Soundproofing – What Works & What Doesn’t


The process of soundproofing any area can be very rewarding when done correctly. However, it is a frustrating process for some, especially if they get the wrong information to go with in the beginning.

How can a person fight against false soundproofing information? Some trusted methods work, while others are more of a myth than anything.

At the beginning of this article, we take a look at what works best for soundproofing every single time. Later on, there are a few highlighted options that do not quite come through in the clutch as some people would like.

By cutting down on some of the options that do not actually work, people can save time and money. This makes for a much more pleasant experience with soundproofing in general.

Sound Absorbing Materials

Many people believe that reflecting noise is one of the best ways to control sound waves. However, in some cases, it makes sense to have them absorbed to kill any echo or reverberation.

Sound absorbing materials (My Recommended From Amazon) come in many different options, and it comes down to what type of room and how a person wants things to look.

All the sound-absorbing materials below work well, but some are more effective than others. From professional-level options to options that blend in with a normal look, try out a few different solutions before settling.

Acoustic Panels

A lot of people look at acoustic panels as the premium option for overall sound absorption. This is because they can have an NRC up to 1.0, and they are a little more aesthetically pleasing as well.

Some people do not like the way foam looks, and acoustic panels are made of wood and fit in more naturally. A lot of people compare them to wall decorations or even a picture frame, but they are made of the right material that absorbs sound instead of reflecting it.

Most people do not put up panels all around the walls, but they can if they want. They get a little expensive since they are sold as single options, but panels usually come in sizes that are roughly 2 ‘x 4 ‘. Cutting them up to fit exact locations helps.

Sound Absorbing Foam

Acoustic Foam

A slightly less effective form that some people use as an alternative is sound-absorbing foam (Amazon). These are also used for noise reflection can be a problem, or even a ceiling tiles if a person wants to go the formal way.

Sign absorbing foam has plenty of uses, and although the NRC is not as effective, they work in a lot of similar ways. They are easy to put up and are shaped similarly, with material composition being the only real change. A lot of times, people will switch up the names of these two options.

Moving Blankets

Moving Blankets

One of the most flexible options for sound absorption is the use of moving blankets (Amazon). They can be put just about anywhere, and they are one of the most inexpensive options as well.

They provide a decent amount of sound absorption that most people are satisfied with, but versatility is the major key in this regard.

Although they are called moving blankets and technically used to help move furniture, the reason why they help with sound adoption is that they are so heavy and thick. It makes it very hard for sound to penetrate, and they help the block out light as well.

A lot of people use moving blankets as a temporary solution if they need some soundproofing in a particular area. For a more permanent solution, there are several options out there, but moving blankets are great and that they go just about anywhere. Having them in the kid’s room is just way example of setting up some quick sounds option right away.

Acoustic  Curtains

Curtains are essential for practically any room, and there is no real reason to not invest in some heavy-duty options to count on. The reason why acoustic curtains (Amazon) work so well is that they add a layer to windows that can be particularly vulnerable.

Acoustic curtains might not always be marketed as such. For example, a lot of companies will sell the fact that they are also blackout curtains.

There are a lot of people who initially think of windows as a way to keep sunlight out and control, but they can be just as valuable for sound.

The best part about acoustic curtains is that they blend in with how a hole was supposed to look. There are a lot of soundproofing material options out there that do not exactly prove to be that aesthetically pleasing.

This is the way to get soundproofing without making much of a change at all. Install acoustic curtains in every room to help out with sound, especially if there is a lot of issues outdoors.

Door Sweep / Weaterstrip

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Besides windows, a door in every room is the most vulnerable area for sound coming in and leaving. To close things up, weatherstrip and a door sweep at the bottom make the most sense.

The bottom of the door is always open for sound to leak through. Putting a door sweep (Amazon) on the bottom of the door will help as a permanent solution. For something a bit more short term, throwing some dense material towards the bottom of the door helps as well.

If the door is still leaking a lot of sound, using weatherstripping (Amazon) to fill the door frame up helps as well. All of the soundproofing material is pretty affordable, and can be installed DIY.

Soundproofing Insulation

If it seems like insulation is the best way to go, soundproofing options are more affordable than ever. It might not be the easiest to install at all times, but it is something that a lot of people have found to be effective.

Fiberglass

A lot of people have used fiberglass insulation for quite some time. Soundproofing fiberglass is very effective, and it helps particularly with high-frequency noises. These noises can come from home theaters, rooms needed for recording, and so much more.

It is a lot easier to install soundproof fiberglass than a person believes. For example, building wood frames and spreading them out across the room make a lot of sense.

Whenever a person is handling fiberglass, they need to make sure that they are taking the proper precautions, because it is a bit of an irritant. Still, it is hard to match from an insulation perspective, and the NRC is excellent when installed correctly.

Mineral Wool

People love mineral wool because it is very rigid and able to fight off flames from potential fires in a lot of situations. People look at it as one of the best for thermal insulation, but it might be the absolute best from an acoustic standpoint.

The natural material is very easy to handle, and it cuts down on any influence of moisture. A lot of people use it in rooms all around their home or building, but it can be used as something useful and just about any scenario.

Sound Dampening

There are times when people just need something that helps with sound dampening. Materials can cut down on the overall energy of the noise, making it much less noticeable than before.

While sound dampening materials might not be quite as useful as other soundproofing solutions, it is worth checking out in many cases.

Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV)

Known as one of the most versatile options out there, a lot of people use mass loaded vinyl (More Information) just about anywhere. In a car, it can help cut down road noise and kill any vibrations.

Inside a home, it can be tucked behind something to provide quite a bit of sound control without changing up how things look. Since there is a lot of mass in a very thin piece of material, a lot of people have no problem putting this anywhere.

It is worth investing in mass loaded vinyl (Amazon) to have around for just about anything. It is very flexible and was able to help out with, and it can go on virtually any surface.

Floor Underlayment

One of the easiest ways to treat any floor is to put some type of underlayment (My Top 5) under a rug or carpet. It is hidden from sight, and it does not add much bulk at all. More importantly, it helps reduce sound transmission in a very effective way.

Since it is going on the floor, there is no need for traditional adhesive or anything like that. All a person needs to do is let gravity do most of the heavy lifting, and it will be an effective solution without question.

Sound Deadening Paint or Spray


 

A paint or spray might not seem like it could do much, but there are also plenty of people who have counted on it throughout the years. It is usually used with some other solution.

A person will not notice a huge change overall, but there will be a slight STC point increase just by using the product. Like any spray or paint, multiple layers can be added for people who want to see a change as well.

Sound Decoupling

One of the most effective ways to soundproof a room is to discover the materials that are causing sound. There are products to help specifically with the decoupling, and are essential for effective treatment.

Resilient Channels

 

The goal of resilient channels is to provide rails that go across the studs of walls and the joist of ceilings. They go over soundproofing insulation, and this allows for the drywall to be attached directly to the resilient channel. By avoiding the studs, a personal notices that it is a much quieter solution.

Some people will do resilient channel insulations by themselves, while others will hire a professional. With resilient channels in place, people will notice a worthy upgrade overall.

Soundproof Drywall


 

Basic drywall has a certain level of soundproof effectiveness built-in, but something that is specifically soundproof is extremely effective. It is pretty easy to combine several layers of gypsum board together, which increases the density.

Some people do not like that soundproof drywall is more expensive, but homeowners will find it worthy of an investment. As long as a person knows what they are getting into, they can either buy soundproof drywall for a particular room, or the entire home.

Soundproof windows

A permanent solution to windows being a little too noisy is upgrading them to something a little more soundproof. Going with a thicker pane of glass is one of the most effective ways, and having two panes can help trap sound waves coming in and leaving a building.

A good thing about soundproof windows is that they can go right over the top of existing windows. This cuts down on insulation costs, but if a person is building something brand new, they might want to start with soundproof windows from the beginning. They make a huge difference overall, and they are becoming the standard in a lot of ways.

Noise Proofing Compound

The final product that works with sound decoupling is a noise proofing compound. Green Glue is the most popular product in this range, but there are some competitors out there as well.

A person needs to apply The compound between the layers of drywall, or any other surface for that matter. It helps to kill sound vibrations that normally pass-through surfaces.

Green Glue (Amazon) is also a solution that can help seal up smaller places that need assistance. For example, if there is a hole or gap in a wall, Green Glue will help close it up. It just takes one small area that is vulnerable to make it challenging to soundproof everything.

What Soundproofing Solutions Doesn’t Work?

With people looking for the perfect solutions out there, some are less than stellar. In fact, some people fall for some solutions that do very little, and it ends up being a waste of time and money.

Thick carpets and rugs

There is nothing wrong with getting a thick carpet or rug to help with soundproofing, as they will be more effective than something that is extremely thin.

That being said, going with only a fixed solution and nothing else is not going to make that much of a difference. The real difference-maker is putting something underneath that can help with soundproofing.

Taking some soundproofing material and putting it underneath carpet and rugs is way too simple not to do. There is no intricate installation process, and it takes minimal effort to place it down and go from there. Once everything is installed, there is no need to do any regular maintenance, as the material will do its job time and time again.

Egg Cartons

This might be the biggest myth in all of soundproofing. This might look like it could be an effective way to soundproof an area, but egg cartons do very little to help out.

It does reduce a little bit of noise bouncing around the room, but so does just about any softer material out there. It is not an effective way to kill sound at all, and it looked pretty tacky when put up on walls.

The good news is that acoustic foam, and similar-looking products, are all much more affordable than they were just a few years ago. This means that people do not need to rely on egg cartons, because this will do the trick just fine.

Spray Foam or Sealant

Think of this as a quick fix only. While it can be an effective way to help out in the short term, never look at it as a long-term solution. It is usually not applied all that well, and it starts to break down pretty easy as well.

Any Hard And Flat Mass

The general thought is that any mass is going to help with soundproofing. That is true to a certain extent, but make sure that it is not another flat surface.

Wood is something that reflects noise pretty easily, and it is not going to do much at all to help with the acoustics in a room. There might be less of a chance of sound creeping through, but the acoustics inside will involve a lot of echo.

Softer material is almost always going to be the better solution for sound control. It is a way for the sound to become stopped in the tracks. That is why even adding something like fabric furniture can make a huge difference.

A final look at soundproofing material

Materials for soundproofing can be pretty costly, but most people will get what they pay for if they do their research. There are quite a few solutions out there that work just fine, and no one should feel too much at risk about spending a lot of money on other solutions.

There is a lot more knowledge of soundproofing in general, which helps people sift out items that do not work. Make sure to read reviews on particular products to see how others have used them to their advantage. This is usually an excellent starting point for people who are not quite sure how to get started.

Martin Poirier

For the last number of years, I've Been dedicating a lot of time in soundproofing and helping people be able to soundproof their home, business, and vehicles. I also have a YouTube channel by the same name Soundproof Guide.

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