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Soundproofing a Garage Workshop: 8 Simple Ways How-To

No matter if you are a serious carpenter that makes a living from his honest job or just a crafter out of a hobby, you have to keep in mind one thing: those who are supposed to enjoy your work the most, usually don’t.

Can you imagine the dread on your wife’s, children’s or neighbors’ faces whenever you step into your workshop? Just by thinking about your table saws and jigsaws would make them all pale and running for something to cover their ears with.

And now imagine that you can step into your workshop at any time of day (or night?) and not have to think about disturbing anyone else?

Much better picture, isn’t it?

And what if I told you that my loving husband owns a workshop of his own and that the first picture was the picture of our every single day?

What if I now told you that the second picture became our life?

At one point, I became sick of constant complaining of my neighbors, and my kids’ questions “Mommy, why does Daddy have to be so loud?”, so I have decided to find a solution once again and soundproof his workshop.

And here are some tips and tricks that you can use to make your ears be thankful to you.

soundproofing a garage workshop

Understanding the Noise and Vibration

Before I start telling you about the ways you can soundproof your garage workshop, let me give you a quick science lesson on the nature of sound.

Sound, of course, cannot be seen, but if you just for a moment imagine it as the air that is traveling around and leaking through any holes, it would be easier to understand noise.

If air can get through an object, same stands for the sound.

It doesn’t matter if you closed the door; unless you really block the path of sound, it will still be able to get on the other side.

When sound hits a wall or a door, it gets inside, and vibrates all through it, from the bottom to the top, giving away the sound, and sending the noise to the other side as well; unless it is blocked somehow, of course.

Have you ever thought about those can “tin phones” that we used to have as children and how they work? Well, the secret is in vibrations.

When the sound hits the tin can it makes it vibrate, and the sound continues traveling through the rope or a string all to the tin can on the other side of the rope.

Vibrations are much more powerful than you might have thought.

Now, there are two types of sound that you should know about:

  • Structure-borne noise:  the point of this one is that it is made when the actual object hits a solid target like walls, floors, etc. In this case, the noise is created through vibrations that enter the object and expand on both sides of the hit target. These can be footsteps, an object that was dropped, etc.
  • Airborne noisethis noise is transmitted through the air. When the sound that has been created in the air and not through the actual impact hits a barrier (ex. walls), vibrations are created and they crawl through the structure like a parasite.  These can be the sound of a TV, the barking of a dog, a conversation, your garage tools, etc.

In order to be able to stop the noise efficiently, you will need to do two things:

  • Block the noise’s path and absorb it – for structure borne noise
  • Eliminate leaks – for airborne noise

What is important is to think of the room as a whole, and not just of separate elements of it.

In other words, to be able to soundproof a room efficiently, you will have to soundproof the walls, ceiling, floor, doors, and windows, since when the sound enters one of them, it will expand on other elements too.

And now, let’s get to work!

Soundproofing a Garage Workshop

Now that we have learned something about the noise and vibrations, let’s learn how to stop them too.

Here are some methods that you should try.

1. Drywall

First things first! A drywall.

Now, this option is a little bit more expensive than all of the ones that will be listed a little bit later, but it is the most efficient, for that matter.

Also, it can be a little bit harder to install it, so you might need help from a professional or a well- informed friend.

The first step is to measure your garage wall carefully, and then buy the drywall accordingly.

Before you start installing it, give a good look to your old wall, and take care of all of the old cracks that might have occurred over time.

You can fill in the holes with green glue or any other sticky gluey substance.

After you have done with it, place the drywall up to the wall and screw it.

And here is a useful video that can help you with it:

If you plan to DIY, I suggest getting this guidebook: Drywall: Professional Techniques for Great Results

2. Mass Loaded Vinyl

Mass loaded vinyl is a material made of vinyl under high temperatures and pressure. It is odorless and made of materials that have not been recycled.

It is used to decrease the noise coming in and out of walls ceilings and floors.

Unlike acoustic foam panels, mass loaded vinyl will not absorb the noise but deflate it, and in this case not let it escape your workshop.

When it comes to installing it on the walls, it can be done so with soundproof green glue.

3. Acoustic Foam Panels

Acoustic foam panels may seem like nothing much, but they can sure improve the sound insulation of any of the rooms in your home, so your garage workshop as well.

These sponge-like panels are made of soft materials that wouldn’t let the sound bounce and vibrate that easily, and in that way, they would stop the sound from spreading through the room.

Since it is your workshop that you are soundproofing, I believe that the appearance of these panels would not concern you a lot.

acoustic panels soundproof foam

These can be also put on the ceiling, and in that way soundproof that part of the room as well.

You can also use the green glue, also known as soundproofing glue to get the panels on the walls and ceiling if they are not already self- adhesive.

The acoustic soundproof panes are more of a sound absorption system than a blocking one.

Keep in mind that they can collect dust easily, so it would be the best if you can clean them regularly. And since it is a workshop, I would suggest once a week.

Additionally, if you are not that worried about the view from your garage, you can place them on windows as well. Or even doors, for that matter.

For a list of the best acoustic panels, click here.

4. Combination

Since layers are something that is always good when soundproofing, feel free to try the combination of the aforementioned techniques.

You can easily place the acoustic foam panels on the drywall or mass loaded vinyl for that matter and make the sound insulation even better than if you used only one of these methods.

5. Rubber Mats and Rubber Wheels

Now, I’ve told you that you would have to secure not only garage walls, but include windows (if there any) and door, and floor and ceiling as well.

The secret with “soundproofing” a floor is not really soundproofing, but covering the floor with something in order to bring the vibrations to the minimum.

What would be the best way to do so, but to put some soft material that will not let the sound bounce and vibrate so vigorously?

And here my suggestion is rubber mats. Here are some rubber mats that I found very affordable and useful.

A little bit less effective but fine enough are some rubber wheels for your machines. They will make the vibrations from the machine lose a little bit of power before it touches the floor. 

Of course, you can feel free to combine these two for additional efficiency.

6. Window Inserts

Now windows!

Windows are the most overlooked piece of a room when it comes to soundproofing. That is a big mistake, I would have to say.

The best way to secure your windows from leaking noise are window inserts. Our complete window soundproofing guide teaches you how to make your own inserts.

They are a removable additional layer of glass that would make an air gap, and catch the noise coming in and out of your garage workshop.

These window inserts are not only good for your garage workshop but anything that you would want to secure. Even your living room, if needed.

An advantage of these window inserts is that they are removable, so you can easily move them when you don’t need them anymore.

If you are interested in giving it a try, here is a nice helpful video on how to install window inserts:

7. Weatherstrip

When you are looking to soundproof your windows, there are also some cracks around them that might occur.

Now, I said that the noise can find even the smallest of cracks to leak through them, and ruin your effort.

This is where the weatherstrip shows up.

No matter whether the cracks you are trying to fill in are around your windows or door, this rubber strip can help you seal the holes.

In most of the cases, weatherstrip is self- adhesive, so you will not have any problems installing it.

7. Moving Blankets

Moving blankets are good when it comes to soundproofing your door.

They are soft pieces of fabric with layers of soundproofing materials that would catch the sound in its threads and not let it escape.

In this way, they act as noise absorption, and not blockader.

See our detailed reviews on the best soundproof blankets.

On Soundproofing the Garage Workshop

Moving blankets are good when it comes to soundproofing your door.

They are soft pieces of fabric with layers of soundproofing materials that would catch the sound in its threads and not let it escape.

In this way, they act as noise absorption, and not blockader.

Are you interested in soundproofing the garage for band practice instead? The methods are similar but you can check out the article here.

Also, see our reviews of the best quiet garage door openers here.