Easy Ways to Soundproof Your Room or Apartment

It’s funny how you never realize how noisy the world actually is until you build your own recording studio. All those background noises that you never really noticed before. Suddenly become painfully obvious when heard through a quality condenser microphone. Which is why one of the first questions beginners ask is: How do I soundproof my room?

1. Use thick material

The thicker and denser the material, the more sound it will absorb. Consider using ⅝” (1.6 cm) drywall instead of the thinner sizes.

If you are improving on an existing wall, build a basic wall frame and attach it to the surface, anchoring it to the existing studs. Cover this with a new layer of drywall or sheetrock.

2. Separate the two layers of the wall.

Whenever sound travels into a new substance, some of its energy is absorbed, and some are reflected. Increase this effect by building the wall from two sheets of drywall or sheetrock, with as much space between them as possible. This is called decoupling.

Decoupling actually makes the wall worse at blocking low frequencies, due to the resonance of the wall. If the gap is only 1 inch (2.5 cm) or less, a damping compound is highly recommended to fight this effect.

3. Plan your stud placement.

Most walls contain a single row of studs touching both layers of the wall. Sound travels easily through these studs, which can cancel out a great deal of work. When building a new wall, choose one of the following stud placements instead:
A double row of studs, one along each interior side. This is the most soundproof method but requires enough space to leave a gap between the two rows.

A staggered row of studs, alternating placement along one interior side, then the other.

4. Consider sound clips or channels

These are placed between the studs and the drywall, providing an additional barrier for sound. There are two main options:
Sound clips are the most effective method, absorbing sound with heavy rubber components. Screw them into the studs, insert a hat channel, then screw the drywall into the channel.

Resilient channel is a springy metal channel designed for soundproofing. Screw this to the studs and drywall using offset screws. This may improve high-frequency blocking at the expense of low frequencies.
Note that hat channels are not effective at soundproofing.

5. Fill walls with a damping compound

These magical substance converts sound energy to heat. This can be used between layers of wall, floor, or ceiling. Unlike most other methods, this should absorb low-frequency noise. This makes it ideal if you expect loud bass from music and home theater systems.

This is also sold as noise proofing glue or viscoelastic adhesive.
Some of these compounds may take days or weeks to “cure” to their full potential.

6. Insulate with other material.

Damping compound is one of the best all-purpose soundproofers, but there are many other insulation materials. Fiberglass is cheap and fairly effective. Foam insulation is a poor soundproofing. Thermal insulation is its major advantage.

7. Fill cracks with acoustical caulk.

Even small cracks and gaps between materials can undermine soundproofing. Special acoustical caulk (also sold as an acoustical sealant) fills these gaps with an elastic, sound-resistant material. Fill all cracks, as well as seams around the walls and windows. Keep the following in mind:

Water-based caulks are easier to clean up. If using a solvent-based caulk, check the label to make sure it won’t harm your materials.

If the caulk doesn’t match the wall color, choose one that specifically says it can be painted over.

Consider using normal caulk for the smallest cracks, since acoustical caulk is more difficult to handle.

8. Soundproof floors and ceilings.

Floors and ceilings can be soundproofed using many of the same systems suitable for walls. Most commonly, homeowners add an additional layer (or two) of drywall, with dampening glue in between. As a simple additional step, cover the floor with soundproofing mats, then install carpet.

You do not need to soundproof the floor if there is no room below you.

Heavy concrete ceilings won’t benefit much from the additional mass of drywall and damping compound. Instead, add a drywall layer with an air gap in between, or fill the gap with fiberglass insulation.

9. Install soundproofing panels

If the soundproofing in your completed room is not substantial enough, you can also use acoustic panels. Cheap options are available, but the more expensive panels may be more effective.

Be sure to attach these to wall studs or other strong structures.

10. Weatherproof Your Front Door

Do you hear every conversation spoken in the building hallway from the comfort of your sofa? You got intruding noise problems. Sealing the air leaks around your front door will quiet the chatter.

Got a large gap under your apartment door? Add a door sweep. Yours truly installed two: One on the outside and a second on the inside for extra soundproofing. Both are commercial grade with thick rubber seals that keep out dust, bugs, drafts, moisture, as well as noise. Afterward, sealed the air links around the doorjamb with foam weather stripping.

11. Door curtains

The final step was adding blackout curtains over the front entrance. When closed they absorb any noise that leaks through the door.

12. Acoustic panels

Acoustic panels are available as boards or fabrics that you hang on walls. While most types are designed to stop noise from bouncing off hard surfaces, others are very effective at blocking racket from entering a room or window. Residential Acoustics creates solutions for the latter.

Their AcousticDoor is a retractable panel designed to slash the amount of noise that transmits through an entrance, like your bedroom door, by 30 dB. How does it work? Inside each panel is a dense 25-pound core made up of sound muffling materials.
These are some of the ways to soundproof the room.

Erwin Cooper
 

a sound and video production expert who blogs about gadgets & accessories to help you select perfect equipment. The site is supported by commissions I receive from Amazon, please purchase items via my affiliate links to support me and this blog.

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