Not everyone has the luxury of having a large house where noise isn’t an issue. If you live in an apartment or condo, you most likely have other people living on the opposite sides of your walls.
This often leads to sound leaking through and getting to your neighbors. It also means your neighbor’s noises will come through to you.
There are a few tried and tested ways of soundproofing your apartment. So, whether you’re playing a loud instrument, watching cinematic films, or have a talkative family, you won’t end up annoying your neighbors.
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How Much Soundproofing Should You Do?
The amount of soundproofing you need to do depends on the levels of sound you’re producing. Although that sounds obvious, some soundproofing options would just be unnecessarily expensive for certain situations.
So, if you’re planning on playing drums in your apartment, you’re going to need some heavy-duty things. If you’re just trying to make sure your neighbors can’t hear your kettle boiling, you won’t need the same level of soundproofing that a drummer would.
Another thing to factor in is how permanent you want the soundproofing to be. Most heavy-duty soundproofing solutions are permanent while the lighter ones are temporary.
I’ll go through the specifics when we get to the points, but just make sure you check with your landlord before doing anything hectic in your living space.
If you’re able to afford the best possible solutions and it’s okay that they’re permanent, you should definitely go with those. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible for many people. So I’m going to give some ideas that will cater to everyone!
One of the best ways to soundproof any space is to build a room within a room. This means adding walls around so that there are two sets between you and the next big space. Although this isn’t possible in condos, you can take some inspiration from it.
Most condo walls are very thin, so adding some drywall to make them thicker will do wonders when it comes to traveling noise. If you simply put some drywall up on each wall in your apartment, the sound will drop significantly.
There are a few extra measures you can take with the drywall, the first being what is known as decoupling. Decoupling is when walls are separated to make it more difficult for sound to get through. An easy way to do this is to set up your drywall so there is a slight gap between it and the walls of the condo.
If that isn’t enough, you could place some foam in that gap to further reduce any traveling sound. These FoamTouch Upholstery cushions work very well for this application.
Speaking of foam, soundproof padding is another great way to eliminate some of that bleeding noise. Have you ever seen how producers use foam squares in their studios? You can get large versions of those to attach to your walls to slow down the vibrations.
Any form of padding against a wall will work moderately well. For example, you could place an upright mattress against the wall and it would lower the sound significantly. It wouldn’t look good, but it would work. Luckily, there are some great products out there that look great and work wonderfully.
These Rhino Acoustic Absorption Panels tend to do the trick as well as leave your walls looking stylish with their black finish. Hanging up acoustic panels and soundproof pads is a great temporary fix if you don’t want something that is permanently attached to the wall.
Another benefit of soundproof padding is that it insulates the sound in the room, meaning the acoustics will be improved in the room.
Soundproof blankets are thick layers of material that you can hang on your walls. They do a fantastic job of cutting down all escaping sounds. They also help the acoustics of the room by preventing the sounds from bouncing around.
These blankets are typically used in studios and practice rooms for musicians. One of the most popular products is the Absorption Sheet by Audimute. These sheets are very heavy and tend to look quite bulky when hung up on your wall.
They fit right in within a studio space. However, they may look fairly unattractive in your home. Imagine having big bulky blankets hung up behind your TV. They are offered in a few different colors, so you may be able to get one that matches the theme of your household.
However, I’d only recommend these if you can think of clever ways of aesthetically blending them in.
Sound barriers may be one of the most expensive methods of soundproofing, but they’re undoubtedly one of the most effective. So, you should look into getting them if you’re not on a tight budget.
Sound barriers are used to create a soundproof space by blending materials with your walls and reducing all the escaping noise. These Mass Loaded Vinyl barriers work extraordinarily well.
It will take a bit of planning to install them and blend them in with the walls. They’re a permanent solution as you won’t be able to easily remove them. This makes them very viable if you’re the homeowner. If you’re renting, you’ll have to check up with your landlord or go with one of the other soundproofing options.
The great thing about noise barriers is that they can be placed in a way that won’t affect the appearance of your walls. If you put them between a layer of drywall, no one will ever know that they’re there.
One thing that people often overlook when it comes to soundproofing is curtains. Condos and apartments typically have blinds installed to save costs. Blinds are very light and do nothing to stop any sound from getting through. The same can be said for thin curtains.
One small thing you can do to help with this is to hang up some thick and heavy curtains. They tend to absorb sounds very well, giving you an easy way of soundproofing without doing any extra construction.
To get the best possible outcome, I’d suggest hanging curtains that are long enough to reach the floor. The more curtain surface area there is, the more sound absorption will occur.
Hanging thicker curtains won’t have as strong an effect that adding walls and layers will have, but they will cut down the smaller sounds. They’ll also keep that sun out of your eyes in the morning!
Now that we’ve gone through several vertical solutions, it’s time to start looking horizontally. The type of floor you have has a huge effect on how sound travels. Any space that has tiled or wooden floors is going to have sound waves bouncing all around.
To combat this, you need to lay some carpets down. Carpets do a fantastic job of insulating sound. The more carpets you have, the better the acoustics in the room will be.
Just think of how every drummer puts a carpet under their drum set. Yes, it does stop the set from moving, but it also improves the sound quality. A large carpet placed in your lounge will cut down on the echoing acoustics, and in turn, it will cut down on the sound traveling to the next room.
Check for Sound Leaks
If everything on this list sounds a bit overwhelming, the easiest thing you can do to get started is to look for places where the sound will leak out of the apartment. The two main areas where this happens are doors and windows.
Most doors don’t fully cover the space in the doorframe, having small gaps around where the air will flow through. If air can flow through, sound can as well. So, you need to seal those spaces up somehow. The biggest space is at the bottom of the door.
This Acoustic Door Seal Kit is a fantastic product to use to seal those spaces. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference it makes. The spaces by the windows aren’t as big as the door, so you could use some smaller materials to seal those up.
Sealing up any leaks will go a long way in soundproofing your apartment.
It’s important to remember that none of the solutions mentioned above will be 100% effective. The only way to completely soundproof an area is to build a heavily fortified room within a room.
However, these solutions will work fairly well, especially if you utilize a few of them together with each other. If you’re the one making noise, you can also try your best to keep the noise levels down.
If your neighbors are the ones making noise, these methods will stop their sound from coming in as well. So, establish what you need for your situation and get planning.
My personal favorite soundproofing solution is to put padding between extra layers of drywall. It works incredibly well.