If you live in an apartment with your neighbor who plays Star Wars full blast, you can be disturbed by that noise. The situation could be worse if your bedroom wall is their living room wall! You may never have a peaceful sleep.
Or perhaps you live in your own house, but you have two kids with different personalities who seem not to agree on the noise level in the house. These situations and many others may call for wall soundproofing.
So, can you soundproof your walls? Using drywall and other materials to create an air-tight wall space, you can soundproof your walls effectively. In other words, you can install over insulation and seal to form an extra layer in your walls. A cheaper way to soundproof an existing wall is to install a layer of Mass Loaded Vinyl over your existing plasterboard or wall covering.
In this guide, I will show you a good, better, and best way to soundproof your walls. The pick is yours. Let’s get started. But first…
You might also enjoy reading: 12 Amazing Soundproofing Ideas For Your Home (Try them now!)
What Do You Need To Soundproof Your Walls?
Sound waves travel through the air and on surfaces. Therefore, the materials you need to soundproof the wall should absorb or block airborne and impact noise.
Here are what you need:
- Fiberglass or Rockwool insulation
- Green glue noise-proofing compound
- Acoustic sealants
- Electric screwdriver
Once you have the equipment and materials, we are good to go. Let’s begin with a good way to soundproof a wall.
1- Use Drywall To Soundproof a Wall
One way to soundproof your wall is to install 5/8-inch drywall on your existing walls. Below are the steps for soundproofing your wall with drywalls
- Nail or screw 16 inches on center studs along the wall plates that separate different rooms.
- Insulate the spaces between the studs with fiberglass materials or Rockwool to help absorb sound waves.
- Install or screw drywalls on the studs to cover the wall.
- Seal the spaces between the drywalls and socket fixtures with an acoustic sealant
Using drywall to soundproof a wall is ideal for separating your kid’s room from the main bedroom. They will not be irritated by any noise or movement happening on the other side.
This method will give you a 40 rating of sound absorption. But a 40-rating sound transmission class is not good enough. You can still hear your neighbor’s latest Star Wars episode if they have loudspeakers.
You need better wall soundproofing strategies. That brings us to method number two.
2- Wall Decoupling
Before we discuss wall decoupling, let me give a word of advice. If you want to soundproof the walls properly, you will need to remove the heat supply system from the ceiling and transfer it to the floor in the basement. Otherwise, the metal tubes on the ceiling will overpower your soundproofing techniques.
So, let’s get into how to decouple a wall. We will proceed from where we left off in method one. We will assume that you have fixed insulation between studs and covered them with drywall. That forms the first wall.
However, decoupling involves building a wall within a wall. You will need to build another wall from the first wall.
But how do you go about it? Follow these steps
- Fix the studs or joists vertically along the wall at 24 inches in the center, providing a surface for screwing drywalls.
- We are doing 24 inches instead of 16 to increase airspace areas. Remember that the studs or joists are sold mass that aid in sound transmission, so if they are far apart, the better.
- Fill the spaces between the studs with fiberglass or Rockwool to absorb sound waves. The sound insulation material helps to interrupt sound transfer from the other room.
- You can also add resilient channels across the studs to help interrupt soundwaves, but you can also do without them. Furthermore, the airspace between the drywalls and the fiberglass materials increases noise dampening.
- Attach the drywall to the new stud walls using screws.
Remember to cut out spaces with electrical sockets and wires. You can seal these spaces and gaps using green-blue sealant to prevent soundwaves from passing through.
If the 5/8-inch drywall seems too heavy to carry, you can buy a drywall lift machine or hire one from the rental store.
Ensure you begin fixing the drywall on the joists from the floor going up. This wall gives you a sound transmission rate of at least 50, which is fantastic.
So, in review, what have you done?
- You have created the fixed the studs on the wall plate, filled the spaces with fiberglass materials, and screwed the first drywall on the studs.
- You have fixed the second studs at the 24-inch center, filled the spaces with Rockwool, and laid them with the second drywall.
Now we move to the third method, a continuation of the second process.
3- Use Two-Layered Drywalls
I have talked about this process in basement soundproofing ideas, but let me repeat it here for simplicity.
The second process or method ended with fixing drywalls on the studs or resilient channels. We will proceed from there with the third method to soundproof your wall.
Since you will need to fix the second layer of the drywall from above, it is vital to fix an acoustic block on the first layer to hold the second layer before you can fix it.
Apply the green glue soundproofing compound on the second layer of the drywall. You start by applying it uniformly around the drywall while leaving one or two inches from the edges.
You will then uniformly spread the glue on the side you want to attach to the first layer.
Besides attaching the two layers, the green glue compound also creates tiny air gaps between the two drywall sheets. These gaps will help to kill most of the sound in your room. Once installed, you can screw them on the studs to form the two-layered drywalls.
Having two layers of 5/8-inches drywall provides an amazing soundproofing strategy. They are often heavier and thicker, and having two layers on a wall will prevent any sound from disturbing you in the room.
4- Other Ways To Soundproof Your Walls
You do not need only to use drywalls. You can also use other soundproofing methods.
1- Use Mass-Loaded Vinyl (MLV)
This dense material looks like rubber but is fused with metal particles to increase its mass. They are often used for noise-dampening in nightclubs and recording studios.
If you find a thicker MLV, you will have a better soundproofing system for your walls.
You can nail it directly to the wall, but it performs best when used with studs, resilient panels, and drywall panels. Covering them with drywall sheets creates a better aesthetic appeal than the black vinyl cover.
And because they are usually heavy, you may need help from your neighbor or a family member to fix them.
2- Use Wall Curtains
While curtains are synonymous with windows, they can also be used on walls. Soundproofing curtains can help absorb sound reflections helping to reduce noise in a room.
They are relatively pocket-friendly that most wall soundproofing methods. Curtains can also help block out light and heat during summer or preserve heat in the room during winter.
Curtains also come in various colors that suit your room’s décor. And if you can double the weight of your curtains’ fabric, you could triple their sound absorption ability.
Choose the pleated wall curtains instead of those that hand straight since they are more effective in reducing noise.
Check out the article on the best soundproofing curtains for windows to learn more.
3- Use Sound Plugging Leaks
Like water, sound can pass through gaps and holes in the wall. The best way to enhance your wall soundproofing is to seal these holes using acoustical caulk.
These sealants can seal holes around:
- Switch boxes
- Door casing
- Ceiling fixtures
- Receptacle boxes
- Use solid mass doors
The doors are part of the wall and need to be soundproofed. The first thing you want to do is to replace the existing hollow doors with solid mass doors. This additional mass will help block sound transmission into your room.
Besides using solid mass doors, you can also seal the doors with adhesive gaskets on the stop moldings. This may make closing the doors harder, but you can use an adjustable strike plate to cover the gasket thickness.
Additionally, you can install a door sweep at the bottom of the door to seal the space between the floor and the threshold. An automatic door sweep will function better because it rises above ground when you open it and drops when you close it.
Watch this video to learn more about what works and what doesn’t when soundproofing walls.
What to read next:
- How Much Does It Cost to Soundproof a Garage?
- How Much Does It Cost to Soundproof a Room for Drums?
- What is The Cheapest Way to Soundproof a Room?
You can soundproof your walls and stop the noise from the next room or outside. Installing drywall coupled with sound insulation materials like Rockwool and fiberglass.
But you can also decouple your wall by creating a room within a room. This could be costly, but the result is worth it.
Other wall soundproofing methods, like mass-loaded vinyl and soundproofing curtains, can also help your walls.