How To Soundproof A Wall Cheaply

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Silent Home Hub How to Soundproof a Wall

Do you live in an apartment with a few neighbors in the building?

I totally understand why you would want to know how to soundproof a wall.  You have no control over your neighbors’ noise. Loud conversations, children laughing, and even slamming doors can be overwhelming.

Maybe you live with many people in one house. Getting your peace and personal space would be nice. You can read a book while your husband works in the garage, or perhaps watching TV.

Soundproofing the walls is the way to go!

Two things: first, you can either put new soundproof walls to replace existing ones. This would need more dough off your pocket though. Some already consider soundproof walls while their room is still under construction. This is also great if you plan on remodeling.

Second, you can go for affordable sound control methods through a DIY project. This article will show you a few solutions on how to soundproof an existing wall with the least cost.

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    How Do You Soundproof An Existing Wall?

    Before we go into detail, it’s important to be familiar with the following steps. Here is an overview of what to expect:

    • Find which walls the noise is coming from.
    • Focus on the weak points of your wall. This is where noise leakage occurs. Mark them with a pencil.
    • Fill this space with soundproofing materials.
    • Sandwich these between layers of drywall. You can hammer some nails in to put things in place.
    • Seal seams with barrier tape.
    • Install acoustic panels, like the ones in recording studios. This will act as an additional sound defense.
    • Seal gaps with sealant.

    Does Soundproofing Work For Noisy Neighbors?

    As we mentioned above, the important step is to understand where the noise is coming from.

    There are two types of noise. They can be airborne noise or impact noise.

    Airborne noise has middle to high frequency and pass through the air. You can do away with this using a few acoustic panels. These are small adhesive blocks you can put on the wall to block noise. They are good at decreasing echo and improve the overall acoustics of a room.

    Impact noise however, travel at low frequencies. This usually drives people to soundproofing walls of their house or home office. This is where your noisy neighbours come in the picture. This noise travels through walls, windows, the floors, the ceiling, and the door.

    You’ll need a stronger soundproofing project for this one. A good and cheap insulator would be vinyl mats. 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 A Wall Cheaply?

    Method 1: Rearrange the Furniture

    Budget may be a concern for a few of you. It is still possible to stop sound waves from traveling through walls. You can simply arrange your furniture! Having a few additions and other decorative items to your home works too. This can quiet reverberations.

    Method 1: Rearrange Furniture

    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 are what 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, coaches, 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 coach 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 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.

    | PROS

    • Inexpensive
    • Double as decorative

    | CONS

    • Not advisable for minimalist homeowners
    • Does not completely solve your noise problem

    Method 2: Take Care of Weak Spots on the Walls

    It is vital to recognize weak spots in your wall. 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 the 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. This avoids noise leakage. A little can go a long way!
    • You can also opt for a soundproofing curtain installation.
    • Read this guide for more ways to soundproof your windows.

    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 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 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 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 your overall interior design. 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. This guide will give you more ideas on how to soundproof doors.

    | PROS

    • More budget-friendly than to opt for bigger projects
    • Targets main noise sources

    | CONS

    • 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 for 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 blocking panel into a piece of wall art. Send in a digital photo, and they’ll reproduce it on your panel. This is a great way for you to decorate your home as well! You don’t have to worry about them looking dull.

    On its own, acoustic foam panels may not be enough to stop the noise from entering the room. Pairing these with other methods like drywall layers will give you better results.

    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 it to different areas.

    | PROS

    • Makes great wall art
    • Easy to install
    • Inexpensive

    | CONS

    • 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 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 on your wall and even adding extra drywall layers improve the measure of STC.

    Sealing all the cracks and gaps in your drywall is another cheap method to wall soundproofing. Acoustic caulk 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.

    Other than acoustic caulk, you can also opt for green glue noise proofing compound. It comes in a caulking gun for easier application. It does the same job!

    You can buy green glue or acoustic caulk at your neighborhood hardware store. Here are some of the top available acoustic caulks on the market:

    Make sure you get acoustic caulk over regular caulk. The difference between acoustic caulk and the 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.

    Before application, take a look at this brief guide with precautionary measures:

    • Make sure 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.

    | PROS

    • Low-cost soundproof window solution
    • Easy to remove
    • Lets you keep daylight
    • Improves window insulation

    | CONS

    • 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 your desire is to provide soundproofing, this is why fiberglass insulation works so well.

    Fiberglass insulation 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 formats of fiberglass insulation are in batts.

    Fiberglass batts are well-known by most people. Batts of insulation can be purchased in different widths and thickness. 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 absorb the sound.
    Step 3: Now to put 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: Paint or cover with material.

    Check out this video on How to Install Fiberglass Insulation in Walls and Ceilings:

    | PROS

    • Very efficient soundproofing
    • Long lasting solution

    | CONS

    • Expensive
    • Not as easy to install

    Method 6: Hang Some Thick Soundproof Curtains Along Walls

    Soundproof curtains are great for soundproofing any area. The most obvious place to hang them would be to soundproof windows. But have you considered hanging them along the wall?

    Method 6: Hang Some Thick Soundproof Curtains Along Walls

    You will want to buy thicker curtain materials. You can even opt to layer curtains for a better soundproofing experience. The absorbency of the sound 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.

    | PROS

    • Doubles as decor
    • Inexpensive
    • Great insulation
    • Blocks noise

    | CONS

    • Installing a rod might be too inconvenient

    Method 7: Install Heavy Moving Blankets

    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 wall soundproofing option!

    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!

    | PROS

    • Inexpensive
    • Doubles as decor
    • Blocks noise

    | CONS

    • 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 and stone are great materials in wall construction to assure soundproofing. It is however, impractical at this day and age for most households.

    The better strategy on how to soundproof a wall is to add a second layer of drywall. You don’t have to add a 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.” This is done by separating the two layers of drywall with acoustic caulk in between. The caulk deadens the vibrations traveling between one layer to the other.

    Mass-loaded vinyl (MLV) or vinyl mats are a flexible material that comes in 4-foot-wide rolls. It’s made to hang on walls or install on floors to help deaden sounds too.

    You can also use these types of materials to sandwich between layers of drywall for best soundproofing results.

    You will have to refinish and repaint your new layer of drywall. Perhaps it is also necessary to extend electrical outlets ad switch boxes. These are relatively easy and inexpensive DIY projects. Not a big problem!

    | PROS

    • Efficient soundproofing
    • Long-lasting solution

    | CONS

    • 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:

    Final Thoughts

    Whatever method 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. Trust that it will do the job at reducing noise.

    If you have time and energy for a DIY project , a “Soundproofing Sandwich” for your walls will surely give the best results.

    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!