In this guide, I’m going to show you different ways on how to hang acoustic foam without damaging walls. For music enthusiasts or drummers who want to practice quietly at home, preventing noises from leaking in and out of the music room is important.
While it’s possible to rent a recording/practice studio, it can be quite expensive and inconvenient when transporting your instruments to and back in your apartment.
If you have unused space in your apartment, you can easily convert it to a recording studio. But to make sure that it fits the purpose of a music studio, you have to treat it acoustically.
Why Use/or Not Use Acoustic Foam to Soundproof a Room?
There are different ways to treat a room acoustically, and one of the popular is with Acoustic foam.
Acoustic foam is cheap and readily available online. It comes in different colors allowing you to choose the color that complements your home studio interior décor.
But before I dive deeper, there’s essential information you should know first. For example, this material is a fire hazard and will cause a lot of smoke when burned.
Additionally, if not installed correctly, it won’t absorb sound, and instead, it’ll bounce it back. Follow the steps in this guide carefully, and it’ll work well. Alternatively, you can hire a professional if you’re highly suspicious of your DIY skills.
How to Hang Acoustic Foam Without Damaging Walls?
You can hang acoustic foams using different techniques and depending on the surface where they’ll be installed.
A popular installation method is the use of spray adhesive. Let have a look at the different methods to install.
For smooth surfaces and drywall
- Use Loctite general-purpose or 3M general purpose spray adhesive
- Use a strong double-sided tape such as Gorilla Mounting Tape or Adhesive Squares
- You can also use push pins such as these long T-Shaped pins
- Alternatively, use 3M Command Strips
For concrete surfaces
- Use construction adhesive such as liquid nails
How to Hang Acoustic Foam with Minimal Damage
If you’re renting an apartment and don’t want to leave walls with holes from push pins or residue from adhesive, you’d better stick with 3M command strips popularly used for hanging pictures.
They don’t leave residue on the wall.
Alternatively, you can mount the foam on a piece of coroplast, plywood, or thick cardboard with an adhesive.
Then hang the assembled panel on your wall. This technique not only prevents the walls from damage but also allows you to freely move the panel around or take them with you when moving out.
Hanging Acoustic Foam with Adhesive Squares
Use a pencil or masking tape and mark the position of foam panel on your wall
Thoroughly clean the wall surface using denatured alcohol or isopropyl. Then wipe the area clean with a paper towel or rag and let dry. Avoid common cleaners because their ingredients can interfere with the strength of the bond.
Remove one paper liner from the adhesive square and apply the square on the backside of the panel near the edges.
Apply some pressure for 30 seconds to make sure the adhesive squares form a strong board with the foam.
Remove the second paper liner and mount the panel in the desired location and apply pressure for about 30 seconds.
Number of adhesive squares needed per panel
- 1 inch = 2 adhesive squares
- 2 inch = 3 adhesive squares
- 3 inch = 4 adhesive squares
- 4 inch = 4 adhesive squares
Hanging Acoustic Foam Panels with Spray Adhesive
Important Note: Never install acoustic foam with spray adhesive on wallpaper or textured surfaces. If you genuinely want to hang acoustic foam in a room with these features, I highly recommend mounting the foam to a thick cardboard or plywood board using adhesive and then hang the assembled panel.
Use a pencil or masking tape and mark the position of foam panel on your wall
Thoroughly clean the wall surface using denatured alcohol or isopropyl. Then wipe the are clean with a paper towel or rag and let dry. Avoid common cleaners because their ingredients can interfere with the strength of the bond.
Cover the areas you won’t be spraying with newspaper, cloths or painter’s plastic to protect your room
When installing make sure the room temperature stays at around (21° C) 70° F for best performance
Apply enough adhesive to the rear side of the acoustic foam. You can apply some on the mounting area as well.
Allow for 10-15 seconds for the adhesive to become sticky
Gently place the foam against the adhesive coated mounting and apply pressure for about 30 seconds
Make sure to maintain steady room temperature as stated above four a couple of days for enough curing.
Where to Place Acoustic Foam
Ensure that you treat the reflection spots on the horizontal axis.
Here’s how to do it, simply sit in your listening position and imagine where sound coming from the speakers hit the side walls and reflects back to you.
It’s important to hang acoustic foam treatment here to help improve your stereo width and make the audio quality much better.
Beware of Weak Areas
Consider hanging some acoustic foam panels between your front wall and the speakers. Doing so helps significantly reduce reflections coming from the back of your speakers.
However, it’s tricky doing so as the boundary interactions in this case can cause a major dip in the low-mid frequencies. But for most home studios, it’s the best place to place the speakers close to the walls as advised by the manufacturer.
But if there’s any space left between the speakers and the wall, place acoustic foam panel there.
Never forget the corners
Mount some of the acoustic foam on the corners of your room or even where the ceiling meets the sidewall.
As your studio grows over time, you will need to add bigger and thicker foam in your corners to help reduce resonance.
Create Acoustic Cloud
You can hang acoustic foam a few inches from your ceiling and directly above your listening position and your musical instruments. This will help prevent reflections above you.
Recommended Acoustic Foam Products
There are five different acoustic foam products that we highly recommend. They are all a good option, especially when it comes to affordable, eliminating noise. Because quality varies from one panel to another, here are the five best products on the market today.
- Auralex Acoustics Studiofoam Wedges– they are available in 18 and 24 pack depending on the sizes. They offer great performance at a cheap price. With a noise reduction coefficient of 0.80, these are the best acoustic foam panels on the market. (Source)
- Auralex Acoustic SonoFlat– it’s another foam panel from the same brand as above. The best part is that these panels have an NRC coefficient of 0.95. They are capable of muffling noise coming through the window.
- Audimute AcousticColor Tile– these panels are available in different colors and sizes of 36×36 inches and are 0.5-1.5 inches and have an NRC rating of between 0.55 and 0.95.
- Pro Studio Acoustic Foam- it’s 12 by 12 inches and 2 inches thick and an NRC rating of 0.65
- Auralex Acoustic Roominatior Foam Kit– it’s another great acoustic foam from Auralex but with an NRC rating of 0.6-0.65, which is less effective than the above Auralex products.
Do command strips work on acoustic foam
Yes command strips work on acoustic foam and are the best option especially when you live in a rented apartment where the landlord doesn’t allow major structural changes to the house.
Using nails, hammer, adhesive spray or foam tack can cause damage to the existing walls which can result to an eviction or costly repairs if the landlord finds out.
Can you soundproof a room without damaging walls?
The most effective method to soundproof a room without damaging the walls would be to combining damping and mass.
In this case you can add a layer of mass loaded vinyl, add a layer of drywall and green glue before installing them on the wall.
Will acoustic foam soundproof a room?
To be honest acoustic foam panels won’t soundproof your room. Acoustic foam panels will are highly effective in sound absorbing but not soundproofing.
Unlike mass loaded vinyl which blocks sound waves from travelling through walls, acoustic foam will reduce echo, reverberation, standing waves, etc.
Foam works similar as soundproofing paint or acoustic wallpapers.
On How to Hang Acoustic Foam Without Damaging Walls
In conclusion, if you live in a rental unit and want to transform one of your rooms to a music studio or home theatre, you wouldn’t want to interfere with your rental/lease agreement.
Lastly, above are different ways on how to hang acoustic foam without damaging walls. Make sure that you choose the method that fits the architecture of your walls.
Meet Mike O’Connor, (a DIY enthusiast), living in Cincinnati, a city ranked as the noisiest in the USA.
As a work from home dad, I have a first hand experience of how noise can truly affect your well being.
Soundproofing isn’t something that should be taken as a hobby, it should be a skill that every homeowner should be equipped with.
Most of the work documented on this blog comes from purely first hand experience, and the products recommended work as indicated.