A Guide To Soundproofing Plywood Walls

Wood-clad walls have a unique appeal but can reflect a lot of sounds. When it comes to soundproofing plywood walls, there are a number of things you need to understand before you get started trying to fix sound issues.

Soundproofing plywood walls is possible and there are several ways to do it. You can either use soundproof or foam wallpaper, acoustic foam panels, soundproof paint, and fiberglass panels. These dampen the noise that passes through your plywood walls.

Also read: 4 Effective Ways To Soundproof Concrete Walls

Soundproofing plywood walls

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Plywood walls are thinner than concrete. For this reason, they cannot prevent much noise from entering your home. Fortunately, there are some methods that you can do to soundproof them.

How to Soundproof Plywood Walls

Plywood walls are valuable material for homes in more ways than one. They are lightweight, making them easy to install and fast to build. On top of that, plywood walls are also inexpensive. But the downside is that they do not work well when it comes to stopping sound from passing through. 

However, the good thing is that soundproofing plywood walls are a straightforward job that will not require special skills and materials.

The quick and affordable methods of plywood wall soundproofing include:

  • Use Foam wallpaper
  • Use Soundproof wallpaper
  • Add Fiberglass panels
  • Add Acoustic foam panels
  • Use Soundproof paint

Soundwaves, echoes, and vibrations can pass through the tiniest gaps in your home. They can infiltrate your walls. Adding an extra layer to your plywood walls, just like the ones mentioned above, will help you reduce the external noises that can get through them.

1. Use Foam wallpaper

Foam wallpaper is one of the most common soundproofing materials. It is made from several layers of polyethylene, making them suitable for sound absorption. 

However, there is a common misconception about soundproofing foam wallpapers. While many think they block noise, the truth is that they only absorb them to reduce their echo. But despite this fact, foam wallpapers still work excellently in making your home quieter. 

In addition, foam wallpapers have various purposes. Apart from sound absorption, they also work as excellent thermal radiators and sound insulators.

Moreover, there are two things that you need to note about foam wallpapers. First, they are not ideal for installation inside bathrooms. On the other hand, you should not place them in areas where you create flames. The reason is that heat and humidity will ruin the foam by warping or discoloring it. 

2. Use Soundproof wallpaper

Generally speaking, a soundproof wallpaper is a wallpaper with a layer of foam that has noise-dampening materials. It works similarly to foam wallpaper.

The only difference is that they have a layer of wallpaper with different patterns and designs. Since they have many designs, they can also function as a decorative addition to your home.

Read my article: 9 Pros and Cons of Soundproof Wallpaper

3. Add Fiberglass panels

This type of noise-dampening material is dense. This characteristic makes fiberglass panels very good for reducing noise in your home. You can install fiberglass panels on plywood walls to block noises from passing through. They are lightweight, easy to install, and flexible.

Additionally, they have high impact resistance, so you can ensure that they will not get scratches or suddenly shatter. 

4. Add Acoustic foam panels

Acoustic foams work great to prevent soundwaves, echoes, and vibrations from bouncing from one wall to another. As a result, it becomes a lot quieter before the noise can even get into your ears.

It is essential to note that acoustic foam panels should not have your paint over them. For this reason, they may not look outstanding if you are trying to maintain the aesthetic look of your home. 

If you want to improve sound inside a room apart from reducing unwanted noises, acoustic foam panels will work best. It is because they work well, reducing the transmission of sound.

This material is made of porous PEPP or expanded polypropylene and comes in different thicknesses and sizes. The pores are responsible for absorbing noises and making them a lot quieter. 

5. Use Soundproof paint

This type of soundproofing is not as effective as the methods mentioned above. Still, it is a quick and budget-friendly method that you can use. 

To ensure that your soundproof paint will work, you need to apply some coats to your plywood walls generously. You should also make sure that each layer will dry for a day or so before adding another coat of paint. 

While you will not have issues with painting your plywood walls with soundproof paint, you should know that removing them in the future is close to impossible. True enough, you can use a paint thinner to do this job. But the paint has likely ruined the plywood in the long run. 

The Other Methods of Soundproofing Plywood Walls

Despite being able to do the methods mentioned above, there will be times when you will feel like they are not enough, and a lot of noise still infiltrates your home. If that happens, you can do the additional steps below to improve your soundproofing efforts:

Plug gaps where you think external noises can pass through

Sound is like light and water, and it can leak through even the smallest openings and cracks. If this happens, your sleep and rest time won’t go well. For this reason, you should use acoustical caulk to plug any gaps that you see on your plywood wall. In addition, you can also use weatherstripping for your door frames.

Furniture works well too.

Your cushions, tables, and shelves can dampen the noise that reverberates within your home. Similarly, carpets, curtains, rugs, and even potted plants can help in reducing echoes, ambient noise, and vibrations. 

Use gaskets to seal walls and windows                              

The small gaps between your window frame and window, as well as on your door frame and door, can be an inviting opening for noise to pass through.

If you think they have more significant gaps than they should be, make sure to get gaskets and install them on windows and door frames. This way, you can prevent external noises from ruining your rest time. 

Find out your Sound Transmission Class Rating

STC or Sound Transmission Class Rating refers to the measurement of sound reduction a particular product can provide. The higher a soundproofing material’s STC rating is, the better it will reduce unwanted noise. 

That said, you should always ask your supplier about the STC rating of the soundproofing material that you want to purchase. Doing this will allow you to know how much sound deadening ability that material has. In addition, knowing about STC ratings will be good when you are comparing one soundproofing product to another. 

Soundproofing Plywood Walls: The Next Step

You have already found out the methods and materials you can use to reduce the transmission of sound in your plywood walls. So, the next step you need to do is decide which method will work best for your home. You can use either premium or inexpensive materials.

However, the best thing you should do is to implement your project one step at a time. If soundproofing your plywood walls is a significant priority for you, then you should invest in higher-quality sound dampening materials. 

Sources:

  1. How to Soundproof a Room, Family Handyman, https://www.familyhandyman.com/project/how-to-soundproof-a-room/ 
  2. Randolph Hoover, Acoustic Foams — Sustainable or No?, Triple Pundit, https://www.triplepundit.com/story/2015/acoustic-foams-sustainable-or-no/33601/ 
  3. Juan Rodriguez, How to Use Fiberglass Reinstalled Panels (FRP), The Balance Small Business, https://www.thebalancesmb.com/fiberglass-reinforced-panels-frp-panels-844834/