If you are building a new home, finishing off a basement, or considering remodeling, soundproofing walls is a great value added improvement to make to your home.
Your soundproofed walls will enhance your everyday home living experience. Rooms that were formerly sources of irritating noise can be isolated, and rooms that should be a relaxing retreat will meet their full potential.
Wall soundproofing does not have to be an expensive project, but you also need to set your expectations. Nothing will provide the performance that a professional would, but we are talking about DIY soundproofing in this article to save you money.
If you are doing the project on your own, please do your research thoroughly and understand the products and soundproofing basics. Then by following these steps on the best way to soundproof a wall, and using recommended soundproofing materials, you can achieve pleasing results without blowing your budget.
1. Prepare the Wall Cavity
You want to have cleared out wall cavities, ready to accept insulation and sealant. If you are remodeling a room, you need to take down the old drywall, and remove the old insulation if there was any. You only need to do this to the room you are trying to isolate. If you are finishing a basement, or have new construction, your walls likely already have open stud frames.
At this point you will want to take note of the locations of any electrical boxes, wires, pipes, or any other obstruction. You will need to fit the insulation around these objects in huge next steps.
2. Choose Your Soundproofing MaterialsThis is one of the most important steps. You’ll want to chose a quality soundproofing batt to fill the empty stud cavities.
Roxul makes a variety of popular rockwool insulation products. Roxul Safe ‘n’ Sound and AFB (Acoustical Fire Batts) are two of the more popular and more reasonably priced insulation available.
Fiberglass products like ATS Acoustics Rigid Fiberglass are another good option. There are many more options, which you can see in our comparison chart.
You should also consider buying some cases of Green Glue noiseproofing compound, and Green Glue Sealant. The compound is used to help partially decouple and bond dual layer drywall panels. The sealant is used to fill up any cracks or open gaps where sound is guaranteed to leak out. Both products are sold in tubes, so you can apply them with any standard caulking gun.
3. Install the Insulation Batts
Now that you’ve got all your materials, and the walls are prepared, it’s time to fill the stud cavities with insulation. The insulation batts are designed to press snugly in between the studs, so as not to leave any air gaps. Air gaps are excellent noise transmitters, and will weaken the overall performance of your soundproof walls. We will cover filling up those gaps in the next step.
As you encounter obstructions like electrical outlets or wires, use a bread knife or other serrated edge utility knife to create cut outs.
Creating cut outs that fit well can take some practice. But don’t worry because if you do end up with a gap, you can seal it up int he next step.
For wires and pipes, it’s best to measure twice, and cut a small v notch to get a great fit over the round objects.
4. Seal Up Air GapsNext, you will want to carefully go over the entire wall looking for any air gaps. When your find a gap in the insulation, for example around an electrical outlet, you should apply the Green Glue Sealant to seal it up.
Check the edges of the insulation batts, and fill in sealant wherever there is a space. By filling these air gaps, you’re removing sound transmission paths, where unwanted noise can leak in or leak out of the room you are soundproofing.
5. Put Up New Drywall
You have several options at this step depending on your budget and how far you want to go in your soundproofing efforts.
First, you can simply put up the standard drywall again, but keep in mind your end result may not reduce noise as dramatically as you had hoped.
Second, you could apply a layer of Green Glue Compound on top of the first drywall layer, and sandwich a second layer over the compound. Be sure to stagger the sheetrock so that your seams are not lined up. This would create an unwanted pathway for sound. The compound acts a dampening agent between the two layers of sheetrock.
Third, you could choose to decouple the sheetrock from the stud wall, thereby removing the vibrations from the studs and preventing noise transmissions. To do this you need to screw **Green Glue Clips** onto the studs, then snapping hat channels onto the clips. Then you just screw the sheetrock onto the channel and finish. Click here for a complete guide to this method.
Fourth, you can purchase specially engineered soundproofing drywall. These are composite sheetrock panels, usually composed of gypsum outer layers sandwiched over sheet metal, mass loaded vinyl, or other dense materials. QuietRock 500 is one such product that we have reviewed.
6. Finishing Touches
Now you must go around the base of the drywall you just installed and apply a bead of the soundproofing sealant. Also apply a bead around the small spaces between sheetrock and door and window frames. The sealant is slightly flexible and helps stop sound from passing through between frame and sheetrock.
All that is left now is to do a thorough job taping, mudding, and painting your new soundproofed walls!
Soundproofing Existing Walls with Noise Proofing Sealant
This short video shows you how you can actually create soundproofing walls out of existing walls just by using green glue sealing compound in between a second layer of sheet rock. The idea here, is that the compound acts as a noise isolator, with superior low frequency isolation compared to mass loaded vinyl. Hopefully you can see that the best way to soundproof a wall doesn’t have to be super expensive or complicated. Simple materials installed throughout the walls of your room will get the job done.