Do you live in an apartment complex with a couple of neighbors?
WE TOTALLY understand why you would want to know how to soundproof a wall. You definitely have NO control over your neighbors’ noise.
Loud conversations, children laughing, and even slamming doors can be overwhelming.
That being the case, soundproofing the walls is the way to go!
Things to Consider Before You Soundproof a Wall
First, you can do a big wall construction to put new soundproof walls and replace your existing walls. This would need more dough off your pocket though.
Some already consider to set up soundproof walls as their interior walls for their room while under construction. This is also great if you plan on remodeling.
Second, you can go for AFFORDABLE sound isolation control methods with a DIY project to soundproof existing walls. This article will show you a few solutions on ways to soundproofing existing walls cheaply.
Determine the Different Noises You Want to Soundproof
As we mentioned above, the important step is to understand WHERE the noise is coming from. The soundproofing methods you will do will depend on the sound source!
There are two types of noise. They can be airborne noise or impact noise.
Airborne noise has middle to high frequency and passes through the air.
Airborne sound is a bit easier to handle! You can do away with this using a few acoustic panels. These are small adhesive blocks you can put on the wall to block sound. They are good at decreasing echo, improving the overall acoustics of a room, and sound insulation.
Impact noise, however, travels at low frequencies. This usually drives people to soundproofing walls of their house or home office.
This is where your noisy neighbors come into the picture. Also known as footfall noise, this noise travels through walls, windows, the floors, the ceiling, and the door.
You’ll need a STRONGER soundproofing project for this one since it’ll be harder to block sound. A good and cheap insulator like a mass loaded vinyl mat would be ideal for wall soundproofing.
A combination of two or more solutions will be discussed later. Don’t worry, there’s no need to look further! Keep reading…
How Do You Soundproof an Existing Wall?
Before we go into detail on how to soundproof a wall, it’s important to be familiar with the following steps if you’re working with an existing wall.
Here is an overview of the ways to soundproof an existing wall:
- Start wall soundproofing by finding which walls the noise is coming from.
- Focus on the weak points of your existing drywall. This is where sound leaks can occur. Mark them with a pencil.
- Fill this space with soundproofing materials like a mass loaded vinyl or resilient channel. (These materials can be placed on top of a sheet rock layer too!)
- Sandwich these between two layers of the existing drywall and sheet rock. You can hammer some nails in to put things in place.
- Seal seams with barrier tape or layer it with soundproof paint.
- Install acoustic panels, like the ones in recording studios. This will act as an additional sound isolation defense.
- Seal gaps with sealant for a secured soundproof wall.
EASY and CHEAP Ways on How to Soundproof a Wall
Method 1: Switch Things Up and Rearrange the Furniture
Budget may be a concern for a few of you. We’re here to tell you it’s still possible to stop sound waves from traveling through walls if you’re a little tight on the budget. There are a bunch of cost-effective soundproofing methods, like this one!
For this first way to soundproof walls, you can SIMPLY arrange your furniture! The more empty space you have, the more sound travels around.
Having a few additions and other decorative items to your home works too. Adding mass and arranging them can be pretty effective in stopping sound and improve sound isolation. This can quiet reverberations and make your wall soundproofing easy and affordable.
If you’re fond of switching things to liven the spirit in your room, EASY PEASY! Here are a few inexpensive tips and tricks to soundproofing a wall:
- Tip 1: Place bookshelves, and closets on your critical walls. These walls separate your apartment from the hallway, from your neighbor, or from the street.
- Tip 2: Books, articles, and other personal items placed on shelves cut sound energy from entering your wall.
- Tip 3: Position your sofas, couches, or armchairs in the middle of the room or on the side of the room. You wouldn’t want to hear everything happening on the other end of the wall. Especially if it is a shared wall. Do not position the couch against it.
- Tip 4: Move any noise producing appliances like television sets and dishwashers away from a wall. This will help in noise reduction between the walls of your living space, or towards your neighbor’s.
- Tip 5: Hang some paintings or other artwork on your wall. Fabric paintings or large canvas art prints are GREAT soundproofing methods. They’re also excellent decorative additions.
- Tip 6: Quiet ambient noise with rugs, carpets, drapes, and potted plants. These help reduce vibrations too.
- Tip 7: Installing tightly-woven and thick decorative quilts provide great sound insulation. They also make your space look cozy.
- Tip 8: Use thick, soundproofing wallpaper if you don’t like hanging anything on your walls. This also benefits a minimalist approach. Do note that the emptier a room, the more sound waves and echo it picks up.
- Tip 9: You can opt to invest in a white noise machine. A white noise machine is a temporary solution for you to drown out any outside noise.
- Double as decorative
- Not advisable for minimalist homeowners
- Does not completely solve your noise problem
Method 2: Take Care of Weak Spots on the Walls
Before you go soundproofing walls, it’s vital to recognize weak spots first. That is if you want to save time and money on materials.
Take care of these first. The weakest spots in every wall are the “big holes”. These are the windows, air vents, and doors.
Focus on soundproofing these first before starting a bigger project like a whole wall construction. This will surely save you from unnecessary expenses.
Windows often allow outside noise to enter your room. Loud conversations, car horns, and dogs barking can be overwhelming.
- Weatherstripping windows reduces sound transmission. It’s also a REALLY CHEAP WAY to soundproofing. Weatherstrip tape is made up of either plastic, rubber, or steel materials. You can simply apply them to seal gaps on windows, electrical boxes, and light switches. This prevents any sound leaks. A little can go a long way!
- You can also opt for a soundproofing curtain installation.
Air vents allow cool and warm air to circulate your space. You would expect some noise to go with this process. You definitely want to include them in your soundproofing as well.
- For air vents, hang a thickly woven blanket on the soundproof curtain. This functions as a SOUND BARRIER. The thicker the sound barrier, the more effective your soundproofing will be!
- The most effective way to soundproofing an air vent is to block it entirely. Perhaps you can complement this with Method 1 with the use of a bookshelf.
Doors allow conversations or loud footstep noise to travel from the hallway to your living space. This is if you live in a shared apartment building with lots of neighbors.
But how about in your own home? Even if you have every door closed, you can still probably hear your children playing and screaming in the other room. You will NEED a heavy thick soundproofing door to get the peace you deserve. But that would be a different expense.
- Since we are exploring cheap ways to cancel out noise, again you can rearrange bookshelves and cabinets around the edges of your doors to create a sound barrier to absorb the sound waves.
- Some opt to hang a thick blanket on the doors for extra soundproofing. This may not be aesthetically pleasing for most. If you consider this option, make sure it fits well with the color of your interior walls. It also works as a great insulator during the cold weather season.
- Soundproofing door sweeps and door seals placed under your door frames are great noise cancelers too. These are usually made up of aluminum and silicone. They block noise from entering through the gap between the door and the floor.
- More budget-friendly than to opt for bigger projects
- Targets main noise sources
- May not match with your overall house interiors
- Will need a complementing method for best soundproofing
- Does not completely solve your noise problem
Method 3: Install Soundproof Foam Panels
Acoustic foam panels absorb sounds before they can bounce off walls and ceilings. They’re made to improve the sound inside a room, such as for a home theater. They’re also helpful in noise reduction.
Soundproof foam panels are made of porous expanded polypropylene (PEPP).
These panels come in a variety of sizes and thicknesses. Most types of soundproofing walls at home are covered in fabrics with dozens of colors to choose from.
Some manufacturers offer custom-printed fabrics that turn your sound isolation panels into a piece of wall art. Send in a digital photo, and they’ll reproduce it on your panel.
This method to soundproof your walls is a great way for you to decorate your home as well! You don’t have to worry about them looking dull.
On their own, acoustic foam panels may not be enough to stop sound from entering the room. Pairing these with other methods like attach drywall layers will give you better results. You can also place them on top of a sheet rock layer.
Make sure to PROPERLY POSITION your soundproof panels depending on where the sound reflection points are. You can test it out and experiment. In this case, use non-permanent adhesives so that it will be easy for you to move them to different areas.
- Makes great wall art
- Easy to install
- Needs a complement soundproofing solution
- Does not completely solve your noise problem
Installing acoustic foam is among the CHEAPEST methods you can use to reduce noise in your room. It’s great for creating a music space too. Check out this video on how to install them without damaging your entire wall:
Method 4: Seal the Cracks in Drywall
Sound transmission class (STC) is the measure of how well a building partition blocks unwanted sounds. Based on studies, initially sealing cracks and air gaps on your wall and even adding extra layers improve the STC rating.
Sealing all the cracks and air gaps in your drywall is another cheap method of wall soundproofing. An acoustic caulk or green glue is one of the best materials you can choose. It is a rubbery material that is easy to apply and doesn’t change shape over time.
A popular soundproof caulk is the green glue noise-proofing compound. Green glue is the most common caulking gun used by most professionals to deaden sound by providing better sound absorption.
You can use this to seal seams and the spaces around electrical boxes and vents too!
You can buy green glue or acoustical caulk at your neighborhood hardware store. It’s a pretty popular soundproofing material so it’s not hard to find!
Here are some of the top available acoustic caulks on the market:
- Sashco Big Stretch Acoustic Caulk (available in white, clear, tan, gray, almond, and woodtone)
- St. Gobain Green Glue Sealant (available in white or medium grey)
- Franklin International Sound Sealant (available only in white)
Make sure you get acoustic caulk OVER regular caulk. The difference between acoustical caulk and regular ones is its permanent flexibility. It adheres better on the walls. It doesn’t shrink or get cracks in the long run too. It is definitely more durable and a better soundproofing material.
Before application, take a look at this brief guide with precautionary measures:
- Ensure you are working in a well-ventilated area. The smell of the green glue and caulk can be overpowering. Protect yourself with a face mask. You do not want to cause damage to your health.
- Clean the surface you will be applying the green glue or caulk to. Dirt, dust, or unwanted debris can mess with its elasticity.
- Apply a generous amount on the troubled area with the aid of the caulking gun.
- Smoothen the surface for a nice clean finish. You can use a toolkit, but your fingers will do.
- You can finish with a layer of soundproofing paint for a more effective soundproofing method.
- Low-cost soundproof window solution
- Easy to remove
- Lets you keep daylight
- Improves window insulation
- Simple way to deal with noise coming from other rooms
- Might not be thick enough to soundproof window completely
Method 5: Install Fiberglass Insulation
Thermal insulation stops the transfer of heat, cold, and sound. This works by trapping the temperatures and soundwaves in the insulation preventing them from passing through.
When you REALLY want to ensure a soundproof wall, using a fiberglass material would work so well.
This material consists of very small particles of glass. The glass comes by way of a process from heating sand and spinning it which forms the glass. The more common format of this is in batts.
Fiberglass batts are well-known by most people. Batts of insulation can be purchased in different widths and thicknesses. They are easy to work with as far as cutting to fit into places, if necessary. Batts are great for open wall cavities as well as between floors.
To build your fiberglass soundproofing:
Step 1: Cut the rigid fiberglass boards into the size you want.
Step 2: Take some insulation batting and cut just a bit smaller than the boards. Your batting will be placed in-between the boards like a sandwich. This will create effective sound-absorbing properties.
Step 3: Now to put it together, you can build a wood frame or use the rigid board and cut a frame out of that. You could then use an acoustic sealant to glue everything together.
Step 4: Layer with soundproofing paint or cover with material to have an extra layer of sound barrier.
Check out this video on How to Install Fiberglass on Walls and Ceilings:
- Very efficient soundproofing
- Long lasting solution
- Not as easy to install
Method 6: Hang Some Thick Soundproof Curtains Along Walls
Blackout or acoustic soundproof curtains are great for soundproofing ANY area. The most obvious place to hang them would be together with soundproof windows. But have you considered hanging them along the wall?
For the BEST sound reduction results, you’ll want to buy thicker curtain materials. You can even opt to layer curtains for a better soundproofing experience. The sound-absorbing properties will depend on the density of the fabric.
Be aware that to install your soundproof curtains, you will need to set up grommets and a rod for hanging. Here are a few steps to guide you:
Step 1: Measure the width and height of the wall you want to soundproof. Buy a soundproof curtain sufficient enough to cover this space totally.
Step 2: Measure the width of the curtain and the distance between each grommet. This will tell you where to hang the mounting hardware and the rod.
Step 3: Install the mounting brackets into the drywall. Make sure to use a sturdy stool or ladder to better reach the top. Have a friend help you.
Step 4: Hang your soundproof curtain.
Apart from your basic soundproof curtain, you can find larger ones used as room dividers too. These do a great job at soundproofing between rooms. They effectively muffle any noise coming next door.
What else is great with using soundproof curtains? They do the job of soundproofing walls and complement your rooms with a touch of sophistication and decor.
- Doubles as decor
- Great insulation
- Blocks noise
- Installing a rod might be too inconvenient
Method 7: Install Heavy Moving Blankets
Soundproof moving blankets don’t necessarily soundproof a wall or prevent noise from coming in.
Their main purpose is to protect furniture when moving into a new home. However, because of their heavy and dense materials, they make a great option for soundproofing a wall cheaply!
Nowadays, they are synonymous with “soundproof blankets”. They are mostly used to soundproof doors and windows. This isn’t the only thing though. They can also be attached to soundproof walls. These work similarly with soundproof curtains.
There are even blankets that have grommets to make it easier for you to hang. Much like the soundproof curtain, you’ll need to install a rod or tack to the wall.
What’s great about these inexpensive noise blockers is you can EASILY take them down and put them back up. They work as home decor too!
- Doubles as decor
- Blocks noise
- Installing a rod might be too inconvenient
Method 8: Install a “Soundproofing Sandwich”
Sounds are made up of vibrations. Deadening those vibrations is best done with heavy, dense materials that stop noise in its tracks. That is the process of soundproofing.
Brick walls and stone are great materials in wall construction to assure soundproofing. It is, however, impractical in this day and age for most households.
A better strategy on how to soundproof a wall is to add a second layer of drywall on a finished wall rather than doing a whole wall construction. You don’t have to add drywall everywhere, the troubled areas will do.
Before you do so, first check out your old wall and patch up any cracks and gaps. Check out Method 4 for more details. This wall soundproofing method is a bit more expensive than other methods but I guarantee you it is worth it!
If you want EXTRA soundproofing, you can build a “soundproofing sandwich” with extra drywall. This is done by separating the two drywall layers with acoustic caulk in between. The caulk DEADENS the vibrations from the sound waves traveling from one layer to the other.
You Can Opt to Use Mass-Loaded Vinyl
Mass-loaded vinyl (MLV) or vinyl mats are a flexible material that comes in 4-foot-wide rolls that act like acoustic tiles. A mass-loaded vinyl is made to hang on walls or install on floors to help deaden sounds too. It’s effective in absorbing sound waves.
Mats, or any soundproofing material made out of mass-loaded vinyl, are one of the most affordable soundproofing materials on the market.
A mass-loaded vinyl mat is pretty easy to set up:
- Attach the mass loaded vinyl to joists or studs then cover the seams and joints with some acoustic caulk.
- Once the mass loaded vinyl is secured, seal the seams with tape to effectively block sound from seeping through.
You can also use other types of materials like a resilient channel to sandwich between two layers for the best soundproofing results.
Resilient channel doesn’t FULLY provide a soundproof wall. BUT it does improve sound quality by providing sound absorption.
When doing double drywall, you will have to refinish and repaint your second layer of drywall (you can opt to use soundproof paint for better sound isolation). This applies to sheet rock layers too. Perhaps it is also necessary to extend electrical outlets ad switch boxes.
These are relatively easy and inexpensive DIY projects that can make a HUGE difference
- Efficient soundproofing
- Long-lasting solution
- Slightly more expensive
- Not as easy to install
For in-depth instructions on how you can DIY acoustic panels for your walls, take a look at this video:
It’s quite pricey to get new drywall compared to working on a finished wall. Whichever of these soundproofing methods you decide on, I am sure it will help with your noise problems.
If you’re working on many walls, consider soundproofing one wall at a time. Check the noise improvement and evaluate before moving on.
You can work with two or more methods on how to soundproof a wall. Rearranging your furniture and adding acoustic wall panels won’t break the bank. Mix and match those soundproofing materials! Trust that it will do the job of reducing noise.
If you have time and energy for a DIY project, a “Soundproofing Sandwich” for your walls will surely give the best results to soundproof your wall cheaply.
All of these methods you can do by yourself, or with a few friends. What are you waiting for? Get started on solving those noise problems and finally have that peace and quiet you deserve with a soundproof wall!
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