As you’re probably well aware, the bathroom is most likely the room with the most echo in your entire home. In this article, I will talk about how to not only soundproof a washroom from people on the other side of the wall but also add some noise dampening features that will make the inside of the bathroom more comfortable by getting rid of those annoying echoes!
How to soundproof a bathroom? The best ways to soundproof a bathroom will begin by making sure there are no cracks where sound can escape. After you’ve filled to cracks you will need to isolate the noise within the washroom like the toilet and shower, keep reading to find out exactly how to make this happen.
The way homes are being built today are very different from before — one thing most people do not take into account when budgeting for their new home is soundproofing. I’m even guilty of that before I began to focus more on noise reduction projects.
Like any other room in the house, the noise in the bathroom will come from impact noise and airborne noise.
Impact noise is the result of someone walking around on the floor. When your foot makes contact with the floor, it causes vibrations; These vibrations disperses through the floor directly into the joists, and then pass through the ceiling of the lower level.
A typical bathroom has many flat surfaces where the sound will bounce from wall to wall. One of those flat surfaces are the mirrors. Mirrors are difficult to remedy because short of taking them down there isn’t much more you can do to stop them from creating an echo; There are, however, many ways to work around this problem.
How to Soundproof a Bathroom
1- Soundproof Bathroom Door
The first place you should always begin when soundproofing a room is by soundproofing the door. The door is the biggest obstacle for letting noise in and out of any room, especially a bathroom. The good news is that soundproofing the door does not have to be complicated or expensive.
I usually first mention replacing a hollow core door with a solid core door, but I wouldn’t recommend you doing this to a washroom door since this would add up the cost of the overall project significantly.
If your budget permits a solid door, then go for it, make sure you find the right door with the right fit, so it matches all the other doors in your home and doesn’t seem out of place after installation.
All you need to seal the gaps is self-adhesive weatherstrip and a door sweep. You would need to buy thin enough weatherstrip, so it doesn’t hinder the door from closing correctly; but thick enough so it completely seals any gaps where sound could bleed in or out of the bathroom.
You can also place a soundproof blanket in front of the door inside the washroom. Some of these types of blankets can look nice, but most of them would look out of place in a bathroom.
2. Soundproof the Bathroom Floor
Back in the old days, some washrooms had carpets as flooring. Thank goodness those days are gone, I can imagine the dried up pee my three boys would have all over that carpet. I sometimes still see carpeting in washrooms on shows like House Hunters when visiting older homes.
Most homes these days have harder flooring like wood floors or ceramic floors. As you know, hard flooring is a bit noisier, but there are simple ways to fix this problem. There are Rubber Mats (Amazon) you can buy that are water resistant and will not only deaden noise from walking; it will also make the floor more comfortable for your feet and at the same time, keep them warmer.
You can also place a memory foam runner in front of the sink area and bathtub. These water-resistant memory foam mats are made specifically for kitchens and bathrooms with an anti-slip rubber base. You can find mats like these by following the link and choosing from a variety of size and colors.
One other option is hiring a professional to install rubber flooring throughout the bathroom. These are the types of floors (grey with quarter size circles everywhere) you mostly see in schools and gyms. This would be more expensive but would save you from redoing the bathroom floors for decades to come, and would certainly solve any type of noise coming for the floors once and for all.
3. Soundproof the Bathroom Walls and Ceiling
Soundproofing the bathroom walls is like soundproofing any other walls in your home. There are some easy ways you can soundproof the walls, but first, you should look around the room and figure out which wall is the problem. You probably won’t need to soundproof every wall in the bathroom.
1. Sealing the Gaps in the Bathroom Walls
I would begin by removing the faceplates of all the electrical outlets and see if the builder has properly sealed the plate from the inside using some sort of puddy pad. The likelihood of seeing a putty pad covering the electrical box would be close to nill. Unfortunately, people only begin thinking about soundproofing after the house is built.
If there are no puddy pads wrapped around the outside of the electrical boxes, there will be a small gap between the box and wall. This is an easy fix using Green Glue noise proofing sealant (Looks and works like caulk). All you need to do is caulk around the electrical boxes and screw the faceplates back on when dry.
One spot where there are the same types of gaps as the electrical boxes are the light fixture hookups. This is a spot that some builders forget to seal but is very important if you’re attempting to soundproof any ceiling. You don’t need to unhook any electrical wires for this job, but you should turn the power off at the breaker that’s feeding the light, just to be safe.
You will notice the electrical box (usually circular shape) of the light fixture is very similar to the box from the electrical outlets (Rectangle). All you need to do is follow the same steps as the outlets and screw the light fixture back into place when done.
2. Second Layer of Drywall
Another method to consider when soundproofing a bathroom wall is by adding a second layer of drywall on top of a resilient channel or resilient noise isolation clips.
I would recommend you use 5/8″ drywall and not 1/2″ if your main goal is noise reduction. The added thickness will work much better at blocking noise transfer between rooms. A 5/8″ sheet of drywall will also look better and feel more sturdy than it’s 1/2″ counterpart. Check out this article to find out more about the differences between 1/2″ and 5/8″ drywall.
3. Resilient Channel or Noise Isolation Clips for Bathroom Wall
These two options are very similar since both products are meant to leave an air gap between the two layers of drywall.
I would recommend combining the noise isolation clips with the resilient channel. First, screw the sound isolation clips into the joists and studs. The resilient channel should snap into the clips (make sure they are compatible before purchase).
I usually go even thicker by using two layers of 5/8 inch sheetrock with Green Glue noise proofing compound between the two layers of sheetrock and then add some Green Glue sealant on the butt joints.
By decoupling the wall and ceiling from its existing layer of drywall, you could reduce the noise coming in or out of the bathroom by as much as 75%. Every wall will have a different effect, but there will still be a significant amount of noise reduction.
4. Reduce Air Vent Noise in Bathroom
Every bathroom should be equipped with ventilation. In some homes, you will have the same type of round vents as any other rooms in the house that’s attached to an air exchanger. Some homes will have a wall fan, and in older homes, you might have a fan with a metal grill.
There’s not much you can do to soundproof these types of air vents because they are meant to give more air circulation to prevent mold from forming. So blocking the vent is out of the question.
Some wall fans may be noisy, especially the older fans with a metal grill. Click on the link to find out in more details how to reduce noise coming from an air vent in your home.
5. Soundproof the Bathroom Window
After the door, windows are usually the second biggest noise culprit in a room. There might be a lot of noise coming in from the window depending on where it is facing. If the window is facing a road with heavy traffic, then you might not have much solitude when soaking in the bathtub.
Luckily there are many things you can do to soundproof the bathroom window that won’t require much effort or money. Very first thing I would do is re-caulk around the window casing. It is best to use the Green Glue noise proofing sealant because it will help in noise reduction and will remain flexible over time which will prevent it from cracking.
Install soundproof curtains in front of the window. These types of curtains do help a great deal in reducing noise transfer coming in from outside. Soundproof curtains are typically lined with fiberglass meshing to help reduce noise. The one I recommend and have always had good luck with are the Nicetown Blackout Curtains (Amazon).
For more in-depth information for this part of the project check out our full How to Soundproof a Window article by clicking the link.
6. Soundproofing the Toilet Flush
Soundproofing the toilet flush is quite impossible, but there are a couple of things you can do to reduce the noise coming from your toilet.
The first thing you can do is install a quiet close toilet seat. A quiet toilet seat is an easy install and will prevent any future toilet seat slams.
Another easy step would be to apply a thin layer of self-adhesive tape around the lid of the flush. The seal helps reduce noise coming from the toilet tank while it’s emptying and filling back up with water.
7. Soundproofing Bathroom Plumbing
Soundproofing bathroom plumbing can be easy if the pipes are exposed, but this can be a challenge after construction when the water pipes are hidden behind walls and ceilings.
There are a couple of ways you can go about soundproof bathroom plumbing. The first thing you could do is wrap the pipes with noise blocking material. A second option would be to fill all the cavities around the pipes with noise absorption material.
Combining both of these plumbing soundproofing methods will virtually eliminate all noise coming from the plumbing in your bathroom.
Soundproofing washroom plumbing is easier and more effective during the construction process, but there are still exposed pipes that could be insulated to reduce noise. Most built homes have copper or PVC piping. These two types of material can efficiently be soundproofed by wrapping them with a thick vinyl material.
I recommend using Soundsulate Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV). This MLV is self-adhesive and black, so it doesn’t look out of place on exposed pipes.
MLV is not noise absorber, it is a noise blocker, and that’s what you want to block as much noise coming from the pipes as possible. This sound blocking material will also solve the issue of vibrational noise as water flows through the pipes.
8. Install a Quiet Bathroom Exhaust Fan
The amount of noise a bathroom exhaust fan emits is something that is often overlooked when building a home.
The quiet fan I always recommend is the Panasonic WhisperCeiling Ventilation Fan coming at only 0.3 sones; making it one of the quietest bathroom fans on the market.
You can replace the bathroom fan in no time as a small DIY project. It works with 4″ and 6″ ducts to accommodate different types of duct designs.
This particular fan has what Panasonic calls “Smart Flow Technologie” and will automatically increase the fan speed when sensing static pressure. This will guarantee optimal CFM output, thereby improving your fan’s ability to reduce humidity, mold, mildew, and additional air pollutants from your bathroom.
9. Reduce the Echo in the Bathroom
As I mentioned above, the bathroom is usually the room in a house that will create the most echo. Echo comes easy in a bathroom because of the many hard flat surfaces letting sound freely bounce around the room.
This is one of the cheapest and easiest steps to do yourself to reduce noise in a bathroom drastically. A room will sound much better and quieter if there are no echoes.
The easiest way to stop sound from bouncing around the washroom is by placing some sound absorbing material throughout the room. Many different types of sound absorbing panels will look great and help reduce echo.
Most people imagine the black egg carton type panels, but there are many more types of panels in today’s market. Acoustimac has an extensive variety of modern looking sound absorbing panels that should suit any types of decor.
Another easy way to absorb the echo is by choosing the right kind of shower curtain. A fabric shower curtain will do a much better job in absorbing sound than a plastic material curtain — and for the small difference in price, its worth the extra ten bucks.
Towels will also help in reducing the echo by hanging them to air dry behind the door. Installing an exposed cabinet to store the towels would be an excellent alternative to a closed cabinet. At least when there are no doors on the cabinets, the extra towels will help absorb noise.
Canvas paintings can also work, but make sure the humidity level in the bathroom is low enough so it won’t cause damage to the artwork.
10. White Noise
White noise machines will block some of the exterior noise if you’re just looking for a cheap, quick fix in making your bathroom more peaceful.
I have several white noise machines in my home, mostly in my kid’s room to help them sleep through the night. I also have one in my home office to help me concentrate when the house is full of distracting noise.
Soundproofing a bathroom is much easier during the building process or when remodeling; but hopefully you’ll be able to effectively soundproof a bathroom using a few of these soundproofing tips.
Let us know if you have any other bathroom soundproofing ideas that work for you. This list can always expand with new information. We know a lot about soundproofing, but we can learn something every day from each other. Thank you for visiting our website and while you’re at it, visit our YouTube channel for some informative DIY soundproofing videos.