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how to soundproof a room

How to Soundproof a Wall Cheaply and Affordably

Last Updated on June 10, 2019

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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    isoTRAX™ Soundproofing System

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    IsoTrax™ Sound Isolation System Just as there is likely more than one source of sound that irritates you, there is more than one way of solving the problem. That’s why at Soundproof Cow, we use a system of different sound isolation solutions to block noise and quiet things down. This approach is why we created the IsoTrax™ Sound Isolation System. Soundproof Cow’s soundproofing isolation systems offer solutions to minimize excessive . . .

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    Quiet Barrier™ Specialty Composite w/PSA

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    Quiet Barrier™ Specialty Composite is our premier sound blocking product that can be used in almost any situation. Its durable polyester film facing means it resists tearing and extreme heat while being easy to wipe clean and enhancing the product’s soundproofing capabilities. The Quiet Barrier™ Specialty Composite’s ability to resist the elements and other harsh conditions make it ideal for applications in areas such as construction, marine industries, automotive plants . . .

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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

    Quiet Barrier™ HD soundproofing composite is our thicker composite, consisting of ¼ inch of industrial grade soundproofing barrier combined with 1 inch of acoustic grade, polyurethane foam. This combination works to insulate your space from sound in two ways. First, the barrier itself, the mass and material designed to prevent most sound from getting through, and, second, the acoustic foam, which adds mass and sound blocking but also isolates the . . .

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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

    Quiet Barrier™ MD Soundproofing Composite is our medium thickness noise control composite, combining ⅛ inch of the powerful noise control material contained in our soundproof barrier membrane with 1 inch of sound-controlling polyurethane foam. These two materials work in concert to maximize your noise control benefit, with the foam serving as a sound dampener and decoupler, isolating the barrier from vibrations by separating it from the mounting surface, and the . . .

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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

    For a cost-effective solution to a variety of noise control applications, try our Quiet Barrier™ MD Soundproofing Composite with PSA. This amazing noise control composite works in two ways: First, with ⅛ inch of superior noise control material in our sound blocking membrane. Second, with an inch of acoustical-grade foam made of polyurethane, which adds soundproofing while it isolates the barrier layer from vibrations that could create noise and compromise . . .

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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

    For an economical, effective soundproofing solution, try Quiet Barrier™ LD Soundproofing Composite from Soundproof Cow. This soundproofing composite is thin and lightweight enough to go virtually anywhere, but make no mistake, the 1/16-inch thin soundproofing material in our Quiet Barrier™ membrane provides plenty of sound blocking power, especially in combination with our acoustic foam made of sound-dampening polyurethane. The foam enhances the barrier’s natural soundproofing properties while isolating it from . . .

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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

    Quiet Barrier™ LD Soundproofing Composite with PSA is the ideal soundproofing solution for Do-It-Yourself-ers and construction experts alike. This thin soundproofing composite with PSA is affordable, versatile, easy to install and features amazing sound-blocking power. It starts with the 1/16-inch thin soundproofing material with PSA, powerful enough to block most sound from getting in or out. That soundproofing power is enhanced by a full inch of acoustical-grade polyurethane foam. Together, . . .

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    Quiet Batt™ Insulation Supports (24 in)

    Quiet Batt™ Insulation Supports offer a quick and economical way to secure Quiet Batt™ between floor joists and stud wall assemblies. Quiet Batt™ Insulation Supports are

    While we pride ourselves on making our Quiet Batt™ soundproofing insulation incredibly easy to install, it can be a challenge to quickly and securely install the product in between floor joists and stud wall assemblies. If you are having difficulty installing Quiet Batt™ insulation because of interference from these construction elements, the solution is Quiet Batt™ Insulation Supports. Quick and Easy Soundproofing Installation With 24-Inch Quiet Batt™ Insulation Supports These . . .

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    Quiet Batt™ Insulation Supports (16 in)

    Quiet Batt™ Insulation Supports offer a quick and economical way to secure Quiet Batt™ between floor joists and stud wall assemblies. Quiet Batt™ Insulation Supports are

    Our Quiet Batt™ soundproofing insulation is a user-friendly product, and you may have no trouble installing it in your home, office or wherever you need privacy and clean sound. However, if you are struggling with floor joists or stud wall assemblies while trying to install your Quiet Batt™ soundproofing, there is an easy solution in the form of our Quiet Batt™ Soundproof Insulation Supports. Our 16-Inch Soundproof Insulation Supports Make . . .

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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

    Learn More About the Benefits of 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 applications. Quiet Batt™ 30 soundproofing insulation installs with a tight friction fit between wood and metal studs to minimize sound and thermal energy transmission. Quiet Batt™30 can be used as a standalone soundproofing . . .

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    Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound (Case of 12)

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    What in the World Is Sound Reducing Glue? Green Glue is a non-toxic, low-VOC, visco-elastic, noise proof glue that can be quickly and easily applied between two sheets of drywall, plywood or any commonly used building materials in new construction and remodeling. It effectively reduces noise transfer from one room to another. If you’ve never heard of green glue soundproofing compound, here’s all you need to know about this amazing, . . .

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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

    The Quiet Barrier™ MD Soundproofing Material Roll allows you to enjoy the amazing sound dampening and sound blocking quality of our Quiet Barrier™ MD material on a convenient roll. You can easily and efficiently cover the space you need to soundproof without any waste. It’s available in 1/8-inch thick 20 or 30 ft. by 4 ½ ft. rolls. Quiet Barrier™ products block sound in two ways. It protects you from . . .

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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

    One of our most popular and most powerful soundproofing solutions, the Quiet Barrier™ HD Soundproofing Material sheet is a 1/4-inch thick, 2 lb/sq ft 4×8 sheet of high-density, non-porous material that is superior at blocking sound. Each sheet covers 32 square feet of surface area, so it is simple to cover areas large and small. Its high-density sound blocking power makes this sound absorbing material sheet suitable for recording studios, . . .

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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

    If you’re seeking a reliable, economical solution to your soundproofing needs, the Quiet Barrier™ MD Soundproofing Material sheet can be the perfect solution. And when you order your soundproofing material sheet with adhesive, you have a fast, easy way to complete any soundproofing project. The Quiet Barrier™ MD (w/PSA) Soundproofing Material sheet is a sound absorbing material sheet with adhesive that is 1/8-inch thick and 1 lb/sq ft. Each sheet . . .

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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

    The Quiet Barrier™ MD soundproofing sheets are our medium thickness sheets. They are 1/8 inch thick and weigh 32 pounds per 4-by-8-foot sheet. This high-density, nonporous material is one of our most popular soundproofing solutions because of its ease of use and tremendous effectiveness. Quiet Barrier™ MD soundproofing sheets provide quality sound control in two ways. The barrier layer blocks the transmission of airborne sound like voices and outdoor noises, . . .

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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

    “Distracting noises are great,” said no one ever. You need a trusted sidekick to help rid yourself of pesky noise problems distracting you during the day — a helping hand to stop noises in their tracks. Quiet Barrier™ HD soundproofing material is the tool you need to reduce sound emittance while keeping your personal space tranquil. With sound dampening and dual soundproofing function, it’s no wonder our Quiet Barrier™ HD . . .

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How Do I Soundproof An Existing Wall?

In order to soundproof a wall, you should be familiar with the steps you’ll need to follow and the materials you’ll need. Here’s a brief overview of what to expect.

1.   Find where the noise is coming from.

2.   Locate studs in the wall & mark them with chalk or pencil.

3.   Fill the space with soundproofing material, use roofing nails to attach the soundproofing material to the studs.

4.   Seal seams with barrier tape.

5.   Install the soundproofing system over the barrier layer.

6.   Install acoustic panels between the rails of the soundproofing system.

7.   On top of this layer, install the gypsum board.

8.   Finish the wall off by filling in all the gaps with sealant. Gypsum board should be finished according to industry standards.

Now that you have an idea of what’s involved, here are some top techniques that you should follow for a solid installation.

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.

How to Soundproof a Wall Cheaply

Need to block sound out of your space but think you don’t have the budget for it? The cheapest ways to soundproof a wall can still be effective. Here are four ways of soundproofing your walls for a low cost.

1. Find the Noise Source and Weak Points in the Walls

Before you do any soundproofing, it’s important to understand the layout of the room itself — and know where the disruptive noise is coming from. Sounds come in various types, including airborne and impact noise, which are the most common issues driving people to soundproof their homes and businesses. While airborne noise has a middle to high frequency and travels through the air, impact noise — or structure-borne noise — can pass through windows, walls, and doors at low frequencies.

The type of soundproofing material you use depends on the type of sound and where it’s coming from. For example, if the noise is coming primarily through the window area, soundproof curtains might be enough. Or, a few acoustic panels might take care of airborne noise coming from other areas in the building. If you’re hearing low-frequency sound leaking through the walls, you’ll need a stronger installation option, like vinyl mats.

Knowing the source of the sound is also important, so you can seal the specific weak spots on the wall with materials like green glue and weatherstrip tape.

2. Fill up the Space

Sometimes, the problem with a space is not that it picks up noise from other areas, but that it echoes noise within itself. When a room is large or sparsely furnished, the lack of objects filling up space can cause sounds to reverberate around the room, amplifying even small noises and making everything loud. This problem is simple to solve by furnishing the space with objects that will better absorb echoed sound.

Adding furniture, bookshelves and wall art to a room can reduce the nature of its echo — especially when you place the objects close to or on the walls themselves. This won’t stop exterior noise from penetrating the room, but it can quiet the reverberations within the space itself.

3. Install Insulation, Drywall and Acoustic Caulk

The best affordable way to soundproof your walls effectively is to use drywall and other materials to create an air-tight wall space. Installed over insulation and sealed in to form an extra layer in your walls, drywall forms a solid barrier for sound.

4. Supplement With Acoustic Foam Panels

If you’re thinking of using a combination of methods to improve your soundproofing, acoustic panels are a good way to add an extra layer of sound absorption. While using acoustic panels on their own may not be enough to stop noise from entering the room, pairing them with another soundproofing method — like drywall — can absorb additional airborne noise. With multiple soundproofing materials in place, your sound defense may improve even more.

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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