As a tenant, dealing with noise can be quite frustrating. With the rise of modern housing, developers are prioritizing cost-cutting and profit maximization, resulting in structures that are prone to noise transmission.
One effective solution for those living in rental units is the creation of a temporary soundproof barrier. This approach allows you to address noise issues without altering the existing wall structure, which could lead to eviction. Additionally, temporary soundproofing offers the flexibility to remove these materials when you decide to relocate to a different neighborhood.
To effectively soundproof a wall, it is crucial to comprehend the various types of noise that can penetrate walls and identify the most suitable materials to tackle this issue. Below, you will find a comprehensive guide on how to implement temporary soundproofing for a wall.
What is a Temporary Soundproof Wall?
As the name implies, a temporary soundproof wall primarily provides soundproofing benefits on a temporary basis. However, the term “temporary” doesn’t imply a brief duration; rather, it signifies a certain degree of flexibility.
For instance, the use of mass loaded vinyl allows for the temporary soundproofing of a wall, as you simply need to hang the sheet on the wall to block noise and can remove it as needed.
Temporary soundproofing is an ideal choice for tenants who are prohibited from making alterations to their rental units. Furthermore, this approach is perfect for individuals seeking cost-effective yet efficient methods to minimize noise transfer.
Conversely, permanent soundproofing solutions are typically implemented during the construction or renovation phase and involve substantial work as they entail modifications to the existing walls.
How To Temporarily Soundproof a Wall?
To create a temporary soundproof barrier, you’ll want to employ non-intrusive soundproofing techniques either on your existing walls or on a shared wall located near the noise origin. These materials won’t disrupt or harm the walls.
Moreover, the materials utilized can be easily removed, which can be handy if you decide to relocate or noise ceases to be a concern.
However, when it comes to soundproofing a wall, there are crucial steps to adhere to, which include:
- Examine your walls for potential cracks, openings, and gaps.
- Identify the source of the noise; your focus should be solely on soundproofing the wall next to the noise source, unless you’re dealing with noise from multiple origins.
- Seal the seams.
1. Soundproof Curtains
Soundproof curtains, also known as noise-reducing curtains or acoustic curtains, are specialized curtains designed to reduce or block out external noise from entering a room. They are typically made from thicker and denser materials than regular curtains, and they may incorporate multiple layers and sound-absorbing materials to provide sound insulation.
One of the most common fabrics used in soundproof curtains is a cotton/polyester blend because it’s highly durable and good at blocking both high and low frequencies. Cotton/polyester blend curtains are also easy to maintain, meaning you don’t have to worry about special cleaning instructions to keep them looking great for years to come.
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Key features of soundproof curtains include:
- Heavyweight Fabric: Soundproof curtains are usually made from heavy and dense materials like velvet, suede, or specially designed soundproofing fabrics. These materials help to absorb and block sound waves.
- Multiple Layers: Many soundproof curtains consist of multiple layers of fabric, often with an inner layer of sound-dampening material such as fiberglass or mass-loaded vinyl (MLV). These layers work together to reduce noise transmission.
- Sealing: Some soundproof curtains have features like Velcro seals, grommets, or magnetic strips to ensure a tight seal against the wall, floor, and ceiling, further preventing sound leakage.
- Thickness: The thickness of the curtain is important for its soundproofing abilities. Thicker curtains tend to be more effective at reducing noise.
2. Soundproof Wallpapers
Soundproof wallpapers are wall coverings designed to reduce or block out external noise from entering a room. They are a convenient and often aesthetically pleasing solution for improving acoustic insulation in various spaces, such as homes, offices, or studios. These wallpapers are typically made using specialized materials that absorb or reflect sound waves, helping to create a quieter and more comfortable environment.
All one has to do is apply wallpaper over the existing wall. This will create air pockets between two layers of paper which help block out noise. These wallpapers are a great solution for soundproofing your walls at home, office or even a music studio.
They are easy to install and reduce the noise of talking people around you, snoring partner or even baby crying. Sticking these decals on your wall will absorb the noise, which means no more echoing noise in your house. If you are tired of constantly repeating yourself when speaking with other people in the same room or simply want some peace and quiet so you can read, study or work without distractions, this is exactly what you need.
3. Soundproof Blankets
Soundproof blankets are specialized acoustic treatment products designed to reduce or dampen noise by absorbing, blocking, or isolating sound waves. They are typically made of dense, sound-absorbing materials and are often used in various settings, including homes, studios, offices, and industrial environments, to improve sound insulation and reduce unwanted noise.
Here’s how soundproof blankets work and some of their key features:
- Sound Absorption: Soundproof blankets are typically constructed using materials with high sound-absorption properties, such as dense fiberglass or mineral wool. These materials absorb sound waves by converting sound energy into heat, thereby reducing the noise level within a room.
- Mass: Mass is an essential component of soundproofing. Soundproof blankets are usually heavy and dense, which helps block the transmission of sound. When sound waves encounter the mass of the blanket, they lose energy and become less effective at passing through.
- Barrier Effect: Soundproof blankets can also act as a barrier to prevent sound from
- Portability: Many soundproof blankets are portable, making them a convenient option for temporary soundproofing needs. They can be moved and repositioned as required.
- Sound Transmission Class (STC): Some soundproof blankets may also have a Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating, which measures their ability to block sound transmission. Higher STC ratings indicate better sound blocking.
4. Soundproof Paint
Soundproof paint is a type of paint made with special acoustic materials applied on walls, ceilings or floors. It reduces reverberation in enclosed areas such as entertainment venues, studios and home theaters.
Soundproofing paints work by blocking sound waves from traveling across surfaces such as sheetrock (drywall) and wood planking.
A 2012 study conducted by the Acoustical Society of America showed that these commercial soundproofing paints can perform up to expectations if applied correctly.
Soundproof paint is a gentle but effective way to reduce sound. The paint has an extremely thin absorptive layer that can block up to 70% noise.
Apply 2 coats of the paint over the entire surface at least three days apart for proper curing time.
5. Acoustic Caulk
Acoustic caulk is applied to create a seal between adjacent surfaces. It creates a tight seal against air, water and sound transmission. The benefit of using acoustic caulking is that it reduces the amount of noise transferring through walls, between rooms or floors.
Acoustic caulk is basically an aesthetic invention–it fills in gaps in walls, which reduces noise transmission by up to 75 percent.
It’s readily available at your local hardware store, and it’s easy to install. All you need are some basic tools (tape measure, utility knife, caulking gun) and about half an hour.
Acoustic caulk is also compatible with most types of wall surfaces, including drywall, brick; concrete; hardboard; metal; wood or vinyl siding panels (or any other material).
6. Acoustic Foam Panels
Acoustic foam panels are the most straightforward and affordable way to soundproof a wall. They can be used both as a standalone product or as a secondary Material layered behind drywall with additional acoustic insulation products.
Acoustic foam panels have been shown to reduce noise by as much as 50%, depending on frequency. The thicker the panel, the more effective it is at blocking sound from coming through your wall.
There are also corner foam panels that provide the highest absorption when mounted at the corner where two surfaces meet, usually inwards or outwards facing.
7. Mass Loaded Vinyl
Mass loaded vinyl comes in many different thicknesses that can keep sound from coming through. If you are looking to soundproof a wall, you should use Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV) 1/2″ inches thick.
This product is great for absorbing sound in acoustic studios and is easy to install on most walls. Mass loaded vinyl comes in long rolls that can be attached directly onto most interior or exterior walls without any additional insulation.
Mass loaded vinyl absorbs noise by converting the sound energy into heat instead of allowing it to travel through the wall, which reduces noise levels coming from inside your recording studio, office, living room or anywhere you want a greater degree of privacy.
The beauty of using MLV for this purpose is adhesive on one side. Just rip off a piece about 2-3 inches larger than your desired area, peel off the paper on one side, adhere it to the wall and staple it into place. When applied correctly, mass loaded vinyl is not going to peel off your walls since it’s manufactured using an industrial adhesive.
8. Block Air Vent
Block an air vent in the wall to prevent airborne noise from leaking into the room. Buy rigid foam and cut it into 6-inch squares long enough to fill the gap between two studs. Slip each piece into the gap, then seal each side of the gap with acoustic caulk.
The downside is that this method may reduce airflow from a heating/cooling unit if there is one on that side of the wall.
Pros: Affordable and easy to do yourself. Blocks air movement through a wall, helping prevent sound leakage through a shared wall.
Cons: Airflow will be reduced from any HVAC units on that side of the wall.
9. Rearrange Furniture
One of the simplest solutions to noise problems maybe just moving the furniture around. By rearranging your room, you might reduce the amount of sound that passes through a shared wall without significantly affecting your own ability to hear conversations or other sounds.
This solution is often overlooked but can instantly impact how much noise transfers between rooms without compromising anyone’s privacy.
Simply moving all your sofas to one side of the room could significantly reduce the amount of noise coming from it compared with both sofas facing toward each other in opposite corners of the room.
This method would work best for large, heavy pieces of furniture such as cabinets and bookcases; it is easier to arrange them so that they completely cover a wall, rather than a stack of books that often tends to fall over after a while. It is also more effective when the wall they cover is shared with someone who creates excessive noise.
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.