How to Soundproof An Apartment Wall in 9 Ways
In most apartments, you are bound to share walls, ceiling, and floors. Sound travel through all these places. Noise from your neighbors can be unbearable sometimes. That is why you need to know how to soundproof an apartment wall to have your peace.
Noises from your neighbors can leak into your apartment through the walls and if not taken care of, you will never have the peace of mind and comfort you deserve in your space.
The sounds can be a washing matching, dishwasher, television or even your neighbors’ conversations. If you can here any of these sounds from your neighbors, chances are that they can hear you too.
Therefore, you need to take the soundproofing measures required to block and reduce the noise that comes in or leave your apartment.
Here in this article, I will share with you some of the effective and cheap soundproofing walls techniques you need to reduce noise between walls in an apartment.
How to Soundproof An Apartment Wall
When it comes to soundproofing walls in the apartment, there are many ways you can do that. Some of these techniques you can easily do yourself plus, the materials are affordable.
1. Use Soundproof Panels on Walls
These soundproof panels come in different types such as the soundproof foam panels which are the cheapest and the soundproof fiberglass panels which are a little bit expensive.
You often find soundproof panels in recording studios but are not only used in these places. You can also use them for your apartment walls.
Soundproof panels for walls are used to reduce echoes and reverberations on walls but they do not block sound. These are effective at reducing airborne noises such as tv, talking and conversations. But if you are trying to block vibrations, they are not the most effective way. Soundproof fiberglass can help muffle the impact noise.
If you are only dealing with airborne noise, then they will be effective at reducing it up to about 70% but if you wish to reduce impact sounds like vibrations and other impact sounds, then you need to add extra mass to the wall or decouple the wall. I will discuss some of the ways to add extra mass to the wall like mass loaded vinyl mats, soundproof blankets, etc.
2. Use Soundproof Wallpaper
Do you fancy this like 3D brick walls, the Mural Islands, etc in your room?. I do. Wallpapers now come in beautiful designs that have soundproofing effects and are made to be thick. This adds extra mass to the wall. They are beautiful to see and they add a good visual appeal to the room.
These soundproof wallpapers are easy to install and remove and that makes them a great option for apartments especially if you are renting.
You simply need to peel and stick them to the wall and if you wish to remove them, you simply peel them off again. They do not damage the wall in any way. You can also easily cut and resize them to fit wall outlets.
These wallpapers are free from heavy harmful metals, they are anti-collision, kids friendly, waterproof, durable and easy to clean and maintain. You can use them on most walls such as Featured walls, Dirty walls, TV walls, sofa background, living room walls, bedroom walls, wood board, kitchen, kids room, stairs and on glass, painted surfaces, home office wall decoration, etc.
3. Add Extra Mass Using Mass Loaded Vinyl Mat
Mass loaded vinyl mats are indeed mass loaded. If you plan on adding extra mass to the wall, These vinyl mats are great even though they have a Class C fire rating. They are made of denser and flexible materials that add mass to the wall, ceiling, floor or anything that you wish to soundproof.
Vinyl mat is one of the best soundproof materials for controlling impact noise such as the washing machine, dishwasher, footsteps, stomping, vibrations, etc. It can also soundproof airborne noise. Plus, the other added benefit is it provides thermal insulation.
Mass loaded vinyl mats are a one-stop solution to many soundproof problems.
To hang this mat up, you need another person to help you out. You can fasten it to the wall with pneumatic stapler, nails or glue.
4. Seal Cracks and Gaps in Walls
Well, this might sound silly. How can there be cracks and gaps in the wall?. Ok, I understand you because modern-day apartments are better designed. If you are lucky to be able to rent one. I am happy for you.
But you see, some people end up with those days apartments where cables from one room are connected to the next apartment through the walls.
With such holes, noise can also pass through them especially in a case where you are dealing with thin walls. So you have to deal with them.
To fill those holes up, you need Green Glue. It is a sound dampening compound that is like a gypsum-like substance. Very effective soundproof compound that you can use to fill the holes.
You can paint the wall to cover these fillings.
If you don’t like green glue, there are other soundproof compounds out in the market you can use. Either way, blocking the holes in the walls will help in sound leakage.
5. Hang Soundproof Blankets
To be honest, soundproof blankets are not the most appealing materials for walls, especially in the living room. Unlike curtains, they arent many beautiful colors to choose from.
but the great thing about these types of blankets is that they are good sound absorbers. Mostly made of thicker material that can absorb vibrations and impact sounds.
Blankets on the walls would absorb any sound vibration and prevent it from entering into your room. The blankets will also soften the sound from inside the room.
You can attach the blanket to the wall by nailing it against the wall, gluing or taping it to the wall. You can use an industrial adhesive that will be able to hold it firmly.
You can also suspend it like a curtain by using a curtain rod or use even mounting putty to tack the blanket to the wall. Using the rod will allow you to easily remove it like a curtain and wash it when it is dirty.
Kindly note that it’s not necessary to cover the entire wall. Just place the blanket at the center and cover the largest surface of the wall. That will be enough to absorb all the sound passing through the wall.
6. Soundproof Paint the Walls
I know you are properly already wondering about the effectiveness of this paint. Your question might be, is it not just like any other paint?. I am not surprised because there are a lot of controversies surrounding the effectiveness of this paint.
The truth is that soundproof paint can work. But, it will depend on how much you are trying to soundproof from outside. This type of paint is much thicker and denser than your normal paint.
If you are dealing with mild to lower noise, it will work well, however, it won’t be that effective at reducing very loud noise unless you use the paint in combination with some of the other techniques I outlined here in this article.
Soundproof paint can make a good finishing for your apartment wall soundproofing project.
This paint is thick and when applied several times with several layers, it can be massive. The result of that will be really good insulation of low frequencies
The appearance is just like your ordinary paint but sound deadening paint has noise reduction capability not present in ordinary paint.
Just a side note, you don’t need to paint the entire room with the soundproof paint. Just identify the noise hotspots and paint there with three or more layers with the soundproof paint.
7. Rearrange the Room
When sound finds its way into a room, the first object it hits, some will be absorbed, blocked and some reflected. This can cause echoes to bounce around in the room.
If the room is empty, the echoes will keep bouncing around and making a loud noise. But, if there are sound-absorbing materials in the room, the echoes will be absorbed.
That is why if a room in empty, you hear more noise than in a fully furnished room. This goes to show that a room arrangement can change its acoustics. The filled room reduces the echoes from bouncing around.
If you already have a bookshelf, cupboards, closet, and other standing furniture, the will come in handy.
I will recommend you use those standing furniture to cover the walls of the apartment. Just leave a small space between the wall and the furniture.
These items will act as a decoupling between the main wall and the furniture which is acting as a second wall.
Anyway, do not expect some enormous soundproofing results. This is just a basic trick to reduce the noise.
8. Get White Noise Machine
I have got many people that swore by the effectiveness of these white noise machines. Well, I couldn’t disagree with them.
White noise machines or generators usually have different cooling and smooth sounds. These machines work by drowning out outside noise.
Although white noise machines are effective, they are not a permanent fix to your noise problem. These machines simply work by generating white noise sounds that will subconsciously make you ignore the external noise and be able to concentrate on what you are doing.
Why I said they are a temporary fix is that you don’t want to have another machine making noise while you are watching a movie or TV. They work well when you are trying to sleep or work on your computer.
So, it a good solution especially as a sleep aid but you will need to combine it with other soundproofing methods shared here to be able to control the noise entering or leaving your apartment walls.
If you are interested in getting a white noise machine, then check out this my article on the best white noise machines for office and home. I covered some of the best white noise machines that you can use in the office and home for privacy.
9. Add Extra Drywall with Green Glue In Between
Most apartment walls are made of drywall. So to make these walls thicker, you can add a layer of drywall to the walls. This soundproof method may require you to get approval from the building owner because involves permanent changes to the wall.
Adding extra drywall make the wall thicker and hence can block noise better. If you want even better results, you might want to consider using soundproof drywall which is usually made of gypsum, ceramics and viscoelastic materials.
Green glue is a compound that has a sound dampening ability. It is a compound that converts sound energy into heat energy. You can use it with the drywall to improve the wall soundproof rating.
Its a compound that works best when placed between two hard surfaces. You can choose to place it on the existing drywall and place the new one over it fastening or you can put the green glue over the new drywall and place it over the existing wall.
This adds extra mass to the wall and you can paint it with soundproof paint. For the best results, you can still implement some of the techniques I discussed above. It will depend on your pocket and how much noise you are dealing with that is coming through the walls.
Some Soundproofing Apartment Wall Myths You should Know
Here are some myths about soundproofing walls that are going around. you will here people often mention them to you when you complain about the noise in your apartment.
Fine, they can only work if the noise level is very low and not loud. If you are dealing with a loud noise, these techniques won’t work. These include:
- Using Egg Crates to Soundproof Walls: Egg Crates look like soundproof foam wedges and you can blame people with things these foam panels are made with egg crates. The fact that they are designed to have egg crate shapes doesn’t mean they are egg crates. These foam panels are made of materials that can reduce noise. Egg crates, on the other hand, are made from low density and porous materials that cannot block noise from passing through them. If unless you want to pack egg crates on egg other to achieve some results. They are not nice to have on your wall anyway. With a little investment, you can get soundproof foam panels for cheap.
- Dark Colored Walls are Quieter: Don’t be deceived to believe this. The color of the wall only plays a role in the look and feel of the space but doesn’t affect sound movement. Besides anyway, dark rooms make the room appear smaller.
- Place Mattress Against the Wall: This is better than the other myths. But the mattress isn’t going to block loud sounds from entering the room. They absorb sound a bit though. They can be termed decent sound absorbers.
On How to Soundproof An Apartment Wall
If you truly want quietness soundproofing your apartment walls are very important. Sharing walls in an apartment is almost inevitable. even though you can control the noise in your apartment, you can’t control that of your neighbors… Everyone has the right to enjoy the space they are paying for.
Apartment rules and regulations can only work to some extend. For instance, you can’t tell your neighbor to stop using a washing machine or dishwasher because it is making noise.
So, if you are receiving a lot of noise through your room walls, it is better to soundproof them than rely on your neighbors to do so.
All soundproofing walls techniques discussed in this article can be implemented to reduce noise but they techniques that involve permanent changes should be handled with caution if you are renting or you don’t own the apartment like adding the additional drywall. Otherwise, the majority of the methods here are non-invasive and are safe for renters.
If you have any questions on how to soundproof an apartment wall, feel free to leave your thoughts below.