HomeArticle13 Non-Invasive Solutions to Soundproof an Apartment

13 Non-Invasive Solutions to Soundproof an Apartment




 Soundproof an Apartment
Soundproof an Apartment

Living in a loud apartment can be quite unpleasant. Whether it be from your neighbors playing music late at night, a noisy dog constantly barking, or the sound of voices coming through walls and doors, a noisy environment is not conducive to a comfortable living experience.

Noise can be a nuisance, and if it is disruptive, the source is irrelevant.

I am pleased to offer some advice on acoustic insulation for your entire apartment, from the walls to the ceiling, windows, and doors.

Where does your apartment get the noise from?

Living in a populated urban area can be quite noisy; seldom does one experience a period of respite from the soundscape. This is a fact of life in many cities. Like myself, those living in apartments often suffer the most from the din.

Noise can come from many sources, ranging from the screeching of garbage trucks in the early hours to the clacking of stilettos overhead to the cries of a young child below. Furthermore, sound waves often find their way in through seemingly impenetrable barriers.

Due to their construction, apartments typically have walls of minimal thickness and doors of lightweight material, such as hollow core doors with trapped air. As we know, the air is an effective conductor of sound, and the walls are often constructed of drywall, which lacks the density to provide effective soundproofing.

That applies to the ceiling too.

Even with closed windows, the noise of passing airplanes and trains can be heard quite clearly. This is due to the gaps between the window jambs which allow external noise to permeate the inside of the room. This will be all too familiar for anyone who has lived close to an elevated train line.

Soundproof an Apartment with 13 Non-Invasive Ways

Weatherstrip the door

Installing weatherstripping tape around the door jamb is a cost-efficient solution to seal the gaps. This option is far less time-consuming than caulking, which is discussed in more detail here.

Weatherstripping tape should be the first choice for those looking for an economical and straightforward solution to noise reduction. It is inexpensive and simple to apply, yet it can be easily removed. This makes it ideal in comparison to caulking or door gaskets.

Rubber is my preferred material for weatherstripping tape, given that it is generally more affordable, discreet, and provides longevity of use. Therefore, it was the ideal choice for my door. However, other options, such as foam, felt, vinyl, and silicone, are available.

Weatherstripping tape is not simply used for doorways; it can be used to seal window seams, prevent drafts, and for thermal insulation during colder seasons, but it can also be used to block out sound effectively.

When selecting a suitable adhesive, durability is paramount. This is even more so than with doors, as the tape will likely be exposed to harsh weather conditions and increased friction.

Although it may not be necessary to purchase a costly roll of high-grade vinyl tape, it is recommended to use quality rubber tape for the door.

Install a Door Sweep

Door sweeps are designed to reduce the potential intrusion of drafts and insects through the threshold, but they can also serve as an effective shield against unwanted noise.

Since insects can pass through the smallest gaps, it is unsurprising that sound can also penetrate. A door sweep is not only an effective way to reduce noise and prevent unwanted pests from entering; it can also be useful for various other purposes.

A door sweep may be utilized to prevent the infiltration of cigarette smoke, paint fumes, and other irritating particulates into space should the hallways outside the entrance be affected.

I suggest consulting the article Best Door Sweeps For Soundproofing for additional information.

Buy soundproof blankets

While this repair may not be aesthetically pleasing, soundproof blankets are a relatively inexpensive and effective solution.

The acoustic insulation blankets I’m utilizing.

Fortunately, for our endeavors, dense and heavy fabrics are beneficial.

I would suggest searching for a blanket affixed with grommets. Grommets are small rings that we utilize for hanging curtains onto curtain rods. Their inclusion will make putting the blanket on and taking it off much more convenient.

Make a window plug

A window plug can be a cost-effective way of reducing sound transmission through apartment windows. With a little time and knowledge, this DIY project can be relatively straightforward and enjoyable.

A soundproof window plug constitutes a layer of foam and a soundproof mat affixed to a wooden board, ideally equipped with handles. One advantage of opting for a window plug is that all the components can be procured at an economical price on Amazon and other retail outlets.

When done correctly, installing window plugs can be an effective form of noise reduction.

Blackout curtains are a great option for some, yet they may not be suitable for everyone. A major disadvantage of these curtains is that they completely obstruct light and have an aesthetically unappealing look. However, they offer excellent light-blocking capabilities if you can overlook these factors.

soundproof curtains

Soundproof curtains can be combined with other noise-reduction measures for greater efficacy.

Soundproof curtains can offer aesthetic value to a room, creating a more inviting atmosphere. Additionally, they can reduce outside noise and prevent light from entering. This can be an effective way to improve the ambiance of a room.

Although soundproof curtains are not as effective at eliminating noise as window plugs, they can still be a worthwhile purchase for less severe noise issues or when combined with other noise-reduction methods.

To further explore ways to soundproof windows, we recommend reading this article.

Rearrange the furniture

To reduce or block out noise, strategically placing large obstructions in the vicinity is essential. Without specialized noise-absorbing materials, this is the most effective solution. In most homes, the largest accessible objects are pieces of furniture; thus, positioning furniture in strategic locations is a viable option.

If arranged correctly, furniture such as couches, sofas, beds, and wardrobes can greatly impact a room’s acoustics. Planning the layout of furnishings can be an effective measure to reduce sound propagation.

This solution may not be the best option, as its success depends largely on the room’s dimensions and other associated variables. Placing furniture in front of a door is not advisable; therefore, if a piece of furniture appears unsuitable for a particular location, it should not be placed there.

One way to improve the noise insulation of your walls and beautify your home is to install decor. This efficient solution allows you to accomplish both objectives with a single effort.

An additional layer of drywall

The optimal (albeit more expensive) approach for soundproofing a residential wall is to add a layer of drywall and incorporate a sheet of mass-loaded vinyl (MLV).

Enhancing the acoustic insulation of the wall by installing an additional layer of drywall is a prudent choice. The thicker the wall, the more difficult it is for sound to penetrate. However, if you are looking for a more effective solution, you may consider investing in soundproof drywall – it is a more expensive option, yet one that provides superior acoustic insulation.

Soundproof drywall, composed of gypsum, ceramics, and viscoelastic materials, is an incredibly effective combination. Reports suggest one layer of soundproof drywall can reduce noise to a degree equal to that of eight layers of traditional drywall.

Though the exact figures may differ, it is evident that drywall still holds a significant advantage over its alternatives.

A disadvantage is that soundproof drywall is considerably more expensive than its standard counterpart, with some estimates up to four times the cost per sheet.

An in-depth evaluation of Mass Loaded Vinyl material.

Despite the higher cost, MLV is an incredibly effective option. There is no doubt of its efficacy.

We can increase the acoustic and thermal insulation of the apartment ceiling by installing an additional layer of drywall.

To create a soundproof environment, it is recommended to use two layers of drywall. Installing resilient channels or a dampening compound between layers is suggested to optimize the results.

I suggest using the Green Glue compound, as it has proven successful for me. Nevertheless, any other kind of adhesive may be employed if you choose to do so. For additional information regarding Green Glue, please refer to the following article.

Acoustic Caulk For sealing gaps

If cracks or gaps are present in the walls or ceilings of the apartment (such as between drywall sheets), it is essential to seal them as the initial step in soundproofing. Even the smallest of gaps should be attended to.

Acoustic caulk is an ideal solution for the task at hand. With its rubber-like consistency, it offers flexibility and longevity. One of the major advantages of acoustic caulk is its durability; it will remain flexible and not fracture, unlike standard caulking.

It is necessary to procure a caulking gun. However, the cost of acoustic caulk is reasonable.

Install 9 Sound Absorbing Panels

The acoustic foam may effectively alleviate issues with a single wall as a final option. This should only be employed as a last resort, but it can be a successful solution.

Soundproof foam is composed of polyurethane-based components– such as polyether and polyester– which create open cells across and within the foam, thus reducing sound waves.

This sound-absorbing foam is not intended to block noise but rather to deaden and reduce echo. This is why studios typically have these panels installed.

Although this is not an all-encompassing solution, acoustic foam can produce remarkable outcomes when coupled with a few of my suggested techniques.

Create a drop ceiling

We have now arrived at the stage where we must consider the financial implications of this project; however, a drop ceiling is not necessarily the best option to reduce noise.

A drop ceiling is a viable means of soundproofing an existing ceiling, despite its unfamiliarity to some. In essence, it is a secondary ceiling installed beneath the primary one.

The two are separated by a soundproof barrier of compressed air, preventing noise from traveling through.

Drop ceilings are constructed with acoustic tiles/panels, and while they can be relatively costly, this option should not be discounted as it is highly effective. Undertaking this project may not be a suitable DIY task, but it should be noted for its impressive results.

Place thick rugs

I concede that this method is unlikely to be effective in dealing with any disturbance caused by your downstairs neighbors. However, if your footfalls are too loud, it may make a noticeable difference.

When selecting a floor covering for noise reduction, opt for a tightly-woven carpet for maximum effect. The thicker and denser the fabric, the better. Furthermore, a thick carpet can greatly enhance your home’s aesthetic.

Place rubber or foam floor mats

If carpets fail to provide the desired effect, rubber or foam floor mats may be another option.

For optimal results, installing these mats beneath the carpets is recommended. This will provide an aesthetically pleasing appearance, and the extra cushioning will also provide an improved outcome.

Rubber-Cal’s recycled rubber mats are my favorite; they effectively reduce impact noise (such as footsteps, dropped items, etc.), and their non-slip properties make them suitable for use as a home gym mat.

Soundproof the Air Vent

Air vents are frequently disregarded, yet their potential for contributing to sound leakage should not be underestimated.

If a residence contains ventilation, it is important to exercise caution. Decreasing noise output from the vents will also decrease air circulation. To eliminate noise escape, sealing the vents is necessary; however, this is not a preferred solution.

Despite this, certain measures can be taken to reduce the amount of noise leaking from vents without significantly impeding airflow. The success of this will depend on the particular characteristics of the ventilation system, such as the duct shape, wall structure, and materials used.

alternatives to soundproof an apartment

Tell Your Neighbors to Stop Making Noise

It appears to be a common phenomenon that people, myself included, often overlook the most straightforward and obvious solutions to the issues encountered in life. While the precise cause of this behavior is unknown, it appears to be a pattern regularly observed by many.

It is important to remember that requesting your neighbors to reduce the noise levels can be a difficult experience. It is possible to encounter uncooperative and inconsiderate neighbors, in which case the police may need to be involved. This is not an ideal outcome.

Neighbors with young children generally have limited options when confronted with crying or temper tantrums.

It is plausible that your neighbors are unaware of the disturbance they are causing. Consequently, I would advise you to attempt to communicate with them before constructing a soundproof structure. Your request should be courteous yet direct.

If the desired outcome is achieved, then success has been attained. If the desired outcome is not achieved, further steps may be taken to address the issue.

Neutralize noise with a White Noise Machine

White noise is an intriguing phenomenon. Similar to how white light consists of all the visible colors, white noise is composed of all audible frequencies.

Many people find white noise to be exceptionally calming. If this applies to you, then white noise may be the solution you have been searching for. White noise can effectively muffle other surrounding noises as it consists of all audible frequencies.

A white noise machine may be well-suited for this purpose; alternatively, lengthy recordings of white noise can be located on YouTube. A white noise fan could also be employed to achieve the desired result.

A pair of earmuffs or headphones.

Consider investing in noise-canceling headphones or earmuffs; these items are available at various prices, and some savvy shopping may allow you to find a great deal.

While earmuffs are not traditionally designed for sleeping, they do serve a purpose in protecting hearing. Factory workers and musicians regularly use earmuffs to guard their ears from loud noises, yet they are not conducive to a restful night’s sleep. This can also be said for noise-canceling headphones.

Earplugs may be suitable for some; however, I have yet to find a pair that I am comfortable wearing. Nevertheless, it is worth considering if this is an effective solution for you.

Final Thoughts

Truthfully, if you don’t intend to establish a studio in your abode, most of these suggestions may not benefit you. However, suppose you are dealing with a raucous atmosphere due to neighbors, your surroundings, or an inability to tolerate sound. In that case, a handful of these may be of use.



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