Picture this: you’ve just purchased the perfect apartment. Finding it wasn’t easy, but you know you’ve made the right choice. In fact, you have no complaints about it. It’s the perfect home, except …
You can hear everything that your neighbors are doing.
That late-night TV show they’re watching while you’re trying to sleep at 3 AM? Yeah, you can hear that.
Their early-morning shower concerts? Yep, you can hear those, too.
Even worse, you start to worry if they can hear everything that you’re doing, too. As you can imagine, it won’t take very long like this to start feeling trapped in your own house.
Fortunately, all hope is not lost. In fact, there are several effective steps that you can take to get your apartment soundproofed in no time.
Below, we’ll look at a detailed explanation of what soundproofing is, how it works, and why you should star soundproofing your apartment. Then, I’ll tell you some of the best ways to get the job done.
The video below explains it beautifully.
What Is Soundproofing?
What is soundproofing, exactly?
Soundproofing refers the actions to reduce the amount of sound escaping from or into your apartment. Importantly, this can be done between different apartments and among different rooms in the same apartment. That said, whether you live in a huge New York City penthouse or a small studio in Denver, soundproofing is still very possible.
Additionally, one should keep in mind that there are different levels to soundproofing. Basic measures, for example, may proof a more cost-effective alternative, but also may not provide the same level of sound protection.
These different levels result from various techniques that increase in utility based on their successful incorporation of the four elements of soundproofing.
In this guide, I’ll go over both basic and more advanced options so that you can choose the right soundproofing level for your home.
As we’ll see, soundproofing may require the use of various different techniques and materials. For this reason, be sure to carefully consider your situation so that you can choose the method that’s right for you.
Why Soundproof Your Apartment?
Is soundproofing really necessary? Is it something that you should take the time to do?
Read my article on this.
Ultimately, those are questions that can only be answered by you. If you’ve found that sounds travels too easily between rooms in your apartment, or between your house and that of your neighbors, it may be time to soundproof your home.
Soundproofing your home can have several benefits, including:
1. Relax in Comfort
With proper soundproofing, you can finally get that relaxation you need.
That’s right—that means, no more hearing your neighbor’s TV blaring during your mid-day nap. It can also mean that you don’t have to listen to your child’s overly-loud music while attempting to watch your favorite TV program.
By soundproofing your apartment, you can finally start feeling at home. Because you’ll be able to relax in a more comfortable way without interruption, you’ll be able to relax your way.
The stress caused by being exposed to unnecessary sounds from your neighbor can add up. Choose peace over stress by soundproofing your apartment.
2. No Need to Worry About How Loud You Are
Let’s be honest: it’s not just your neighbor that makes noise.
You do, too.
This means that unless you’re that neighbor, you likely walk on eggshells trying not to upset your neighbor. And this can really limit the activities that you’re able to do.
From movie nights to birthday parties, you’ll have to spend more time focusing on not upsetting your neighbors than on actually having fun.
That doesn’t sound very fair.
By soundproofing your apartment, you spend more time focusing on the activities that are important to you. With a soundproofed apartment, you can be sure that your activities won’t be upsetting any of your neighbors—giving you more freedom in the actions that you can take.
With high-end soundproofing techniques, you can all-but eliminate the sound transfer between your apartment and your neighbor’s.
And trust me: this is something that you’ll both be thankful for.
3. Focus on Work and Studies
Finally, soundproofing your apartment can lead to greater productivity for both you and your children.
For starters, you’ll be able to focus on catching up any work that you missed out on in the office—or on any work that you need to do around the house. From making grocery lists to balancing your home’s budget, you’ll enjoy the peace and quiet necessary to get your work done.
Just as importantly, you children will be able to stay up-to-date on their school work. By facilitating the proper soundproofed environment, you can boost your home’s work efficiency.
How Does Soundproofing Work?
To understand how soundproofing works, you may have to think back to your high school physics class. Remember that sound travels in waves, and these waves can move and bounce off hard surfaces quite easily.
This means that if you don’t have the right insulation and padding around your house, these sound waves can move quite easily from room to room. These sound vibrations can easy travel through walls, making it difficult for you and your neighbors to get any peace.
Soundproofing works to reduce this sound travel by adding in appropriate insulation to absorb these sound waves and vibrations.
The right soundproofing methods build on this scientific knowledge to trap sound in the same room as its source.
With this in mind, it’s time to take a look at the different ways that you can start soundproofing your apartment. Carefully consider this information to find the soundproofing method that works best for your home.
There are four main elements to soundproofing. Keep these in mind as you work to soundproof your apartment. By incorporating these techniques into your soundproofing regime, you can effectively reduce the noise between your apartment and that of your neighbors.
Decoupling is one of the simplest and most effective soundproofing techniques. Decoupling works to reduce the vibrations passed from one wall to the other.
This technique is effective because it reduces the contact between drywall and studs. In a decoupled wall, there will be a certain amount of separation between the stud adjoining to your drywall and the wall of your neighbor.
Keep in mind that while decoupling is very effective at reducing the number of sound vibrations that pass from one wall to the other, it’s not 100% effective. This is because airborne vibrations can also make it from one wall to the other—and decoupling does nothing to stop this.
To get a better sense of decoupling, watch one of its techniques in the video below.
As noted, decoupling cannot stop the transmission of airborne sound vibrations from one wall to the other. This means that if you’re looking to get the most out of your soundproofing, you’ll need to add another approach.
Absorption is the second element of soundproofing, and it can be done to further reduce the vibrations passing between walls. Typically, absorption works through techniques such as adding insulation between the empty cavities.
For more about how to add insulation to your walls, check out our guide below.
Once you’ve got your staggered stud construction and insulation in place, it’s time to consider the third element of soundproofing: adding mass.
Adding mass is a highly-effective form of soundproofing that relies on the weight of materials to prevent vibrations from passing from one room to the next.
The science behind adding mass is quite simple. In order for vibrations to pass through a material, it actually has to vibrate. This means that sound has a harder time traveling through heavier materials, as it’s harder for the vibrations to affect the walls.
Drywall is one of the most effective materials for many builders, due both to its weight and to its cost-effective nature. By purchasing heavier materials such as drywall, you can add an extra layer of soundproofing to your apartment.
Damping is the fourth and final element of soundproofing—and it’s one of the most effective.
Damping works to reduce the number of vibrations in your wall from the very beginning. Because there are reduced vibrations from the beginning, damping helps improve the efficiency of your other soundproofing techniques.
Keep in mind that these tips aren’t mutually exclusive. You may choose to do only one or all techniques while soundproofing your apartment. However, do note that the more elements you incorporate effectively, the better your soundproofing will be.
With this information in mind, let’s take a look at some specific soundproofing techniques that you can use to help limit the noise coming into—and going out of—your apartment.
How To Soundproof Your Apartment Walls
What steps can you take to soundproof your home? The following soundproofing steps vary in efficiency and cost and can provide you with the results that you need.
1. Build Staggered Stud Walls
Building staggered stud walls is one of the simplest decoupling techniques that you can use to soundproof your apartment.
To do this, however, you’ll have to tear down your existing dry wall and rework the studs behind the interior walls.
To build a decoupled wall, you’ll need to ensure that the studs between your wall and that of your neighbor don’t fit snugly between them. In other words, the studs to which your wall will attach should not be jammed against your neighbor’s wall—and vice versa.
This decoupling technique works to reduce the amount of sound vibrations that pass through one wall to the other.
2. Use Double Drywall
One of the cheapest and most-effective methods for those on a budget is using double drywall. In fact, this method is so simple, you may have guessed what it entails—even if you’ve never done much construction.
Double drywall works to soundproof your walls by adding mass. Drywall in and of itself is great for adding soundproofing mass to your apartment—and you can increase this with double drywall construction.
Instead of using just one layer of drywall between your apartments or different rooms, consider stacking two layers together. This provides added protection to keep soundwaves and vibrations from moving from one rom to the other.
Perhaps the most basic form of soundproofing, double drywall works well for those who need a quick, cheap fix.
3. Use Green Glue
Another simple method to start soundproofing your home is to use Green Glue (see it on Amazon). This product is specifically designed to help reduce the noise between rooms and apartments.
Green Glue is one of the most-effective and popular damping methods used to soundproof homes.
Simply apply your Green Glue to the back of your drywall before applying. Typically speaking, you’ll want to use at least two tubes of Green Glue to the back of a sheet before applying it.
So how does Green Glue work?
Green Glue helps to reduce the intensity of vibrations between two surfaces—your wall and your neighbor’s, for instance. By absorbing the impact of these vibrations, Green Glue works to reduce the amount of sound going into and out of your apartment.
This means that both you and your neighbor can benefit from using Green Glue. Just remember to use the product generously so that you can help maximize the sound reduction.
4. Install Specialized Insulation
To further reduce problematic sound travel, start looking into using specialized forms of insulation. Adding insulation to your walls works to absorb the transmission of airborne sound vibrations that aren’t affected by decoupling techniques.
This being said, keep in mind that adding insulation to your walls is an involved process. To install your new insulation, you’ll have to first remove your drywall, place insulation between the studs, and then reassemble your wall.
If you have old or mildewed insulation, remove it before adding your new insulation. Your insulation should fit snugly between the studs, but be careful not to mash or pack your insulation down.
By making your insulation more compact, you’ll reduce its efficiency in absorbing sound vibrations. In fact, packing your insulation can work against you by making it easier for sound vibrations to pass through.
One particular type of insulation that works to cut down on sound travel is known as Batt insulation. Batt insulation has a special composition, with many of the most popular forms made from fiberglass.
Additionally, those looking for further protection can have a special “vapor layer” added onto the base fiberglass layer.
What makes Batt insulation great is that it can come in different widths and thicknesses, making it the perfect flexible choice for those looking to better soundproof their walls.
Additionally, the material composition of Batt insulation provides superior protection when compared to regular types of insulation, making it a more appropriate choice.
You can increase your soundproofing protection, however, by investing in Roxul insulation.
Roxul insulation features a special design that provides superior soundproof protection. Additionally, Roxul includes additional features, such as being fire retardant, making it a safer choice for your home.
However, those looking to take advantage of these benefits will have to be willing to spend a little extra. Roxul insulation provides some of the best sound protection on the market, so it’s likely that you’ll find the investment is worth it.
Check out my top recommendations for insulation
How Do You Soundproof Your Apartment Ceiling
Now that you’ve soundproofed your walls, you’re probably feeling pretty good about yourself. And you should—you’ve already taken the first step to making your apartment soundproof. Still, there are other avenues unwanted sounds can use to leak into your apartment.
The biggest one? Your ceiling.
This is especially true if your neighbors to the north are loud or heavy-footed. If it sounds like your upstairs neighbors are walking with lead in their shoes, it’s possible that you’ll need to take extra measure to get your apartment completely soundproof.
For this reason, let’s look at a couple of way you can maximize your apartment’s ability to block out unwanted external sounds.
Install Fiberglass Insulation
Fiberglass insulation is one of the most effective ways to soundproof your apartment. This extra layer of insulation will aid in canceling out upstairs noise and keep your house quiet—no matter how busy your neighbors get.
Fortunately, fiberglass installation is a cheap option for soundproofing your home—though it may take a bit of work on your part. What’s more, if you’re renting, you’ll likely need to get advance permission from your landlord (as you would for any potential construction).
If you do get approved, however, consider adding to this extra layer of insulation with an additional sheet of drywall. With two drywall sheets and strong insulation, your ceiling will be much more effective at blocking out any upstairs noises.
To install this new insulation, you’ll need to first remove the drywall or sheetrock from your ceiling. Next, you’ll want to place your insulation between the joists. Additionally, to get extra protection for your home, be sure to replace the ceiling with heavier drywall. Remember, this method of adding mass can drastically reduce the amount of sound that travels through your home.
Fix Any Holes
Depending on the age or construction of your apartment, you may need to fix any overhead holes to truly soundproof your home. Take a look around your ceiling and watch out for any weak spots. Are there any cable holes or other dents?
If so, it’s highly recommended that you seal off any potential avenues for sound. For best results, I recommend using green glue. This amazing sealant will help cancel out noises from above and keep your apartment sound-free.
Also read my article on ceiling soundproofing
How To Soundproof Doors And Windows Of Your Apartment?
With all this in mind, what other steps can you take to make sure that your home is completely soundproof? If you’re not looking to undergo any construction or home repairs, the following tips can help you soundproof your home in an affordable and hassle-free way.
That being said, let’s take a look at some of these strategies so you can start getting your home completely soundproof today!
1. Hang Heavy Curtains
Sometimes, however, that extra sound in your apartment isn’t coming from the apartment next door or the people up above. Instead, it’s coming from outside your window. This is especially true for those living in busy cities or heavily-populated areas.
If you’re looking for an effective way to block out that extra outside noise, this simple tip can help. By hanging heavy drapes in front of every window, you can cancel out outside sounds and keep your home quieter and more peaceful.
Of course, the solution isn’t perfect. There will undoubtedly be times when you want to open your windows or at least open your curtains to let some extra light in. For this reason, it’s best to use this tip in conjunction with other DIY home strategies. In doing so, you can effectively reduce your noise level and make your home a more peaceful place for all involved.
Read my detailed guide on soundproof curtains
2. Use a Door Sweep
If most of your noise is coming from outside, consider using a door sweep. Door sweeps are an effective way to block out any unwanted noise that may be coming in from under your door. By following this tip, you can significantly cut out on external noise infiltrating your house.
Door sweeps are a proven, cost-effective way to reduce noise and help you fully soundproof your apartment. For this reason, I recommend these valuable tools to help you reclaim your peace.
Check out my recommended techniques to soundproof a door.
Final Thoughts On Apartment Soundproofing
No one likes noisy neighbors.
Whether you’re trying to work, sleep, or simply watch TV, the wrong neighbors can make your life miserable. For this reason, it’s important that you take the necessary steps to soundproof your apartment and block out any unwanted noise.
Fortunately, doing so could be much easier—and more affordable—than you may think. By following the information in this guide, you’ll be able to protect yourself from external sounds and keep excess noises out of your apartment.
Use this guide as your ultimate resource for effective construction advice and DIY tips to soundproof your home! As you do so, remember to keep the four elements of soundproofing in mind to enjoy maximum results.
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