Do you have a lot of noise coming into your home or office through an existing wall?
Increasing the soundproofing of that wall can help cut the noise pollution and promote a quieter environment. Using the right materials will give you the results you want.
Methods of Soundproofing an Existing Wall
Here are five methods and materials to soundproof your home or to do commercial soundproofing. All of these methods can be combined for maximum soundproof.
1. Adding Insulation
If the existing wall does not have sound insulation already, blowing in an insulating material may be the solution to soundproof your home. The density of the insulation dampens the noise that passes through the wall.
There are two options for blown-in insulation:
Installation requires the use of a special pump and long hoses. First, holes are drilled into the drywall between the walls studs. Then, the insulation is blown into the cavities between the studs using the special pump and hoses.
Once the cavities are full, the holes are closed up and the wall is ready for paint.
2. Adding an Additional Layer of Drywall
If you can’t drill holes in the walls, the next best option is adding an additional layer of drywall.
The density of the extra drywall will help keep noise from traveling through the wall. This is an option used mainly in residential soundproofing but has commercial applications as well.
Installing the drywall is fairly straightforward. It is screwed directly over the existing layer. Then it is taped and mudded. It is easy to finish off with a coat of paint.
For additional soundproofing, a layer of damping compound can be added between the layers. This compound turns sound energy into heat, which helps lessen the amount of noise penetrating the two layers of drywall.
3. Apply Acoustical Paint
Among soundproofing materials, acoustical paint is one of the easiest to install. It is made from resins and fillers which absorb sound.
It also contains microscopic hollow ceramic spheres which dampen sound. It can reduce sound levels by up to 30%.
This special paint goes on like any other wall paint. You can apply it with a roller on the main part of the wall, then use an angled brush for corners and in hard to reach places.
It dries quickly. You should apply at least two coats for maximum soundproofing and insulating results.
4. Add Acoustical Wallpaper
Next to acoustical paint, acoustical wallpaper is one of the easiest ways to soundproof a wall. Properly applied, it can reduce noise levels by 75%.
It goes up much like regular wallpaper that has an adhesive on the back. You line the top edge with the ceiling and then smooth it as you go down, eliminating any bubbles or wrinkles.
Once you have all the wall paper up, the next step is to apply wall spackle along the joints. This creates a barrier so sound does not leak through.
Remove any excess with a damp rag. Once the adhesive and spackle dry, you can apply a coat of latex paint to finish it
5. Use Acoustical Panels
If you are trying to soundproof an apartment, you probably don’t want to go the expense and hassle of adding extra insulation or drywall. Portable soundproofing materials are what you want to look at.
Acoustic panels are an ideal solution to soundproof an apartment. Made from a material called porous expanded polypropylene, or PEPP, these panels come in different shapes and sizes.
You can get them covered in fabric so they become a piece of wall art. Hanging them is simple. All you need are some clips or Velcro. It takes just a few minutes to cover an entire wall if you need to.
Don’t Forget to Plug the Leaks
Sound travels through every crack or seam. You can insulate:
- A wall
- Add extra drywall
- Cover it with acoustical paint
Yet still hear noise leaking in. To complete the soundproof, you need to plug every possible entry point.
The ceilings and floors can carry sound between rooms. If you have an open ceiling cavity that spans two rooms, sounds from one room will travel through that opening into the other room.
You can stuff fiberglass insulation into the space to absorb noise. Ceiling fixtures, wall receptacles, switch boxes, and door casings also carry sound.
You can use acoustic caulk to plug any openings in or gaps around these fixtures. Commercial soundproofing has its own challenges. Commercial buildings are often built as large open spaces.
As tenants move in, walls go up and space gets defined. The problem lies behind the walls. Often open spaces will allow sound to travel between the different tenant spaces.
Enclosing the area with a well-insulated wall will block sound, but may require landlord approval.
Whether you want to do commercial or residential soundproofing, you need the right materials to do the job. Then, you can enjoy the peace and quiet you want.