If the sounds around you are driving you crazy, you’re not alone.
Neighbors above you, cars and trucks outside, loud children in the next room are just some of the stuff we all hear throughout the day.
Of course, you might get used to it after a while, but in most cases, the noise just becomes more difficult to live with. Plus, you shouldn’t live with it since it’s now quite simple to soundproof your bedroom or pretty much any small room.
Many people opt for DIY soundproofing as a way to improve their lifestyle and day to day life regardless of the noise that’s bothering them.
You may hear that bedrooms are tricky to soundproof, but that’s not true. Your bedroom might even be easier to soundproof than the rest of your house.
Though it’s relatively simple to do, there are still some things you should expect with this type of DIY adventure. Continue reading as we discuss some of the most important info you should know before getting into this project.
Why you should soundproof your rooms
Excessive noise can ruin your day in more ways than one. It’s most often the case buildings without soundproof apartment rooms since those usually have lousy insulation.
If your house is in a busy street, you can probably hear all the trucks, cars, kids and neighbors all day long. Sometimes, it’s even noisy late at night.
Now, contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t ignore the noise. You might grow a bit used to it with time, but that can only further harm your health.
If you have kids it can be extremely dangerous to have them exposed to loud sounds for prolonged periods.
To protect their hearing until you are finished soundproofing their rooms, you can use the best noise cancelling headphones for kids.
Living in a noisy area can affect your health in many ways. It might ruin your sleep schedule or stress you out when you’re trying to work from home or study.
Your home is a place where you should rest and find peace to do anything you like. For this reason, you should consider soundproofing the most critical rooms in your house that are your bedroom and probably study or office if you have one.
Even the appliances in your home like your dishwasher can start to make noise which can be annoying and disturb your quiet time.
Here’s an article on dishwasher insulation if you’re dealing with a noisy dishwasher.
How does soundproofing a room work?
Sound insulation, or soundproofing as we know it, is quite a science. When a surface is soundproof, it’s supposed to prevent the transmission from outside to inside or vice versa.
When an airborne sound wave hits a soundproof surface, it bounces back where it came from. This is how it protects you from your noisy neighborhood. The surface can be treated with different materials to achieve a certain soundproof level.
However, other elements impact the matter as well, such as thickness, size, density and structure of the material.
Is room soundproofing expensive?
Office buildings and recording studios have different soundproof panels and devices that help them reduce the noise. It’s a smart way to achieve the results, but it’s far more than what you’d need for your bedroom or any smaller room of your home (unless you’re going to be doing some podcasting in there).
The entire process doesn’t have to be as expensive because pretty much any object and material has acoustic properties. Effectively, this means you can use any material to soundproof a room keeping in mind that the quality varies depending on the properties we mentioned.
So, you don’t have to break the bank if you want to soundproof your room. There are plenty of affordable ways to do it that are still effective and bring satisfactory results. It all depends on what you’re trying to achieve.
Think about the noise
The first thing you should think about is the kind of noise you’re dealing with and where it’s coming from. Soundproofing your bedroom is as easy as any other room, but there are some factors you should consider before getting your hands dirty.
Think about where this noise is coming from. Is it from the outside? Is it coming from your squeaky dryer? Maybe you share a wall with your neighbor who likes watching TV on blast? Or it’s your child practicing drums in the room under yours.
Just by determining where it’s coming from, you have better chances of reducing the sound level. This helps you decide what part of your room is critical and needs soundproofing the most. For example, if the noise is coming from the room across, you’ll want to treat the wall and doors facing that noisy room.
What to expect
As we said, professional studios rely on heavy-duty soundproofing materials that are far more costly than what most of us is comfortable with. Plus, you probably don’t even need that level of sound insulation for your bedroom.
Most noise leaks through even some of the smallest gaps on your windows, doors or walls. These are the areas you want to treat the most, and for that, you don’t really need any heavy-duty materials.
Anyway, some cheaper solutions provide a good noise suppression rate but aren’t as effective as those more expensive ones. For this reason, it’s important to know that you cannot really achieve 100% insulation from DIY soundproofing.
How to soundproof a room cheaply and quickly
Now that we’ve gone through all of the most critical information, we can proceed with the room soundproofing project!
Most of the methods we’ve included below are quite affordable and offer a different level of insulation. Some are more effective than others so it’s even better if you could combine a few.
By the way, you’ll find links and tips for most of the things mentioned here in our soundproofing materials article.
1: Inspect your windows and doors
Windows and doors are the most common places where the sound leaks through.
This is especially annoying if your room is facing the street, so the windows are right where the noise is. Doors are a problem if the noise is coming from across the hall, for example.
Most windows and doors have tiny gaps around them, more so if the house is a bit older. Take some time to inspect these areas and locate the little holes that need sealing.
The best material to use in this case is acoustic caulk. It creates a layer of mass that blocks sound from entering through the gaps. Use your best judgment and add a layer as thick as possible. However, make sure the door and windows are still functional after you seal the gaps.
2: Add weather-strips
In most cases, the sound doesn’t come through the door but around. If your bedroom is right across the hall from your living area, the chances are you can hear everything and everyone.
To prevent this, you should install weatherstripping around at the frame of your door. The most affordable option is the high-density, adhesive foam tape.
Install the stripping all around the door in order to seal all the gaps between them and the frame. Furthermore, you can achieve even more if you were to replace your old and hollow door with a solid one. Weatherstripping solid door can improve the STC rating up to 36.
3: Add mass to the walls
This is one of the simplest methods to achieve a quieter room. All you need to do is add mass to your walls to help reduce transmission.
There are many materials you can use here as people get really creative. It’s up to you to choose based on your skill level and budget.
Mass-vinyl is a popular choice that also doesn’t cost as much. It’s easy to work with and has some impressive abilities to reduce all noises.
Drywall is also an option that’s convenient and easy to work with. None of these methods take a lot of time and more importantly, they’re on the affordable side.
Acoustic panels are another cheap alternative that you’ve maybe seen in recording studios. These foam panels are easy to use, lightweight and inexpensive.
You can also try soundproof room dividers right up against your walls or to break up the space in your room if you only need part of it to be soundproof.
And if you’re remodeling, consider adding insulation for soundproofing walls!
Although they do a great job at absorbing sounds, most people fear that the panels aren’t pretty enough for a bedroom. Nowadays, manufacturers make these in a wide variety of colors and shapes, so it’s easy to find ones that match your interior décor.
Regardless of the material you go for, it’s important to take your time with the process. None of this should take much of your time anyway, but you’ll achieve better results if you’re patient and precise. Of course, don’t forget to seal the gaps between the panels with caulk.
4: Treat the ceiling
If the noise is coming from the room above the one you’re sleeping in, you should focus on your ceiling.
You could soundproof the floor of the room above, though that’s only possible if you’re living in a house and not an apartment building.
Essentially, a ceiling is a wall like every other, so you could use the same material you used for the walls. However, there are methods and materials specially made for ceilings, and those are always recommended in such cases.
Things like drop-ceiling systems have excellent acoustical properties. Acoustic tiles are also an option, but those tend to look a bit institutional for your home. Luckily, there are many new styles with step-edged and embossed details.
If the noise is coming from the basement underneath your bedroom, you could add these panels onto that ceiling instead of treating the bedroom floor. It’s up to you to choose what’s more convenient for you.
5: Use rugs and carpets
As we mentioned, you can do several things to reduce the noise coming from above or under your bedroom.
Most methods require you to add mass to ceilings or floors, and though this shouldn’t take much of your time, it’s still not the easiest method.
If you live in a house and the room above is where the noise is coming from, you can just place a rug or carpet in there. The high-density material will absorb the impact noise from your children’s footsteps you can so clearly hear all the time.
You can use this method even if the noise is coming from under your room. Place a rug or carpet in your bedroom to add a bit more mass to the floor. This should act as a better barrier between the two rooms.
6: Soundproof the windows
What can you do if the sounds are coming from the outside?
There’s very little you can do apart from sealing the gaps around your windows and adding mass to your walls.
These methods aren’t that tricky to do but still require some time. If you want a quick solution, you should consider adding some acoustical curtains or blankets. These are made from special, high-density materials that block out or absorb the sounds coming in or going out.
Maybe you’ve seen these curtains in a theater or a recording studio. They are heavy and a bit tricky to put up, but they have a relatively good level of sound absorption.
However, they cannot block sound. If your neighborhood is quite noisy, it’s most likely you’ll still hear it through the curtains. Voices and traffic might appear a bit mumbled and hard to tell apart, but you’ll still be able to hear the vast majority it.
A more expensive alternative would be to replace your old windows with double- or triple-pane. This is quite costly, but it’s by far the most effective way of soundproofing the windows if you’re not renting. If you are, stick to the acoustic curtains and blankets.
7: Install a door sweep
The door sweep is a revolutionary addition that makes a significant difference in soundproofing any room.
As you know, there’s a little gap between each door and the floor. In most cases, it shows when you open the door, but that mostly depends on the particular model.
There are many different sweeps on the market, so it shouldn’t be so hard to choose one that would fit your needs. Although they all look the same and work on the same principles, make sure to get a quality product in order to achieve the best results.
Most sweeps are easy to install, and some even come with a kit of tools you’d need. It has to fit tightly along the bottom of your door, so it creates a seal each time you close it. Look for the one that’s durable, resilient, and sturdy. Some sweeps are for wood or metal doors while some work on both.