Many people struggle with noise isolation, which affects their standard of living. Regardless of the reason for soundproofing your room, it is essential to do it correctly. Depending on your needs, there are many methods you can soundproof a room.
To soundproof a room so that no one can hear you, you will need to incorporate the four elements of soundproofing to the walls, floor, ceiling, doors, and windows.
When these sections of the room are soundproofed, consider using absorbing panels, soundproof curtains, and rugs with paddings as an addition to your soundproof environment.
As you can see, there is no simple solution to totally soundproof a room. To do it correctly, you must do adequate and in-depth research to make sure you don’t leave yourself disappointed. This article will cover the most significant ways you can soundproof a room completely.
For soundproofing to be effective, it has to have the right balance of certain factors. Before we go into concrete measures of soundproofing, we need to understand the basic idea of soundproofing.
The basics of soundproofing
Dealing with sound insulation is undoubtedly a task that requires lots of knowledge and experience. However, once you define your needs and inform yourself about the options available, soundproofing can be pretty straightforward.
Before you start any work, it’s crucial to detect the sounds you want to erase. For example, if you are struggling with the neighbor’s footsteps above, you won’t apply the same measures as when dealing with your household’s noises. Sometimes dealing with the sound sources can be much easier and cheaper than building a fully soundproof room.
However, if you are looking to create a soundproof room so that no one can hear you, it will require proceeding with some advanced measures, combined with other simple soundproofing steps. Keep in mind that creating such studio type rooms or home theaters is not cheap by any means.
Sound bounces off a lot of surfaces. On the other hand, it’s very easy for sound to go through thin layers of drywall, it can cause echo in the vents and go through glass.
The easiest way to explain this is by noticing the difference when the door is open by an inch and when it’s fully closed. The same goes for your wall and ceiling.
The difference is that fixing and patching these holes is a much bigger task than closing your door.
The four fundamental elements of soundproofing include:
The right combination of these elements is essential to provide the soundproof environment you desire to create. For example, it won’t be enough to decouple your walls only if you don’t include the other three elements.
Usually, most people overlook the importance of mass when creating a soundproof environment. Materials such as egg crates and foam are not good enough solutions if you need such an isolated room. This is because those materials are lightweight and don’t provide the adequate physical barrier required to stop sound.
However, because of their unique shape, egg crates can reduce the echo in your room. The same goes with soundproof foam as well. Mass is an essential element because it prevents the walls from vibrating as easily as they usually would.
If you are unfamiliar with these elements and want to find out more about them, make sure to visit this link and do further research before proceeding with any work.
When creating a soundproof room, it’s essential to know that you will be dealing with airborne and impact sounds. Each of these sounds is unique in their own way.
Notice that airborne noises are sounds transmitted through the air. So music, movies, dog barking, talking are all included in this sound category.
On the other side, impact sounds are caused by items contacting a surface. Stomping, jumping, and falling objects cause impact noises.
As we can see, fully soundproofing your room is a very intensive job. And it’s best to take it one step at a time. However, creating these soundproof environments can be expensive, so consider to DIY some of these measures.
Further, we will look into some of the best ways you can soundproof your room.
How to soundproof a room so no one can hear you
When creating a soundproof environment, you should always remember the essential information we have covered above.
Having in mind that we are looking to create a room in which no one will be able to hear you, we will start with the essential measures, and later on, include some additional steps to add to your soundproof room.
The methods listed below represent the foundation of your soundproof room. Each of them has a specific role and should not be overlooked.
Don’t forget that each of these steps requires decent spendings, but you can also DIY some of the work if you are skilled enough.
Soundproof the Walls
Read my detailed guide on soundproofing walls.
Sound insulated walls are an essential part of your room. The soundproofing should be done with extra care by incorporating the four elements of soundproofing.
Whether you want to hire a professional to soundproof your room or want to DIY, the materials and products used may differ slightly. Either way, the wall should be appropriately decoupled, have mass, and have absorption and damping ability.
Of course, most of us can’t build a room from scratch or completely reconstruct the existing walls. However, some reconstruction work is required if you are interested in creating a completely soundproof room.
Firstly, you will have to remove the existing drywall from both sides of your room. Afterward, fill in the cavity space between the stud framing with insulation material. This is usually done by using fiberglass. Fiberglass will do an excellent job of absorbing the soundwaves that are transmitting through the wall.
To decouple your walls, use resilient channels. They are installed on the wall studs and detach the drywall layer from the framing. This will provide tight air space between the wall and frame, which will prevent any vibrations from traveling directly through the structure.
The next step would be to attach the drywall. To add even more mass, you can place two layers of drywall with a sound damping compound in between, such as Green Glue. To even further insulate your wall, add a layer of MLV (Mass Loaded Vinyl). Adding this material will improve the absorption ability of your wall and further insulate your soundproof room.
Keep in mind that this is just one option. Another one would be to use soundproof plaster panels that usually have MLV already installed on them. However, these boards are not cheap. They are created by using specially designed soundproof materials.
Finally, don’t forget to seal any potential air gaps with acoustic caulk. This step is sometimes overlooked, but it’s crucial, especially for the reduction of airborne sounds.
As we can see, properly soundproofing the walls is undoubtedly a task that requires significant reconstruction work. However, it’s an essential part of your soundproof environment.
Soundproof the floor
Read my detailed guide on soundproofing floors.
This step is especially important if your soundproof room is located directly above the downstairs neighbors. But either way, properly sound insulating the floor is an essential part of your room. As we already said, your room can’t have any weaknesses.
When dealing with floors, it’s especially important to reduce the vibrations caused by impact noises to a minimum. To soundproof the floor correctly, you will have some reconstruction work to do.
Soundproofing your floor is done by lifting the existing flooring and subflooring layer. Afterward, add insulation material, such as fiberglass or acoustic mineral wool, between the joists.
While covering the floor with subflooring, consider adding an acoustic rubber underlayment on top. Then additionally add another layer of subflooring with a layer of acoustical underlayment.
To finish off your floor, consider using carpeting to cover your entire floor. By doing so, you will add an extra layer of absorption to your floor.
Hiring a professional to do this for you will be a good option if you are not familiar with such work. Also, the professional may change these steps slightly and use different products. However, the important thing is to incorporate the four soundproofing elements.
Soundproof the ceiling
Read my detailed guide on soundproofing ceilings.
Like the floor, the ceiling can also be an easy route for sounds to penetrate, if not appropriately insulated. In case you have neighbors upstairs, the impact noises caused by them can significantly impact your soundproof environment.
For this reason, it’s important to soundproof the ceiling properly. Remember that reconstructing your ceiling is a task you might want to hire a professional to do for you. However, the principles of soundproofing the ceiling are similar to the ones used for the walls.
After removing your existing drywall ceiling, add insulation material between the joists. Afterward, install resilient channels to the joists and place the new drywall ceiling.
To add the damping element to your ceiling, consider using two drywall layers with the Green Glue compound in between. Not only will it dampen the ceiling, but it will also add more mass.
Some professionals may even recommend installing new joists that will do a better job of absorbing the vibrations. However, by adding additional joists, your room will lose space. On the other side, it will add another layer of protection for the sounds to go through.
Properly insulating your ceiling and floor will increase your STC (sound transmission class) levels to over seventy, which is perfect for your soundproof room.
Soundproof the doors
Doors are a significant problem when it comes to soundproofing. Not only are they usually hollow, but they also have gaps on the edges, the biggest one being on the bottom—these gaps leak noise.
Either by investing in a new solid-core door or soundproofing your existing door, your room will be further sound insulated. This is essential because all of the other soundproofing work you have done can be insignificant if your door doesn’t provide the right sound insulation.
The best solution to this problem is replacing your hollow-core door with a solid-core one. Maybe you can even consider obtaining a professional soundproof door used for music studios. These doors are made from quality materials that provide the best sound insulation a door can have.
If you don’t have the possibility of acquiring such doors, there are other ways of soundproofing your existing doors.
If you are looking for a budget way of making your door soundproof, you will have to add mass to it and cover any gaps that might leak sound. The most significant gap your door leaks sound from is the bottom one.
To make your door heavier, consider fixing an MDF board on their door. It will undoubtedly make a difference. Also, consider adding a layer of MLV in between. By doing so, you will add the absorption element to your door.
To cover the bottom door gap, use a commercial-grade sweep with a thick rubber strip. Apart from soundproofing, this will also keep dust and other particles outside of your room.
In case you notice that your room door doesn’t close tightly enough against the door jambs, consider sealing the sides with foam weatherstripping.
Weatherstripping is a great option when you require soundproofing doors or windows on a budget. People also love it because it’s very easy to use. All you need to do is peel and stick the stripping around your door gaps.
If this doesn’t provide you with enough isolation, adding an extra layer of soundproofing is necessary. Consider adding heavy curtains over your door.
They will absorb the sound leaking from your room and make sure that your room stays soundproof. However, this may not be the best esthetical option; it certainly does the job.
This DIY method won’t do the job as well as a proper soundproof door would. So if you don’t want any doubts about your soundproof environment, consider investing in a soundproof door. In addition to these doors, you can also use soundproof curtains for extra absorption.
Read my detailed guide on soundproofing windows.
People tend to overlook the windows when planning to soundproof their room. Windows, just like doors, may have some gaps between the window frame and the window itself. If covering these gaps with weatherstripping wasn’t enough, consider sealing the sides with acoustic caulk.
Dealing with windows can certainly be a task. Even after filling all of the gaps around the windows, you may still encounter sound leaking in and out of your room. In this case, you may require more protection.
An excellent option for soundproofing your windows is to use window inserts. The window inserts are clear panes of glass or sometimes acrylic you can place on the inside of your existing windows. By doing so, you will create an airtight seal between the glass panes and reduce the noise leakage by fifty percent.
Such panes are designed so that you can easily remove them when you are in need of opening the window.
A great option is to add soundproof curtains, as they can seriously impact the sound insulation within your room. Also, they come in dark colors so that they will be perfect for a home theatre room.
In case you want to go all out, consider replacing your old window with a new, double-glazed one. However, this will require significant funds, as these windows are not cheap.
Additional soundproofing steps
The following steps are used in addition to the methods we have already listed. Keep in mind that these steps alone won’t make a significant enough difference to create a room where no one can hear you. However, they can undoubtedly impact your room’s soundproof performance for the better.
As we have already stated, noise reflects the best off of hard surfaces. A great idea to stop sound reflection is to cover your walls, ceilings, and doors with something soft, so your room’s sounds don’t reflect as much.
Sound-absorbing panels are from a variety of materials(foam, mineral wool, etc.). These panels are more about not letting sound go out of your room, rather than not allowing other sounds to enter.
We would advise you to look at panels made from fiberglass with a thin Mylar perforated facing. These are rated the highest by customers and provide the right sound absorption levels.
You can place these panels on your walls and ceiling, and they will improve your room’s acoustic performance. This is especially important if you are building a home theatre room.
As already mentioned, soundproof curtains are an excellent option for further insulating your windows. They work by softening and absorbing sounds before they get a chance to contact other surfaces in your room.
They weigh around fifteen pounds (depending on the window size) and are placed directly against the wall or window trim. This way, they block out unnecessary sounds and deflect them back outside.
Rugs and paddings
Using rugs and soundproof paddings is an excellent option if you don’t have the capabilities to insulate your floor properly.
Rugs have a specific structure that absorbs impact sounds well. They do this by trapping the sound waves within their fiber. That being said, the thicker the rug, the better.
By placing a layer of padding underneath, you will add even more absorption ability to your floor. These paddings are made from materials such as rubber crumbs, sponge, polyurethane foam, and others.
Even if you already sound-insulated your floor, using rugs with a padding underlayment will even further soundproof your room.