Wall soundproofing is an excellent way of dealing with noise coming from the outside or between rooms. You can use acoustic panels, soundproof curtains, acoustic caulk, and more to block or absorb sounds effectively.
Sound waves travel through cracks, holes, light fixtures, switch boxes, or any gaps in your room, regardless if it is a new or existing wall.
Thus, soundproof walls are much needed for effective sound absorption because they block sound waves and prevent them from traveling through air gaps.
If you’re ready to learn about the different wall soundproofing methods, let’s dive right in!
An Overview of Noise and Sound Waves
Table of Contents
- An Overview of Noise and Sound Waves
- How to Soundproof Walls in 8 Different Ways
- Things to Consider Before You Do Wall Soundproofing
- Wall Soundproofing Myths
There are two types of noise leakage that you may encounter in your homes: airborne sound and structure-borne sound.
Airborne sounds are noises from your children, television, light fixtures, and radios from the other room.
On the other hand, structured-borne sounds, often known as impact noise, come from when an object strikes a surface, leading to noise leakage and vibrations.
It is undeniable that these noises can irritate, especially when heard often. With that, wall soundproofing is a MUST for noise reduction in your home.
How to Soundproof Walls in 8 Different Ways
Sound travels quickly if there is a gap, hole, or crack in your finished wall or existing drywall. The goal is to SEAL these spaces and stop noise from traveling through!
Listed below are the best methods to soundproof a wall:
1: Install Acoustic Panels
In soundproofing walls, acoustic panels are the best material! Regardless if you have a new or existing wall, it helps in sound absorption, which prevents noise from traveling through space.
These are soft but heavy, so you might need an extra hand to install them. You can also wrap them in fabric so they perfectly fit your home decor!
Additionally, most manufacturers of acoustic panels use mineral wool insulation, so there is no doubt regarding its effectiveness.
If you want to use acoustic panels for soundproofing walls, all you need to do is hang them. It’s that simple.
Moreover, besides sound reduction, an acoustic panel helps with thermal insulation so that you will have a cooler room temperature.
The thicker the fold, the better the sound absorption.
2: Use Soundproof Curtains
If you have a new wall, a soundproof curtain can be used for room soundproofing. A soundproof curtain can deaden sounds, especially if it has a second layer.
Soundproofing curtains can fill the extra space in your room. Thus, a sound transfer is not possible.
However, it does not offer total sound leakage blackout because it only dampens sound waves. To reduce sound transfer, we suggest using other materials.
3: Use Acoustic Caulk
Acoustic caulk is one of the best not-so-expensive methods for soundproofing walls.
Acoustic caulk, also known as acoustic sealant, is a spray foam used in windows, ceilings, and doors.
When used for soundproofing purposes, acoustic caulk offers good sound absorption because it blocks sound as they fill the gaps and spaces.
The acoustic caulk remains soft and pliable over the years, so a crack or space will never be a problem.
Acoustic caulk is the best soundproofing material for filling the space of electrical outlets.
4: Apply Wall Art
In soundproofing walls, wall art can also be used! Even though it doesn’t offer total blockage of sound transmission, it still reduces sound leakage to a certain degree.
If you have existing walls, these are worth considering since they offer convenience and aesthetics to any room.
You won’t need to do total wall construction projects because you will only be hanging art to take up the extra space.
Additionally, this is a great soundproofing method if you are renting an apartment because it does NOT need drilling.
Sound vibrations will be reduced if your wall arts are at least an inch thick. The thicker, the better!
5: For Existing Walls: Install Soundproof Drywall
Installing a layer of drywall is also one of the best methods to have soundproof walls. Even though this sound absorption method is costly, it reduces total noise quite effectively.
The layers of drywall can be used if you have existing walls because all you need to do is integrate and add them.
However, if you have a new wall or the wall construction is undergoing, already attaching drywall to the middle of your walls will be great!
The layers of drywall will block the noise coming from the outside and will prevent the sound from the inside from transferring.
If you are interested in using drywall, below are the best tips:
- Cover the existing walls with ½-inch-thick soundproof drywall. Vibrations and sound waves will not pass through spaces if you attach a thick soundproof drywall size. Also, a layer of drywall can block out sounds if you have existing sheetrock.
- Secure with a caulk. Sound-deadening caulk is a great soundproofing material to pair with attaching drywall. As the caulk stops noise transfer, it will block more sound when paired with drywall.
Additionally, as standard drywall can be affordable, it would be best to use a special sound-deadening drywall rather than a standard one.
This is because it is made of a plastic polymer layer, which can dramatically block impact noise.
Drywalls can improve Sound Transmission Class (STC) ratings because they effectively reduce noise.
6: For New Walls: Add Mass-Loaded Vinyl
Mass-loaded vinyl (MLV) can also be used if you want soundproof walls. MLV is made from viscoelastic material, such as polyvinyl chloride, with highly dense inert compounds.
MLV sound barriers can block noise you may encounter daily from your children, cars, and even noisy neighbors.
Unlike acoustic panels, MLVs are heavy and can cover a square foot. Besides its flexibility and affordable price, loaded vinyl is highly effective when used correctly.
MLV improves the wall’s sound transmission class (STC) rating in movie theaters, studio projects, and private and residential applications.
7: Build Wall Studs and Resilient Channels
Stud frames and resilient channels can also be used to have a soundproof wall! You can do this by decoupling (separating two walls) to limit noise transmission.
If you want to know which method of soundproofing works best for you, read the comparison below:
- If you want to have wall studs, we suggest building a double wall stud. Double walls create two stud frames with a gap in between (a space) for drywall. Also, drywall on both sides and in the middle can be done for improved sound reduction. However, these can take up many spaces.
- If you have existing walls, a resilient channel is the best option. You can attach the resilient channel to the sides of the stud frame to absorb sound waves and improve sound quality.
8: Use Soundproof Rugs
If you already have a soundproof wall yet can still hear noise leakage, it is time to use soundproofing rugs on your floor!
Soundproof rugs can help prevent sound, air, and noise from traveling to your wall, even if they’re placed on the floor.
If you opt for this method, we suggest having layers of rugs to ensure that the air or noise will not pass through the gaps underneath doors.
However, this should be your LAST option because rugs cannot completely block the noise. We suggest adding mass to your walls rather than putting mats on your floor.
Things to Consider Before You Do Wall Soundproofing
Before having a soundproof wall, there are different factors you need to consider:
To have soundproof walls, you must be willing to spend a TON of money! Soundproofing materials are expensive, and insufficient money can slow down the process.
However, listed below are some materials that might help those on a tighter budget save money:
- Use acoustic insulation or caulk. Acoustic insulation or caulk is the best solution if the noise comes from gaps or spaces. This soundproofing material is cost-effective and can seal the gaps in your doors, floors, walls, and more.
- Use acoustic foam panels. Noise can’t pass through your walls so easily if you’re using layers of acoustic foam panels. This is a great affordable soundproof material that can deal with both impact and airborne noise.
These affordable soundproof materials are proven effective. All you need to do is choose what method works best for you and your situation!
Building a soundproof wall is time-consuming, especially since most methods are do-it-yourself (DIY).
With this, assess yourself if you have the luxury of time to install these materials to have a soundproof wall.
However, you can pay someone to do the work for you, but this also means additional costs. This is the best option if you do not have the time but have the money.
3. Sound Leakage
Before building a soundproof wall, you must first identify where the noise comes from!
This can help you save time and money because some of the causes of noise can be sealed easily. If it came from a small gap, block the space with barrier tape or caulk.
However, a total wall makeover is needed if the sound comes from your children or neighbors. Adding mass and drywall are only a few methods you can opt for.
4. Noise Tolerance
As mentioned, soundproofing a wall requires lots of money. If you do not have the fortune, ask yourself if you can still deal with the noise or sound.
If yes, then good! You probably don’t have to exert so much time and effort. But if not, you’ll need to save up to soundproof your wall effectively and properly.
Wall Soundproofing Myths
Are you wondering why some methods of wall soundproofing do not work? Well, maybe it’s because it’s NOT a legitimate or proven method.
Below are the common wall soundproofing myths you need to know about:
1. Using Soundproof Paint
Using soundproof paint to soundproof a wall is a common mistake of most homeowners. Soundproof paint only covers soft spots or nail holes, but that’s it!
It does not deaden sounds effectively.
Even if you apply layers of paint on your walls or doors, it will not be as effective compared to other methods.
Hence, paint is the most inadequate material to soundproof a wall.
2. Using Room Wallpapers
Soundproof wallpapers are NOT that effective to soundproof a wall. This is because, like paints, wallpapers are thin and thus do not have a good mass to reduce the noise.
Most room wallpapers are ordinary, and regular wallpaper is only made with a minimal layer of foam and no other noise-soundproofing material.
Therefore, room wallpapers are not made for soundproofing and cannot impede high and low-frequency sound waves.
3. Using Foam Rubbers
Soundproofing rubbers are easy to install and can block and absorb sound from the surroundings.
However, rubbers, such as yoga mats or mouse pads, will not aid in sound blocking. Only specialized soundproofing rubbers can effectively dampen unnecessary noise.
ALTERNATIVE: Install an acoustic foam panel instead and stick it securely on the walls of your room for better noise reduction.
4. Placing Carpets on Your Floors
Putting a normal carpet to fill the gap underneath a door will not have a significant soundproofing effect.
Carpets can minimize sound reverberation, but it doesn’t have the density to reduce sound transfer.
As an alternative, you’re better off using soundproofing rugs instead. Ensure that you use multiple layers if necessary to prevent sounds from transferring.
Below are the frequently asked questions about wall soundproofing:
How Much Does a Soundproof Wall Cost?
The wall soundproofing costs range from $1 to $5 per square foot. However, if you want to add drywalls, you might spend $40 per sheet.
Your total cost depends on the size of your wall and room.
How Do I Soundproof a Wall Cheaply?
There are different methods to soundproof a wall cheaply, and these are:
Install insulation or caulk
Use acoustic foam panels
Layer a heavy soundproofing rug
What’s the Best Material for Soundproofing Interior Walls?
There are LOTS of materials you can use for soundproofing an interior wall, and the best are:
Mass-loaded vinyl sound barrier
Soundproofing spray foam
Acoustic window inserts
Acoustic wall tiles
Walls are the barriers to your room, which makes them vital for room soundproofing.
Different methods can be used to achieve a successful noise isolation room; all you need to do is choose the best strategy for your situation.
Also, soundproofing materials are relatively expensive, so you must purchase what fits your budget.
BUT REMEMBER, to soundproof a room effectively, it would be best to combine different materials and methods.