inches of floor space.
In construction of the second wall, it is important that there is no connection between it and the existing wall. The framing of the second wall should be from wall to wall and ceiling to floor, leaving one to two inches of dead air space as a buffer for sound transmission. A blanket of insulation between the framing members will provide even more protection. Additional protection can be gained by installing resilient metal channels to the studs of the new, second wall.
These channels are installed horizontally and screwed to the studs. The drywall is attached to the opposite side of the channel. Although builders frequently use these, they are not always readily available in hardware stores or home supply centers. You may have to check with a building supply dealer.
Q: Do you have any recommendations on how to clean up dirty wood paneling? This is wood, not a synthetic. I am afraid to use standard household cleaners on wood.
A: Try Murphy's Oil Soap, an excellent wood cleaner found at most home centers, hardware stores and supermarkets. However, I would test first in an inconspicuous area to make sure the wood finish is not damaged. Wash a small area with the soap. Signs of a weak finish will be lightening, stickiness and cloudiness. Let the spot test area dry. If there is no apparent damage to the finish, proceed washing with the liquid soap, following manufacturer's directions.
Another product for removing dirt, grime and built-up smoke from paneling and other wood products is Weiman Panel Bright. It also moisturizes and works into the wood to bring out the natural patina.
Once it is clean, maintain the paneling with lemon oil (oil--not a furniture wax). Weiman markets a lemon oil with a sunscreen that gives additional protection. Look for these products at home centers or contact the Herbert Stanley Co. by calling toll-free 1-800-837-8140.
Q: The door leading to our carport has developed an annoying rattle. This is particularly bad when we have gusts of wind. I installed weatherstripping that helps prevent drafts, but it did not correct the door rattle. Do you have any suggestions on how to correct this?
A: The rattling is probably caused by an ill-fitting latch bolt that does not fit the strike plate properly. The bolt moving around in the opening of the strike plate causes the rattle. This can occur with the settling of the house or drying out of the door or the frame.
To correct this condition, it usually is necessary to reposition the strike plate on the door jamb. Remove the two screws that hold the plate in position. Now mark the area to be mortised to accommodate the plate in its new position, which should be about an eighth of an inch from its original position. Use a wood chisel for this mortising, working carefully so as not to split the wood outside the mortise. Reinstall the strike plate in its new position.
Send e-mail to email@example.com or write to Here's How, Copley News Service, P.O. Box 120190, San Diego, Calif. 92112-0190.