how to soundproof a wall

How to Soundproof a Wall: An In Depth Insulation Guide

Soundproofing a wall can be really tiresome and traditional soundproofing methods could cost you a lot of money. Such a project often involves complicated techniques like replacing your drywall, adding wool insulation or constructing double walls.

If you’re on a budget and are looking for some easy ways to muffle the annoying noise in your room effectively, we’ll mention some cost-effective steps to soundproof an under-construction or pre-constructed wall.

A lot of these methods focus on improving sound absorption and preventing noise leaks in your home. So, check them out below.

How To Soundproof A Wall On A Budget

Whether it’s because of noisy neighbors, slamming doors, or the dog upstairs is barking all day long, knowing how to insulate a wall from noise easy, fast and without too much work on your part can prove to be a life saver.

Why Soundproof A Wall?

Sound and noise are indispensable part of our life. As it often happens, too much of anything can be detrimental to our health and increase stress levels. So, before we go on to prevent sound from polluting our home, we should know that sound spreads in 2 different ways:

Through air, that is, it passes through holes in a room such as power outlets, switches, lights, gaps, heating, ventilation and air conditioning ducts, etc..

Through hard structures, i.e.  it vibrates and transmits through walls, ceilings, floors, ducts.

A few reasons why you should insulate your walls:

Protect your privacy

In the same way that you don’t want neighbors to hear your child’s tantrums late at night or early in the morning, you also don’t want them to hear what’s going on in your home. If you are particularly concerned about your keeping your privacy, it goes without saying that if your walls are not well insulated, everyone will know your most hidden and disowned secret passions. The simple installation of sound-absorbing panels can help avoid these kinds of problems, and thus save you from becoming the topic of discussion and gossip in your neighborhood.

Prevent outside noise from entering your home

There are many outside noises that cannot be controlled unless you are the president or mayor of your city, which I imagine is not the case if you are reading these lines. The renovation work from the neighbors downstairs or the youngsters who like to listen trash metal every night are just some of the external irritating noises that can have a serious hit on your nerves.

Insulation of your apartment, duplex or house will help you prevent noise from spreading inside your home. If you live in a noisy place, for example near a shopping center or highway, the sound insulation of the walls can really help too. No one is able to live with excessive noise sources for too long a period of time.

So, let’s get to the heart of the matter on how to soundproof your walls.

Use Soundproof Wall Insulation

how to soundproof a wall

Insulation materials such as mineral wool, acoustic foam or fiberglass are capable of absorbing vibrations because of their dense construction. These materials are used as thermal and sound insulators as they trap the air and prevent sound reflection. Other specialized materials like spray foams and cellulose insulation are suitable for soundproofing existing walls. The cellulose and polyester fiber insulation is made of recycled paper and has an STC rating above 40, making them one of the most reliable and inexpensive wall insulation materials on the market.

Our Recommendation: Rhino Acoustic Absorption Panel

These six pieces of 100% recycled polyester fiber insulation are eco-friendly and offer high sound absorption. Additionally, you can also use it to reduce echo as it traps the reflecting noise. These sheets weigh about 4 pounds each, making them comparatively lighter than foam or mineral wool. It can easily stick to your wall with the help of an adhesive spray, and you won’t need to hire a professional to install these easy-to-use cellulose sheets.

Soundproof Apartment Walls

If you’re living in an apartment on a busy street, you may be annoyed by the traffic noise or loud neighbors. Apartments are made of some of the thinnest walls that are not very effective at isolating these sounds. Here are some methods to soundproof apartment walls:

Repainting with Soundproof Paint

If the noise level in your apartment is on the lower side, you don’t need to invest in expensive materials like acoustic panels or foams. Repainting your wall with soundproof paint is enough to dampen low noise levels. Also, you don’t have to paint all the walls in your apartment; just identify the wall which is leaking the noise and apply two or three layers of soundproof paint. Thicker paint will provide a better sound deadening.

However, it won’t help to reduce louder sounds.

Using Mass Loaded Vinyl

Repainting could be helpful at certain noise levels, but if you still find it difficult to isolate loud sounds, we recommend using mass-loaded vinyl. Mass-loaded vinyl is famous for its thermal and soundproofing properties. It’ll also maintain a good room temperature along with decreasing the low-frequency noise.

Installing Acoustic Tiles

how to soundproof a wall

Acoustic Tiles are some of the best soundproofing materials that can completely absorb all levels of noise in your room. You can find these affordable tiles in different shapes and sizes. They’re made of lightweight polyester, which is easy to clean. They’re also equipped with adhesive glue on one side to make the installation effortless. These tiles are widely used by music and content creators to soundproof their studios.

How to Soundproof a wall cheaply

Don’t have the budget to spend on expensive soundproof materials? Here are some other effective ways to soundproof a wall cheaply:

Prevent Sound Leaks

There’s a possibility for walls to have minor gaps or holes that allow air to pass through, making sound leaks easier. These gaps can be produced while installing wires or switches and are ignored by many homeowners. It’s essential to fill these cracks and holes with the help of caulking or other sealants. It’s not possible to completely soundproof your room without sealing these cracks in your walls.

Consider Adding Wall Furniture

A large room with empty space is also responsible for producing echo and reflecting sound. Make sure you furnish your rooms with heavy furniture pieces as they’re capable of absorbing these sounds to a great extent. Additionally, you could also use some wall art or shelves to prevent your walls from reflecting loud echoes. Filling the space in your home is as important as installing soundproof materials.

Soundproof Wallpapers

Similar to soundproof paint, you can also hang some acoustical wallpapers on your wall with the help of an adhesive. These wallpapers are made with thick and dense paper that helps to dampen the noise. You cannot soundproof your wall only by pasting these wallpapers, but they can definitely make a difference when combined with other effective soundproofing techniques.

Some Additional Tips On How To Soundproof A Wall Yourself

Unfortunately sound insulation of walls is far from the easiest thing to do.

To achieve truly effective insulation between two rooms, the walls must be mass-loaded and insulated from each other. Unfortunately, bulkheads usually have low thermal insulation, which results in significant noise transmission between the walls.

So,  to fully overcome your noise problems you will have to go through some physical work.

1. Find the weak points of your walls

If you want to save some time and soundproof your walls at a lower cost, it’s essential to first determine the weak points of your walls i.e where the noise could leak to your room most easily. And it is obvious that the weak points of each of your walls are the windows and the doors.

Let’s start with a few simple and inexpensive ways to make less noise go through your windows and doors.

Windows: The windows in our homes are often quite thin and this allows all external noise to pass into your home. The annoying horns of cars, screams of people outside, the barking dogs and what not. It all adds up to the overabundant stress that is becoming an increasingly serious issue in our modern everyday life.

Soundproof acoustic curtains will do the job quite well for soundproofing your windows. Just be sure to buy relatively thick and heavy curtains with tight weaving, and as many layers as possible. Also, don’t forget to cover a few extra inches(or centimeters) of the walls with the curtains on both sides of the windows for the best results. You can also get more information in our guide on how to soundproof a window.

Doors: When it comes to our doors, most of the residential doors are made hollow and not strongly built. In addition, let’s not forget that the gaps between the door and the door frame allow noise (and not only) to easily seep inside. But, since we are looking for inexpensive ways to block noise, we are not going to call on an expert who will install expensive thick soundproofed or acoustic doors.

It’s possible to slightly reduce the amount of noise that enters your home by placing objects such as shelves, shoe cabinets and cabinets in front of the edges of your doors. But that’s only a partial solution.

Another effective way to block noise is to place thick soundproof covers on your doors. Hanging blankets on a door is not very aesthetic, but if you put thick covers on your door, you will achieve practically the same effect as with a soundproof acoustic door. You can choose a nice pattern that will go along with the color of your walls too. In the cold winter months, these blankets will also keep all the heat inside your apartment.

Doors probably don’t really cancel all the noise from the hallway or other rooms in the house. It’s  even possible that sometimes you can hear what your neighbors are talking about in the hallway. Unless, of course, they whisper, which is unlikely. If listening to the gossip and personal conversations of your neighbors don’t seriously interest you, you should really do something for insulating and soundproofing your front door.

However, the front door is not the only door that you will need to insulate. If you have small children, remember that they also make a lot of noise inside your apartment. If you want to relax after work with a glass of wine in one hand and a good book in the other, you will definitely need some calm environment.

You can close all the doors in your home, but you will probably still hear them jumping and screaming in the other room.

A soundproof blanket on a door may seem complicated at first to install, in this case you can just buy  acoustic curtains that you can easily attach to your door.

For more information and an in depth guide you can check our article on how to soundproof a door.

2. Rearrange furniture

If you have a rather empty room and very little furniture you can try to reduce the echo of your room by filling it with new furniture. The more empty the room, the greater the echo will be. Closets and shelves are normally bulky and cover a large area, making them good insulators too.

Add book shelves, library, closets or cabinets and place them on problematic walls (walls that separate your apartment from the hallway, the street or from your neighbors).

Another thing is that if you have placed your armchairs or sofas against a noisy wall, move them away. If the sofa on which you are normally sitting is close to the wall where the noises come from it’s obviously time to move it further away from there. And of course, make sure you soundproof your walls after that.

These little tricks will not necessarily bring you great results, but could make a difference if you are having a serious issue with noise and every bit helps after all, right.

3. Redo the decoration of the walls

Another way to soundproof your wall from noise in an economical way is to take the chance to re-decorate your walls. The logic is simple, any element that you can attach to your walls and that will give them more mass or thickness will be able to eventually help you in the process.

Of course, you can’t expect that only decorating the walls will make a big difference in terms of noise reduction, but if you had already planned to do it before this is the perfect opportunity to do so.

You can buy some paintings or large art canvas, thick wallpapers or even use soundproof paint which is also a good choice if you don’t want to hang anything on your walls.

4. Install acoustic foam

Have you ever thought of buying soundproof foam panels? At first, they may seem expensive and difficult to install, but this is not the case really.

They will serve you quite well to block the source of any noise from spreading by and large. Especially if you don’t want your neighbor to hear what you are doing in your home, so this is a perfect option to consider. On the other hand, if it’s your neighbors who make too much noise, then we still suggest that you install them in your home.

The acoustic foam panels can be installed in just a few minutes and you have the choice between many different colors and patterns.The correct positioning of the panels depends on where the sound reflection points are located. You can find out by doing some tests and experiments yourself. And to avoid any serious mistakes it is better to use velcro tapes or other non-permanent attaching methods.

5. Talk with your neighbors

how to soundproof a wall

If you have a noisy neighbor who prevents you from sleeping at night, the first thing to do is just talk to them. Be polite and ask them if they would agree to stop making the loud noises.

The best way to approach a noisy neighbor is to be nice – the last thing you want to do is get angry or make enemies. If this approach fails, talk to your landlord and as a last resort, file a formal noise complaint with your municipality. Otherwise, check out this guide on how to get revenge on your noisy neighbors (not recommended in most cases, but good option for a nice joke)

Final Words

Having thin walls can be a real disaster if you live in a noisy environment and not everyone has the opportunity to call on a professional or move out.

There are many reasons to soundproof your wall, whether you’re looking to isolate outside noise or you don’t want to disturb others. We’ve mentioned some cheap and useful methods to soundproof the walls in your room. Ultimately, sealing all the noise leaks and buying suitable soundproofing material will ensure a quiet and peaceful atmosphere in your home.

At the end of the day, there are no miracle solutions in terms of sound insulation and if you think that you will be completely satisfied without some work or without calling a professional renovation service you are mistaken.

We hope that this article will give you some practical and inexpensive ways to reduce the noise at home.

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