Does Soundproof Wallpaper Work? What Are Some Alternatives?
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If you have some problems with noise in your apartment, you have probably started to look for some solutions a long time ago.
I am sure that you have stumbled upon the same very common ideas, and those that really work, and some that are quite unusual or that sound like a myth.
Of course, there will always be those that work for some of us but are not that great for others.
There has been a lot of words lately about methods that are very cheap, very easy to install, and also pleasing to an eye.
These methods are soundproof paint and soundproof wallpapers.
But does soundproof wallpaper really work, and if it does - how?
I have been wondering the same for a long time. I always wanted to be able to soundproof my apartment and keep it beautiful and modern.
But I wasn’t so sure if that would be the waste of time and money (and my nerves and eardrums), or it would really bear some fruit.
For that reason, I gave myself a mission to find this out, and bust the myth.
For all those of you who are wandering the same, I have made a note about what I have found, and I hope that you will find it helpful.
What You'll Be Needing:
Soundproofing wallpaper has become quite popular in the recent years.
Since it is very hard to own your own place in the modern days, and it is quite impossible to tear down any shared walls, people of the apartments, duplexes, and condos that have shared walls and loud neighbors had to find a solution.
Soundproof wallpaper sure sounded like something to make the most out of: no construction work, no mess, nice design, etc.
What else can you wish for?!
Oh, yes: for it to work.
How Does Soundproof Wallpaper Work?
When you put a finger on your head and think about the effectiveness of the wallpaper in the matter of sound insulation, it sounds rather strange, doesn’t it?
It is just a thin paper, actually, so how does it help in stopping the noise and acting as a sound barrier?
The thing behind soundproofing wallpapers is that it is not just made of paper with nice patterns and colors. It is made with some special layers that are crafted to dampen the noise by a little.
And can you remember what I said about layers? They are always your friends in soundproofing business.
These materials can be either acoustic panels or slippery latex, and the top layer would be made of plain old wallpaper, just like the one we are used to.
Even though the process of making and the “ingredients” used in making these wallpapers differ from the regular ones by a lot, you wouldn’t even notice the difference between the two.
Does Soundproofing Wallpaper Really Work?
Even after what I said about the materials used in the making of these wallpapers, I know that it is still hard to believe that they actually work.
But it really can reduce the noise in your home.
Of course, you have to keep in mind that it cannot cancel the noise of high traffic or some vandal college students’ parties, but if the noise you are hearing is not that serious, or if you can't stand the time-from-time drunken singing of your young neighbors, this can be your thing.
They will effectively help in dampening and blocking sounds of mid-range frequencies so that you can enjoy yourself in peace and quiet again. Once more, if the noise is of a normal level.
Foamy and latex layers work good as dampeners, but they are not magicians.
With the wallpaper, you wouldn’t be able to hear the conversation that you do not want to be a part of or someone else’s TV program.
Also, there are some wallpapers that have added layers of foam that can help in reducing the noise to even higher levels.
Where Can Soundproof Wallpaper Be Used?
There is nothing that can stop you to use the soundproof wallpapers wherever you like. It is all the same as with regular wallpaper, no limitations at all.
Take it as this: you probably wouldn’t put the regular wallpaper in your bathroom, right? So it is just as likely that you wouldn’t do so with the soundproof one either.
When it comes to the rooms where wallpapers and soundproof wallpapers are used, the rooms would often be: bedrooms, nurseries, and sometimes even living rooms.
In other words, you can hang these wherever you want; to your liking.
Alternatives to Soundproof Wallpaper
Now that we have looked into the soundproof wallpapers, what they are made of, and how they work, let’s cover some alternatives.
As I said, for those of you who have savage neighbors or live somewhere near a highway, the soundproof wallpaper will most likely not work.
But here are some things that just might.
Acoustic Foam Panels
Acoustic foam is something that I have covered quite often. It is a very good insulator, and it can help with even more severe noise problems than just a regular conversation.
These foam panels are made of soft sponge-like materials that are shaped pyramidal and that can help in reducing the amount of noise.
Now, these are not the most beautiful panels, but you will have to decide what is more important to you: having your own peace and quiet in your own home, or having it slick and modern.
In case that you have decided for the peace, here are some acoustic foam panels that have shown to be very effective in fighting the noise pollution.
If you give it a thorough search, you might even find some acoustic panels that come in many different colors, and you can fit them into your apartment overlook accordingly.
Since these panels are very soft, they don’t let the sound bounce off of them so vigorously, and the overall experience of the quietness/ noisiness of the room is much better.
A downside of these panels is that you have to vacuum them regularly and take good care of them in order not to breathe in dust and such.
Mass Loaded Vinyl
Mass Loaded Vinyl is another material that can be used for soundproofing in case you have a more serious problem with the noise pollution.
Additionally, mass loaded vinyl can be combined with the wallpaper to make the room quieter, and more beautiful.
Mass loaded vinyl is a panel-like material that is used in soundproofing against airborne noise (such are traffic noises, conversations, and similar).
It is made of vinyl under high temperatures, and it acts as a sound barrier.
When it comes to mass loaded vinyl, it will not absorb the noise, but deflate it back to its source, and it will leave your ears intact.
Once you have installed the vinyl, you can even cover it with soundproof wallpaper to make the noise reduction even higher and to make your room look better.
This solution is something that does not require a lot of time and effort either.
Double pane windows are an additional removable piece of glass that you can attach to your window when you need it, and remove it when you don’t.
This additional layer of glass would make an air gap in which the noise will be caught, and in that way, the amount of noise in your own apartment will be reduced.
If you need help with the installation or additional explanation, here is a video on installing window panes.
Another thing that can help you in solving the noise problem is the weather strip.
Sound waves have that feature that they often go on the path of least resistance, and find the way to leak into the room wherever they find a crack.
In these cases, the weather strip can be used to seal the holes, and block the sound from leaking in the room.
The cracks can be often found around doors and windows, so give a quick look at those, and if your door is not touching the floor, you can also install the weather strip underneath it.
Interior Decoration and Wall Hangings
It would be unfair not to mention the possibilities that decorating a room offers. This is yet another method that helps you keep the looks of your room and soundproof it a little.
Since you are already well familiar with the fact that sound travels and bounces off of the hard and flat surfaces, covering your walls and space with more furniture and some pictures or canvases (maybe even a few plants) can not only make your space look nice, but reduce the amount of sound waves jumping around.
Final Verdict: On Soundproof Wallpapers
And now you know the truth behind soundproof wallpaper.
Honestly, I was really willing to bring it down, but I couldn’t. It is the truth that it can help.
Once more, it can’t do miracles, but if the noise pollution in your home is reasonable, this one can help.
Now you can hang these, have your peace, and still keep the appearance of your nice and cozy rooms. Now go and get the perfect pattern for your peace!