Cheap DIY Soundproofing Methods For A Room
1. Use Furniture
This is arguably the cheapest method because you should already own furniture. Arranging all of the heaviest pieces in one room adds a great deal of mass to space, which in turn greatly improves soundproofing.
If you’ve ever moved house you’ll have probably seen the reverse of this happening. As you empty a room sounds echo more, and you might have noticed things sound louder. When you apply the opposite thinking, filling a room up with furniture will help in blocking sound.
If you’re going with this option, make sure you pick the heaviest pieces of furniture you own. There’s little point in using lightweight, flat-pack pieces as these are usually made of inexpensive materials that don’t have much mass. However, if you only own this type of furniture then it’ll be better than nothing.
The best pieces of furniture to use when soundproofing a room are:
- Sofas and armchairs – the softer and squishier the better
- Wardrobes, armoires, and dressers
- Bookcases – books are a great source of sound-absorbing mass
- Tables – these will help with soundproofing the floor and stop sounds from echoing
Using furniture as a cheap method of DIY soundproofing is ideal because it covers several of the main elements of soundproofing.
Not only does the furniture add mass to a room, but it also helps to dampen and absorb sounds, therefore stopping echoes and reverberations.
2. Put Down Carpets and Rugs on the Floor
If you live in an apartment building or condo complex, soundproofing the floor is just as important as soundproofing walls. That said, it can be a useful method to employ in any room, particularly if echoing is an issue.
Floors made of concrete will be poor choices for soundproofing because concrete is a very good transmitter of sound.
A noise that travels through the floor is often noise as impact noise and is one of the most common sources of noise pollution. It can be anything from people walking around, a neighbor’s television, elevators, water pipes, or building work.
Whilst many of these just become background noise, they can get annoying and be a particular issue for light sleepers.
Putting down heavy carpets or rugs is another inexpensive option because they are easy to buy if you’re working on a budget.
Not only do heavy carpets help with soundproofing, but they also improve the heat insulation of a room, so they are well worth the financial investment. Also, it’s quite easy to install a carpet yourself, and all you need to do with a rug is lay it on the floor.
Carpets and rugs help to reduce impact noise, both from your room and rooms below. This is because the materials used, such as wool or synthetic fibers, have excellent sound absorption qualities when woven together. Of course, much as with furniture, the heavier a carpet is, the better job it’ll do at reducing sound pollution.
Rugs might be a better option in some situations because they offer a less permanent alternative to laying a carpet. This can be helpful if you live in a rented apartment because you won’t have to get your landlord’s permission, and can you can take the rug with you when you leave.
Regardless of whether you choose to lay carpet or rugs, adding underlay underneath can make a big difference to an already effective solution.
3. Door Seals
A common source of sound leakage is under doors. Often doors don’t fit properly into their frames, and it may be that the door was fitted when the room had carpet that has now been removed.
Whatever the reason, the gap underneath a door allows quite a lot of noise pollution both in and out of the room.
There are a couple of different options available for DIY soundproofing a door. The least permanent and most inexpensive option is to use an acoustic sealant tape. This is basically a roll of tape with a rubber seal on it that can be stuck onto a door.
Sealant tape is ideal for blocking small gaps, and you can use it on the bottom, sides, and top of the door. Most brands of sealant tape are quite cheap, and some are designed to mold themselves into the gap surrounding a door, although will usually only fill gaps of around 3mm.
A slightly more expensive and permanent solution is to install a mounted seal around the door. They are attached directly to the door and usually have a drop-down seal that can be adjusted to fit the gap on the door.
Door seals are usually made out of metal and rubber, and so provide mass and a level of sound absorption.
The quality and efficacy will depend entirely on how much money you’re willing to spend. Obviously this has been suggested as an inexpensive method, so you won’t be paying loads even for a high-quality door seal.
It’s worth shopping around for the best model to fit your door and requirements because there are many different models available.
4. Acoustic Sealant for Windows and Walls
Along with doors, windows are another common source of noise pollution.
Even if you have modern double-glazed windows that are actually very good at keeping noise out, the bigger issue is with the seals around the windows. This is the same for possible gaps around door frames, cracks in walls, and seams around any possible DIY works done in the room.
On its own, acoustic sealant (like this one found on Amazon) isn’t the most effective method, but it’s very helpful when used alongside a number of other methods.
Essentially it’s the final touch to a larger DIY soundproofing project. Although you might be tempted to buy ordinary caulk because it’s cheaper, don’t. The acoustic sealant is specifically designed to help soundproof a room.
5. Weather Stripping for Doors and Windows
Weatherstripping is actually designed to stop drafts and air leaks, but much of the same science applies to block noise pollution.
After all, the air is a particularly good carrier of sound, and so if you’re able to reduce the amount of air that leaks into or out of a room, then you’re also helping to soundproof it.
Like door seals mentioned earlier, weather stripping comes in a variety of different forms, some of which are inexpensive, but others will cost a bit more money. How much you spend will depend on how permanent you want it to be, and the material the stripping is made from.
Many newer external doors will already have weather stripping installed, but it can be helpful to install it on interior doors too if you’re looking to soundproof a room.
It’s also one of the more time-consuming methods of DIY soundproofing and will require a bit more DIY knowledge than some other options. However, weather stripping still isn’t that hard to install.
The most common materials used in weather stripping are EPDM rubber, a thermoplastic mix of plastic and rubber, or a polymer and filler blend. All of these are effective at blocking sound because they’re dense materials with quite a bit of mass. Considering they’re designed to block air leakage, they’re all also effective at blocking sound.
If you’re looking to install weather stripping on a budget then choose one of the self-adhesive strip brands. These are very similar to the door seals mentioned earlier, but they fit on the door differently.
Rather than sitting on the exterior edge of a door, they essentially sit between the door and the frame. Their job is to just fill in the gap to stop air escaping.
For this method to be most effective, it’s important to install weather stripping on doors and windows in the room you’re trying to soundproof. Much like the other methods suggested, it’s important to cover all possible sources of airborne sound leakage.
Most windows should have weather stripping already fitted, as it’s often part of building regulations, but this can become worn out over time and will need replacing.
In order to do the best job when installing the weather stripping, make sure you familiarize yourself with the product and watch some installation tutorials online. The actual product isn’t difficult to fit, but what can be difficult is fitting it so that it does a good job of soundproofing the seal.
Ultimately, although these methods are cheap on their own, the cost will build up if you combine several.
The best way to go about soundproofing a room is to identify the areas of weakness, start with them, and then work your way around the room. Eventually, you should end up with an effectively soundproofed room.
Source: Sound Proof Central