Soundproofing your walls is crucial to effectively soundproof any room.
Walls take up the most surface area in any room so there are plenty of opportunities for sound to leak through all over the place.
Modern internal walls are quick, cheap and easy to install.
Unfortunately, they are not particularly soundproof at all.
The empty void inside a stud wall allows sound to echo creating a drum effect which amplifies the sound.
Mass is very important for blocking sound and stud walls have very little mass, usually their mass consists 12mm of drywall on either side of the joists and nothing more.
Solid bricks are far better at preventing the transfer of sound but some walls are too solid for their own good, walls which have been built without a cavity in the middle will carry vibrations straight through from one side to the other.
This is not great if you have a neighbour who loves loud music, loud TV, loud DIY or anything loud to be honest!
Brick walls and stud walls present different challenges and there are different ways of soundproofing them.
There are many different techniques and methods to use to soundproof a wall, if you are looking for a quick, low-cost solution that doesn't require any D.I.Y then start with the first few methods mentioned in our list below.
First things first if your wall has visible cracks or holes in it your first port of call should be to get these filled up.
Regardless of whether the wall is a stud wall or a brick wall, cracks and holes make it easy for airborne sound to travel directly through the wall (if the wall is fully penetrated), it also makes it easier for vibrations to travel through the wall as is reduces the amount of mass it has to get through before it can escape into the room.
Depending on the severity of the holes/cracks this can make a big difference.
To sort cracks and holes simply use caulk to fully seal up any gaps.
As we've mentioned mass is very important when it comes to blocking airborne sound.
The more mass you have between yourself and the source of the noise the less likely you are to hear it.
The most effective ways to add mass to your wall can be expensive and messy (more on this below), however there are plenty of cheap ways of adding a bit of mass to your walls that could help take the edge off your noise problem, here are a few quick and affordable methods:
If you have any plug sockets or light switches in your problem wall then ensuring that these are properly fitted and sealed can also make a big difference to the amount of sound that penetrates your wall.
Sockets are a weak point in walls when it comes to sound resistance, particularly if it is a stud wall.
This is because the plasterboard is cut to accommodate the socket, creating a weak spot that sound can more easily escape through, especially if there are gaps around the socket.
Another reason that sockets are bad news when it comes to soundproofing a wall is that the sockets are often fixed onto a stud, this means that vibrations can travel directly through the stud into the socket and out into your room.
Ideally, plasterboard and sockets should all be decoupled from the wall to prevent this from happening (more on how to do this below).
To help ensure that your sockets allow minimal noise through seal around their edges with an acoustic caulk.
If the socket is secured to a stud then it is also a good idea to attach some acoustic foam to the back of the socket to dampen any vibrations which may travel through it.
If your wall has a cavity (all stud walls will) then a simple way to make it more sound resistant is to insulate it.
This obviously requires some D.I.Y skill as you will need to remove the plasterboard and fill the cavity with fire-resistant insulation such as Rockwool.
If you want to give this a go then read this section of our article which explains it in more detail.
Stud walls are timber-framed so they do not bear much weight but rather divide up space in your home (a bit like a permanent office room divider).
They’re quick, easy and efficient to put together however they are not good at preventing noise from traveling through your home as they are usually hollow with no insulation.
There are many different methods you can use, ranging from creating a room inside a room (this is meant to be the most effective method of soundproofing however it reduces the space inside your room so isn’t desirable for many people) to using soundproof paint or soundproof wallpaper (both of these are not particularly useful except for very low-level noise) or simple whacking on some soundproofing panels and leaving it at that.
Our guide to turning your stud walls from echo chambers into impenetrable sound barriers won’t make your room a foot smaller but it is far more effective than just doing the minimum.
You will need the following soundproofing materials:
Once you have assembled the necessary tools and equipment take the following steps:
If your internal wall has an air vent in it this can be a big sound leak, it's no good soundproofing your entire wall only to have all the sound continue to leak through the air vent, so check out this article for some tips on how to soundproof an air vent.
Brick walls will typically be the external wall on your house, you may share a brick wall with a noisy neighbor (these are also known as party walls as they are shared between two parties).
Soundproofing your external brick walls can turn an awful living situation into a comfortable one where you can sleep peacefully at night.
Brick walls present a different challenge to stud walls. They can often be far easier to soundproof as there is much less you can do with them.
The easiest way to soundproof a party wall is to install soundproofing panels.
Soundproofing panels work by reducing vibrations, they are typically between 25mm to 40mm thick they do a great job of absorbing all the vibrations that solid walls are sometimes all too good at transmitting!
Depending on the panels you buy they will come in sizes of around 1m x 1m.
Screw them into place (you will have to cut the panels at the edge to fit) and then decorate over them and you’re good to go!
Also Read: How To Soundproof A Concrete Wall
If the reason for your soundproofing project is that you are building yourself a recording studio or a home cinema then creating a room with minimal sound distortion, vibration and echo is crucial.
Soundproofing alone isn’t enough as sound will easily bounce off them straight back into your microphone making your recording sound cheap and echoey or reducing the perceived quality of the audio of the film you are watching.
To build a room that allows for optimal recording conditions you must clad it with acoustic foam wedge tiles.
These absorb sound rather than allowing it to bounce around the room, this will give your studio the professional sounding edge that you need.
Acoustic foam will also reduce the amount of sound that escapes from a room too.
Installing acoustic foam is quite simple, simply follow these steps: