Band practice: it’s the highlight of your week, that sacred time when you and your bandmates come together to write, rehearse and express your art.
It may also be the bane of your neighbor’s week, a frustrating time when they have to turn the TV volume all the way up to hear their favorite show after an exhausting day at work.
Whether your neighbors are fans of your music or not, soundproofing your garage is an effective way to keep the music alive while being respectful of the people around you.
Thankfully, there are plenty of DIY solutions to contain sound within your garage. In this post, we will walk you through multiple options, from most affordable to most effective …
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Soundproofing the Garage Door
Figuring out how to soundproof a garage door may seem like a daunting endeavor, especially if you have the type of door that rolls up over the ceiling.
I’m happy to report that it’s actually surprisingly simple, and there are a few approaches you can take.
Acoustic Curtains and Blankets
If you use your garage door every day and have concerns about applying acoustic treatments directly to the door, acoustic curtains may be the solution for you.
Simply install a curtain rod across the length of the door and outfit the area with acoustic curtains. Not only do they come in a variety of sizes to cover most garage doors, but you can also select a color scheme to jazz up the space a little.
While not as visually appealing, acoustic blankets also offer a reasonably priced, low-effort solution.
Insulation and Panels
Soundproofing is all about adding mass to surfaces that easily allow sound to pass through. The thin panels that comprise your garage door aren’t doing you any favors, and a little bulk will go a long way in keeping sound in.
Of course, the most expensive and effective way to prevent sound from escaping through your garage door is to replace it with an insulated door. When that option isn’t in the budget, you can insulate it youself.
Prefabricated insulating garage door panels are an excellent solution to this problem. They fit most standard garage doors panels and don’t require any additional tools to install. As a bonus, they assist with temperature regulation!
If the price of those panels is a little too steep for your liking, you can certainly make your own using a roll of insulating material and cutting it to fit your door panels. For extra sound deadening, use some double-sided tape to attach a layer of acoustic foam to the insulation.
Important: you will want to be considerate of the weight your door can handle as well as the degree of clearance you need to operate it properly. (Unless you never use the door. In that case, hey, pile on as many layers as you like!)
Last but not least, you will need to address the bottom of the garage door as it is more than likely the path of least resistance for sound to travel.
That weatherproof seal on the bottom tends to wear rapidly and is a favorite entry point for the kind of household pests that like to chew. If the seal on your garage door is looking worse for wear, go ahead and replace it with a fresh one. Once you’ve installed it, ensure the seal is tight by checking for any light peeking through.
Now that you’ve got your garage door sufficiently buttoned up, you can address the other three walls in your garage. The sky’s the limit, here, you are only limited by your budget and level of comfort with DIY projects.
Acoustic Foam: Tiles and Panels
For the thriftiest, lowest impact acoustic wall treatment, consider applying a layer of the kind of acoustic foam tiles often found in recording studios. For a slight variation with more color options, consider acoustic panels like these.
It is important to note that acoustic foam is designed to shape the sound of a room, not soundproof it. By virtue of adding mass to your walls, acoustic foam can certainly decrease the amount of sound that escapes. But what you’re really going to notice by using acoustic tiles is a warm-sounding room that is free of natural reverb.
Frankly, this is a welcome feature of any practice space, and you may want to consider treating the walls with acoustic foam after taking more effective soundproofing measures!
Add More Drywall
In keeping with the theme of adding mass to stop sound, consider adding a layer of drywall.
To do this, you will want to acquire a thicker drywall than what is likely already used in that space, ideally ⅝”. If it’s within the budget, consider investing in soundproof drywall.
It is also a great idea to use a liberal amount of soundproof sealant such as Green Glue for installation.
To really maximize your efforts, add a layer of mass-loaded vinyl (MLV) in between the drywall panels. MLV is a heavy, flexible vinyl material that is loaded with salts, sands and tiny particles of metal to stop sound in its tracks. (If you don’t mind the look, you could even simply drape MLV across your otherwise untreated walls.)
At the highest end of the effort/cost spectrum is perhaps one of the most effective soundproofing methods you can apply to any wall: decoupling.
Decoupling a wall is the process of separating two parts of a wall in order to break up the vibrations that are attempting to travel through it. There are a few ways to do this, including building a second wall on top of the existing wall, using resilient channels, or installing sound clips.
If you’re going to be modifying an existing wall to decouple it, you may want to consider replacing any old insulation with a more soundproof type such as Rockwool.
Soundproofing Doors and Windows
Doors and windows are the weakest link in any soundproofing project. Take just a handful of measures to shore up these cracks in your soundproof scheme.
The first step to treating any door or window is to replace any worn weatherstripping. Rubber and foam strips do an especially good job. And don’t forget to seal up door bottoms with a solid door sweep.
Similarly, check the frame for any cracks or gaps and seal them up with a soundproof caulk such as Green Glue.
Once you’ve sealed the outside of your windows, it’s time to address the window itself.
You can elect to install soundproof drapes that come in a variety of colors and offer blackout capability, or simply cover them with acoustic blankets. Budget allowing, consider a heavier-duty version such as this one. These measures can also be used to add a layer to the interior door.
Of course, the most expensive and effective way to soundproof windows and doors is to replace them with double-paned windows and insulated doors.
Soundproofing Floors and Ceilings
The final frontier in turning your garage into a soundproof practice space is the space above and below. Floors and ceilings reflect a tremendous amount of impact sound, the kind you make when you hit your drums.
The single most effective way to soundproof your ceiling is to install a drop ceiling, which has a similar effect to decoupling walls. You may want to consider this in the instance that the baby’s nursery is above your garage or your partner has a home office up there.
But the far more budget-friendly version is to simply apply acoustic foam tiles or panels just as you did on your walls. Once again, you’ll enjoy a warmer, echo-free practice environment.
Treating your floor is by far and away the easiest step to soundproofing your garage. All you need to do is add a layer of material that can absorb vibration.
Interlocking rubber floor tiles are an excellent choice, or simply lay down rubber mat flooring rated for garages. If you can’t cover the entire floor, focus on placing the mats exclusively under drums and amps.
For added impact, you can even use an insulating flooring underlayment underneath your mats of choice.
Soundproofing a garage for band practice is an essential step in preserving a space for you and your mates to create and rehearse while preserving the sanity of your family and neighbors.
With a little creativity, time, and elbow grease, you can confidently turn up to 11 without fear of interruptions from unenthusiastic neighbors or local law enforcement! Rock on …