How to Soundproof a Duplex

How to Soundproof a Duplex
April 08, 2022

If you live in a side-by-side duplex, noise is a regular part of life. People on both sides of the unit need to be conscious about the amount of noise they make to avoid causing a disruption. You and your neighbors each have to make some adjustments, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do the things you love.

One way you can go about maintaining your regular lifestyle with direct neighbors is by soundproofing the wall between duplex units, as well as your floors, doors and ceilings. Let’s look at how you can address the treatable parts of you’re building most likely to leak sound.

  1. Add soundproofing materials to your walls
  2. Install flooring underlayment
  3. Add door sweeps, door seals, or door panels
  4. Add insulation to your ceilings


Types of Noise Pollution in a Duplex

There are two main types of noise you will be dealing with when soundproofing your duplex – airborne noise and impact noise.

Airborne noise is sound that is transmitted through the air, such as speech or television. Impact noise occurs when two objects collide and the vibrations travel through the surface. Footsteps, a ball bouncing in the next room, or drilling a hole in the wall are all examples of impact noise you may encounter in your duplex.

Each type of noise requires slightly different soundproofing solutions, and you’ll want to make sure you block both types of noise when you are soundproofing. In the next segments, we will go over how to soundproof each section of your duplex for both impact noise and airborne noise.

Walls

Soundproofing your walls is all about solidifying the barrier that sound needs to work through to reach your neighbor’s unit and vice versa. Here are a few ways to go about soundproofing your walls:

  • Hang acoustic panels to prevent sound transfer while dissipating noise upon impact.
  • Install mass-loaded vinyl (MLV) that adds density, blocks soundwaves and contains noise.
  • Line the inside of your walls with soundproofing insulation to prevent transmission and reduce vibrations.

Floors

If footsteps are an issue, soundproofing your floors can help. Flooring underlayment can be installed under hardwood, laminate, tile and carpet floors to prevent sound from passing through while limiting the effects of footsteps and other contact noise.

Doors

Sound easily sneaks through the cracks below and beside your doors. There are a few effective ways to soundproof a door:

  • Add door sweeps to seal the gap beneath your doors.
  • Implement door seals that close off your door’s perimeter cracks.
  • Use MLV or acoustic door panels that prevent sound from passing through the surface.

hang acoustic baffles

Ceilings

Airborne and impact noise can enter your home from above. The tips for soundproofing floors we mentioned earlier can reduce the amount of noise created on your neighbor’s end, but what can you do to take charge of the situation? If you have a drop ceiling, installing soundproofing insulation is easy, and it can address both types of noise.

Another solution is to hang acoustic baffles so there’s an extra barrier between you and the noise upstairs. The baffles will also absorb any noise you make so it doesn’t find its way up through the ceiling and floors.

How to Prepare to Soundproof Your Duplex

Now that you know the different strategies for soundproofing your duplex, it’s time to get started. Before you do, though, make sure to start with some preparation.

Ask yourself what noise you are soundproofing against. Are you blocking noise from a neighbor, or from the street? Answering this question will help you determine what parts of your apartment need to be soundproofed. For example, if you’re only blocking street noise, you can focus on the walls, and you may only need to soundproof the walls facing the street. However, if you are soundproofing against your neighbors,  you may need to soundproof your floors and even your ceiling as well.

If you’re still not sure which products you should use or how much you should use to soundproof your duplex, contact us and we can help you determine the best strategy.

Contact the Soundproof Cow

Ready to implement some of these duplex soundproofing solutions at your home? The Soundproof Cow can help you make it happen. Browse our products online or get in touch to discuss ways to navigate your noise concerns.