Bathrooms and toilets are by FAR the trickiest to soundproof, due to several factors. It’s usually their size that’s an issue, so you have to be very creative about the matter.
Your bathroom or a toilet can be quite a noisy place, more so if it’s near your living area. It can be somewhat embarrassing to have a bathroom near your living room or even worse, your dining room.
Imagine having guests over who can hear everything going on in the bathroom and you’ll realize the importance of soundproofing the area!
Continue reading to find out how to soundproof the doors, floors, and walls of your bathroom, so you get the best results.
Where’s the sound escaping from?
The first thing you want to do is identify the noise and where does it go. So, ask yourself what are the sounds that are bothering you. Is it the shower or the washing machine? Next, you should figure out WHERE this noise goes that bothers you the most.
By figuring this out, you can tell which wall is the most critical to soundproof. If the bathroom is facing your living room and you can hear people using the toilet, you can just focus on the wall the two rooms share.
How is this different to soundproofing the rest of your house?
In general, soundproofing is isolating a specific area from the noise coming in or going out. It’s the same for any room of your house, with slight differences concerning the type of noise and the size of the room in question.
So, soundproofing bathrooms is the same as soundproofing bedrooms. However, the process can be a bit more complicated since almost every bathroom is smaller and nearly every one of its walls has something on it.
Is it possible to soundproof a bathroom that’s already built?
The answer to this question is yes. Because bathrooms are usually small, it’s quite simple to isolate them with a few methods that don’t even require any constructions.
As always, you can get the best results with some serious construction, but as we all know, that’s not always the cheapest and most practical option. If you already have a finished and furnished house, just thinking about construction can be overwhelming.
If you’ve NOT yet built your bathroom, or if you’re considering doing some work on it or redecorating, don’t do this yet. You’ll get better results by building the right walls and insulation into the walls and doors from the start!
How to soundproof a bathroom
Like any rooms, bathrooms have walls, floor, doors, and possibly at least a window. In most cases, you want to get the door and walls that face the other room. So, if you enter the bathroom from your bedroom, that’s the wall you want to focus on.
If the nursery is beneath it, you want to focus on the floor as the main part to soundproof.
You also want to get the door because lots of the overall sounds come through the door especially if they’re old.
1. Soundproofing the walls
As we mentioned, it’s critical to figure out which one of the walls is the issue. Walls let more sound escape than most other things! So, if one of the walls is connected to your living area, that’s the wall you want to isolate.
In most cases, you won’t have to treat all the walls since some might have a less used room on the other side.
1.1. Seal the cracks
Every home settles over time, so it shows a few cracks on some of the walls. Bathroom walls often show these signs since they are exposed to humid and water almost every day.
Pay attention to these cracks as they can let the sounds through. Treat them with acoustic caulk if they are small enough. This is easy to do, but you have to do one layer at the time. So, apply a layer and let it dry before applying another one. Sand it a bit before you paint over the area or put a wallpaper to it.
1.2. Add more drywall
Another thing you can do is add another layer of drywall if you think the noise is unbearable and you’re in a mood for some construction.
The best way to do this is by also applying a dampening compound along with a soundproofing material in between the two layers. The most common options are green glue, green glue alternatives and MLV, but there are others, too.
The thicker the layer, the better it will do against noise. If you can apply two, go for it, but make sure you opt only for waterproof materials because the room is most likely to get steamed more often than not.
It’s not the cheapest method, and it requires some knowledge and time. Still, it makes a significant difference that you’ll notice right away.
1.3. Another few methods
Construction might be a lot if you’re on a budget, but worry not – there are other ways to get some satisfactory results. As always, furniture can be used to block out the noise to some extent.
Place some shelves on the critical wall and stack fluffy and thick towels on them. The way you do it isn’t as important, so you can fold them in squares or rolls before you stack them on top of each other.
This will soften your wall and absorb much of the sounds before letting them get out of the room.
Other methods apply too, but be careful about the material since not everything is suitable for steamy bathrooms. For example, acoustic foam panels are a great way to soundproof but not so great for bathrooms in particular.
2. Soundproof the doors
Doors are always an issue because it’s literally a hole in your wall. Many doors, especially if the house is rather old, have some cracks around them. Doors itself can be an issue if they are hollow and thin, so it’s also something you should pay attention to.
2.1. Install a door sweep
Most doors have a gap under them, so they don’t get stuck to floors and carpets. If yours do, too, it’s most likely where the sound is coming from. These seemingly small gaps are actually ideal for the noise to get through. If your living area is on the other side of the doors, you definitely want to seal that.
The door sweep is an innovative product you maybe have on your front door. As it’s typically not found on doors inside houses, you’ll have to install it yourself.
However, the process is rather simple, and in most cases, you’ll get all the tools and accessories in the package along with the sweep. One thing you have to be careful about is if your sweep is waterproof.
2.2. Seal all the gaps around the frame
You may think there aren’t any gaps around your doors, but make sure to check. Sometimes, these are quite small, so they aren’t noticeable as easily. Apply some caulk to all of the gaps around the frame to prevent noise from leaking through them.
Another great way to seal the gap between the frame and the door is by using a door gasket. There are many options here that range in price and efficiency. Actual door gaskets aren’t the cheapest option but are by far the best one. These are usually made of durable materials so you won’t have to replace them any time soon.
A popular method is applying self-adhesive weatherstrips. These are cheap but won’t last you a long time so you might have to buy a new package every year or so.
2.3. Use a soundproofing blanket
This usually isn’t the first option people reach for, but it’s a quick and easy fix nonetheless. It’s something you can put on and take off anytime you want, which is a convenience in itself.
This kind of blanket is made of heavy material tightly woven, so it deadens all the sounds coming from the bathroom. Also, don’t be worried about any smells as these don’t absorb any.
However, there’s no way to guarantee that this method will work for the particular type of noise you’re dealing with. So, it’s up to you to test it out to see if it works.
Keep in mind that there’s a difference between soundproofing and deadening. You will most probably still be able to hear the noise, but it won’t be as aggressive and loud.
The biggest issue with these is the way they look in the bathroom. While they aren’t particularly ugly, it looks a bit weird to have a blanket hanging on your bathroom door.
You can attach the blanket using several different methods. The best way is to use strips of Velcro that you can sew into the blanket. Keep in mind that you’d need quite a few of these strips since these blankets are rather heavy. Some models also come with Velcro strips already sewn into them.
2.4. Upgrade your door
This is probably the most expensive method, but it’s also the most effective one. If your doors are old with many cracks on and around them, it might be best to get new ones altogether. More so, doors in most houses are hollow and do practically nothing to block out the sounds.
Though it might be a bit pricy, getting a door made of solid wood is probably the best thing you can do if the door is facing your living area. These heavy-duty doors do wonders, so they’re definitely worth the money.
Also, because they are heavy, you’ll most likely have to upgrade the frame too. Consider getting a professional do this for you to make sure it’s done correctly.
3. Soundproofing the floor
Floors in bathrooms are usually covered with tiles. Regardless of the size of your bathroom, the floor is essentially a hard and relatively large area the sounds can bounce off.
Though it’s not practical to have that floor carpeted due to the amount of water and steam, there are still things you can do to improve the area.
3.1. Add soundproofing material to the construction
You can soundproof the floor of your bathroom much like you would treat any other floor in your house. Your options are unlimited if you’re just now building the house.
You can add extra soundproofing materials between the floor of the bathroom and the room underneath. However, it isn’t a practical option if you’ve already built and completed your house.
3.2 Add some plush rugs
Instead of adding a huge carpet, you can just add a few plush rugs around the floor. These will dampen some of the impact noises so you won’t hear as much of the walking in the room beneath.
Luckily, these rugs come in many colors and designs to choose from so you won’t have a problem finding something that matches your décor. In most cases, they also come in packs of three where you have one rug for around the toilet, one for your bath entry, and one for the center of the floor.
3.3. Use a floating floor
A floating floor is another option though it’s not as practical. It’s a good way to block out the sound, but the effort is only ever worth it if the room under requires quiet at any cost.
These aren’t attached to the floor which is why they don’t transfer as much sound. You don’t have to glue or nail them to the floor, so they are fairly easy to apply but only if you’re in the process of building your house.
Having them installed in a bathroom that’s already furnished can be quite tricky and for the same reason a bit expensive.
4. Soundproof the toilet
Flushing most toilets will result in quite some noise, and even some tanks are noisy when they’re filled. Now, to actually soundproof the toilet you’d have to get into plumbing which might not be the most practical option.
If you don’t really want to get as involved, you can just seal the tank a bit. Clean it well and apply some weatherstripping tape on all the corners and the lid. This will dampen the vibrations and help reduce the noise. If you don’t have any weatherstripping tape at hand, use any adhesive that’s durable and waterproof.
If you do all of those things, you should have a really well soundproofed toilet and bathroom area. It’s an essential room to soundproof, as there’s nothing more annoying and embarrassing than people being able to hear things that go on in the toilet.