How to soundproof a room
It happens to (almost) all of us: at home we hear noises from the neighbor or from the street that we would like not to hear (and hence soundproofing a room):
- The television of who should check deafness.
- The loud music of an old and tuned car.
- The singing of someone who could never pass an audition.
- Someone’s alarm clock who always needs five more minutes.
- The screaming of a group of people in the street who believe they are alone in the middle of nowhere.
- The horn of the car of someone who has little patience.
- The snores that seem to speak in the language of hell.
- And the worst thing that can happen to us: listening to the neighbor’s toilet until we clearly distinguish the reason for using it.
All this prevents us from enjoying our home both to rest and to create content (if you play the piano or stream, for example). And to solve it, it is not enough to close a window or a door: you have to soundproof the room that most interests you.
Here we explain how to soundproof a room. We give you several ways to cover walls, ceiling and floor that will achieve better acoustic conditions.
Choose what suits you the best depending on the acoustic quality you need and, of course, the budget you have. You will see that some methods to room soundproofing are more DIY than others. You will also learn how to soundproof a room without works or, on the contrary, mess up whatever you want to maximize results.
Finally, if you are a musician, a spearker or an announcer who wants to make your work more professional, we will tell you about what is possibly the best solution for you: the soundproof booth. Perfect not only to isolate yourself from outside noise but also to avoid disturbing the people you live with, alongside your neighbors.
Why to soundproof a room
Put plain and simple: poor build quality.
The truth is that when building a home, room soundproofing is not a priority. And not only in relation to the acoustic aspect, but also to the thermal aspect, which is very closely related. For this reason, houses with a lot of noise are also usually the ones that conserve temperature the worst, both in winter and in summer.
Specifically, the cause is low-quality windows and doors and, above all, partitions. Partitions are walls that are not load-bearing and serve to separate rooms and sometimes also apartments on the same floor. Being walls of minor structural importance, the finishes of the partitions are usually deplorable.
Difference between soundproofing and absorption
When wanting to soundproof a room, one must distinguish between two types of struggles:
- Prevent external noise from reaching us: this is soundproofing. Also known as acoustic insulation.
- Prevent the noise we generate from going outside and improve the quality of the sound inside: known as sound absorption.
The first is essential both to rest and to work at home. Room soundproofing provides greater silence.
On the other side, the absorption of sound avoids that echo that we hear when we watch television or when we have recorded ourselves singing, speaking, playing an instrument or playing a video game. This echo is caused by the phenomenon of reverberation.
Logically, absorption also helps us not to bother others. The clearest example is that of a restaurant, where many conversions take place: the most respectful take measures to disturb a neighbor as little as possible. Another common reason for soundproofing a room in this way is to be able to quietly play a computer game or play an instrument at night without waking up other family members.
So: what interests you more?
- If you just want to rest better, apply measures to soundproof or acoustically isolate yourself from outside noise.
- If you also want to improve the result of your work, professionalize the production of content a little more, then also improve sound absorption.
How to DIY soundproof a room at home
Windows are the priority element to soundproof in a room, since it is where the greatest amount of noise usually enters and exits.
You have several options for soundproofing windows. From cheapest to most expensive:
- Place some curtains in front of the windows.
- Seal the windows with adhesive strips.
- Change the profile of aluminum windows (the most common) to one of PVC.
- Change the windows for ones with thicker glass (with double or triple glazing).
The first two involve a minimal investment, while the other two involve scratching your pocket more and spending some time (or hiring a professional). Of course, double PVC windows provide greater thermal insulation as well as greater room soundproofing.
For example, double glazing creates an empty air chamber between the two panes or one containing a mixture of gases. Said chamber prevents sound from passing through the crystals so easily and therefore will not make them vibrate, generating less ambient noise.
Like everything, you have to look at the budget you have. But good windows are an interesting investment. In this sense, PVC is 1,100 times more insulating than aluminium, which will also be noticed in the heating and air conditioning bill.
As we have mentioned before, the partitions are usually of low quality, useful only to separate rooms or apartments.
For this reason, the best way to soundproof the walls is to put a second partition and, in the middle, add some insulating material in the form of a spray, acoustic insulation sheets or fiber panels. Even if you don’t put in any insulation, an air gap will improve soundproofing. Being thicker, the wall will not vibrate as much when receiving sound waves.
If this is not feasible for you, you can always choose to attenuate the sound, instead of reducing the vibration of the wall. This is achieved, for example, by applying plaster to the wall and subsequently a coat of paint. With this we will have made a kind of film that will act as a filter and will reduce the power of the sound waves before they reach the wall.
There are other more homemade ways for the walls to help soundproof a room. From the cheapest but surprisingly functional of putting egg containers or egg cups, to others that you can see below in the decoration section.
The cheap option is to fill the space between the base of the door and the floor. For this you can use a rubber weatherstrip (such as a sealing strip) or a sweeper (such as a small broom).
In turn, the most expensive option but that achieves better results is to have a thicker door, with which there will be greater soundproofing. In contrast, cheap, lightweight doors are often hollow on the inside, making them great sound amplifiers.
Soundproofing a ceiling is perhaps not the easiest part of a room that we can isolate. The reason? That there is not really a cheap option, because the ceilings are not usually decorated in any way.
Consequently, the only reliable and realistic option is to, similar to a wall, place a false ceiling and, between the two ceilings, put insulating foam for the ceiling.
The floor of a room is surely not our first objective when we intend to improve its acoustic conditions. The truth is that the other areas will provide greater results.
However, soundproofing a floor will help but it will also make the room feel warmer (which is nice and something to behold).
The floor to avoid is that of tiles because anything that falls to the floor will make a lot of noise. In addition, being cold floors (pretty sure you’ve seen it once going barefoot), they do not help in thermal insulation.
A more optimal floor is carpet. But the best floor to soundproof a room is wood. And more than parquet (expensive and with a more complex installation), we are talking about a floating platform.
To begin with, the floating floor is a relatively cheap option, but before placing it, we will put strips of polyethylene foam as a base, which are, in terms of soundproofing, what really interests us.
These polyethylene foam strips are a kind of dense rubber that creates a dissociation. That is, a separation between two structures in the room that are no longer in direct contact with each other and thus prevent sound from traveling freely.
The floating floor has a click system that allows you to join the rows of flooring without the need for any glue, so if you have time and patience, you can change the floor of the room yourself.
The role of decoration for cheap soundproofing
If you are one of those who are looking for how to DIY soundproof a room at home, then this section interests you.
Here are tips so you can achieve results without works and with a tight budget:
- Choose thick curtains to mitigate the entry and exit of any sound through the windows.
- Put tapestries on the walls.
- Paper the walls. The paper also absorbs noise and improves sound insulation.
- Paint the walls with acoustic insulating paint. The ceramic additive with which this type of paint is made helps trap sound waves.
- Place wooden furniture in the room. Perhaps the best is a wooden shelf full of books.
- Cover the walls with wood panels.
- Put a rug on top of the floor. Better if it is thick.
- Place acoustic foam on walls and ceiling. It usually comes in panels with pyramidal or saw shapes.
Basically it is about filling any space that comes to mind with whatever. If you have ever moved to a new apartment, you will have noticed the difference in soundproofing between an empty room and a fully decorated one.
How much does it cost to soundproof a room?
Now that you know how to soundproof a room so that you don’t hear the neighbors, so that they don’t hear you either and also improve the quality of your sound, it is obvious that what you are most interested in now is knowing the cost of all this.
There are several aspects that make giving you a room soundproofing cost is not easy:
- It depends on whether you opt for solutions that require works or not.
- Whether, if you do work, do it yourself or hire a professional.
- The quality of the materials used. For example, in the case of windows, aluminum is not the same as PVC, nor double glazing as triple.
Obviously, the total cost of soundproofing a room depends on its size. But to give you an idea, soundproofing a room of about 10m2 costs between €300 and €1,200, with an average price of €800.
If you are one of those who prefer a higher level of detail, these are the prices per square meter:
- Soundproofing the walls costs between €60/m2 and €150/m2.
- Soundproofing the floor has a usual price of between €40/m2 and €170/m2.
- Soundproofing the ceiling costs between €90/m2 and €180/m2.
On the other hand, PVC windows with double glazing are usually around €400.
All this without counting on the possible workforce. See what budget you have and contact a company specialized in sound insulation and sound absorption.
And if your budget is not large, remember that we have also explained how to soundproof a room with few things and little money. Test the result of doing the most homemade and cheap, and decide if you need more room soundproofing or not.
A booth to work without room soundproofing
If the reason why you want to soundproof a room is work, and not leisure, then you have an alternative: the soundproof booth. It is a fully prepared booth so that, inside it, you do not hear anything from the outside and, at the same time, the noise produced inside does not come out.
We at Huddlestone are specialist manufacturers of soundproof booths. We make them in different standardized sizes, in order to offer the best price, but we also manufacture fully customized booths in size and accessories.
Being honest, the main drawback of a soundproof booth is its price, since it is higher than that of room soundproofing. However, if you want to work in peace, the accoustic cabin will always give better results. Oh, and if you move into a new home, you can take it with you.
If you have any doubts about it, contact us and we will advise you frankly.