How To Soundproof An Apartment [2021]

Outside noises or noisy neighbors got you down?

Don’t despair, today, we will take a look at how to soundproof an apartment.

Noises come in all forms whether it’s a bustling neighborhood or an annoying neighbor.

At times these sounds can distract you from work, disturb your sleep, or be plain annoying.

Soundproofing seals all gaps between spaces to eliminate noise transmission.

Meanwhile, sound absorption reduces noise transmission but does not eliminate it.

To ensure you are soundproofing and not absorbing noise, follow our guide.

You will regain your peace and enjoy the silence once again, all you have to do is keep on reading.

Types of noise to block in a soundproof apartment

No two sounds are ever the same.

Sounds of different amplitudes will let you know if and how to go about blocking them. 

Additionally, different pitches in sounds will also determine how you can eliminate the sound.

High-frequency sounds create shorter wavelengths than sounds at a low frequency.

With longer wavelengths, low-frequency sounds are harder to block and can be problematic.

The way sound travels also has a part to play when soundproofing.

In a residential setting sound travels in either of two ways:

Airborne sound

Airborne sounds as the name suggests are sounds that travel in the air.

A few examples are people talking, dogs barking, or sounds from television or any other device.

So when an object makes a noise, it creates soundwaves.

The waves then get picked up and travel through the air.

They keep traveling until they hit a solid structure.

Upon hitting a solid structure, soundwaves then create sound vibrations.

The sound vibration is what travels through that solid structure.

Once the vibrations pass through, you are going to hear that sound.

Structure Borne Sound

Structure- borne sound happens when an object creates an impact with a solid structure.

This type of sound is also known as impact sound or impact noise.

It occurs when an object comes into contact with a solid structure, causing both sides to vibrate.

This creates soundwaves which then travel through that solid structure and disturbing you.

A common example is if you can hear your upper neighbor’s footsteps.

He is walking on his floor and the sound travels through his floor and your ceiling to your ears.

To determine which type of sound you are dealing with, perform this simple test. 

When you hear a sound, place your hand on the floor or wall, and feel if there are any vibrations.

The presence of vibrations means it is a structure-borne sound.

A lack of vibration means it is an airborne sound.

To put it simply, vibrations; structure-borne, no vibrations; airborne.

How to soundproof an apartment: General tips

To achieve a soundproofing apartment is no easy task.

Usually, it takes a combination of various methods to fully soundproof your apartment.

1. Identify weak spots

Figure out where the source of the noise is coming from.

Is it through a shared wall or under the bedroom door or through the window?

Once you identify the area then you can tackle it and not waste time and money doing your entire apartment.

2. Soundproof apartment windows

This one is a must when soundproofing if you can hear outside noises.

Sometimes windows can have some cracks and gaps that allow sounds to pass through.

An acoustic sealant or soundproof curtains can soundproof apartment windows effectively.

3.Soundproof apartment door

Apartment doors have a hollow core so you will hear what is going on the other side.

Likewise, the gap under the door and cracks around the door frame allows noise transmission as well.

You can use a door sweep or weather stripping tape to seal under the door and around the frame. 

4. Cover your walls

Use acoustic foam panels, hang some art, or even a thick blanket to cover your walls.

They will act as an additional barrier and reduce the level of noise that reaches your ears.

If these don’t suit your taste then hanging some art can assist you.

You will be blocking noise while having a beautiful wall.

5. Add bookshelves

Fill bookshelves with thick and heavy books to muffle sounds.

Place the bookshelf on the wall and ensure you fill the entire bookcase and leave no space.

If you leave space it will provide a hard surface for sound waves to bounce off of and defeat the whole noise-blocking purpose.

You can line the back of the bookcase with some sound-absorbing material to further block sounds.

Soundproof apartment with bookshelves

6. Cover floor and ceilings

Lay down a thick rug to absorb sounds and soundproof the floor of your apartment.

Use acoustic foam panels if your overhead neighbor’s noises filter down to you to make a soundproof apartment ceiling.

The rug will help reduce the sound of your footsteps to your neighbor below.

On the other hand, it will help you to eliminate echo in your apartment by absorbing and trapping sounds.

The acoustic foam panels on the ceiling will block out the sound of your overhead neighbor.

They will also absorb the sound and control how much of it you can hear.

7. You can invest in a white noise machine.

What these machines do is mask any sounds filtering down to you.

 Play a sound you find relaxing and you’ll find that the annoying sounds are less audible.

8. Approach your neighbor

If you are dealing with noisy neighbors when sharing a thin wall, it may be best to have a little chat.

Remember to approach them with kindness because some people don’t take too well to hearing that they are being a nuisance.

Maybe take a gift with you when you are going over.

A baked treat or a bottle of wine will suffice.

You never know, sometimes your neighbor may not be aware that their noise disturbs you.

9. Have a chat with the landlord.

If all else fails you may need to report your neighbor to your landlord.

They may be able to reason with your neighbor and solve the issue or come up with other soundproofing solutions.

How to soundproof a room in an apartment

Wondering how to soundproof a room in an apartment? 

Wonder no more by doing these steps for a soundproof apartment room.

1. Soundproof the floor and ceiling

There are very few things you can do to soundproof a floor after construction.

Sometimes poor workmanship and the substitution of products can result in poor soundproofing properties.

The reason why you can hear the footsteps of the person above you is that the floor and ceiling do not meet the ICC  (Impact Isolation Class) rating.

If someone living under you complains of your footsteps being bothersome you can add a thick heavy shag carpet.

Doing so can reduce sound transmissions by 50% and also create less echo in your room.

nuLOOM Soft & Plush Cloudy Shag Rug

  • 100% polyester
  • Fluffy texture and high pile fibers
  • Durable
nuLOOM Soft & Plush Cloudy Shag Rug, 5' 3' x 7' 6', Snow...

The nuLoom shag rug is made from 100% polyester and features a contemporary style design to match any decor.

With its fluffy texture and hile pile, it absorbs and traps sounds better thereby reducing sound reflections.

This rug is built to last and requires very little care. 

Regular vacuuming and occasional spot-treating of any stains are all that is required. 

This particular rug measures 5′ 3″ x 7′ 6″ and comes in the color Snow White.

For the ceiling, you can opt to go with some acoustic foam panels that will block sounds from coming down.

 Little-Lucky Acoustic Foam Panels

  • Controls sound
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Fire retardant
Little-Lucky Acoustic Foam Panels,SoundProof Padding Foam...

These foam panels provide moderate sound control on both ceilings and walls.

They are made up of environmentally-friendly fire-retardant polyurethane foam.

Safe to use and easy to clean, they only require occasional vacuuming or dusting to stay clean.

2. Soundproof apartment window

Sounds coming in from outside can get through the tiniest cracks around your windows.

These sounds can be the tooting of car horns in the street or kids playing. 

Bedrooms are the one place you don’t want to hear these sounds, especially when trying to sleep.

To figure out where the gaps are located, close the window.

Place your hand around the window frame in any spots and feel for any draft.

If you feel any wind then use an acoustic sealant around the window frame.

Green Glue Noiseproofing Sealant 

  • Seals cracks and gap 1/8” to 1/4″
  • Stays pliable
  • Non-toxic
Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound - 6 Tubes,net wt 28...

Use Green glue to seal around the perimeters of your windows.

This sealant is ideal to fill cracks and gaps  1/8” to 1/4″.

It remains pliable over time and does not harden or shrink thus, preventing sound transfers.

With a low odor, non-toxic, mildew, and mold formulation, use it anywhere around the home.

Furthermore, you can purchase some soundproof curtains that will further block out sounds.

Soundproof curtains are usually made from a thick heavy fabric, densely woven to reflect and block sound.

WONTEX 100% Thermal Blackout Curtains

  • 100% polyester
  • Triple weave
  • Thermally insulated
WONTEX 100% Thermal Blackout Curtains for Bedroom - Winter...

Crafted from 3-layer lined blackout polyester, the Wontex Blackout curtains block out sounds from outside. 

These weighted thermal insulated curtains are energy efficient and cut your energy costs in half. 

They are machine washable with warm or cold water and mild detergent.

Tumble dry on low or hang to air dry.

This set of 2 measures a total of 104 inches with each measuring 52 x 54 inches.

3. Soundproof apartment door

Doors used in apartments have a hollow core which permits sounds to pass through easily.

Unlike solid core doors that have fiberglass or blown insulation hollow core doors are filled with plastic or some other soft material.

In this instance, adding mass to your door will help.

Grafix Medium Weight Chipboard Sheets

  • All-natural chipboard sheets
  • Paintable
  • Stops sounds
Grafix Medium Weight Chipboard Sheets, 12-Inch by 12-Inch,...

These chipboard sheets are easy to install and act as another barrier for sounds to pass through.

They measure 12 by 12 inches and come in a brown color that you can paint over.

This pack contains 25 sheets which should be more than enough to cover your room door.

Another reason you may be hearing sounds in your room is because of the gap under your door and cracks around the door.

Perform this simple test to see where the gaps are in the door whether its the front door or a room door.

Lock yourself in your room and turn off the lights while leaving the light on outside the door.

If light filters in then that means sounds can also.

For the gap under the door, you can use a door sweep.

GroTheory Door Draft Stopper

  • Pack of 2
  • Flexible silicone
  • Triple protection design.
Grotheory 2 Pack Door Draft Stopper, Under Door Draft...

In a pack of 2, these high-quality door sweeps are made from a flexible silicone material.

It features a triple protection design that blocks out sounds, dust, and bugs.

Enjoy the benefits of this durable door sweep without damaging your floors. 

The strips each measure 2″ W x 39″ L and can be cut to fit.

For gaps around the perimeter of the door, you can use weather stripping to seal and block sounds.

D DATADAGO Silicone Seal Strip

  • Flexible 
  • Durable
  • Strong adhesive
Silicone Seal Strip,8M/26ft Door Strip Bottom for Doors...

Made from flexible and durable silica gel material, this seal strip helps to keep sounds at bay.

It is non-toxic and environmentally safe for use around pets and children.

Installation can be done in just two minutes.

The adhesive is pretty strong and holds for a long time.

Seal door for a soundproof apartment

How to soundproof a wall between apartments

To soundproof a wall between apartments you need to do the following: 

1. Use a soundproof blanket

Soundproof blanket absorbs sound due to its thick and heavy soundproofing fabric.

Place them on the shared wall and they will absorb and trap the sound so it can’t reach you.

Audimute Soundproofing Blanket

  • Non-toxic material
  • Reduce high to mid-range noises
  • Easy to install

Audimute Sound Absorption Sheet - Sound Dampening Blanket -...

Audimute soundproofing blanket can reduce high and mid-range noises up to 65%.

This is impressive and is currently the best option on the market.  

The blanket is easy to install due to the  (3) metal grommets on both 54″ sides and includes hanging hardware.

It measures 95″ x 54″ and is made from non-toxic sound-absorbing material.

2. Seal holes in the wall

Sound can pass through even the smallest holes in the wall.

To seal them you can use different materials such as Green Glue mentioned above for windows or fiberglass.

What fiberglass does is trap the sound and keeps it in its threads.

Owens Corning R-30 Fiberglass Insulation Roll

  • Acoustical control
  • Thermal control
  • Safe to use indoors
Owens Corning 'EcoTouch' PINK FIBERGLAS Insulation for Attic...

Owens R-30 fiberglass provides effective acoustical control as well as excellent thermal control.

This fiberglass is formaldehyde-free and meets the GREENGUARD GOLD standard for indoor air quality.

Sealing holes are made easy due to the soft and less dusty formulation compared to other fiberglass products.

The fiberglass comes in a roll, 23 Inches Wide x 25 Feet Long x 9 Inches Deep.

3. Use Mass loaded vinyl

Mass loaded vinyl(MLV) is very thick and fat so it helps with blocking out airborne noises.

soundsulate 1 lb Mass Loaded Vinyl

soundsulate 1 lb Mass Loaded Vinyl MLV, Soundproofing...

The soundsulate MLV is ⅛ inches thick and has an STC rating of 27.

It is an effective solution to use on your shared wall to block sound transmission.

This MLV is heavy and weighs one pound per square foot which means you may need some help while installing.

Made from the strongest and high-quality materials, it is both flexible and durable.

4. Acoustic foam

Acoustic foam panels are a common solution to noise issues and can be used on the wall or ceiling.

Check above to see the acoustic foam panels we recommend, though we do like this one especially:

SoundAssured acoustic soundproof foam panels

Soundproofing Acoustic Studio Foam - Wedge Style Acoustic...

5. Soundproofing paint

So what is soundproofing paint?

Soundproofing paint may be able to help if there isn’t a lot of noise coming through the wall.

If you have excessive amounts of noise penetrating then soundproofing paint will not be helpful.

The paint is thick and when several layers are applied it can provide good insulation of low-frequency sounds.

Acousti Coat – Sound Deadening Paint

Acousti Coat - Sound Deadening Paint - 5 Gallon

Acousti Coat is a water-based non-toxic soundproofing paint formulated with ceramic microspheres and sound-absorbing fillers.

The ThermaCels reduce sound transmission while the soft pigment fillers absorb sounds.

Human voice is reduced by 30%  when used correctly.

Painting the wall is easy and can be done using a  brush, roller, or spray.

Just ensure to apply a few coats and you’re good to go. 

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