Window Coverings Aid in Home Acoustics

Thursday, March 10th, 2016
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Building a dream music studio or home theatre? Working shift work, have a baby that can’t sleep or are you living on a busy road?

These are situations that are affected by surrounding noise either from within the home or outside, and must be addressed. If you are located on a busy road, or under a flight path, the type of window coverings you buy can greatly contribute to a more peaceful environment. Even acoustics from within the home can be significantly altered by what is put on the windows.

Of course, double glazing goes a long way in keeping outside noise from permeating glass, but the jury is out as to whether double glazing is in itself enough to improve the acoustics of a room. If you attend the cinemas, you can’t help but notice that the walls are lined with thick fabric. This is to improve the sound quality. The same principle applies in the home, but perhaps to a less extreme extent.

Recently I installed a long wall of curtains for a client in his home music studio. He wanted the best acoustics we could provide, as well as high level thermal quality. Apart from the face fabric, we lined the curtains in a block out lining and also interlined with a product called bumph.

Bumph has been around for a while, and is often used as an interlining for pure silks to protect from possible disintegration in the harsh Aussie sun. It is a bulky product and quite porous. The surface actually feels like flannel; kind of like a brushed effect. It comes in natural or man-made fibres, both performing equally well. The porosity of the bumph turns the pores into little sound traps, so rather than absorbing sounds per se, it controls reverberation and therefore makes the sound quality purer. Bumph absorbs sound quite effectively, and as a result, the internal acoustics of a room become purer.

Bumph is generally not used alone, but in conjunction with a third layer, being the actual curtain lining. For best results a three or four pass lining is recommended. The combination of layers creates two distinct air pockets which also assist in buffering unwanted noise.

The best benefits of bumph are in home theatres, where inherent sound quality is imperative in a relatively small space. Today’s homes have rather thin walls and glass, so lining the walls with bumph, as well as bumph interlined curtains can make the theatre experience more like the real thing.

When using interlined curtains, you can be certain that they will considerably deaden the noise coming through windows from outside sources, as well as assisting in the improvement of sound quality within the room. An added benefit of bumph is the extra thermal protection it gives, which is wonderful in extreme climates.

If you need to improve the sound quality in your home or simply reduce external noise, ask your window coverings professional about using bumph. It is a “sound” investment in your home!

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