If you live in an apartment or condo, you most likely share a few walls with your neighbors. Condo walls are generally not made of particularly thick materials, which might not necessarily be a problem; however, many things can happen in life that result in some extra noise, such as having a baby, adopting a pet, or taking up a new instrument. If you’d like to keep the peace with your neighbors and be considerate — or if it is your neighbor who’s giving you trouble — here are some simple ways you can soundproof your walls.
Different problems require different solutions, meaning that the amount of soundproofing you need will depend on the levels of sound you’re trying to stop. For instance, if you’ve just picked up drumming, you will need a more serious solution than if you’re worried about your pet making some noise during the day. We’ve collated various solutions from cheaper and temporary to more expensive and permanent to help you find the best one for your needs.
As condo walls are very thin, adding an extra layer and therefore making them thicker can do wonders when it comes to traveling noise. The thicker a wall is, the harder it will be for sound to travel through. Drywall is not that expensive either, so buying enough to add an extra layer to your existing walls shouldn’t set you back too much.
If you think drywall alone is not enough, you can raise the bar and do something called decoupling. This is when walls are separated with a gap in between that makes it more difficult for sound to get through. You can do this by setting up your drywall so there’s a slight gap between it and your existing wall. This can be made even more effective by filling the gap between the walls with insulation foam, as this will add another layer for the sound to travel through.
Damping helps reduce the number of vibrations that can pass through your walls by adding a dense and absorbent material to them. This could either be in the form of insulation foam installed in a wall cavity, or by using a product such as Green Glue.
While the most effective materials for soundproofing are concrete, brick, or vinyl, you can certainly make some difference with textiles if you can’t or don’t want to do any construction. Soundproof blankets are thick layers of material that you can hang on your walls. Something to remember when choosing wall hangings is the heavier the material, the better the soundproofing will be. A drawback of this solution is aesthetics, as hanging a big piece of curtain on your wall might not look the most appealing; however, if you need a quick temporary solution, you can give this a try.
Audio blankets are a specialist product and are essentially flexible materials that can be hung over walls or windows. They often use quilted fiberglass to absorb sound, as this is both a dense material and a good structure for the job at hand. They also help the acoustics of the room by preventing the sounds from bouncing around. Again, this is not the most aesthetically pleasing solution, these blankets are typically used in studios and practice rooms for musicians instead of homes.
One thing that often gets overlooked when it comes to soundproofing is curtains. Condos and apartments typically have blinds installed to save costs, but they actually do nothing to stop sound from getting through. Thick and heavy drapes absorb sound well, giving you an easy way of soundproofing your windows without doing any construction.
Using sound barriers is definitely the most effective method of soundproofing, but it’s also the most expensive. A bit of planning will also be required to install, fix, and blend sound barriers in with your walls, and therefore, this is a permanent solution. As sound barriers are so effective, this solution might be too much if the noise you’re trying to stop is coming from a baby or a pet, but viable if, for instance, you’ve just got yourself a brand-new drum set.
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