When walls go up, they are often not constructed with soundproofing in mind, especially if it’s an apartment building. So, you are left with the awful inconvenience of being unable to sleep or focus due to the loud traffic sounds or your neighbour’s incessant drumming.
Or you are a thoughtful neighbour who wants to keep the sound of your music or recording from bothering your neighbours. Or maybe your neighbours have complained one too many times, and now you need to fix your noise problem, or you could get evicted.
Well, whichever it is, it’s time to take back your peace and quiet or give your neighbours theirs. This article is going to show you how to soundproof a wall already built without the extreme option of tearing it down or moving out.
Sound coming from outside, say traffic, travels through the air. When they do, they hit your wall or your window and make them vibrate. This vibrating energy is then transmitted through your concrete wall and window, making them vibrate on the other side.
With the sound coming from you or your neighbour’s apartment, the same thing happens. The sound hits the wall making it vibrate, while the wall on the other side makes the air vibrate. A thick wall would prevent or reduce the sound so that you only hear a little of it, but without a thick wall, well you are familiar with what happens.
So, to soundproof your wall and reduce the incoming and outgoing sounds, you would need to do any of the following three:
- Decoupling: This is the process of physically separating two sides of a wall, to make it harder for sound to pass through.
- Blocking: This is the process of blocking or covering any pathway that allows sound travel from outside to inside and vice-versa.
- Absorbing and Dampening: These are the processes of using sound-absorbing and dampening material to dampen or absorb the sound coming through the walls.
All three options are great, but only the last two allows you to soundproof your walls without physically moving your wall after it’s been built.
Now, when you decide to soundproof your wall, you have to consider two things:
- Where the sound is coming from.
- Your budget and materials are available to you.
These options should work for you if you are on a budget and if you’ve got enough to spend. So here goes:
Use Blankets and Rugs
This involves adding dense to the walls and floor of the room. You can do this with blankets, rugs and sheets. The disadvantage of this is that covering the walls of the room with thick blankets and sheets could make it hot, especially in the summer.
So, if you are doing this, you have to make sure that you have an efficient cooling system in the room. Also, it could make the room ugly, so you’d essentially be choosing between the quiet and the appearance of your room. Tough choice, but not if you really need the quiet.
Alright, to soundproof the room with this method, all you need to do is get thick blankets and nail them to the walls of the room. The thickness of the blankets or sheets will sufficiently reduce, if not block out the sound completely.
You can also place thick rugs or carpets on the floor. They are affordable and quite good at soundproofing floors, they will also help with the way the noise in the room sounds.
Focus on the Sound Leaks
What this means is that you focus on the part of the room where the sound is coming or going through.
So, you’d need to go through the room and carefully find and close the leaks. These “leaks” could be floorboards, the space under the door or windows with spaces in them. You can seal these leaks with duct tape; it’s affordable and strong.
With the space under the door, you can solve that by soundproofing it with strips designed to go under doors. Besides really thin walls, sound travels through open spaces and for a room, a perfect place for this to happen is through the space under the door.
Use Acoustic Foam Panels
Acoustic foam panels are effective, so effective that they are used in recording studios. They are not as affordable as the above-listed options, so if you are on a budget, maybe don’t go for this.
Acoustic foam panels will effectively block out the sound coming through walls, and they will also improve the sounds generated in your room, so if you love your music, then you are in for a treat.
They are also super easy to install; they come with a special adhesive specially designed for that purpose, so you can do it yourself if you want and have it done in minutes.
This is another effective way to soundproof your wall. You can at your preference, add another layer of wall to your already existing wall.
Adding plasterboards is also useful if you want to soundproof your ceiling. The extra thickness from the wall will make it much harder for sound to pass through. You can add as many plasterboards as you think you’ll need to block out the sound.
Get Soundproof Curtains
If you live in an apartment building, then soundproof curtains are great for soundproofing the existing walls. Unlike regular curtains, they are made with materials that will keep the sounds from going in and out of the room.
Installing them as you can guess is pretty simple, you are not faced with the challenge of doing anything to the walls besides hanging a curtain over them. Another advantage to using a soundproof curtain is; you can pack them up and take them to your new place when you move.
Repaint Your Walls
With soundproofing paint. If the noise you are dealing with is not as loud or disturbing, but you’d still like to have a quieter room, then soundproofing paint is a nice option.
To make it very effective, you can apply several coats of paint, the thicker it is, the more soundproofed your walls will be. With soundproofing paint, you’d be soundproofing your walls and improving your décor—a nice two for one.
Another option that soundproofs your walls and improves your décor is acoustic wallpaper. Acoustic wallpapers as you can guess are not made from the same materials as generic wallpapers. Theirs is specially made to block out the noise. Furthermore, they are fancy and affordable.
One thing to remember though is that if you are dealing with high noise levels, then soundproofing paint and acoustic wallpaper are not the best ideas, you’d need to go for any of the previously listed options to make a difference.
One way to soundproof your wall while spending next to nothing is by rearranging your furniture. You can do this by:
- Moving your noisy appliances like your television or your speakers away from your wall.
- Don’t place your sofas, your chairs and the likes against the wall. Put them in the middle of your room or at the side.
Note; these options are cheap, but they do not completely work if you have a serious noise problem.
There you have it. Enjoy your peace and quiet!