17 Cheap Soundproofing Material Ideas for DIY Projects
Soundproofing projects are essential if you if live in a noisy environment like me. If you don’t have big budgets for these projects, you can certainly find a cheap soundproofing material that can help you soundproof your home.
There are many soundproofing materials in the market today. It can be confusing when you are looking for a cheap soundproofing material that is quality enough to get the job done.
Soundproofing materials perform differently but all are trying to achieve the same purpose of reducing the sound energy in a given space as much as possible.
let’s look at the types of soundproofing materials and how they reduce sound.
Types of soundproofing materials
Depending on the type of noise you want to reduce or eliminate, you will have to choose the appropriate soundproofing material for your efforts to be effective.
Noise can be categories into two main types namely; airborne noise and impact( structural) noise.
Airborne noise is transmitted through the air. An example is people talking on television while as impact noise is a type of noise made when one object impacts another. An example is the washing machine vibration, the loud footsteps of your neighbors, etc.
Sound or noise can only be properly soundproof if you know the source of the noise and the type of noise it is.
Knowing this will help you determine the type of soundproof material to use for it.
Sound damping occurs when a soundproof material is developed with certain properties that enable it to convert the sound energy that is passing through it into heat energy.
An example of such soundproof material is green glue or any soundproof compound. The compound is usually applied to fill gaps, cracks or even applied between layers of drywall, sheetrock or even plywood.
Sound absorption is a process by which a soundproofing material, structure or object takes in sound energy when the sound waves try to pass through it.
Part of the absorbed energy is transformed into heat and part is transmitted through the absorbing body. The types of soundproofing materials do not reflect sound energy.
Acoustic soundproof panels and soundproof foams are examples of sound-absorbing materials. There are many types of sound absorbing materials that are available in the market for you to choose from.
Adding extra mass or a block of soundproof material that will act as a sound barrier between two spaces. Mass loaded vinyl mat is an example of such material.
They are able to block the noise or sound from passing through it.
Decoupling as the name suggests is when a sound transmission pathway is disconnected. This is done by using these decoupling materials to create gaps in the structure of a building. An example is buzz channels or resilient channels.
The type od soundproofing materials are best installed during the construction phase of the building to avoid complexities.
Cheap Soundproofing Materials that Actually Work
When it comes to soundproofing a room, machine or any gadget, there are many cheap soundproofing ideas that you can explore to get the work done.
Below are some of the cheap soundproofing materials you might want to consider when taking on a DIY soundproof project.
Cheap Soundproof Foam Panels
Acoustic foam panels are an effective cheap soundproofing material for controlling or reducing echoes, reverberations, etc.
These are often found in studio recording rooms, home theaters and in other noise controlled rooms. They do the work by absorbing the sound in the room thereby preventing the sound from leaving the room.
You can also use them if you are trying to prevent outside noise from entering the room. These are not meant to eliminate noise completely. But acoustic foam panels are good at reducing noise.
Soundproof Curtains can be used to soften or absorb sound before the sound hits the surface such as windows, doors, walls, etc.
Curtains are versatile in use. You can pretty much install them anywhere you like, whether it is the walls, the door, and windows. But most often these curtains are found on windows to help absorb are incoming or outgoing sound.
Many people prefer curtains over blankets because they are more appealing visually than soundproof blankets. Even though curtains might be a little less effective to blankets when it comes to soundproofing.
Soundproof curtains are designed to help compliment room decors. There many colors and designs you can choose from that will work perfectly with your home decor.
Not all curtains are soundproof. So you have to look out for that. Some curtains are made with added sound insulation in mind. If you out for curtains, you have to get the one that is thick and possibly has more than one layer.
Sound Deadening Blankets
Soundproof blankets are cheap soundproofing alternative to soundproof curtains. They are made with the main aim of absorbing sound. Sound deadening blankets are thicker, denser, heavier and sturdier than curtains.
They are often seen in recording studios and other heavier noise controlled areas. Professionally soundproof curtains have grommet on them for easy installation.
However, if you don’t have any cash to get these blankets, you can use your blankets that are not in use in the house.
To use them, you may have to use a nail or glue to attach them to a wall. For the windows, you could sow the edge to make a loop to pass a rod through it to hang.
Most of the soundproof blankets are about 80 inches long and 72 inches wide in size. So you could estimate how many would complete a given project from these measurements.
If you are looking for cheap soundproofing materials for walls, the soundproof blankets might be one of the options for you.
Low Frequency Sound Absorbing Bass Trap
These bass traps are mostly made to help eliminate reverb and unwanted sound in any studio or room. They are versatile and can fit any room.
Their purpose is to target the low to medium frequency noise and to eliminate them most especially those noise made from the bass.
They are not difficult to work with. You just need to place them somewhere in the corner of the room. Then they will get to work by reducing the low frequency of unwanted sounds.
Mass Loaded Vinyl Mats
Mass loaded vinyl mats are good and effective noise barriers. They are often made with thick and heavier material. You can use vinyl mat almost everywhere in the room and even on machines and gadgets.
These mats are made to block away sound. Instead of absorbing or damping it, they will block it. mostly you find them in black color, heavy and thin.
You can cut the portion you want and attach it with glue, staples, or even nails to the walls, ceiling, door, and other areas you might want to soundproof.
Door Sweep and Sealant Gasket
A door sweep is used to cover the gap between the under of the door and the floor. This gap is often one of the biggest gaps in the door.
A door sweep can be screwed on the bottom or you can get sticking type. But they are slightly expensive. The door sweep blocks sound from leaving or entering the room. It also prevents insects and stuff from creeping inside.
The door sealing gaskets are used around the peripherals of the door especially the door, frame, and jamb. This prevents sound leakage.
Weatherstripping Door and window Kit
When looking for the best cheap soundproofing material, no way wouldn’t have a weather-strip kit on your list. It has a place here too.
After soundproofing your home, you would still encounter a noise problem. The possible culprits are usually small gaps, cracks, and spaces on the door and window, and around it.
These must be sealed as they would neutralize your project back to nothingness. That’s where weather-stripping comes in.
Weatherstripping tape can be used to seal the tiny gaps and cracks around the door. Very easy to install. You simply peel and stick to the place the gap is on. Then it stays there until if you want you take it off.
Underlayments are usually found on the floor subfloor. These are effectively installed during the construction of the floors. The soundproof underlayment for a floor is placed on the subfloor before the floor is built on it.
Mostly, these underlayments are often used in storey buildings where someone’s floor is another person’s roof.
This way when the upstairs neighbors are moving around or making noise, the subfloor barrier blocks the noise before it gets to the other space.
These soundproof underlayments are good are absorbing impact sounds. Also, they act as moisture barriers to prevent or guard the floor against mold growth.
If you plan on installing a soundproof floor underlayment, then you will have to remove the existing floor and place it underneath it.
The most common soundproof compound is the green glue. Others also call it sound damping compound. This compound is mostly used to fill cracks and gaps.
They are also stashed in between layers of drywall, sheetrocks, plywoods on walls to add an extra layer of mass and sound barrier.
These compounds convert sound energy into heat energy and dissipate it.
You can also use this soundproof compound on the edges of the floor during construction to prevent impact sound on the floors from traveling through the walls.
Drywall is like sheetrock on steroids. It combines multiple layers of gypsum board, and layers of material like steel, to increase its mass and density and thereby blocking sound.
This increase in mass and density can greatly improve STC ratings when soundproofing a room, or soundproofing walls. drywalls are mostly found as walls in apartments and town
While soundproof drywall is more expensive, it may be worth the investment when you consider a potential performance upgrade
Soundproof blinds are cheap soundproofing alternatives to the soundproof curtains and blankets. The blinds are usually made for windows and patios. soundproof blinds come in different colors and designs.
There are different types of blinds that you will find in the market. You will find the honeycomb cell shades, window shutters, and insulating blinds.
They usually hang on a room window to block sound. That passes through the window openings. The honeycomb blinds have proven to be more effective at blocking sound than the other alternatives.
Blinds are also good heat retainers during the winter season. In summer, you probably have to open them to give you fresh air.
Dynamat Sound Deadener
Dynamat sound deadener is a cheap soundproofing material for cars. Very popular in the automotive industry. Not only is it a sound deadening mat but its also heat resistant and odorless.
It is a sound deadening mat that’s found to be very effective in soundproofing cars and other vehicles. It can be used for different parts of the car such as the cabin or trunk floors, the rear decks, or any other part of the car.
To apply it to a given part of the car, you would need to cut it into the correct piece that you need. Which might be the only challenging part of using it. Otherwise, it’s pretty straight forward to use.
You might be wondering, how can you stop those vibrational sound that comes from the washing machine, the dishwasher, the speakers and other machines that vibrate when in use.
Well, the answer is, get anti vibrational mats for them. You simply place the mat underneath the machine, It serves as a sound barrier between the floor and the machine to prevent vibrational impact on the floor.
There are many anti vibrational pads in the market most of them are round in shape. Although you can find some that look like pads. That you place one pad on each leg of the machine.
Resilient channel is a thin metal channel that is intelligently designed to substantially improve the sound insulation of drywall, sheetrock, plasterboard walls, and ceilings.
The channel effectively isolates drywall from the framing studwork, which results in the weakening of sound waves substantially.
Although resilient channels are easy and effortless to install, they are best installed during the construction phase of the building.
The resilient channels, which act as shock absorbers, typically add 3 to 5 (or more) Sound Transmission Class (STC) points to your existing wall or ceiling.
Rockwool Acoustic mineral wool Insulation
The roockwool acoustic mineral wool insulation sheet is another set of the cheap soundproofing material you can use for your project.
The multipurpose product is designed with premium wool which is compacted as 2.5 pounds of mass per cubic foot.
The wool is flexible and can, therefore, be installed on different kinds of structures e.g. walls or ceiling – as long as the structure is able to offer support.
The sound dampening material is water-repelling, fire-retardant and safe to use.
Soundproof Control Cemaric Insulation
Lizard Skin markets its ‘Sound Control’ to be used in Conjunction with ‘Ceramic Insulation’ and ‘Top Coat’.
The Ceramic Insulation is meant for thermal insulation whereas the Top Coat is meant for providing ‘durability and a glossy finish.
The cost of all three products combined will turn out much more than even a Dynamat.
The Lizard Skin Sound Control comes in 2-gallon buckets. The company recommends two coats at a thickness of 0.40” to 0.60”.
A marker to measure the thickness is also provided. For the average car, you would need 4 gallons at the most even though Lizard Skin estimates 6 gallons for a hardtop car.
Furniture and Household Items
Sometimes simply rearranging the room can drastically reduce sound in the room. Placing items like wardrobe, bookshelf, and other furniture in the right places will help in noise reduction.
Place wardrobes and bookshelves against the wall where the sound is coming from. Leave a few inches of space between the wall and the furniture.
This acts as an extra mass added to the walls. This way impact noise will be reduced. If you have blankets, and soundproof paint, you paint the walls and use the blankets are areas in the room sound bight be coming from.
You can even place the speakers on thick materials like the blankets.
If your room is already carpeted, then that is good for controlling room echoes. However, if the room is either, tiles, hardwood, concrete, or any hard surface floor, it will be good to get a nice carpet or thick rug and place it on the floor to reduce echoes.
When impact noise hits an uncovered hard floor, the vibrations bounce around the room, but if the floor is covered with sound absorbing material, the echoes are blocked or absorbed.
How Do You Measure Soundproofing Material Quality?
soundproofing material quality is measured as a sound transmission class(STC). It’s a single number method of rating how well wall partitions reduce sound transmission.
The STC now provides a standardized way to compare soundproof products made by different manufacturers.
The higher this number is, its an indicator of better soundproofing than a lower number.
The STC rating figure very roughly reflects the decibel reduction in noise that a partition can provide. To improve the sound transmission class and increase soundproofing two techniques are employed; sound isolation and sound absorption.
Final Words on Cheap Soundproofing Materials
The market is flooded with different types of sound absorbing materials. If you only have a couple of bucks to invest in your DIY project, you will certainly find a cheap soundproofing material for it.
Almost all the different kinds of soundproofing materials I mentioned above have their own STC ratings.
When you are buying always look for soundproofing materials and products that have a higher rating.
You have to keep in mind that to make your soundproofing efforts effective, you need to combine a couple of these cheap soundproofing ideas I have mentioned.
Especially let’s say you are soundproofing a room, you will need to soundproof the door, window, the walls, floor and probably the ceiling to achieve a decent level of noise reduction in the room.
But not to worry. with a careful combination of these materials, you will achieve the desired level of soundproofing you want.