It’s your home and you want to be able to do whatever you like in it. But rather than alienating the neighbors, and paying a small fortune to have your home soundproofed, there are methods of inexpensive soundproofing that you can do yourself. All you need is some advice, some materials and the will to get it done.
Can Mean Compromising on Aesthetics
Experts abound on this topic; there are those who have home theaters, others who record music in home studios and still others whose musical interests may not be so user-friendly. If you’ve ever lived next door to a family who has one child practicing drums and another practicing tuba, you’ll know what I mean.
The main thing to know when thinking about inexpensive soundproofing is that the softer the wall, ceiling and floor coverings, the more sound will be absorbed. Obviously, if you have smooth brick walls, ceramic tile on the floor and an ordinary ceiling, the sound is going to come alive all over the place, whether everyone else likes it or not. Carpet is a good start to absorbing some of the noise, whether it be pollution or a symphony-in-the-making.
Keeping Sound In or Out?
You also have to decide whether your soundproofing is to keep sound in or keep it out. If you live on a major, busy road and the cacophony of traffic makes you toss and turn all night long, then your needs may be as simple as installing double glazed windows; simple, but not necessarily inexpensive.
You can also plant evergreen shrubs outside the windows because as they grow and become denser, they will create a sound buffer zone between your house’s interior and whatever is going on outside. Storm windows will also be of benefit here.
Now, if you want to be selfish with all those wonderful sounds that occur on the inside of your house, and not share them with your hapless neighbors, then you will need to apply this inexpensive soundproofing to the inside of the relevant rooms.
Improvise with Materials
When you’re going for cost-savings, you may not be able to be too fussy about the aesthetics. Frankly, if your aim is to set up a sound studio where you can record music semi professionally, then your priority will be acoustics and sound absorption, not how pretty it all looks.
Very cheaply, you can buy some old comforters and blankets and use them as cloth batting. Rig up some ropes around the walls, and particularly the windows and hang the materials from them. Very little noise will bounce off of them and the sound will be absorbed, and not allowed to penetrate to outside the room.
Some people have had success with using old – but clean – mattresses and standing them up against the walls. Given that you can buy them in varying thicknesses, you can put in place mattresses that won’t take up an enormous amount of space but that will be very effective as inexpensive soundproofing. Keep an eye out on ebay or at garage sales for nice, clean ones to put to use.
Ugly but Workable
Another miser-friendly – if somewhat ugly – solution for inexpensive soundproofing is to use egg cartons, styrofoam packing blocks (these will likely come from your recording equipment when you buy them) or perhaps even purchase some large styrofoam panels for the purpose. At least large panels will look quite a bit better. Paint them if you like; whatever it takes to turn something fairly ugly into something more aesthetically acceptable.
A more involved job requires removing the drywall from the room you wish to soundproof and inserting wadding, fabric, styrofoam or other available materials into the cavity, in and around the wall studs.
Because sound waves travel through the air, penetrate the drywall and transfer to the drywall on the other side, you can prevent at least 50% of sound making its way through and often even achieve a better result depending on the density and quantity of the material you use.
If you have a really cool home theater that you want to soundproof, the above suggestions may not be suitable because you want to be able to relax in that space and not worry that your soundproofing is unattractive. Still, it’s up to you to determine your priorities and saving money is always important.