Have you ever snuggled in your pajamas, hot tea on hand, but don’t got the zen?
Peace and some uninterrupted rest is something you want to enjoy at home. I like to spend “me” time meditating after a busy week or read books. However, I was never satisfied with the amount of privacy I got.
When you live in a busy neighborhood, or by the street, learning how to soundproof a room from outside noise is the best decision you could make! This article is surely meant for you.
Before we jump into the different soundproofing techniques, here are a few concepts you need to know.
What Outside Noises Are We Soundproofing?
In case you didn’t know yet, there are two types of sound we need to worry about. These are airborne noise and impact noise. It is important to get to know both types to find out the ideal soundproofing method that matches it.
Most noise is airborne. This means it travels through the atmosphere. Air carries sound waves until they crash into something solid. This collision sends vibrations into the space beyond the wall.
The most common airborne noise you want to soundproof are:
- Traffic noise
- Construction work
- Children playing in the streets
- Neighbors’ loud conversations
- People’s footsteps during rush hour
- Neighbors’ loud music
- Lawnmower, equipment, and electronic devices
- Dogs barking
- Noise from other stray cats and dogs
To soundproof a room from this airborne noise, you will need to focus on sealing all air gaps and cracks from weak spots such as your windows. Second, reinforce them with a sound barrier. We’ll get into details on this soon.
Impact noise, on the other hand, is not transferred through the atmosphere. This type of noise is created when a part of a structure’s physical mass receives a sound impact.
This results in vibrations that travel through other structures in your home. That’s why it is also known as structure borne noise.
The most common impact noise you want to soundproof are:
- Slamming of doors
- Footsteps from neighbors in your building
- Heavy items dropped on floors from neighbors living on upper levels
- Cars and trucks passing by
- Road works
Impact noise is mainly an architectural concern. It’s best to take into consideration impact noise transmission when designing a building.
To soundproof an existing room, one may install sound absorbent materials around walls, windows, doors, ceilings, and even floors. Let’s cut to the chase!
Here are the much awaited soundproofing methods to achieve a silent sanctuary at home:
How Can I Reduce The Noise Coming From Outside?
I totally understand your every reason to soundproof your room.
It may be for rest after a long busy work week, or for self-reflection. Or maybe you need a lot of concentration to perform important tasks.
We’ve got you covered on this list! I’ll be sharing with you different soundproofing efforts to reduce noise coming from different elements in your home. Let’s start with the most vulnerable – windows.
Windows are the biggest culprits when it comes to noise entering a room.
There are two main possible reasons for this. This could be a result of gaps around the window frame or cracks in the glass. Another reason is glass thickness. Most windows only have a single layer of glass that is not adequate enough to block noise effectively.
Windows could be the best place to start when room soundproofing. Turns out, there are a lot of simple and cheap ways to do so.
Seal Gaps and Cracks
Check your window frames. If you can feel a breeze coming in, it is most likely that sound can enter too.
Cut and place enough weatherstripping tape for full window frame coverage. You may need to replace this over the course of time.
Add Extra Panels
If the glass of your windows is too thin, consider adding an extra layer. Window inserts are either made of glass or transparent acrylic.
All you have to do is fit the panels to your windows and push them into a snug. You don’t need to hire a professional.
Install Soundproof Curtains and Blinds
Another option is to install soundproof curtains. There are various options available for curtain thickness. The thicker, the better noise absorption.
Installing a curtain will require fixing up a rod. You might need a friend or neighbor to assist you with this. If you want to use regular curtains you have on hand, adding more curtain layers is still good.
Add some blinds for better sound insulation. They are great at dampening sound vibration.
Get New Windows
If even after DIY soundproofing windows you are still able to hear some street noise, maybe you need to get new windows.
Yes, getting new double pane or even triple-pane windows will require a few extra bucks. It is no doubt an investment worth giving a shot. They make a significant difference in noise reduction.
Make sure to hire expert professionals to set them up for you. You don’t want to waste good money on a bad installation!
Check out some more DIY projects to soundproof your windows.
The type of door you have for your apartment is crucial to your noise problem.
Most doors used in houses are usually hollow inside. They are not effective sound blockers.
One solution is to replace the door entirely with a solid core. This is definitely an expensive choice. Fret not, there are other ways to get quality door soundproofing.
Add a Door Sweep
The gap between the door and the floor allows noise pollution to enter the room. Conversations, commotion, and footsteps from the hallway will be audible. Even complaining to your landlord will not answer your worries.
A rubber door sweep will come in handy. You can easily order one from Amazon. They are pretty easy to apply and are adjustable. They also last for a very long time.
Of course even with a door sweep in place, if your door is always open, noise is bound to enter the rooms. As much as possible, keep them closed!
Seal Gaps with Foam Gaskets
The gaps between the door jambs and the door are places where sound transmission can occur. Seal this gap with foam gaskets or weatherstripping tape.
This is as effective as a door sweep. They are meant to complement each other.
Hang a Soundproofing Blanket
Again if your door is lightweight, add some density to it. Hanging a moving blanket will improve your soundproof room.
A soundproof blanket is also another option except it’s more pricey. Might as well take this chance to choose from a variety of colors and designs to improve the aesthetic of the room.
As with windows, walls are one with many options on how to soundproof a room from outside noise. There are a bunch of both cheap and expensive ways to do so.
First things first, adding sound blockers especially during wall construction will provide maximum effectiveness. Although it might be too time-consuming and expensive for some. Still, it is more practical than brick walls.
Block with Furniture
Blocking a wall with a heavy bookshelf is one inexpensive way to soundproofing a room. A bit of good advice is to place pieces of furniture and decor around a wall.
Tapestries, or a decorative wall carpet will not only improve your house aesthetics but also improve its acoustics.
Putting a sofa in the middle of your space across a wall also helps absorb reverberations.
Install Soundproof Foam Panels
Just like the ones found in a recording studio, acoustic panels do a great job soundproofing a room from outside noises.
Its porous material gives it a high noise reduction coefficient. They are easy to install and can double as wall art.
Add a Layer of Drywall
Drywalls add a layer of soundproofing especially when you have thin walls. It is best to sandwich them with some fiberglass, caulk, or green glue for better results.
Hang Soundproof Curtains
Works just like the ones for windows! You can also use this for the purpose of creating a room partition. They are great at keeping a conversation in just one area, as well as preventing noises outside from entering.
Put Up Moving Blankets
This is another option for those on a budget. Moving blankets are thick and porous. They’re great at absorbing echoes and frequency too.
Some prefer heavy quilts. They’re inexpensive and double as room decor.
If you’re in need of other options, there’s more you can do to your walls! Here are additional wall soundproofing DIY projects you can do.
Ceilings and Floors
Your main concern here is probably your family or roommates. A soundproof room will give you the necessary privacy to work and rest in solitude.
If you live in an apartment building, your concern is to reduce impact noise from upstairs neighbors. The ideal soundproofing method is to construct a drop ceiling.
This allows outside noise to dissipate between two layers of drywall. But that could be too expensive. Besides, you’d need the permission of the apartment owner too.
Luckily, you can soundproof your room cheaply from outside noise by insulation.
Add Rugs or Carpets
A huge rug or carpet can greatly reduce echoes. You can layer varied textures and thicknesses for added soundproofing. They can also add decor to any room.
Underlay with Mass Loaded Vinyl
Laying down rubber mats, MLV, or foam under thick carpets can add to the soundproof room you want to achieve. The thicker the material, the better.
Acoustic Foam Panels and Hanging Baffles
As for the ceiling, you may want to install hanging baffles also known as ceiling panels. This is to reduce outside noise and vibrations. Acoustic foam panels keep noise out of the room completely.
They are easy to install and don’t take up so much space.
Air vents are large holes on the walls. They let air and sounds in freely. The best thing to do is to cover them completely.
Cover with a Moving Blanket
The weight and thickness of the moving blanket can soundproof your room from outside noise coming in through the air vent. This is only temporary though. You will still need to use your vent.
Create a Sound Maze
A sound maze provides insulation to a room against outside noise. The maze comes with turns inside their construction. It also leaves some spaces to allow air to flow.
Here is an instructional video on how to build a sound maze for your air vent. Check it out in this link!
If you have the cash to spare, you can buy an acoustic air vent instead.
So far, we’ve been talking about how to soundproof a room from outside noise by applying techniques inside of a room. There are actually solutions to work outside too.
Plant Tall and Bushy Plants
Tall and bushy plants outside your window help reduce sound reflection. Outside noise will have a harder time getting around the plants. Its ‘bushiness’ will drown any outside noise before entering the room.
Build a Tall Fence
This is one of the more expensive alternatives. It must be thick and dense. It is best to build a fence higher than your room to keep sound outside effectively.
Tall fences absorb the impact of deeper bass sounds like construction work. It is twice as effective if you install MLV on it.
After applying a combination of two or more of these soundproofing methods, there’s one last thing you just might consider.
White Noise Machine
White noises are sounds used to mask background noises. I happen to love playing background classical music to focus on a task at hand.
Putting the speakers right beside me blocks out the noise from the street completely.
Calming music from sounds of nature are usually generated by these white noise machines. Music coming from the sounds of nature such as rainfall, the rustling of leaves, and ocean waves helps create the meditative ambiance.
Getting rid of the noises outside your room will definitely make your lives better. From getting a lot of work done to getting that beauty sleep in the comforts of your bedroom.
Whether you are willing to spending extra bucks to get some peace and quiet, or are up for a DIY project, a soundproof space is achievable!