Soundproofing Walls without Removing Drywall: A How-To Guide
Are you sick of that outdoor noise and loud traffic on a Sunday morning? Or your unpleasant neighbors’ loud talking and fighting? Or those students above your apartment that are constantly having parties?
If the answer to these questions and other similar ones is “yes” then you are in the right place.
However, if you are new to soundproofing, it must sound over complicated to you, and you might not even be sure if it is worth the effort.
But, trust me, it is.
I was very worried when I first moved into our apartment and found out how thin the walls are. I was wondering if I was ever going to sleep again, and to have a nice Sunday morning.
Then, I started wondering if I would have to spend a fortune on insulating our apartment or do I have to take down all of the walls and bring up some new ones.
But once I got into the zone, I found out how easy it can be, and how proficiently I can soundproof our little nest with the simplest of tricks, and how cheap it can be.
Do I Have to Take Down the Existing Walls?
This is a first question that anyone who is thinking about starting the soundproofing job on their house will ask.
It sure sounds like it. How to solve the problem of thin walls if not knock them down, and build new ones?
Of course, soundproofing can be a good enough reason if you want to make a few changes in your home, but it is not needed at all. Not every intervention needs to be this radical to be efficient.
And trust me; I started renovating my house with a baby on the way.
Simple Ways to Soundproofing Walls without Removing Drywall
Most doors that are used in homes nowadays are usually hollow on the inside. You can check if the door to your baby’s room is hollow by knocking on it. If it’s hard and solid like the front door, then you have a solid door. However, if it feels like a thick cardboard, it is probably hollow on the inside.
For such doors, getting a sound-absorbing blanket will probably be the best option for you. You can get those from Amazon and you will be amazed at how much noise they can reduce.
1. Install Acoustic foam panels
The first thing that I always like to mention is these acoustic foam panels. They work as a fantastic sound insulator, and you will, of course, not need to take down any of the walls to install these.
These acoustic foam panels might look familiar to you. You have probably seen them in a lot of music studios, or if you have not been in any, in music videos at least.
Of course that they are there for a very good reason.
Since the sound is traveling in waves, it finds it suitable to bounce off of flat and hard surfaces, like walls for example.
These acoustic foam panels, however, are made of a sponge-like material that is very soft, and it makes it hard for the sound to bounce off of them, as it does from the flat walls.
There is one thing about them though. Since they are soft, they can collect dust rather easily, so you would have to take good care of them, and vacuum them on a regular basis.
Additionally, there are some panels that you can find in different colors, so you can choose the one you like the best, and try to blend it into your interior.
And here is how to put them up:
- Step 1: Measure them
The first thing that you would have to do is, naturally, measure your wall and then measure the panels that you are about to apply.
There is a very good saying: Measure thrice, check twice, cut once.
You wouldn’t want all of the panels to go to waste, so give a greater attention to measuring the panels that you will be using.
- Step 2: Cut them according to the measures
Now that you have measured the panels, and checked the measurements, it is time to cut. Again, be very careful with what you’re doing. It is the best to start with only a few, and then add more after that is finished.
Keep in mind that there are different types of foam panels, and it depends on the type how easily you will be able to cut them.
- Step 3: Apply
And now that you are finally one with measuring, checking, and cutting, it is time for you to put your new peace on the walls.
This is something that a lot of people do wrong. Most of them will just use the regular glue, but glue would just make the panels tacky, and if it is too strong, it might even “eat” them; similar to what the acid can do.
There is a much better option, and that option is a foam tack. Foam tack is a material that is similar to the glue, but it is made for foams, and will not ruin them.
2. Place Mass Loaded Vinyl
Another thing that you can try, in case you didn’t like the acoustic foam panels, is putting some mass loaded vinyl on your walls.
This vinyl will act like layer on the wall and give it some mass, that will prevent it from vibrating, and reduce the bouncing of the sound back to you.
Mass loaded vinyl is a material that resembles panels, that is used to bring the airborne noise down. Airborne noise is the type of noise that is transmitted through air, usually of higher frequencies. That can be the sound of a dog barking, a conversation, a traffic jam, etc.
When these sound waves travel, and when they hit the walls, they get inside and slither onto the other side by making the walls vibrate.
Vibrations can be a big problem. Just remember that party from an apartment underneath yours. Can you remember getting the sense that the sound is jumping up and down in your chest, or the sense that it is coming from the walls directly? Well, that is due to the vibrations.
If you can bring the vibrations down, you will automatically have a quieter room.
These “panels” are made of real vinyl under high temperatures that are very thick and acts like a sound barrier.
Mass loaded vinyl doesn’t work on the same principle as the foam panels. While they absorb the sound, mass loaded vinyl repels it and sends it back from where it came from.
One thing that is very important when it comes to MLV is that you would have to pay attention to some specs when buying it. The most important are that it is odorless, and made of “virgin” materials, meaning that it was not recycled before.
So, you must wonder how to install it now, don’t you?
First thing first, the adhesive would be the best way to get that mass loaded vinyl on your walls. And since you are in a soundproofing business, you can try with this soundproofing “green” glue.
Keep in mind that it is very sticky, so pay attention to your actions.
Since it is soundproofing glue, it has a double use:
- It keeps the mass loaded vinyl on the wall
- It serves as noise prevention
All in all, this mass loaded vinyl can reduce the noise up to the magnificent 60 percent. It might not sound much, but it sure is once you experience it.
3. Paint it up with soundproofing paint
Yet another solution to the noise problem can be painting your room with soundproof paint. It might sound crazy, but it is something that can work.
And not only that it can help you reduce the noise, but it can bring a new cheerful look to your apartment.
Of course, you will have to keep in mind that soundproof paint will not reduce the sound by 100 percent and that it is the best when it comes to insulating the noises of mid-range frequencies.
Sound dampening paint is the cheapest and most cheerful solution, and it would be the best to use it in cases that you do not have very serious problems with noise. If you do, it would be the best to try some of the aforementioned solutions.
You must wonder how this paint works. Well, it is a very thick pain that should be put on the walls in multiple layers, in order to make it thicker and for it to be able to absorb more noise.
As I mentioned in some of the previous articles, layers are your friends. The more layers you put on there, the better the results will be.
The soundproof paint does not repel the sound, but it absorbs it, and in that way helps to make your surrounding quieter.
4. Use soundproofing blankets
The final solution that I will be mentioning today is soundproof moving blankets.
Similar to the soundproof paint, they are better used if you do not encounter that much noise and they work in that way that they absorb the sound much rather than repel it.
On the other hand, they are similar to the acoustic foam panels. First of all, they are soft and make it hard for the sound to bounce off of them, but being soft they also pick up a lot of dust.
The good thing with these blankets, however, is that they are movable, so you can take them down and wash it anytime you need to. Same stands for the cases that you do not need them anymore.
On Soundproofing Walls Without Removing Drywalls
There, I told you that it wasn’t all that hard and expensive.
You don’t even need a professional to do it for you. It is very easy, and almost no tool is needed. And, of course, no demolition of your precious home is required.
Keep in mind that none of these methods can reduce the sound one hundred percents, but it can make a drastic change, and bring your Sunday mornings back to you.
I hope that these helped and that you will have a lot of fun and joy installing these peacemakers on your walls.
Now go and enjoy the silence!