A person can spend so much time and energy soundproofing a room, only to find out that there are other areas as well. One of the most overlooked areas in any home or commercial building is the hallway.
From a soundproofing perspective, people should look at a hallway just like any other room. That means using a lot of the same methods to keep sound out and make the quality of noise better overall.
There is nothing more frustrating than having a noisy hallway, especially if it is a shared space with someone else. It can negatively affect a person’s way of life, and it is nothing that people want to deal with if they do not have to.
Below is a breakdown of how to handle certain aspects of any hallway. Certain vulnerable areas are apparent in just about any hallway and treating them one by one will help with the process overall.
1. Soundproofing the Hallway Doors
In a typical hallway, there is at least one door to deal with on the end. In many, there are multiple doors, and this will be some of the most vulnerable areas when it comes to any sound coming in or leaving the hallway. To soundproof effectively, all these doors need to be treated the right way.
The first thing to look at is the gap at the bottom of the door, as it does not hit the floor. This is done on purpose so that there are no issues opening and closing the door, but it comes at the expense of sound.
Even if the door does not face the outdoors, it is worth weatherproofing a door or at least making a change so that the gap is plugged.
The easiest way to do that is to add a door sweep (Amazon) that will go against the door and the floor without compromising the use of the door. This is the easiest way to have something that works all the time, but if the door is closed almost all the time, there are fewer permanent options as well.
Some people will go as far as putting heavy bags or some other type of material up against the door so that that gap is closed. Anything thick enough that will absorb some sound is going to do a good enough job.
The rest of the door is less of a problem, but still something that needs a little treatment here and there for the best type of sound coverage. Adding some weatherstripping (Amazon) all around the door can help with keeping hall noise down.
Remember, a lot of halls are going to have doors opening and closing all the time, so there is always going to be sound during that time. When they close, they need to seal up as much as possible so that noise does not leak out or in.
If a particular area is extremely problematic, a person can go the extra mile and put up a door blanket/curtain (Amazon). These act a lot like window curtains, and they can open and close depending on what is going on inside of another room. This is a way to isolate a room a little bit more from the rest of the hallway, which in turn keeps the hallway quiet.
This comes in handy if there are a lot of bedrooms leading to the same hall. If a person wants an extra layer of soundproofing so that everyone in the hallway does not hear what is going on, they can pull the curtains, and they work very well.
2. Eliminating Reflected Noise
An empty hallway can be a huge source for reflected noise that people do not want to put up with. This is when noise is reflecting off the flat surfaces like walls, floors, ceilings, and more.
If a hallway is completely bare, noise has nothing to do but bounce around the surfaces and become louder overall. Even something done very quietly turns the hallway into a bit of an echo chamber without any barriers to kill the sound.
The easiest way to kill hallway sound is to think about ways to accessorize the hallway and make it a bit of a room itself. Some people like to have a minimalist look in the hallway, but a few changes can go a long way towards killing sounds
If the hallway is not carpeted, the next best option is to go with a Runner Rug (Amazon). People love having hardwood floors exposed in some situations, but a rug is a nice compromise that will help with soundproofing as well.
Any bit of softer floor surface is going to make a difference killing reflective noises, as well as any noises that might be coming from creaky floors. It can be annoying to deal with any creeks in a hallway, which is why so many people will invest in something.
Generally speaking, the thicker the rug is, the better it will be absorbing sound and making things a bit more soundproof. A lot of people love the fact that they can keep things pretty quiet if they put a stylish rug down, and it brings some color and design to the room as well.
Fill the Walls
A hall that is undecorated is going to not only look pretty bare, but it is going to cause quite a bit of unwanted sounds well. There should be something up in the hallways to kill sound, and just about anything will be better than completely bare walls.
A few options that make sense include large paintings or pictures that go up on the wall. For a bit more coverage, adding something like a bookcase can act as a second wall to help muffle sound without making things too obvious. If it can fit in the entire side of one part of the hallway, that helps even more.
Even though they might not look as good as some of the more traditional decorating options, there is the opportunity to go with acoustic panels (Amazon) on the walls as well.
These can go up on the wall just like a painting or picture, and it will help to fight off any noise that may bounce off of hard surfaces otherwise.
There are a lot of companies that sell acoustic panels, and they can be used to balance out a room pretty quickly. A lot of people will play around with what works best for them and go from there.
Remember that acoustic panels are pretty easy to install, and they can even go behind pictures and paintings if a person wants to go that route. This is a better way to hide these panels since they might not always look the best, but they are still going to be effective in that case.
3. Window Treatment
Not all hallways have windows, but some might have a smaller window or two. If that is the case, having some window treatment is an absolute must to help with controlling sound in a hallway. These can be the most vulnerable areas for sound to get in, and no one wants to deal with all of that trouble.
There are three ways most people deal with windows in some capacity if the sound is too much to handle. The first, and arguably the easiest, is to put in some soundproof curtains (Amazon).
Even though they have the word soundproof connected to them, they really do not look any much different than traditional curtains. They are usually a bit thicker and provide full coverage, which helps with sound control as well as light coming in.
Most people love curtains because they can break up a rather dull wall overall, and they are so easy to move out of the way if a person wants natural lighting inside the hallway. Their versatility alone is reason enough to give them a try, and the cost of setting them up is pretty minimal as well.
Window inserts are another option, although they stand out a bit more than curtains. This is more of a temporary solution for people who need sound control at this point.
Maybe there is something incredibly loud going on outside, and there needs to be some control right away. These work better and can match up with the window pretty well if the right one is purchased, but make sure that they are easy to pop in and out for ultimate convenience.
Finally, there is the option of replacing the windows altogether with a different layer of glass to help with sound control. Double-paned windows are going to provide a lot more value than single pane, and most people will be satisfied with how everything sounds.
The drawback to going with double-paned windows is that it is going to cost a little bit more than some people want to bargain for.
It is always a plus if a person buys a home that has hallways filled with these windows in the first place, and that will help reduce the number of sound leaks in and leaks out.
They also might come in handy if the hallway gets a little too extreme with temperature changes. More than likely, the main culprit is the windows, and those need to be treated.
That makes investing in new windows a little easier since a person is going to save on their energy bill in the long run.
4. Soundproofing Rooms Leading to a Hallway
The main difference between a hallway and other rooms is that most people are not going to spend that much time in a hallway, so it gets overlooked.
One of the best ways to help with sound control in the hallway, as well as other areas of the home for that matter, is to treat particular rooms instead.
A lot of the same concepts apply to rooms that apply to the hallways above, but keep in mind that rooms are usually a little bigger.
It might take more material to soundproof an entire room instead of soundproofing a hallway. Think about what is the most economical, and where most of the time is spent.
5. Rearrange Connecting Rooms
Again, this is another suggestion for people who might think that the hallway is incredibly noisy, and they want to have a quieter set up inside a room that is connected. Since most people are not spending time in the hallway, this makes sense to a certain degree.
If the hallway is particularly noisy and causing problems when sitting in a room, consider rearranging the room and going from there.
For example, having the main sitting area very close to the door is not only going to cause more sounds to be noticeable, but it allows for travel of sound from inside the room to the hallway. People who want ultimate privacy and quietness should lineup the connecting room accordingly.
There are quite a few people who do not want to rearrange too much, but they make some compromise that works for them. Ultimately, the goal here is to make things as enjoyable as possible.
Is it worth the investment to soundproof a hallway?
An unfinished hallway can stick out a little bit if everything else is properly taken care of from a soundproofing perspective. It just does not make sense to overlook a hallway when everything else looks good. It might take some extra time to treat the hallways properly, but most people believe it is ultimately worth it in the end.
Maybe the goal is not to have the quietest hallway ever, and hanging out in the hallway is usually not going to matter that much to anyone who owns a home or business.
With all that said, it still should be treated properly so that there are no distractions. People still use their hallways from time to time, and it could be a way to step out and have some peace and quiet at times.
Instead of running the risk of missing out on information sharing anything like that, it just makes sense to make sure that the hallway does not go overlooked.