Having noisy neighbors can make your day-to-day life quite difficult. If you work for home or are a student, their loud TV or even talking will bother you every day.
One of the best ways to fix this issue is by soundproofing. Though it sounds complicated, soundproofing is often quite simple. A few small projects you can do yourself can make a significant difference depending on how noisy are your neighbors.
There are a few things to consider before you proceed to any of the projects. It’s important to identify the noise and decide on exactly what you want to do. Figure out which parts of your home you should soundproof and to what extent.
Type of noise
There are several types of noise we recognize though only two we come across most often. You should try to understand what you’re dealing with because that can help you in choosing the soundproof method that will be the most effective for you.
Airborne noise is the talking and loud TV and music you hear coming from your neighbors. Impact noise is them running around on the floor above.
Where is the noise coming from?
Do you live in an apartment building? If you’re in a house, do you share any walls with your neighbors? Ask yourself these questions in order to figure out where does the noise come from.
This is important because it helps you decide on which parts of your home require soundproofing.
If you share a wall with some noisy people, you can probably get away with soundproofing just that wall. If the noise is coming from the people above or below you, you’ll have to soundproof your ceilings (including basement ceilings) or soundproof your floors.
Plan in advance
Many people tend to forget to plan everything before they actually get to the project itself. If your house is near a café or a club, you’ll probably have to do more than just soundproof a single wall. This means the project will be quite large so you should plan everything in detail.
Pretty much all of these DIY projects take a little time and are easy to do. However, you want to have everything at hand so you can finish quickly and without hassle.
Some of these methods are enough on their own while others work better when combined which is why you should carefully consider all factors in advance.
We’ve spent some time researching on what are the best ways to soundproof against noisy neighbors. These are the simplest yet most effective projects you can do by yourself or with minimal help from a professional.
Take a moment to read some of the best ways to soundproof different parts of your home depending on the kind of sound you’re dealing with.
Sharing a wall is often a problem for most people because some residents make noise without even realizing it. You need to soundproof the walls first. Seniors will blast their TV while your young neighbors might listen to loud music when they host parties. Here are the several things you can do to reduce the noise coming in:
Thin walls are the main reason why you can hear everything your neighbors do. One way to fix the issue is by adding mass to the existing wall which is where drywall comes into play.
The material is commonly used for this purpose as it’s quite easy to work with. They are good at reducing noise, and the best thing is that you can layer several sheets for better efficiency.
Keep in mind that several types of drywall vary in effectiveness, thickness, and price. You might even come across drywall specially made for soundproof. This is quite more expensive than most others, but it makes a huge difference. It’s an excellent choice for blocking extremely loud noises if your neighbors have a media room or band rehearsals, for example.
Acoustic panels are a much cheaper option than drywall. However, not many people like the aesthetic part since these foam mats are clearly visible. It’s what you’ve seen in recording studios, and though it looks good there, you might not like it in your living room. Still, there are plenty of colors and designs to choose from, so make sure to consider it.
Installation is something you can probably do yourself because it’s relatively simple and requires no construction. Most come with an adhesive on the back, so you just stick them to your walls. These also work as insulators and help against thermal loss. The mats are lightweight, and though they contain rubber, they don’t have any odors. They are also usually resistant to oil and petrol.
MLV, otherwise known as mass-loaded vinyl soundproofing is a highly popular material made especially for soundproofing. It’s flexible and comes in roles, so it’s pretty simple to install. These hang on walls, and you can even use them for soundproofing your floor. You can also use it between layers of drywall which is one of the best ways to soundproof your wall.
These rolls come in different sizes and are quite heavy so you might need a helping hand with the installation. There’s nothing complicated about putting them up, is just that the added weight could be too much for some.
Many experts claim that sound is just like water when it comes to going through walls. It finds the smallest gaps, cracks, and openings to enter your room.
It’s possible to reduce the noise significantly by just filling in these cracks. Luckily, there are many materials you can use to stop the sound leaking through. Acoustic caulk is probably the most popular choice as it’s easy to find and install. It’s also quite affordable, and most importantly, highly effective.
It’s recommended you treat your walls with the caulk before you apply any other methods such as foam mats or mass-loaded vinyl. It’s a great way to boost the overall effectiveness.
Is the noise coming from the neighbors across the hall? If so, one of the best ways to block it is by soundproofing your door. Most doors are somewhat hollow and do nothing to block the sounds.
The best way to fix the issue would be to buy a new door, but this isn’t the most affordable solution. Luckily, there are alternatives.
Have you noticed the small gaps between your doors and the frames? These are sometimes so small that they’re barely noticeable, but they do matter nonetheless.
Soundproof weatherstripping tape is an affordable solution and is probably among the easiest to do. It takes very little time, but you’ll notice the difference almost immediately.
It’s a plastic or silicon piece that you add all along the frame to cover all the gaps. It’s also a great way of preventing energy loss and keeping all the bugs away.
Curtains aren’t the most popular option because it only works when the noise levels are at low. It’s a curtain with a layer of some soundproof materials that will keep the noise out.
These come in many different shapes and designs. They might not be to everyone’s taste, but they can make a tremendous difference against mumbled talking. Make sure to think about the severity of the noise in advance. Also, soundproof curtains work better when combined with other methods such as weatherstrip tape.
There’s a space between the door and the floor where all the noise comes through. Some doors have larger gaps than others, but they all let the sound in and should be treated. This is where a door sweep can help.
Try this method in combination with others. Seal the gaps around the frame and add some weatherstrip tape before you also add the soundproof door sweep.
Sweeps are usually made from sound-absorbing materials. They help seal the space between the floor and door. There are many kinds on the market, so make sure to consider several different to figure out which would be the best.
If you opt for this method, it’s crucial to understand that it’s a bit trickier to do than the door soundproofing methods we’ve mentioned above. The sweep comes with a fastener so you’ll have to drill and screw it into the door.
Still, it’s among the most effective ways to block out sound coming through the door. It blocks sound, but it’s also a great way to keep the bugs away if you have any in your building. You’ll also notice less cold air entering the room, so the sweep is also energy-efficient.
Foam panels do what mass loaded vinyl does to the walls. These add mass to your door, so it’s harder for the sound to go through. They are quite easy to install as you just need to hang them on your doors.
However, be careful about how you put them up. Using nails will most definitely damage the door and create new cracks for the sound to go through. Instead, use command strips that are much safer and also easier to work with.
Keep in mind that the panels aren’t as aesthetically appealing. You could arrange them in different ways to create a pattern and make it look somewhat prettier.
A few other materials you can use are acoustic panels and mass loaded vinyl. Acoustic panels look the best though they aren’t the most affordable.
Not all noise comes from your next door neighbors. If the noisy people aren’t right next to you, most of the sound probably comes through the windows. Blocking the window is the best way to also block the sound. However, this method kills the whole purpose of a window, so it’s better you opt for some of the alternatives.
Probably the easiest way to try and eliminate the amount of noise is by sealing all the gaps in the frames with acoustic caulk. Windows are very similar to doors and can have small cracks and holes in their frames just as well.
Many options on the market could work as a sealant to block these holes. However, if you’ve soundproofed your doors and have some left, you can use it on the windows, too. Keep in mind that these can’t do much with highly excessive noise. Still, it’s recommended you seal all the cracks and gaps before you even do any other method of soundproofing.
If you want some extra protection, add weatherstrip tape along the frame of your windows.
2. Double Paned Windows
Another highly effective method is replacing the existing windows with double or even triple paned ones. Keep in mind that this is a project you most likely won’t be able to do without professional help. It’s a bit demanding and time-consuming so it’s best you hire a contractor.
Also, it’s not the most affordable method, but it’s worth it if you have some really loud neighbors. Because it’s such a large investment, it’s only recommended to people who own their houses and aren’t renting.
These have an extra layer of glass, so they’re thicker and more effective in blocking the sound. It’s essentially the same thing as when you’re adding mass to the walls using mass loaded vinyl, for example.
These are among the quickest ways to soundproof your windows if there are loud people living in the area. They are easy to install and also come in a wide variety of designs to match your interior design.
The curtains are made of heavy and thick materials making it nearly impossible for the sound to pass through. Even if the sound does pass the window, it probably won’t be able to pass the curtain.
It’s an effective way and especially suitable if you don’t want to invest way too much. It’s great for people who are renting as they can actually bring the curtains with them once they move out. Also, it requires no construction so you won’t have to tear or build anything.