In this article, you will learn about the best ways to soundproof common condo walls.
Condos are often a convenient living space for those who don’t want or need the amount of room a house provides. However, by their very nature, they force you to live in much closer proximity to your neighbors, who might enjoy making lots of noise.
It’s common for condo walls to not be made of particularly thick materials, often as a way to save money for the construction company.
While this might not be a problem for everyone who lives in a condo, if you have noisy neighbors then it only makes things worse.
Soundproofing the walls of your condo is the only logical step, and it’s not too difficult to put up either temporary or permanent structures.
Soundproofing Common Condo Walls
The most important thing to bear in mind when choosing your soundproofing method is that more temporary fixes aren’t going to give the same kind of noise cancelling quality as permanent methods.
That said, here are the best ways you can soundproof common condo walls:
- Install sound barriers over the condo wall
- Add more drywall (mass)
- Employ decoupling techniques
- Use a damping compound (Green Glue)
- Invest in wall hangings
- Audio blankets
- Soundproof curtains and carpets
Install Sound Barriers
This is probably the most obvious choice for soundproofing your condo, but audio barriers are also likely to be the most expensive.
Actual dedicated soundproofing equipment can be pricey to install, and might also lead to you having to modify the actual structure of your condo. If this is the case, check with your landlord first.
Add More Drywall
One of the simplest methods for soundproofing a condo wall is to just add more mass.
The thicker a wall is, the harder it will be for sound to travel through. This is also going to be one of the cheapest methods because drywall is inexpensive and easy to buy.
It’s also worth considering using denser materials, but these can often be heavy, expensive, and difficult to install. Also, it will still be possible for vibrations to travel through the wall, and so it won’t do a completely effective job.
Decoupling sounds like a complicated process, but it’s actually very simple. It involves separating two sections of the wall in order to make it more difficult for sound to pass through.
The easiest way to do this is to install a new layer of drywall but to leave a gap between it and the original. Decoupling is explained nicely in this article.
This can be made even more effective by filling the gap between the walls with insulation foam, as this will add another layer for the sound to travel through.
This method is designed to reduce the amount of vibrations that can travel through a wall by adding a dense and absorbent material to your walls.
This could either be in the form of insulation foam installed in a wall cavity, or by using a product such as Green Glue. This does a very effective job of damping sound vibrations through thin walls.
Green glue is very cost effective and can do wonders for soundproofing without the cost of space. Read my article on Green Glue where I explain in detail how this is possible.
Go For Audioseal Sound Barriers
Audioseal is a brand, but the product is produced by other companies too. However, Audioseal is the best out there, so if you’re willing to spend more money it’ll certainly pay off.
The product is made from mass loaded vinyl, and comes in a roll. Although it looks very thin it actually does a very effective job of adding another level of soundproofing. It’s quite a heavy product, so make sure you have the means to install it.
When it comes to installation, the product works best when applied directly to the drywall. The Audioseal sound barrier comes in black as standard and so you might want to consider putting up extra drywall once it’s installed so your condo still looks nice.
A cheaper but worthy alternative to Audioseal is the one by Trademark Soundproofing (check price on Amazon).
Temporary Methods For Soundproofing Your Condo
Many of the methods mentioned above are permanent but will make the most difference.
If you’re not willing to sacrifice a large amount of time and money on your noisy neighbors, or if you rent your condo, you’re probably looking for more temporary and less invasive methods.
While these won’t work as well, they will hopefully make enough of a difference and give you some peace. Here are the best temporary methods for soundproofing your condo:
Invest In Wall Hangings
Sound is dampening through heavy or dense materials, and while the most effective will be things like concrete, brick, or vinyl, you can certainly make a difference with textiles.
Hanging things on the wall is a historically traditional method for dealing with both noise issues and heat insulation. The thing to remember when choosing wall hangings is the heavier the material, the better the soundproofing will be.
Audio blankets are a specialist product and are essentially flexible materials that can be hung over walls or windows. They often use quilted fiberglass to absorb sound, as this is both a dense material and a good structure for the job at hand.
However, as these are a specialist product they will be more expensive, and they aren’t the most attractive things in the world. If you decide to get some for your condo you might want to hang something in from of them that’s a bit nicer to look at.
Get Soundproof Curtains
This might seem like an unnecessary point, but many modern condos will only have been fitted with blinds. Not only are they more fashionable, but they’re also cheaper too.
However, their soundproofing qualities are essentially non-existent, and if lots of your noise pollution comes from outside then you should do everything possible to soundproof the windows too.
The best thing to look for is thick and heavy drapes. Traditional winter curtains will often be made of several layers of fabric, and the most effective will be something like velvet or velour drapes. These aren’t massively common, so keep an eye out for them.
Read my guide on how to choose soundproof curtains.
If you need a temporary method for soundproofing your floor then you can’t go too wrong with carpets or rugs. If you have hardwood floors in your condo then these will be ideal because not only will they insulate sound, they’ll provide better heat insulation too.
If you already have carpets fitted then make sure you lay down some rugs. It might look weird, but the more you can put down the more soundproof your condo will be.
Soundproofing Floors And Doors
If you’re looking to do a thorough job on your condo, and you want to make it so as little noise comes in as possible, it’s worth looking at your options surrounding soundproofing doors, floors, and windows.
Again, looking at this much work will become quite expensive, but if you’re having problems with noise pollution then it’s probably worth it.
Floor underlays are incredibly easy to buy and aren’t too expensive. While many of them aren’t designed specifically for soundproofing, just adding an extra layer will certainly help.
Floor underlays are very easy to find online and can be installed with little problem, and so it’s unlikely you’ll need to hire someone to complete this for you.
A good soundproofing underlay should either be thick or made from a dense material. The mass loaded vinyl mentioned above is an ideal product, so be on the look out for that.
While the purpose of soundproofing your condo will be to keep noise pollution to a minimum, installing a floor underlay will also decrease the noise you make too. This might not be something you’re particularly concerned about, but it’s definitely worth knowing.
Floor underlays are (unsurprisingly) designed to go under your flooring. This might not be something you’re able to do, as ripping up the current floor is both invasive and expensive. However, if you’ve got the time and the money it will make a big difference.
Check out the floor underlay that I recommend which will give you the best bang for the buck!
Acoustic Door Seals
This product is reasonably self-explanatory. It simply involves buying equipment to minimize the gaps around your door.
A door is a very common place for noise pollution to enter through because it’s not very often that a door sits completely tight in its frame. A good acoustic door seal kit will contain jamb seals, threshold seals, and a seal for the bottom of the door.
When installing the door seals make sure the door can still fit in the frame after. It’s all well and good to soundproof a door, but if you can’t actually close it then you haven’t done much good.
A door seal will obviously make the door much more snug, and so you’ll probably have to get used to that too. Also, it’s probably only worth investing in a door seal if noise pollution comes in from the corridor.
If your issue is more with noisy neighbors, then focus your efforts on the walls and floors.
When soundproofing your condo the most important thing to remember is that it’s only really permanent fittings that will do the best job.
Even then, they might not completely soundproof your condo, but they should cut the noise pollution down enough. However, if you can only install temporary methods, then the more layers you use, the better.