- Wondering how to soundproof your room effectively?
- Looking for the best cheap soundproofing materials?
- Is it even possible to soundproof a shared wall?
- All your wall soundproofing questions — answered.
Creating solid soundproofing for your room can be a surprisingly simple and cost-friendly endeavor.
Many engineers and acousticians tend to believe that reliable soundproofing requires intensive labor and expensive textiles.
Unfortunately, not everyone has access to this type of time or resources.
Thankfully, there is a healthy list of effective materials that you can use to create some solid acoustic treatment for recording or rehearsals.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the most affordable and accessible methods to soundproof most rooms and wall types.
We’ve also listed some essential factors to consider when soundproofing a wall.
Things to Consider Before Soundproofing Your Wall
Before deciding on the correct soundproofing materials, it’s essential to understand what kind of treatment you need to apply.
Different soundproofing materials have different soundproofing effects. The primary types of acoustic treatment are:
Once you understand which of these specific solutions you need for your room, it will be easier to decide which materials and techniques to apply.
Some materials and solutions will also require more intensive labor, resources, or finances. So it’s also crucial to determine which of the solutions below are within your reach amongst these factors.
Once you’ve established your primary options for soundproofing, you’ll have to check your rules and regulations with the building manager or owner.
Your room might have certain construction restrictions that prevent you from using certain materials or textiles.
If you share a wall with another building, it’s also healthy to discuss your installation plans and schedule to avoid any hindrances in your construction.
Below are a few soundproofing solutions that are relatively cost-effective and accessible.
You should be able to acquire many of the materials needed for these solutions at local hardware stores or exclusive distributors.
While you’re here, also consider checking out our other soundproofing guides on:
- How does soundproofing foam work?
- Panel positioning and placement guide
- Best soundproofing room dividers
- Best soundproof blankets (that actually work)
Audimute’s AcoustiColor Acoustic Panels are a cost-effective, customizable sound absorption solution. Coated in one of the many color options available from Sherwin-Williams, these panels will look great in your space and will improve the sound quality.
Acoustic panels come in a wide selection of different sizes, designs, and materials.
Acoustic panels are a smart option for anyone that is using a space temporarily and needs to install effective soundproofing with minimal invasion.
However, many spaces such as studios and auditoriums feature acoustic panels specifically designed for the acoustics of their room. You could go this route, but be warned that it will come at a cost.
Most people should be able to reach a local acoustic panel manufacturer or distributor who can advise them on the appropriate panel type and size for their room requirements.
How To Install Acoustic Panels
- Determine the areas on your wall that require acoustic panels and measure out the dimensions for these areas. Your local distributor or manufacturer should be able to help you select the appropriate panel for these areas.
- Make sure your mounting surface is strong enough to hold the weight of your acoustic panel. This is especially important if you are mounting onto drywall. Keep in mind that your room may vibrate over time, which can cause your mounting holes to degrade slightly over time.
- Most modern acoustic panels come with smart mount systems that have sliders or hooks to hang the panels. These mounting systems are especially useful if you are handling all the soundproofing work on your own.
Acoustical caulk is a latex-based sealant used to line the gaps at points in a room at the wall corners, floors ceiling points.
While panels, foam, and other wall applicants do a great job of reducing noise and acoustic reflections within a room, acoustic caulk is mostly used to seal off noise leaking into or out of a room.
Acoustical caulk is generally found in a tube with a nozzle at the end for a simple application, or in a handy caulking gun for more heavy-duty purposes.
How To Install Acoustical Caulk
- Seek out all the necessary wall points along your walls and doors that need sealing. You may also need to check around electrical boxes, as well as vent linings. Any space like this that has air coming in or out of it will leak sound and will need sealing.
- Use sharp scissors or a knife to puncture the nozzle on your caulking tube, or the cartridge on your caulking gun.
- Place an initial seal along these points using the tube or gun. These surfaces must be warmer than 40℉ to allow the sealant to stick properly.
- Certain spaces may need a double lining or seal if they have irregular edges. Excess pieces of sealant can be cut away with a sharp blade or cutting tool.
Mass Loaded Vinyl
Mass-loaded vinyl is highly revered for its simple application and durability.
Mass-loaded vinyl is applied similarly to wallpaper, but it has a much higher density to reduce acoustic reflections in larger rooms.
It is most commonly found in large social spaces such as stadiums, music halls, or nightclubs.
Most people should be able to acquire MLV at their local hardware store or through a local dealer.
MLV comes packaged on a roll, and usually ranges between 1/16 of an inch to ¼ inch in thickness.
How To Install Mass Loaded Vinyl
- Measure out the areas on your wall that need mass-loaded vinyl applied to them. MLV is usually available in 2×4 foot rolls, so you’ll need to apply them to your walls in panel fashion.
- Using sharp scissors, a blade, or a utility knife, cut out the appropriate panel sizes from your role of MLV. Try to use a disposable surface to cut on such as a cutting mat or board.
- Hang your MLV up and secure it using drywall nails or screws depending on your wall surface. Make sure to line your panels up against the ceiling and floor or skirting for optimum soundproofing. You will most likely need someone to help you hold your MLV in place while you mount it with nails or screws.
- Be sure to leave no gaps between your panels when mounting them. This will affect the overall quality of the entire installation’s capabilities.
Mass-loaded vinyl works best when placed in between sheets of drywall.
If you can install an extra layer of drywall over your current wall for added soundproofing, sandwich two layers of MLV on the inner layers of each wall for maximum effectiveness.
Acoustic Wall Tiles
Acoustic wall tiles are the lighter and generally cheaper versions of acoustic wall panels and come in various materials, shapes, sizes, and types.
The fundamental difference between acoustic wall tiles and panels is in their installation.
Because acoustic tiles are generally lighter and smaller, they can be applied to surfaces using a simple adhesive to stick to surfaces.
Most effective acoustic panels are generally heavier and require a stronger mounting system.
How To Install Acoustic Wall Tiles
- Measure out the area on your wall that needs acoustic wall tiles applied to them.
- You may need to cut certain tiles into specific shapes or sizes to get a perfect fit and seal on your installation. This can be done using a tile-cutter, fine-saw, or sharp blade if the acoustic wall tiles are made of softer materials, like rubber or felt.
- Place small dime-sized amounts of adhesive on the corners of the rear surface of your acoustic wall tiles, as well as another in the center of this surface. Try not to place too much glue, as this can cause the tile to slide around and prevent proper mounting. Some tiles come with self-adhesive back sides, in which case you won’t need to apply your adhesive.
- Make sure to place your acoustic wall tiles flush against each other. Any open gaps on the wall in between these tiles will affect the quality of dampening over the entire area you’re treating.
How to Soundproof A Shared Wall
A shared wall, also known as a ‘’party wall’’ is a wall shared by another building or person.
These walls are most commonly found on townhouses, apartment complexes, and other housing projects.
The most effective way to take care of any soundproofing issues between you and your neighbor is to install a second wall insulated with acoustic foam.
Below is a brief breakdown of acoustic foam and its application.
As well as being an effective sound deadener for standing waves and flutter echoes, these panels also reduce slap-back and room ring when used in medium-sized areas like isolation booths, recording booths, control rooms, and sound studios.
Acoustic foam is possibly the most effective solution on this list, but it’s also the most labor-intensive and costly even at its most basic level.
Most acoustic foam comes in fiberglass form, and it can be quite harsh on the skin and eyes, so it’s best handled with care and safety gear.
Acoustic foam is used as an insulator and is generally placed in between drywall layers to reduce noise coming from either side.
Installing acoustic foam in your space will require putting another layer of drywall on top of your current wall.
Make sure you have the necessary skills, resources, and permissions to do this, as it is quite a large commitment.
Acoustic foam is usually available in batts, but you can also use thermal insulation to do the same thing as they carry a similar weight and density.
How To Install Acoustic Foam
- Create a framework for your drywall over your current wall using wooden beams. The lining of these beams should ideally be sealed with acoustic caulk. Create columns with your frames that are wide enough to fit a single acoustic batt.
- Fill up the cavities in your framework with the acoustic foam. Ensure that they line up against the framework for optimum sealing. Cut the correct spaces to accommodate any electrical fittings, pipes, or other wall fittings.
- You can use wood strips or metal sheeting to further secure the acoustic foam to the drywall in a strapping fashion. These can be screwed into your framework horizontally to help hold the acoustic batts in place. This horizontal stripping is commonly called the resilient channel when mounting drywall.
- Seal up the acoustic foam with your final layer of drywall. Do this by screwing your drywall into the framework and resilient channel using drywall screws.
Cheaper Soundproofing Materials (and Solutions)
There may be instances where users experience issues while pairing with playback devices.
These issues are usually caused by a failure to detect or connect to the respective playback device.
Thankfully there are a few basic solutions that users can try and overcome connectivity issues:
- Furniture is one of the most effective ways to install quick and temporary soundproofing in a room. Items like couches, bookshelves, and cupboards can cover decent amounts of wall space to help diffuse harsh acoustics. Remember to fill your storage furniture such as bookshelves and closets to maximize their diffusion.
- Thick fabrics used for drapes, curtains, and blankets can be used to minimize reflections against hard walls and surfaces. Some bedroom producers create temporary vocal booths using these items to record vocal takes.
- It’s also healthy to place furniture and other items in the middle or scattered around larger rooms to help minimize the number of reflections bouncing through the room. Softer items like rugs, beanbags, and large cushions are especially effective for this solution.
- Door sweeps can be screwed onto the bottom of doors to help seal noise from leaking underneath them. If you have the resources, you can also install an automatic door sweep that rises on a motor when the door closes.
Creating effective soundproofing for your room does not need to be an intensely expensive task.
However it is important to apply the appropriate type of treatment to your room, and in the correct spaces, as this will help you avoid spending expenses on further tweaking, reinstallation, or at worse – repair.
Most major manufacturers and distributors of the above-listed solutions should also have the necessary expertise to advise you on the best materials for your room requirements.
Always try to reach out to these professionals for hands-on advice on how to optimize your soundproofing.
Is there soundproof paint?
While many people tend to believe that soundproofing paint is a reliable solution for soundproofing, most brands have yet to show any sort of effectivity that competes with acoustic tiles, panels, or foam.
What is the most effective soundproofing material?
Selecting the suitable soundproofing material for acoustic treatment will depend largely on the specific acoustics and surfaces of that room.
With these factors in mind, some of the most commonly used soundproofing materials include acoustic foam, rockwool, acoustic caulk, mass-loaded vinyl, and plywood.