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How to Soundproof a Wall

Soundproofing materials can be applied to a wall that’s under construction or be added to an existing wall, post-construction. There are several ways to soundproof a wall. Improvements in the soundproofing industry have resulted in products that are more effective and cost less than traditional wall soundproofing methods.

Recommended Wall Soundproofing Methods

Recommended soundproofing methods are less expensive and more effective than traditional methods.

Traditional, less effective methods

Traditional wall soundproofing methods are more expensive and less effective than the new technologies available today.

Adding a high density material to the structure of the wall significantly reduces the transfer of sound. At a fraction of the cost of traditional soundproofing methods, adding mass is a popular way to soundproof a wall.

Quiet Barrier® Soundproofing Material is one of our most popular wall soundproofing products. This heavy, flexible, non-porous material stops sound energy by damping its vibrations. Pound for pound, Quiet Barrier® Soundproofing Material products have better noise reduction characteristics than steel and other building materials.

Quiet Barrier® Soundproofing Material can be nailed to studs during construction or applied to existing drywall with its easy “peel-and-stick” backing.

Another common method is to first attach furring strips to the drywall. Quiet Barrier® Soundproofing Material is applied to the strips and then both layers are covered with a second layer of drywall. All seams and cracks should be sealed with acoustic caulk (OSI® Pro-Series® SC-175™ Acoustical Sound Sealant) or barrier tape (Quiet Barrier® Tape).

Although cotton batts don’t block noise, they reduce sound by absorbing noise inside the wall. These materials stop sound energy from bouncing back and forth within the wall cavities.

Dense cotton batting material, like Quiet Batt® Soundproofing Insulation, not only reduces sound, it also insulates. Quiet Batt® Soundproofing Insulation, performs better than thermal insulators, making it a sensible alternative to itchy fiberglass or spray foams.

Made of 80% recycled content, it’s easily applied between walls studs with no special tools required.

The most efficient soundproofing method on the market today is sound isolation systems. Using sound isolation systems, a room can be completely isolated from an adjacent room, resulting in the best soundproofing possible

Sound travels through drywall along common studs. isoTRAX™ Soundproofing System, the most popular sound isolation system, works by “floating” a mounted wall over the studs. There are no common studs for sound to travel along, stopping the transfer of sound waves.

isoTRAX™ Soundproofing System is fastened to the studs without any direct contact between hardware and wood.isoTRAX™ Soundproofing System provides a peel and stick dampener to pad the studs when applying the metal tracks. Also, each track is equipped with neoprene foam to cushion your drywall from vibration.

This system is easy to install, increases wall strength, and provides top soundproofing quality.

In standard wall construction, studs connect two slabs of drywall. Noise easily travels along this connection. In a staggered stud wall construction, studs are connected to one side of the wall, but not the other. While this reduces noise transfer, it takes up extra space, involves expensive construction techniques, and weakens the structural integrity of the wall itself.

This method is often used in “room within a room” construction for studios and music practice rooms. When used with other soundproofing materials, double wall construction offers complete sound protection. However, double walls are expensive, hard to build, and take up room space.

Resilient channel is a spring metal track used to isolate a drywall panel from other wall construction. While this method provides reduced sound transfer, it’s very difficult to install. If not installed properly, it will not provide effective soundproofing. This method is even less effective when the building structure shifts or nails are driven into studs to hang items to the finished wall.

Batts are fitted between wall studs for acoustical protection. Fiberglass batts are light and thin, allowing noise to leak through. Without additional soundproofing materials, fiberglass batts are ineffective. Fiberglass materials work better for sound absorption (improving sound quality) than soundproofing.

Spray foams were engineered for thermal insulation. Using this messy foam for soundproofing can actually increase noise transmission and make matters worse.

Wall Soundproofing Products

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    Green Glue is a non-toxic, low-VOC, visco-elastic compound that can be quickly and easily applied between two sheets of drywall, plywood or any commonly used building

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    Quiet Batt™ 30 Soundproofing Insulation

    Quiet Batt™ 30 is a 3 in. premium, high-performance soundproofing and thermal insulation product designed for use in both interior and exterior walls, ceilings and attic

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    Quiet Barrier­™ MD Soundproofing Material (Roll)

    Quiet Barrier™ MD soundproofing material (1/8 in. 1 lb./sqft.) is a high density, non porous material that exhibits a non-resonant quality due to its flexible nature, and

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    isoTRAX™ Soundproofing System

    The isoTRAX™ Soundproofing System works by combining several different soundproofing strategies into one easy to use package. Designed to be installed inside of a wall or

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    Quiet Barrier™ HD Soundproofing Material (Sheet)

    Quiet Barrier™ HD soundproofing material (1/4 in. 2 lb./sqft.) 4’x8 ‘sheet is a high density, non porous material that exhibits a non-resonant quality due to its

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    Quiet Barrier™ MD (w/PSA) Soundproofing Material (Sheet)

    Quiet Barrier™ MD (w/PSA) soundproofing material (1/8 in. 1 lb./sqft.) 4’x8′ sheet is a high density, non porous material that exhibits a non-resonant quality due to

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    Quiet Barrier™ MD Soundproofing Material (Sheet)

    Quiet Barrier™ MD soundproofing material (1/8 in. 1 lb./sqft.) 4’x8′ sheet is a high density, non porous material that exhibits a non-resonant quality due to its

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    Quiet Barrier™ LD Soundproofing Composite

    Quiet Barrier™ LD Soundproofing Composites (1/16 in. 1/2 lb. barrier + 1/2 in. foam) are industrial grade products that stop sound from entering or leaving a

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    Quiet Barrier­™ HD Soundproofing Material (Roll)

    Quiet Barrier™ HD soundproofing material (1/4 in. 2 lb./sqft.) 20ft. roll is a high density, non porous material that exhibits a non-resonant quality due to its

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    Quiet Barrier™ MD Soundproofing Composite (w/PSA)

    Quiet Barrier™ MD Soundproofing Composites (1/8 in. 1 lb. barrier + 1 in. foam) are industrial grade products that stop sound from entering or leaving a

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    Quiet Barrier™ MD Soundproofing Composite

    Quiet Barrier™ MD Soundproofing Composites (1/8 in. 1 lb. barrier + 1 in. foam) are industrial grade products that stop sound from entering or leaving a

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    Quiet Barrier™ LD Soundproofing Composite (w/PSA)

    Quiet Barrier™ LD Soundproofing Composites (1/16 in. 1/2 lb. barrier + 1/2 in. foam) are industrial grade products that stop sound from entering or leaving a

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    Quiet Barrier™ HD Soundproofing Composite

    Quiet Barrier™ HD Soundproofing Composites (1/4 in. 2 lb. barrier + 1 in. foam) are industrial grade products that stop sound from entering or leaving a

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    Quiet Barrier™ Specialty Composite w/PSA

    Quiet Barrier™ Specialty Composite is a four layer soundproofing composite used in construction, automotive, heavy machinery and marine industries to reduce noise transfer from structural borne

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DIY Wall Soundproofing Techniques

Soundproofing new or existing walls involves adding mass behind the walls and/or something that absorbs and dissipates sound waves. Tips and advice for soundproofing walls include:

  • Install your wall soundproofing materials on the side of the wall from which the noise is coming. In other words, if your kids or neighbor are making all the racket, treat your side of the wall, not theirs.
  • Mass loaded vinyl, or MLV, is not just for industrial facilities where decibel levels can reach eardrum-bursting levels. MLV is a flexible material that comes in rolls you can trim easily, and it can be sandwiched between drywall layers to significantly reduce noise transmission and deaden sounds.
  • Sound waves leak like water through small cracks and openings. Stop leaky noise transmission by plugging gaps and holes around switch boxes, door casings and receptacle boxes with acoustic caulk.
  • Enhance wall soundproofing methods by sealing door frames with Soundproof Cow’s Quiet Door Perimeter Seals and Door Sweeps.
  • Absorb those irritating sound waves with acoustic panels that not only clarify sounds within a room, but also reduce transmission of sounds through most wall types. Fabric Wrapped Acoustic Panels are fully customizable and blend in with your home décor.

 

Also, get to know a little about Sound Transmission Class ratings. STC ratings measure how much a particular soundproofing construction material reduces sound. Higher STC ratings indicate materials that are better at noise reduction.  For example, a wall with an STC rating of 30 will allow most sentences to be heard clearly.  A wall with an STC rating of 50 however, will block most loud speech and only transfer faint sounds of loud musical Instruments.

Misinformation About Soundproofing Walls

Be aware of ineffective “sound proof” construction material like:

  •  Soundproof paint — Promising to deaden sound or absorb mid-range sound transmissions, soundproof paint may cover faded spots or nail holes in a wall, but that’s about it. At only 30 thousandths of an inch thick, this paint won’t reduce noise at the low and high ends of the sound spectrum, making it inadequate for most soundproofing purposes.
  • Soundproof wallpaper — Like soundproof paint, most soundproof wallpaper is thin and doesn’t live up to its promise of effectively reducing noise. Many soundproof wallpaper products are simply regular wallpaper backed with a minimal layer of foam or other noise deadening product. It does not control high and low frequency sound waves, falling short of adequately soundproofing a room.
  • Foam rubber — The kind of foam rubber used to make your yoga mat or mouse pad won’t soundproof walls. Only specialized noise reducing materials containing foam, rubber and other sound absorption components will give you the kind of wall soundproofing needed to effectively control soundwaves.
  • Carpet on the wall — unless you’re deliberately going for the eclectic or “shabby chic” look, tacking carpet on walls doesn’t effectively stop sound waves. Carpet may minimize some reverberation, but does not have the density necessary to minimize sound transfer.

 

At Soundproof Cow, we consider soundproofing walls a serious business requiring serious, affordable products that deliver proven sound reduction results. Call us today at 1-866-949-9269 to find out how to soundproof a wall using the best products and techniques available for your specific situation.

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