It is not a place where you sit and relax or sleep but you will still need to soundproof your garage.
Garages are mainly for parking vehicles. But, in most cases, it is also a workshop for DIY jobs or a place where you repair your car or bike.
The noise that you create in the garage will cause family members and neighbors to complain. So, you would have no choice but to soundproof it especially that garage door which leaks out most of the noise.
Challenges of Garage Soundproofing
The challenges for soundproofing a garage are mostly similar to those of any other room in the house.
If you have a detached garage, there is an advantage of having a totally isolated room with no windows and that will make the task of soundproofing much easier. But there will still be the door which you will have to deal with and that we will pay special emphasis on.
A LOT depends on your requirements. Some will only do small DIY household jobs that require power drilling or cutting wood with a circular saw and jigsaw. Soundproofing requirements would be less in such cases.
Then there are those who would like to use the garage for band practice or convert it into a home theater room. For this, the level of soundproofing required will be much more and the costs will also be much higher.
In this post, we will take a look at what best options are available for soundproofing a garage. We will also compare the levels of effectiveness for each method.
How To Soundproof A Garage
The sequence and processes involved in soundproofing a garage can be summarized as follows:-
- Soundproof the door
- Seal the gaps
- Deaden the sound
- Soundproof the walls
- Room within a room
- Staggered stud or double drywall
- Increase mass
- Soundproof the ceiling.
- Deaden the floor.
In any room, the door will be the weak link which will easily let in or let out sound. And a garage door is the worst type.
Garage doors are huge. Imagine what a task it would be to soundproof that. Then there are gaps on the sides, on the top and on the bottom of the door which will let out a lot a sound.
Even after you have sealed these gaps, there is a possibility that some would get missed out and these gaps will leak out a lot of sound.
If you are just looking to reduce the noise from your tools while working in the garage, then a combination of a good door sealing kit and heavy curtains would help.
However, if you want to use the garage for band practice or home theater, there would be no other choice but to build a wall on the inside or on the outside of the door, whichever is feasible.
This is because heavy curtains and door sealing kit will only be able to contain the mid and higher frequencies. However, the low frequencies will not be contained. Your neighbors and family will definitely complain about the bass that is coming out of your garage.
So, it is important you clearly understand how much soundproofing you would require. Then, you can accordingly apply soundproofing techniques given below depending on your needs.
How to Soundproof a Garage Door
But in this case, we are talking about a garage door. It may not be practical or cost effective to replace such a large size door with a solid core door.
Not that people have not done it before. There are home theater owners who have used this method to tackle the sound leakages that take place because of a garage door.
But if you plan to keep your car and two-wheelers in the garage, then opening and closing that solid core door every day will be a big pain.
So it is better to stick to the existing garage door and then look at some of the steps that we can take to soundproof it.
Seal the Gaps
The first step would be to stop the Airborne Sound leakages which take place because of the gap below, on the top and on the sides of the door.
For the bottom of the door, you can use something like the Loobani Weather Stripping Rubber Seal (see on Amazon) which is compressible and plugs the gap below the garage door.
For the sides and the top, there are also dedicated seal kits like this one from M-D Building (see on Amazon) which will do a great job.
These are pretty easy to install and don’t take much time. Only make sure that after you have installed these, you will still have gaps between the seals and the door which need to be plugged with acoustic caulk.
Here is a video which will give you a clear understanding of what needs to be done.
Deaden the Sound
Now that we have taken care of the air gaps which is really really important step, we take a look at what we can do to reduce the sound levels going in and coming into the garage.
As I had mentioned earlier, if you are looking to contain medium or high pitch sound frequencies that come from power tools, then you are good to go by installing some heavy curtains.
Of course, curtains will not make the garage soundproof but it would make a lot of difference.
As I have brought out in most of the articles on this site, it is important that you have a sound barrier in the form of heavy mass for blocking sound. By heavy mass, I mean materials like drywall, MDF and mass loaded vinyl which are heavy.
It is not practical to stick drywall on a garage door but the option of mass loaded vinyl can be considered as it is flexible. However, mass loaded vinyl costs a bit.
If your soundproofing needs are not very much, then heavy curtains will do a decent job to stop neighbors and family members from complaining about the sound from your power tools.
Soundproofing A Garage Door for Drums, Band Practice or Home Theaters
But what if you’re planning to use the garage for a home theater or band practice? Heavy curtains will definitely not do.
A solid core door (expensive) or mass loaded vinyl will help to a great extent. But if things are going to get really loud inside the garage, then the best option would be to remove the door.
You will then have to do framing for a normal sized door and drywall the remaining area. The new door would be a solid core one.
So, these are options which you have to soundproof a garage door. I have gone a little bit in-depth into this because this is the most in and challenging area which you will face when soundproofing a garage.
Soundproofing the Walls
When it comes to soundproofing the walls, there is a lot that you can do. The methods that you will employ will mostly depend on your requirements and budget.
Let us go over, one by one, what the available options are. But first, you would need to remove the existing drywall from the inside of your garage and fill the cavities between the studs with loose fiberglass insulation like the Owen Corning R13.
Room within a Room Construction
This is, of course, the best option but in most cases because of space as well as cost constraints this is not a viable solution.
For building a room within a room, you basically remove the existing drywall from the inside and build another frame which is completely detached from the existing framing.
By doing this you are isolating or decoupling the inner wall with the outside wall. By decoupling you are reducing the contact points between the two frames, thus reducing sound transfer.
The downside to a room within a room construction, apart from the cost involved, is ensuring structural integrity and the fact that you will be sacrificing a lot of space.
Assuming that the new framing will have a gap of an inch or two from the existing framing, the space loss on one side of the garage would be approximately 6 inches. That means that the length and breadth of your garage will reduce by about a foot or maybe more.
Double Wall Construction
A double wall construction is very similar to a room within a room construction except that there will be less decoupling taking place and it would not be so difficult to ensure the structural stability.
However, the space lost in a double wall construction would be almost similar to a room within a room construction. But it would be quite effective for blocking noise.
Staggered Stud Wall Construction
Staggered stud wall construction is a very effective way to get the best compromise between space in a room and decoupling.
In a staggered stud wall construction, you will have to replace the existing framing with a 6-inch wide framing in which the studs would be staggered.
The details of this construction and its comparison do a double stud wall is given in detail in my article on staggered stud wall and double walls.
Resilient Channels and Sound Isolation Clips
If you neither have the space nor the budget to go for any of the construction methods above, another option for decoupling would be the use of resilient channels and sound isolation clips.
The resilient channel or sound isolation clips are attached to the inner side of the framing and will assist in decoupling.
Read my article on resilient channels and sound isolation clips for a detailed understanding.
Double the Drywall
The last option for the walls would be to add mass to them by adding an additional layer of drywall.
In this method, there is no decoupling taking place but the addition of mass would reduce the sound transfer to some extent. But the effect will not be as great as the decoupling methods that have been brought about.
Whichever method you employ for soundproofing the walls of your garage, it would be a good idea to use a damping compound like green glue.
Green glue sandwiched between two layers of drywall will convert the kinetic energy of sound waves to heat energy. For a home theater or a band room, the use of a damping compound will have a lot of benefits.
Soundproofing a Garage Ceiling
The methods employed for the ceiling of a garage would be pretty much similar to the walls.
Again you’ll have to remove the drywall and fill the gap in between the joists with suitable roof installation like the Owen Corning R19.
In case you are going for a room within a room construction, you will have to install new ceiling joists which will be a bit lower in height than the existing ones and will be running parallel.
In a staggered wall or double wall construction, you will not be installing new joists and will be putting up the drywall over the existing joists.
If your ceiling already has insulation in between the joists, then you don’t have to do anything except add another layer of drywall with damping compound in between.
Soundproofing a Garage Floor
There is some form of treatment which will be required for the floor because there will be sound transfer taking place due to flanking noises but not to a very large extent.
You will need to have an underlay which will deaden the sound. The best option would be a heavy acoustic underlay but of course, the downside is that these are really really expensive.
The most cost-effective way to soundproof a floor is covered in detail in my article here.
In this article, I have tried to cover the basic requirements and principles involved in soundproofing a garage.
The requirements will, of course, depend on many factors like design, the location of the garage in the home, etc.
I am assuming that your garage does not have any windows because you actually don’t need them. But if your garage does have windows, then you will have to use ways to soundproof them which are given in my article over here.
Each technique is an exercise in itself. The details of all techniques could not be covered entirely in one article. However, most information that you need to know has been already covered in other articles on this site.
Assessment of your requirements before soundproofing is very important before you begin. Soundproofing does involved costs.
If you do too much but do it right, it will cost more. However, it will be effective. On the other hand, if you do too less of it or cut corners, the soundproofing would not be effective and that will be money wasted.
So, think about it, discuss your garage soundproofing plans with your family and friends and then come up with solid plan.