Here is a detailed guide on how to soundproof a wall cheaply for DIY soundproofing enthusiasts like me.
If you’ve ever lived in an apartment building, then you know how messy things could get in terms of noise.
Not only do you have to deal with strangers, but also you have to withstand all the noises from every single neighbor who feels entitled to behave whatever they like to.
Just like soundproofing a ceiling, soundproofing a wall doesn’t have to be an expensive undertaking.
Luckily, you’ll be able to significantly reduce noise from your neighbors without getting into their nerves.
Additionally, just to let you know- the noises, in this case, doesn’t have to be from your next-door neighbor.
It could come from within the rooms shared with one of your household members.
In this guide, we are going to look at some of the best methods on how to soundproof a wall cheaply.
The First Important Steps on Soundproofing A Wall Cheaply
The first important step before soundproofing a wall is establishing the source of the noise.
From all the four walls in your room, it’s important to identify one that’s adjacent to the source of the noise.
It’s on that wall where you shall put all you emphasize in trying to eliminate the noise problem.
Also, if you rent, it’s important to reread the rental/lease agreement to ensure that you conform to all the set rules.
You’ll be surprised that some landlords have an improvement clause in place, allowing you to cover the costs incurred or alternatively reduce rent for the work done.
A-List of Ways on How to Soundproof a Wall Cheaply
You can combine one or two of the methods discussed below to ensure that you get to reduce unwanted noise coming through walls to the minimum.
Some of these methods are free, meaning you’ll only use the available materials at home.
1. Rearrange the Furniture
One of the simplest and likely the oldest methods is rearranging the furniture.
It works similarly to how you’re able to reduce noise from the backyard by simply closing the windows.
In case, you’re dealing with structure-borne noise, and hence some extra measures need to be taken to ensure that you deal with the noise problem once and for all. (Source)
Because impact noise, aka structure-borne noise, is transmitted through vibrations on the wall, you need to ensure that the furniture is in close contact with the wall.
On the adjacent wall where the noise is coming from, add as many closets, bookshelves, or any other furniture on them.
If you’ve chosen bookshelves, then stacks as many books as possible- and if you chose a closet, hang as many clothes as possible.
This way, you’ll be able to dissipate vibrations from the wall.
2. Seal Cracks on The Wall
If you have drywall installed, one of the best ways to soundproof it is by sealing all the cracks.
There are a variety of materials to use to ensure that it’s properly soundproofed.
Wall sockets, on the other hand, will also leak in unwanted noise.
Just unscrew the socket and listen closely- if you live in an apartment, you’re most likely to hear sounds from neighbor’s stereo or television.
That’s how I used to eavesdrop on my friends in campus- damn naughty me.
One of the best ways to seal cracks on the walls is by using drywall sealant, green glue, or even acoustic caulk.
Acoustic caulk is excellent because it stays flexible, it doesn’t shrink, and it’s also a permanent solution.
This material is rubbery, easy to apply. It’s available in different forms from different brands, and they include:
- Franklin International Sound Sealant
- Big Stretch Sashco caulk
3. Try Acoustic Foam Panels
A more professional approach involves using a product known as acoustic foam sealant.
While they may see hard to install, I wrote a guide to help you learn how to install acoustic foams on walls without damaging the walls.
These products are available in different shapes and sizes.
Additionally, they also come in different patterns and colors, allowing you to choose one that will perfectly complement the interiors of your home.
4. Soundproof Curtains
While this method may work, it’s important to note that you won’t get the best results with these curtains.
A simple curtain won’t block noise through walls.
You’ll find other self-claiming DIY enthusiasts encouraging you to buy soundproof curtains for soundproofing walls- my advice- don’t do it.
You see, these curtains aren’t designed to deal with structure-borne noise, they only block airborne noise.
Well, if you’re still not convinced, then try this method using room divider curtains and see if they do.
If they work, then you could try soundproof curtains.
5. Soundproof Windows, Air Vents, Doors
There’s a chance that noise will leak inside your room through windows, doors and air vents.
If you suspect noise could be coming from the air vents, then it’s high time to soundproof them.
Below is a video on how to achieve precisely that:
You could also try soundproofing the doors.
Modern doors are designed hollow and will allow even the lowest decibel noise to penetrate through.
Additionally, the gaps between the door and the door frame are culprits in allowing outside noise into our rooms.
You could replace the hollow door with thick solid core door- however, this option is quite expensive and will probably cost you more than you had initially planned for.
Alternatively, a cheaper method would be hanging soundproofing blankets such as audimute noise-cancelling sheets.
Not only will they help in reducing unwanted noise, but they’ll also help keep your apartment warm during the winter season.
Soundproofing Walls Myths Debunked
Before summing up, I’d like to let you know that some soundproofing hacks recommended by some soundproofing gurus won’t work in this case.
Acoustical Wallpaper & Soundproofing Paint
Acoustical wallpaper won’t soundproof the walls.
The product is designed to deal with airborne noise and not impact noise.
These wallpapers are, however, excellent in improving the acoustics of your room. I’d recommend you to install them in your projector room.
Just like wallpaper, soundproof paint isn’t either great in soundproofing against structure-borne noises.
Carpet/Rugs on the Wall
Carpets or rugs on the wall will make your apartment appear outdated.
Unfortunately, these rugs don’t have the required mass for soundproofing and won’t help at all.
Final Thoughts on How to Soundproof A Wall Cheaply
Above are some of the best methods on how to soundproof a wall cheaply.
These are proof that soundproofing doesn’t have to be an expensive DIY venture.
However, note that you won’t completely get rid of the noise problem. Instead, you will be able to reduce unwanted noise to manageable levels.
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.