If you have been searching for a low-cost soundproofing solution you are likely to sooner or later stumble across the idea that you can soundproof a room using egg cartons.
However, before you start buying more eggs than you can eat and transform your home into a recycling centre be aware that egg cartons are very limited in what they can do.
Purpose built soundproofing materials such as acoustic foam is designed with thousands of open cell air pockets inside them which absorb sound by moving as the sound wave hits them and transforming the sound into kinetic energy and then heat energy.
You don’t have to study an egg box for long to realize that it lacks open cells, and it also lacks the ability to move much at a microscopic level when a sound wave hits it.
Egg cartons are very thin so they are a very substandard soundproofing material, however, if you have no other option they can make some difference.
What Are Egg Cartons Good For?
That’s not to say that egg cartons are altogether useless, in fact, they have an NRC (Noise Reduction Coefficient) score of 0.40 which means they absorb up to 40% of sound that hits them and bounce back the other 60%, though that figure doesn’t quite tell the whole story.
Nonetheless, egg cartons are often used as a cheap echo reducing solution in recording studios or home cinemas.
Soundproofing Vs Echo ReductionThere is a big difference between soundproofing and echo reduction.
Soundproofing prevents sound waves from leaving or entering a room (or car..or whatever you want to soundproof).
Echo reduction doesn’t stop sound waves from leaving or entering a room.
Echo is caused by soundwaves bouncing straight back to you off a surface.
Echo reduction works by changing the shape of the surface so that the direction of travels of the sound waves is disrupted meaning that they travel in a different direction, losing energy as they go so that by the time they reach you or your microphone again they are inaudible.
Egg cartons help reduce echo in two ways:
Egg boxes are a strange shape with lots of different angled surfaces on them.
This means that when sound waves hit them they deflect off in different directions instead of bouncing back in unison.
This disrupts the soundwaves and helps reduce their energy which minimizes echo within a room.
It works in a similar way to acoustic tiles which use large pyramid shaped foam sections to bounce soundwaves off at different angles. The acoustic foam absorbs sound and turns it into kinetic and heat energy which egg cartons won’t do so if you can afford it we recommend investing in acoustic tiles for a better all-around result…as well as a more aesthetically appealing finish.
Diaphragmatic Absorption by allowing sound to pass through a thin material such as our cardboard egg cartons.
The idea is that when the sound passes through and then hits the wall on the other side it will not have sufficient energy to pass back through the diaphragm again however this method of echo reduction works best with a much thicker diaphragm than what an egg carton provides.
Having said that a low level of echo reduction may be noticed directly from this method.
Bearing all this in mind we again strongly recommend that if you are serious about soundproofing or echo reduction (which egg boxes do help with…slightly) you should use purpose made acoustic foam.
How To Use Egg Cartons For Echo Reduction
If you are aware of the severe limitations of egg cartons and are still dead set on using them then follow the steps below…just don’t blame us if the results are disappointing!
We’ve also included a few steps which will help you improve the performance of your egg box wall:
- First of all collect sufficient egg boxes to cover your wall. Measure out your wall and do the maths, having as much as possible of your wall covered will make the impact of the boxes more noticeable.
- Double or even triple up the egg boxes. This, of course, will mean you will need two or three times as many egg boxes but doing this will make them much more effective. Sit three egg boxes inside each other and glue them together leaving a few bits of cardboard between each egg box layer to create a layer of air which will help with sound dissipation.
- You can also fill the egg crater (where the egg would have sat) with any spare material such as soft fabric which you may have. This will help your egg carton to mimic how purpose made open cell acoustic foam would work.
- Before you attach your boxes to the wall it may also be worth adding a blanket to the wall to help dampen the sound as it bounces off the wall, this will help absorb some more sound energy. Ideally can get something like a purpose made soundproof curtain but don’t worry too much as any blanket will have some impact.
- Next they need to be attached to the wall. There are a number of things you can use to do this with including blu tac, spray glue or pins. Just make sure that if it is not your wall your landlord (or parent!) is happy for you to do this as glueing, blu-tacking or pining egg boxes to the wall is likely to damage the wallpaper.
Soundproofing Alternatives To Egg Cartons
If all you want is for your next YouTube video to sound less echoey egg cartons may well be sufficient.
However if you’re actually seeking to make a real difference to the amount of noise leaking out of, or into, a room then egg cartons are going to be nothing more than a disappointment.
If you’ve been searching for ways to soundproof a room using egg boxes it is fair to assume that you are looking for a cheap and relatively simple method of sound reduction, so chances are you won’t be keen on ripping out your wall and insulating it or fitting it with acoustic panels.
You’re likely to be looking for a quick and affordable method of soundproofing, so in no particular order here are some suitable egg box alternatives which may actually work without breaking the bank (or any eggs…)..
Weather stripping is one of my favourite soundproofing materials and it is also cheap…almost as cheap as a box of eggs!
It can have a significant impact on the amount of sound that enters and leaves your room particularly if you have a door or window which doesn’t quite fit its frame.
Weather stripping simply sticks inside the frame (it normally has a peelable sticky back so is very easy to fit). Then when your door or window is closed on it seals much more tightly than before, thereby minimising the transfer of sound.
Acoustic Door Thresholds
Acoustic door thresholds function very much like weather stripping except they are for the bottom of your door. Often they will feature a thick brush, or sweep, which is fitted to the inside of your door.
- Garage Door Guru
The brush sweeps the floor effectively creating a seal between the door and the floor and minimising noise transfer.
Door thresholds aren’t going to break the bank either and can be purchased for less than the cost of 4 or 5 boxes of eggs.
Soundproofing with blankets may sound like a bit of a gimmick but it is far more effective than using egg boxes…especially if you use thick blankets.
Thick blankets work a bit like acoustic foam, they muffle sound as they are made up of loads of fibers which move as sound waves hit them causing the sound energy to dissipate into kinetic and heat energy.
Simply hang a blanket on your wall, the thicker the blanket the better, and you’re good to go…much easier than glueing boxes to your wall!
A Summary Of Soundproofing With Egg Boxes
Egg boxes are very poor at soundproofing and you could spend hours sticking them to your wall only to find that they have no noticeable impact.
Your time and money is far better spent on installing something more effective such as:
- Acoustic foam for echo reduction in a recording studio or home cinema.
- Weather stripping and door thresholds if you are looking for a quick win soundproofing solution which isn’t going to cost much more than a few boxes of eggs.