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Whether you deal with city noise or roosters crowing, soundproofing a room can make life more comfortable. You’ll enjoy better sleep and quieter days. It’s easier to work from home or relax on a day off when the surrounding noise is low.
This guide will teach you how to soundproof a room with foam and soundproofing insulation. You’ll learn tips on how to soundproof a room from outside noise. Discover soundproofing ideas for all parts of a room, including the windows, doors, walls, floor and ceiling.
When looking for soundproof room material, many people picture gray egg crate foam. While you could use egg crate foam, it lacks the heft needed to absorb sound well. For better soundproofing, buy commercial acoustic foam. It looks similar, but is far more effective when soundproofing a room.
Foam thickness: Two-inch foam is the industry standard for recording booths. With that in mind, anything two inches or less will work for general soundproofing.
Pattern and design: The pattern on your panels doesn’t affect the soundproofing. Choose whatever shape you like: wavy, egg crate shape, wedges, mushroom or scored squares.
You may see an NRC, or Noise Reduction Coefficient, listed on foam soundproofing materials. Between 0 and 1 is fine for recording studios, so that range works well for homes too. The higher NRC rating, the more sound it absorbs.
Low frequencies below 250 Hertz aren’t handled by regular soundproofing foam or carpeting. You’ll need a product made specifically for deadening bass sounds. Look for bass traps or 4-inch foam when soundproofing a room for movies or video games.
While learning how to soundproof a room from outside noise, start with the windows. It’s easy for outside sound to leak in through windows. Thankfully, soundproofing around windows is usually simple and inexpensive.
Drapes and curtains: Hang noise-cancelling curtains or drapes made of thick fabric. Blackout curtains are excellent for blocking noise. Heavy curtains also help cut energy costs. They keep warm or cool air from escaping the room.
Weatherstripping: Seal the border of windows with adhesive rubber or plastic weatherstripping. Blocking holes or gaps keeps sound and air from seeping in.
Soundproof foam: Soundproof your windows by cutting strips of soundproof foam. Then, pack them around the window frame. You can customize the fit and dampen sound.
Soundproofing a room includes the door. Doors let in sound from outdoors and adjacent rooms. For a straightforward but pricey solution, you can get a soundproof door. If you’d like a more cost-effective option, you can try these DIY methods of soundproofing.
Sturdy slab door: Use a solid hardwood door, not a hollow one. Although the hollow ones are not as expensive, they don’t block out noise. Hardwood cuts down on sound transmission because the wood is dense.
Door sweeps and draft stoppers: Install rubber or plastic door sweeps on the bottom of the door to block sounds and insulate. Placing a draft stopper in front of a door quiets noise and improves energy efficiency as well.
Door seals: Seal the edges of the door frame with weather stripping. Be sure to measure carefully and angle the edges where the corners meet. This ensures a better fit. It also keeps the seal from interfering when you close the door.
Caulk: For more stubborn sound, consider caulking around the doorframe. Caulk creates a better seal in seams and crevasses around the door.
Acoustic foam: Knowing how to soundproof a room usually means installing acoustical panels. These foam panels are made to absorb sound.
If you don’t mind the look, attach acoustical foam panels to the door:
- Remove the doorknob and hinges.
- Attach a foam panel using adhesive or impaler clips.
- Trim any excess foam with a utility knife.
- Test to see if the door hardware can be installed with the panel in place. If not, trim more foam.
- Reinstall the hardware.
- Make sure the door opens and closes as normal.
A creaky floor is a nuisance for downstairs neighbors and anyone who enjoys quiet. Hard floors cause and amplify sound. When discovering how to reduce noise from upstairs floors, you have involved options and simple ones. Muffle the noise with rubber commercial floor mats, liners and underlayment. Carpets and rugs work too.
Rubber: Use rubber gym flooring, mats or tiles to absorb sound. This is an easy solution for quieting a home theatre or workout room. It helps deaden the lower frequencies of a booming sound system. It can also absorb the vibrations and noise of an exercise bike or treadmill. If you don’t like how it looks, put a rug over it for even more soundproofing power.
Rugs and carpeting: Affordably dampen sound with carpet and rugs. They’re most effective when paired with a liner. Look for rug pads or carpet liners made for soundproofing.
Underlayment: If you have a hard surface floor, you’ll need an underlayment to absorb sound. Choose an underlayment to match your hardwood, laminate or tile floor. Install it during new construction or renovation while the floor is open.
When learning how to soundproof a room, you’ll need to consider the walls. Soundproofing walls may be more labor-intensive that soundproofing other parts of a room. However, there are simpler options than working with the drywall. You may want to try these less complicated fixes first.
Furniture: If you’ve got a large wardrobe or bookshelf, push that against the wall where the noise comes through. Sound can be absorbed by mass, so the furniture in a room can help reduce noise.
Sealant: For minor noise problems, you may be able to fix the issue with a little sealant. Simply fill any gaps or cracks in the walls with water-based acoustical sealant. Match the color of your wall if possible. If you plan to repaint, choose a sealant that you can paint over.
Wallpaper: An unexpected soundproofing for walls is wallpaper. Soundproof wallpaper is made of a sound-absorbent foam that deadens noise.
Decorative tapestries: Hang a beautiful rug or tapestry on the wall. Used since medieval times, this solution softens echoes and keeps in warmth.
Acoustic wall paneling: Once you’ve chosen acoustic panels, mount them with adhesive or impaling clips. Installation often takes less than an hour. Keep in mind any wall repair if you need to remove it.
- Adhesive may damage the paint or drywall, but your panels will stay put.
- Impaling clips take longer to install, but you’ll only have to patch holes afterward. These flat metal fasteners screw to the wall and have metal prongs to hold foam. You can also press the foam over screws that stick out of the wall.
- For clean removal of adhered foam, put a layer of packing tape on both your wall and the panels first. Then apply the adhesive to the shiny surfaces. This method is not guaranteed, but it gives you an option if you’ll need to take down the panels later.
Insulation: For the most thorough soundproofing of a room, add sound absorption material within the walls:
- Remove drywall to expose studs.
- Add a thick layer of cotton batt, fiberglass insulation or other soundproof insulation between the studs. You can find affordable fiberglass board that’s made specifically to absorb sound.
- Replace the drywall.
When you’d prefer not to open up the existing wall, build inward. Add framing and another layer of drywall. This will make your room smaller, but the sound will be blocked.
- Attach the wall frame to the existing studs.
- If you’d like, add sound clips or resilient channels to the new studs. Resilient channels are metal framing pieces designed for sound control.
- Cover with a new layer of drywall.
Soundproofing a Ceiling
Soundproofing a room means considering the ceiling too. Ceiling soundproofing has a quick-fix and a more involved one. Acoustic ceiling tiles and clouds come in a wide variety of designs and colors to match any decor.
Acoustic tile: You can install thick acoustical tile over the existing ceiling. This is a simple and functional solution.
Ceiling Cloud: For lofted or tall rooms, try adding an acoustical ceiling cloud or cloud canopy that’s made to shut out noise. They’re suspended from the ceiling in a way that looks like a stylish cloud.
Ceiling clouds are so effective that professional recording studios use them. If it works for the pros, it’s a good bet it'll help with soundproofing your home.
A more effective method is to soundproof during the construction stage:
- When you’ve got the ceiling open, install soundproofing material over the studs.
- Be sure to fill any gaps with noise-proofing sealant.
- Patch or install fresh drywall over your soundproofed ceiling.
Now that you know how to soundproof a room, you’re prepared for the noisy world outside. Ready to get started? Get online orders of soundproofing supplies delivered right to your door.