Living in an apartment has its challenges. Aside from the limited space, the neighbors’ noise can also be of great concern. Still, there are ways on how to soundproof a wall in an apartment to solve the problem.
Ambient noise in an apartment can disrupt your online schooling, recording session, and other activities. And if the noise can’t be helped, you can try soundproofing as the solution.
On the other hand, soundproofing works both ways. It blocks outside or neighbors’ noise and it also prevents sounds inside your unit from being heard outdoors. This is added privacy, especially if your apartment has thin walls.
In this post, we discuss How to soundproof a wall in an apartment using DIY soundproofing methods you can try in your apartment. These are simple options using the materials you can easily find at home or nearby stores.
How to soundproof a wall in an apartment
Replacing an apartment wall isn’t feasible all the time. Also, paying for professional refurbishing can be costly and not worth the splurge if you’re on a budget.
Despite that, you can try these DIY methods on How to soundproof a wall in an apartment to help avoid outdoor sounds from getting in your apartment or vice versa.
- Patch up holes
The first thing you need to do is inspect your apartment wall. Look for holes and uneven spots and patch them up. You can use spackling or a wall joint compound that matches the material you’re working on.
If the wall is facing outdoors, turn the lights off and see where the sunlight is peeking. Patch these areas to reduce any sound leaks.
Aside from patching the holes, you can also fill the spots on your wall with furniture. The furniture will serve as the buffer for manual soundproofing. You can put your bookshelf against the wall as a sound blockage.
This solution doesn’t command additional costs, but it may not be enough if you plan to play loud music in your apartment.
- Put up noise reduction curtains
Another way to soundproof your apartment wall is to hang noise reduction curtains. Unlike ordinary curtains, noise reduction types are thicker. Most of them are made of three fabric layers to help muffle the sound coming in and out of your apartment.
The first layer is made of 450-thread polyester fabric or something denser to block off the noise. The outer layer is another 450-thread polyester, which sandwiches a mass-loaded vinyl layer in the middle. Combined, all these layers make a hefty and thick curtain that can block noise.
Despite their weight, noise reduction curtains are easy to hang since it’s fitted with rings that fit most rods. Some can even be attached to the wall using Velcro tapes, so there’s no need to drill holes for installation.
Still, you should remember that noise reduction curtains won’t make your apartment radio silent. It’s only a good complementing solution to other DIY methods we discussed here.
- Use soundproofing paint
If you’re planning to paint your apartment a new color while soundproofing it, you might as well go for soundproofing paint. It’s also called acoustic paint and is said to help reduce noise from leaking or entering a room.
This water-based paint is made of a viscoelastic compound with a thicker consistency. It also dries fast and is applied the same way as other paint.
Due to its chemical properties, soundproofing paint will help prevent and reduce the intensity of sound vibrations. While it won’t totally block off the noise, you’ll notice a difference after the application.
Aside from that, soundproofing paint is also UV-resistant, so it can be used outdoors. It also has low combustibility, so it’s safer compared to other paint types.
For better results, you can pair the soundproofing paint with soundproofing curtains and furniture against the wall.
- Install acoustic foams
If you’re planning to play loud music or musical instruments, I suggest that you install acoustic foams on your apartment wall. It’s because hard walls reflect sound waves a lot, which allows noise from the outside to come in and the sound from your apartment to leak.
By installing acoustic foam on your wall, you’re making the surface softer. Once the sound wave hits the foam, the reflection will be much less. The result is muffled noise.
As much as possible, choose acoustic foams with pyramid or wedge profiles on the surface. This added texture will help mute sounds.
Overall, installing acoustic foams is fairly easy. You can use adhesive tapes, adhesive sprays, or semi-permanent adhesives. Just make sure that it’s attached to your apartment wall properly.
The bonus part here is that acoustic foams are available in a wide range of colors and sizes. You can match it to the motif of your apartment, so it doesn’t ruin the vibe.
- Use acoustic wall tiles
Another option you can use is acoustic wall tiles. These are usually made of polyester, which helps dampen sounds. You can often find this on hexagonal shapes that tessellate together.
These tiles are often equipped with an adhesive at the back for easy installation. You can also find them in different colors, sizes, and shapes. With that, you can also use it as a decorative touch to your apartment.
Another good thing with acoustic wall tiles is the cheaper price. It’s way cheaper than soundproofing curtains and foams. Also, it’s more appealing for those who consider aesthetics paramount.
Although polyester tiles aren’t very insulating, it’s quite resistant to oil. It’s also easy to clean and move from one spot to another.
- Install mass-loaded vinyl (MLV)
MLV or mass-loaded vinyl is a popular sound barrier used even in commercial spaces. It’s often made of a combination of different materials, including calcium carbonate and other metals.
Due to this component, MLV has substantial heft. It’s also an excellent solution for soundproofing apartment walls. You can install this on the wall surface or in the middle of drywall sheets.
Aside from that, you can find heavier versions of mass-loaded vinyl, which is measured on its weight per square foot. The heavier it is, the more effective it will be in blocking noise.
MLVs are also easy to install. You can attach it to your wall’s joists or simply use it as an additional layer before installing your preferred wallpaper.
The good thing here is that mass-loaded vinyl is paint-friendly. If you prefer painting over it, make sure that you use latex paint as it adheres better than other options.
Overall, MLVs reduce noise quite well. If paired with soundproofing curtains, acoustic foams, or acoustic tiles, you’ll achieve excellent results.
- Use QuietRock panel
QuietRock is a material widely used as a sound barrier, both in commercial and residential applications. It’s made of viscoelastic polymers and gypsum for the best soundproofing. Despite that, this panel is thin and won’t eat up too much floor space.
If you’re soundproofing a wall with the existing drywall, you can simply screw the panel into the ceiling joists. Make sure that you’re using the appropriate drywall screws to keep the QuietRock panel in place.
In general, QuietRock is an excellent soundproofing material. It will take up to four drywall sheets to achieve the same soundproofing effect as one QuietRock layer.
Each layer of QuietRock costs around $60 to $115. You can choose from a variety of sound transmission class ratings as well as sizes. If you opt for thicker sheets, you’ll surely spend more. The size of your wall is also an important consideration.
- Utilize acoustic blankets
Acoustic blankets look like thin comforters with a quilted design. It’s hung or wrapped on the wall to absorb the sound that goes inside or outside the apartment.
Unlike typical sheets, acoustic blankets are made with fiberglass-based material. It has similarities to insulation used on walls. The good thing is you can easily remove the blanket anytime you like.
Moreover, you can find sound blankets of various thicknesses. Obviously, thicker ones are better at soundproofing.
However, keep in mind that sound blankets aren’t the solution if you want 100% soundproofing. If you want absolute silence, you should install foams, in-wall insulation, and more.
- Use makeshift egg crate acoustic foam
If you don’t want to spend money on acoustic foams, acoustic tiles, or QuietRock, you can try installing egg crates on your wall. Thifs works well in absorbing the sound outdoors and soundproofing your apartment, so you don’t bother your neighbors.
You simply have to install the crates using an adhesive of your choice. You can also paint it if you don’t want to ruin the look of your apartment. But if you want to hide it in plain sight, you can also drape a curtain over it.
However, you should keep in mind that egg crates aren’t as sound-absorbing as actual acoustic foams. Nevertheless, it works well as an alternative.
- Utilize a white-noise
If you want an instant way to drown out the noise outdoors or prevent neighbors from hearing you, you can utilize white noise. This works by masking the noise, so you can focus or sleep.
There are white noise machines you can buy to temporarily block the outdoor sounds. However, if your goal is to dampen the noise coming from your apartment, I suggest you use the other methods discussed here instead.
- Seal your windows
One of the hardest parts of an apartment wall to soundproof is the one with windows. Since it’s a large opening, it allows sounds to enter freely.
To soundproof your apartment windows, you can install a window insert. This is made of framed glass that’s placed about 5 inches off the actual window. The gap between the insert and the window itself will contain most of the vibrations, so the sound doesn’t leak into your apartment.
You can also install weather stripping along your window edges. Aside from blocking outdoor elements, it will also prevent noise from getting in and out of your apartment wall. You can also use caulk to seal window gaps in case weather stripping isn’t readily available.
Lastly, make sure that you drape soundproofing curtains over your windows for added noise dampening.
- Use blown-in insulation
If your apartment wall is made of drywall, you can make it soundproof by blowing in insulation inside. There’s no need to remove the wall cladding or rip the drywall apart. This process only involves drilling several holes in the drywall and then funneling the insulation through a hose.
Depending on your preference, you can use fiberglass or cellulose insulation. The cellulose type is cheaper by up to 75% if compared to fiberglass. It’s also less messy to apply than fiberglass insulation.
Frequently Asked Questions on How to soundproof a wall in an apartment
Q: Can neighbors hear through apartment walls?
A: Depending on the thickness and structure of the material, it’s possible for your apartment neighbor to hear through the walls. The volume of the sound is also another consideration. If you want to restore your privacy, you can try soundproofing the walls using the methods we discussed here.
Q: Can you soundproof existing walls?
A: Existing walls can be soundproofed from the outside. You can also drill a hole into the wall to fill it with insulation. However, if you’re dealing with a brick wall of an apartment, your best bet is to use soundproofing materials that will buffer the sound. Overall, there are many useful methods here that you can try.
Q: How much does it cost to soundproof a wall?
A: Professional wall soundproofing can cost around $1,000 to $2,000, depending on the size of the wall you want to fix. However, this cost can inflate if you’re opting for expensive soundproofing material. But if you’re on a budget, you can try the DIY soundproofing methods we discussed here.
Q: Can you soundproof a room without damaging the walls?
A: You can soundproof your room walls without damaging them. You can try adding extra drywall layers or blowing insulation into the wall through a drilled hole. Overall, you can still soundproof your room without having to tear down the wall material entirely.
Q: Is soundproofing worth the money?
A: If your apartment neighbors are being too noisy, investing in soundproofing is a good idea. This will give you added privacy and peace of mind. But if you don’t want to spend your money, you can try doing the soundproofing on your own.
Final words on How to soundproof a wall in an apartment
Knowing how to soundproof a wall in an apartment on your own will save you a lot of money. The good news is that there are many DIY methods you can try using store-bought items.
But if you’re keen to achieve the best soundproofing, you should consider consulting an expert. That way, the solution will be tailored based on the specific setup, location, and noise levels in your apartment.