15 Ways of Soundproofing Existing Interior Walls Without Removing Drywall

After moving into my new home, everything seemed perfect at first. However, I noticed within a few days that the traffic noise was much louder than I was used to, and it was disturbing my concentration for work. Since I didn’t want to tear apart my new home, I needed to find ways of soundproofing existing interior walls without removing drywall.

Through my research, I discovered 15 ways to soundproof your home without removing drywall. These are the most effective ways to soundproof existing walls from my list.

  • Add Insulation
  • Install a Second Layer of Drywall With Green Glue
  • Use Resilient Clips & Channels
  • Add Mass Loaded Vinyl
  • Build a New Wall in Front of Existing
  • Install Acoustic Foam Panels

Some of these options are more effective than others. While a few of them may be pretty simple to implement, some will be much more extensive and require more work. Let’s discuss what each one entails and how effective it will be at helping to soundproof your interior walls.

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Soundproofing existing walls

Important Principles of Soundproofing Existing Walls

Before you jump into trying out different methods of soundproofing, it’s essential to understand how soundproofing works. If you know the techniques used to stop the transfer of sound, you’ll be better able to implement these soundproofing methods yourself.

Mass

Sound is transferred through vibrations. When a sound wave hits a hard surface, it must create movement within that surface for the sound to transfer.

Heavier, larger things are harder to move than smaller items. Increasing the overall amount of material on an object will make it heavier and larger. This will, in turn, make it more difficult for a soundwave’s energy to transfer through the surface.

Essentially, you are putting more solid material in between the sound source and the environment you wish to keep quiet.

Absorption

Some materials can absorb and negate the energy produced by a soundwave. The fiberglass insulation in the walls of your home is a great example of absorption sound reduction.

Absorption works best with higher frequencies. Lower frequencies contain considerably more energy and will need much more absorptive material to kill the momentum of the wave and stop it from transferring.

Mechanical Decoupling

As we’ve mentioned, the sound is transferred through vibration. One of the most effective ways of reducing how much noise is transferred is by decoupling the surfaces.

Vibrations are easier to pass through two touching surfaces. By eliminating contact points and adding rubber decouplers where surfaces meet, you can drastically reduce how much energy is allowed to pass through.

Soundproofing Interior Walls Without Removing Drywall

1. Add Blown-In Insulation

Blown insulation is loose, low-density cellulose insulation that is made mostly from recycled newsprint. With an STC rating of 44, it can be very effective at helping to soundproof both interior and exterior walls. It can be added into walls after construction, a task that is very difficult with other types of insulation.

Adding blow-in insulation into your existing walls will increase their sound absorption abilities. The cellulose traps little pockets of air, which then trap sound waves and drain their energy, nullifying the noise before it reaches the other side.

Because it is blown-in, unlike other forms of insulation, the cellulose insulation can fill all of the little nooks, crannies, and holes. Otherwise, they would be points of entry for outside soundwaves to make their way in.

Cellulose blow-in insulation provides several advantages. It is a very cost-effective way to help soundproof your interior walls. Also, it can be installed by many homeowners by renting the machine from a local home improvement store such as The Home Depot.

Finally, cellulose is a very “green” insulation, being made up of more recycled material than any other type of insulation that’s commercially available.

Blow-in insulation is available in a few varieties. It comes in loose, wet, and dense pack options. For more information about blow-in insulation, read my article about soundproofing insulation.

2. Seal the Cracks and Outlets

Sound waves will seek out any available points of entry on a surface that they can squeeze through. Cracks or holes in your walls, the caulking around your windows, or even just the dead air space around outlets are all noise leaks waiting to ruin the quiet of your peaceful room.

By closing up all these entryways, we can significantly reduce the amount of outside noise that seeps its way in.

To start, you’ll want to seal all of the corners of your walls and windows. This will include all four edges of each wall, so be thorough. Be sure to use acoustic caulk instead of the standard latex caulking you’ll find at your local hardware store.

TradeGear Wall Plate Insulation Gasket 100 Pack, Wall Gasket Replacement Made with Weatherproof, Polyethylene Insulating Foam – Energy Saving, One Size Fits All Design

After caulking all the edges, it’s time to seal up your electrical outlets and light switches. The easiest way of doing this is to use wall plate insulation gaskets such as these from TradeGear.

These pieces of styrofoam fit precisely around your outlets and switches, and behind the covers. They will block all of the open areas around your outlet and will stop soundwaves from slipping through the space. They are inexpensive and come in large quantities for convenience.

3. Install Another Layer of Drywall With Green Glue

soundproofing existing interior walls
Earlier in this article, we discussed mass as one of the principles of soundproofing. Adding another layer of drywall on top of our existing wall is one of the easiest ways of accomplishing this.

You screw an additional piece of sheetrock on top of your existing wall. Thicker drywall will block more sound, so go with ⅝” if possible.

Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound - 6 Tubes,net wt 28 fl.oz(828 ml)

As we mentioned, though, adding mass by itself is not going to produce the sound reduction results that you’re looking for. To achieve more drastic soundproofing, we’re going to add a layer of Green Glue noiseproofing compound in between our drywall layers.

Green Glue is an incredibly effective and inexpensive way to soundproof your interior walls. It’s an easily applied liquid that comes either in a tube or a bucket. As a soundproofing compound, it is effective at reducing all types of noise.

If you want to kill vibrations, Green Glue creates a dampening layer between your sheetrock that absorbs and dissipates vibrations, effectively stopping incoming noise.

Apply the Green Glue to the back of your new drywall, then screw it to your existing wall. You can then finish the drywall as you normally would.

Make sure to finish by caulking all of the edges of your wall with acoustical caulk. Then seal the outlets and switches as we mentioned in suggestion 2 to make sure that your wall is completely sealed off to outside noise.

4. Use QuietRock

soundproofing walls without removing drywall

The execution of this method is the same as in method 3. The big difference here is in product selection. In the last technique, we added an additional layer of drywall to our existing wall. In this one, we’re going to add a layer of QuietRock instead.

Never heard of QuietRock? It’s a fairly new special type of drywall built for acoustics. A single sheet of QuietRock is as effective at sound reduction as 4 sheets of regular drywall!

Since they work the same as regular drywall, QuietRock panels are also installed the same. Screw your QuietRock sheet on top of your existing drywall and you will have seriously reduced the amount of noise that gets through.

For maximum sound reduction, you should still apply the Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound between layers of drywall. Just apply a coat to the back of the QuietRock before attaching it to your existing wall.

Once again, be sure to seal the corners, electrical outlets, and light switches as discussed in soundproofing method 2.

To learn more about the benefits of QuietRock, check out my article QuietRock vs Double Drywall: Which is Better for Soundproofing?

5. Second Layer of Drywall Decoupled With Resilient Clips & Channels

noise cancelling wallLike we discussed, adding drywall to your existing wall will increase the mass of the wall, helping to reduce sound transmission. But we also know that it is not enough to soundproof our interior walls.

By decoupling our new drywall layer from the original wall using resilient clips and channels, we can eliminate most impact noises, and even seriously reduce many of the airborne sounds as well.

The resilient clips feature rubber backs that will help decouple them from the wall they’re attached to. You will mount the clips to your existing wall by drilling screws through your existing drywall and into the studs behind.

The resilient channels will be mounted horizontally and fastened to the clips. Your second layer of drywall will then screw directly into the channels.

Unfortunately, when installed on existing drywall, resilient clips and channels do lose a lot of their effectiveness. However, this can be remedied by adding some R-6 insulation once the channels are installed and before adding the drywall. The channels will hold the insulation in place for easy installation of the drywall.

6. Add Mass Loaded Vinyl

how to soundproof an existing wallMass loaded vinyl (MLV) is a soundproofing material that comes in thin, rolled sheets. It is infused with metal particles to achieve a high density that gives it soundproofing capabilities.

When installed between two layers of drywall, MLV can stop the vibrations between them, dampening the entire wall. This will help to absorb and dissipate external sound sources.

MLV can be nailed directly to your existing drywall. Overlap the seams of each piece by 2” and cover with vinyl tape.

Carefully, cut tightly around any outlets and switches. The MLV will block these open-air spaces where sound can penetrate, which will eliminate the need for outlet insulation gaskets.

Once mass loaded vinyl is installed to your existing drywall, it is time to add your additional drywall layer. You can use regular or drywall, or for maximum soundproofing, you can use the QuietRock acoustic sheetrock we mentioned in method 4. Just screw your new drywall layer into the studs through the original layer.

If you want to truly negate all sound coming in through your existing walls, you can also install resilient clips and channels. These would be mounted on top of your MLV. You would then hang QuietRock on the resilient channel and be certain to seal up all the edges with acoustic caulk.

7. Install Acoustic Foam Panels

how to soundproof a finished roomAcoustic foam panels are designed to absorb and nullify sound waves. They are so superior at this, in fact, that they are used in recording studios worldwide to absorb sound and create clean recording environments. They can serve the same purpose in your home, as well.

These foam panels come in thicknesses from 1” to 4” depending on how much sound you need to absorb. For aesthetic purposes, they also come in a variety of colors which you can choose to complement your current color scheme.

Acoustic foam panels are easy to install. A special adhesive spray is made specifically for the simple installation of these panels. There will be no mess, no special tools are needed, and it takes only a few minutes.

These panels will not only block the sound coming in through your walls, but they will also help your room acoustics sound amazing too. This is particularly beneficial if the room you’re trying to soundproof is also where the TV is housed since it would benefit greatly from the improved sound provided by the acoustic foam tiles.

8. Hang Acoustic Fabric Panels

soundproof a wall after constructionAcoustic fabric panels are a great way to reduce the external noise coming into your room, while also being aesthetically pleasing. They are offered in a variety of colors to match the current color scheme of your decor.

As a bonus, they also vastly improve the acoustics inside your room by absorbing reverberations and echos. This makes movies, music, and even conversations sound much better. These are used in professional applications for this effect.

With an NRC rating of 1 out of 1, panels such as these from ATS offer superior sound absorption. They can be easily hung in many configurations and will help to prevent a lot of airborne noise from reaching your home’s interior.

This is one of the simplest methods of soundproofing your existing walls, and it won’t leave lasting damage in case you have to move out again.

Also make sure you check out my post about DIY acoustic panels.

9. Use Soundproofing Blankets

Soundproofing BlanketsIf the noise you’re trying to reduce is not overpowering, you may be able to use some simple and inexpensive soundproofing moving blankets to curb the excess noise. These are very thick, absorptive blankets that do more to absorb sound than repel it, similar to the acoustic fabric panels mentioned in technique 8.

One of the advantages of soundproofing blankets is that since they are absorptive, they will improve the acoustics inside of your room. By reducing the flutter echoes and reverberations, these blankets can give your room a nice dry sound that makes everything sound much more crisp and clear.

Soundproofing blankets are very easy to hang and can be done with nails, screws, or even thumbtacks. They are machine washable, so if you need to move them around, you don’t have to worry about them getting dirty.

If you’re considering soundproofing blankets, these high-quality ones are worth a try.

For more information on blankets for soundproofing please see our article Soundproof Blankets for Windows.

 

10. Put Up Soundproof Curtains

soundproof curtainsSoundproof curtains offer a very attractive way to eliminate exterior noise pollution without creating any damage in your home. They are cost-effective and very easy to hang for any homeowner. They also come in many beautiful color options to match your current decor.

The soundproof curtains are hung on standard curtain rods, which can be mounted to the ceiling or the walls. One of the biggest benefits of these curtains is that you can add as many as you need to cover a space of any size without really adding much extra labor or time. When you don’t need them, you can slide them out of the way.

These are especially useful for covering windows, a common point of entry for soundwaves from outside to make their way in. Whether using them just for windows or as a room divider to separate one room into two, these soundproof curtains from NICETOWN will be an aesthetically pleasing way to improve the sound of your home.

11. Cover Walls With Sound Absorbing Fabrics

Soundproofing fabricIf curtains and soundproofing blankets don’t seem to spark your interest, you might consider covering your walls with sound-absorbing fabrics. These fabrics are mounted on a track system that runs the span of your wall. The tack systems can be manufactured from PVC or metal.

Sound absorbing fabrics can be delivered in lengths of up to 100 yards without a seam. This means you can have a solid, seamless wall that is covered in a beautiful acoustical fabric.

You can choose any print, color, or pattern that matches your personality for completely custom and unique looking interior walls that sound as great as they look. If you want an eye-catching way to silence the outside world, sound-absorbing fabrics may be the unique option available.

12. Build a New Wall in Front of Existing

If you’ve got the space for it, one of the most effective ways of soundproofing your interior walls is by building new ones inside of them. These walls will not be attached to the existing walls, meaning they are completely decoupled. Because of this, they will not transfer sounds from the original wall.

Your second wall will be attached to the floor and the ceiling instead of the original wall. You can start by framing out your new wall, then adding insulation for sound absorption.

Next, you will install MLV over the frame of the wall by nailing it to the studs. Make sure to get full coverage from floor to ceiling, but it’s important that the MLV does not come into contact with either.

Once your MLV is installed, you can fasten the resilient clips to the studs with screws. Then you can attach the resilient channels to the clips.

After you’ve installed your resilient clips and channel, you can install ⅝” drywall. Drywall is preferable to QuietRock here because the soundproofing effect of the QuietRock with the resilient channel provides negligible results over just resilient channels or QuietRock alone.

Once the drywall installation is complete, make sure to use acoustical caulk to seal all of the edges and corners. Finally, add the outlet and switch insulation gaskets to ensure there are no points of entry for rogue soundwaves.

For ultimate effectiveness and to control the acoustics within the room, you can hang acoustic fabric panels from method 8 on this list on your new wall.

For more information on building a second wall, please see our article How to Build a Soundproof Room-Within-a-Room.

 

Other Cheap Ways to Add Some Soundproofing to Existing Wall

13. Use Decor to Your Advantage

Space gives sound waves plenty of room to jump around and expend energy, which makes them seem even louder than they are. By using the furniture and other items that are already in your home, you should be able to make a pretty noticeable difference to the noise coming in through your walls.

Around the perimeter of the room, you want to place your largest, hardest, heaviest furniture. This is the place for dressers, armoires and the like. These items will do the most to repel incoming sound waves and stop them from reaching inside the room.

When you’re placing your heavy furniture around the outer perimeter of the room, be careful not to allow anything actually to come into contact with the wall. If that were to happen, vibrations would easily transfer from the wall to the furniture item and may amplify the initial sound volume. Not the effect we’re looking for here!

Once you’ve got the hard and heavy furniture placed around the room, it’s time to use the softer furniture to absorb the loose waves that make it through our initial barrier. Anything soft you can add will help reduce the noise. Pillows, blankets, curtains, couches, anything soft is great.

14. Paint the Walls With Soundproofing Paint

If you’re looking for a way to minimize the sound of the world outside while sprucing up your home with a fresh coat of paint, soundproofing paint could be an option for you to explore.

This very thick paint is easy to apply the same as traditional paint. However, it will also keep your home quieter by helping to absorb outside noises.

This will not be a comprehensive solution, though. If you have loud external noise problems that you need to mitigate, you may want to look at one of our stronger solutions, such as adding QuietRock or MLV.

You can make this sound dampening paint more effective by applying multiple coats. The thicker you can layer on the paint, the more pronounced its effects will be.

15 Apply Acoustical Wallpaper

Acoustic wallpaper has been gaining popularity recently. It creates no damage, it’s easy to install, and it’s very cost-effective. On top of this, it’s also visually appealing, so many people have opted for this easy way of lowering the volume on your neighbors and the world around.

Acoustic wallpaper is not made from paper like a standard wallpaper is. The top layer may be regular wallpaper, but underneath you’ll find latex or other acoustic materials.

By using multiple thin layers together, sound-reduction is improved, making this wallpaper much more effective at blocking noise than the patterned paper your grandparents had in their home!

Hanging acoustic wallpaper is not going to silence noisy traffic or low-flying helicopters. But it will help to eliminate the sound of your neighbor’s TV or dinner conversation from entering your private space.

Final Tips and Things to Keep in Mind

When soundproofing your interior walls, it’s important to remember that they are not the only place that noise can enter your home. Soundwaves will find the weak spot to penetrate. Whatever part of your exterior has places for sound to enter, the noise will seek out those spaces and become a nuisance.

If you want to silence your home inside, don’t forget some of the other important areas to soundproof.

Doors are a major culprit of noise leaks. Interior doors especially are hollow core and allow plenty of sounds to pass through. Even exterior doors can often be a source of much noise pollution. By replacing regular doors with soundproof doors, you will notice a huge difference.

The ceiling is also a place where a lot of noise can seep into your home. You can hang acoustic panels on your ceiling, or even build a drop ceiling to reduce the noise.

For more details, check out my posts about soundproofing windows, doors and ceiling.

Conclusion: What’s the Best Way to Soundproof Existing Walls

We’ve covered many different ways for you to eliminate the sound that’s creeping into your home. All of these methods allow you to soundproof your interior walls without removing any drywall.

The most effective method will be to install resilient clips and channels with a second layer of drywall on top. To make this as truly soundproof as possible, you will also want to install a layer of MLV directly on top of your existing drywall before you mount your resilient clips.

Be sure also to use R-6 insulation to aid with absorption. With these methods combined, you will hear a drastic improvement in the level of noise breaking into your home.

If this article provided information that was useful to you in any way, please help it become useful to others by sharing it on social media. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below in the comments box so I will see them.


Eugene Sokol

Hi, I’m Eugene. I work with noise all day, so I enjoy any peace and quiet I can find. I began looking at ways to improve the sound quality of my home and to make a soundproof office for myself. As a DIY enthusiast, I looked for solutions I could do. I created this blog to share what I learned and to make it easier for you to improve your quiet space too.


37 thoughts on “15 Ways of Soundproofing Existing Interior Walls Without Removing Drywall”

  1. Thank you. When they built our house they ran the a/c lines into the house thru the walls of our spare bedroom. As the refrigerant flows through the lines it makes a high pitched noise that reverberates through the walls and into the bedroom. There’s nothing I can do to change it without a complete rebuild of a side of the house. I also have freeway sounds in the background of the bedroom that I want to eliminate. Your information has given me real information on how to solve my problem.

    Reply
  2. I recently bought an apartment and found that my neighbor below can hear everything. I just painted my apartment with fresh paint and have wood floors. I do not want to put wall to wall carpet but like to add a large area rug with padding.

    I do not know if it is the floor or the walls that is causing sound to travel to neighbor below my apartment. What else do you suggest to help minimize noise. Acoustic panels or Acoustical Wallpaper? Would putting a TV on the wall cause sound to neighbor ?

    Reply
    • Hi Barb,

      I would put down the carpet with 1/2″ RugPadUSA underlayment first. Get a heavy wool rug if possible. The problem is probably Impact Noise (sometimes called Footfall Noise). Unless, like me, you have AC/DC blasting out of the speakers. If you have speakers on the floor, that will also transfer both sound and vibrations easily. Acoustic panels will help some because they absorb noise inside the room–if the walls are the problem. Putting a TV on the wall will probably transfer sound unless it is on one of those articulating arm things that keeps it from touching the wall. Or you can hang a sound absorbing blanket behind it.

      Hope some of that helps,

      Terry

      Reply
  3. I’m sound proofing a little room in my garage for some light recording (Not a full band) Im thinking of putting moving blankets in between the drywall and the metal studs. On each side. Will that be as effective if its inside instead of outside?

    Reply
    • Hi Joseph,

      Mass Loaded Vinyl works best on the studs. Then drywall. Moving blankets on the inside of the drywall absorb more sound. They will do very little for you between stud and drywall. Might also give some consideration to double drywall with Green Glue sandwiched between.

      Hope that is helpful,

      Terry

      Reply
  4. Hello, I have a laundry room right next to my bedroom wall. It is constantly in use and the hum of washers and dryers is very unpleasant. Any recommendation to solve this pesky problem?

    Reply
    • Hi Monika,

      Hang sound absorbing blankets on your bedroom wall. (US Cargo Control has some that are 80″ wide x 96″ high with grommets on one 80″ side.) Move heavy furniture like bookcases against the wall. A rug with something like RugPadUSA underlay will cut down the noise and vibration coming through the floor as Flanking Noise. If you can hang blankets on the laundry room wall, it will help even more.

      Terry

      Reply
  5. Hi,

    Thank you for this helpful guide! Out of the solutions listed what do you recommend is the best option for blocking out snoring (in an apartment building, i.e. I’m a leasing tenant and can’t permanently alter the space). My bed is against the wall that I share with my neighbor and I can clearly hear their snoring each night.

    Reply
    • Hi Kim,

      First, move your bed if at all possible. Other side of the room is best. Then I would hang soundproofing blankets on the offending wall. US Cargo Control sells one that is 80″ wide x 96″ high with grommets on one 80″ side. So if your walls are 8′ high, they will cover floor to ceiling. You can get removable hooks so you are not going to damage the walls. Then if you have any heavy furniture, like bookcases, or dressers, place them against the wall also. You can give some thought to a white noise machine to drown out the snoring.

      Hope that is helpful,

      Terry

      Reply
      • Hi Terry,

        Thank you so much for the speedy reply! It’s not possible for us to move the bed to the other wall, unfortunately, due to space limitations. Is there anything slightly more aesthetically pleasing you recommend? I looked up the sound blankets and they seem easy enough to install, however, not the prettiest/best look 😉 Any thoughts on that, i.e. will curtains or soundproof tiles that you can stick to the wall work? If yes, do you have any brands you recommend for any of those options? Also, we do use a sound machine – great point on that front!

        Thanks,
        Kim

        Reply
        • Hi Kim,

          Sorry this one took so long. You are correct about the blankets–unless you like black–then they are great. Nicetown soundproof curtains come in many colors and sizes. Not terribly expensive and you can hang them on the wall like the blankets from removable hooks instead of on rods. Mass Loaded Vinyl sheets are another option. Has an STC rating of 27 meaning it cuts out 27 decibels of sound. Also comes black but is paintable with latex paint. It is called limp mass and it is heavy–about 1 lb. per square foot. If I were putting it up on my wall, I would use a decent piece of 1 x 4 run horizontally every 3′ to cover the nails and joins. That would keep it flat, cover the nails you used to hold it up, and you could then paint the whole wall one color or paint the MLV one color and stain the wood as a highlight. Any acoustic type tiles you stick to the wall in your room will only keep the sounds you make inside. They need to be installed in the neighbor’s room. Nicetown Curtains and MLV available on Amazon.

          Terry

          Reply
          • Hi Terry,

            My apologies now for the delayed reply! Super helpful information re: acoustic tiles – thank you for saving me the time, effort, and money with your guidance! The leasing office let me know today that they are going to bring in a vendor to add “sheet rock.” I’m doing some research on my end but any questions I should ask or things I should make sure they do, i.e. ask for them to include certain insulation, etc?

            Thanks very much!
            Kim

          • Hi Kim,

            Sorry this reply is also late. Stupid internet tower piled up in a storm. Suggestions for the contractor:
            1) Roxul 80 soundproofing batt insulation, or cellulose. Although they may not know how to use it.
            2) Mass Loaded Vinyl applied to studs after insulation and before drywall.
            3) Soundproofing drywall (sheet rock) like QuietRock, or
            4) Double 5/8″ drywall with Green Glue sandwiched between.

            If they do 1), 2), and either of 3) or 4) you should get some peace and quiet. Not sure if the office people will spring for all of that, specially the MLV, but it will not hurt to ask.

            Hope that helps in time,

            Terry

  6. Good information in this site; thank you very much for your help. One question, I have heard that using sound proof wool insulation batts in the existing wall cavity of an interior wall helps deaden the sound from next door. Any truth to that?

    What is your best estimate from your knowledge if I have a hollow wall between two bedrooms with my neighbors bed and our bed on opposite sides of the wall (we can hear everything from his side); how effective at deadening the sound would the following steps be:
    Add the layer of mass loaded vinyl on the existing drywall, then use resilient clips and channels on existing drywall, add a layer of QuietRock or a single 5/8″ drywall layer and finally sealing the edges with sound proof caulk. Any adds or cost cutting steps to the above order of things I would do?
    Do I use the green glue anywhere to help or does the MLV, clips and extra drywall do enough?

    Reply
    • Hi Dave,

      Any insulation you put in the wall will absorb sound. Roxul rockwool soundproof insulation works well. I am a cellulose fan, because it gives you very good sound absorption and can be installed without ripping out the drywall. Just need to cut a small hole in the drywall between studs, drop the hose to the bottom plate and pull it out slowly as you blow. Then patch some small drywall holes. If you do that, Green Glue and QuietRock will probably do the trick. Your plan looks very effective and if you carry it out, life should be much quieter. You might want to have decibel meter handy to check noise levels now, and after each step. You might find that after the MLV is up you do not feel the need for clips and channels. Maybe a layer of QuietRock over the MLV is enough. Remember that you will have to get electrical box extenders.

      Hope that helps,

      Terry

      Reply
  7. Hello,
    This is a great article with lots of helpful tips. I was wondering if you could advise further in relation to my personal issue. My neighbour’s had a bathroom installed next to my bedroom wall and there is a constant humming of an extractor fan. I have alerted my neighbour and he is not interested in trying to compromise. Therefore, I am looking to sound proof my wall instead. The concerning wall is a brick wall. Would I be able to attach mass loaded vinyl to the wall and then perhaps acoustic wallpaper? Or would you advise sound proof wall liner? I was thinking acoustic paint but the reviews do not seem that good.
    Many thanks in advance for your help.
    Kind regards
    Ashlee

    Reply
    • Hi Ashlee,

      Before you do anything with the wall, make sure the noise is coming through the wall and is not flanking noise coming in through the ceiling. Brick walls usually provide lots of mass to deaden sound. If it is coming through the wall, Mass Loaded Vinyl is a good choice. It can also be painted with latex paint. You could also consider sound absorbing blankets (moving blankets) or Nicetown soundproof curtains, or a combination of all of them. Blankets are usually less expensive but color choices tend towards black or blue. Nicetown curtains come in many colors and sizes, and you do not have to hang them on a rod. Just put up removable self-adhesive hooks and hang them like the blankets.

      Hope that is helpful,

      Terry

      Reply
  8. So my bedroom is adjacent to the neighbors kitchen, and I can hear drawers and cupboard doors closing when ever they are there. As well as dishes and pots and pans rolling through the sink as they wash or rinse them.

    What solution will give me the best option to cover that “thud” every time they close a door or a drawer??

    Reply
    • Hi Kevin,

      You could try giving neighbor a package of kitchen cabinet rubber drawer bumpers if you get along with them. In addition you can hang sound absorbing blankets on the offending wall, or Nicetown soundproof curtains. Both can be hung on self-adhesive removable hooks, instead of rods. Curtains come in many colors and sizes. Blankets tend toward black.

      Hope that helps some,

      Terry

      Reply
  9. I need to soundproof a wall that separates my craft/dining room from tenants’ kitchen/living room. There is a door that remains closed, and the wall is 143 inches wide X 8 feet tall. We currently hear everything between rooms. The wall and doorway will be covered with bookshelves, so aesthetics are not important. Soundproofing needs to be removable so we can access the doorway between tenants. I’ve had multiple recommendations for materials (various brands of MLV, “Quiet Wall” sound barrier, cellulose insulation, acoustic insulation soundboard, etc.), yet I cannot find stats to compare effectiveness. Then I read reviews and discover one item smells terrible and another simply doesn’t work.

    HELP??!!!!! PLEASE!

    Reply
    • Hi Jeane,

      Here are a few options with pros and cons:

      1) 2 lb. MLV – STC rating of 34. Can be hung on the wall, then painted with latex paint. Heavy (2 lb. per square foot). Limp mass makes it somewhat difficult to install. Fairly expensive.
      2) Quiet Wall – Made to be applied to the open studs, then covered with drywall. Not paintable. Fairly expensive.
      3) Cellulose – One of my favorites. Can be blown into the wall by cutting small hole between studs at the top of the wall. Provides good soundproofing from both sides. Requires professional installation or someone who understands how it is best to install. Can rent machine from whoever supplies product. 96 square feet will only take a couple of bags. Fairly inexpensive. Have to patch drywall holes after installation.
      4) Acoustic Panels – Will only help to stop sound in the room where they are installed.
      5) Soundproof Blankets – US Cargo Control makes one 80″ wide x 96″ high so two will do the whole wall. Come with grommets on one 80″ side. Can be hung from removable hooks at top of wall. Fairly efficient at stopping sound from both sides of wall. Not pretty. Color choices tend to black.
      6) Double Drywall – Add 5/8″ drywall to one, or both, side of wall. Extra mass quite effective at stopping noise. Not expensive. Labor intensive. Heavy. Need to extend door jamb and electrical boxes.

      I would try the blankets. And AcoustiDoor by Residential Acoustics for door access. You can cut the blanket to fit around the door, then install the AcoustiDoor. Because this combination should work well enough, and if I want more soundproofing I can add more.

      Hope that helps,

      Terry

      Reply
  10. Thank you so much, Terry! You’ve been super helpful and are so knowledgeable. The leasing office said the company is going to use two pieces of sheet rock (5/8th of an inch thick) and put standard insulation in between. We asked if the company would be using green glue and they said no. I’m a bit nervous that they won’t use the green glue because it seems like such an easy (and quite cost effective) add-on but crossing fingers it all still helps! I can’t thank you enough for your guidance and kindness in responding to my many messages!

    Reply
    • Hi Kim,

      The standard insulation (fiberglass, I assume) will help and the mass of double 5/8 drywall is also good. Glad to be of help, and I hope it turns out well.

      Terry

      Reply
  11. Hey there!
    Thanks so much for this article and the comments, super helpful! I just bought my first home and moved in over the weekend, a row house in a city. To my dismay, I could hear the neighbors’ television running all day on all 3 days of the holiday weekend, and then an argument they had past midnight (I could hear a lot of what they were saying!) But finding your article gives me hope that something can be done!

    I’m not sure blown in insulation will work before we believe it’s just a layer of drywall over brick. I am going to try to confirm! If that is the case, I’m thinking MLV on the existing wall and then a layer of Quiet Rock. Can Green Glue be used with MLV? If not, is MLV superior to the Green Glue? How much space would clips and channels take? I don’t have much room to work with because my entryway door is right against that wall. Probably an inch and a half at absolute most. I could do clips and channels in my bedroom though, which is the second floor of that shared wall.

    Did I read in one of your comments that the Quiet Rock is not paintable? If that is the case, I would choose drywall instead as I will want to paint. I will of course follow your recommendations for acoustic caulking and the outlets! Thank you for your time!!

    Reply
    • Hi Christina,

      Sorry it took so long to reply. Green Glue is made to be used between 2 solid surfaces so it will not work with Mass Loaded Vinyl. I do not know if Green Glue is superior to MLV, but if you are adding drywall to drywall, use the Green Glue sandwiched between.
      Isolation clips, hat channel, and 5/8″ drywall will add 2″ to your wall.
      Resilient Channel and 5/8″ drywall will add about 1 1/4″ to your wall.
      QuietRock is paintable. Once it is installed treat it like any other drywall product–tape and mud, primer/sealer, paint.
      A couple of things to add to the outlets is electrical cover insulation gaskets after the acoustic caulking, and electrical box extenders. (Both available at Amazon.)

      Hope that helps,

      Terry

      Reply
  12. Hi Terry,

    Can you please recommend a drywall ( available in Toronto, Canada) to use to sound proof an existing (dry) wall.

    Cannot seem to find a supplier for Quietrock in Toronto.

    Lowes is selling CERTAIN TEED brand – SilentFX Drywall (1/2-in x 4-ft x 8-ft)

    Will be applying green glue in between.

    Will ordinary drywall do the job?

    Issue at hand, can hear neighbor’s a/c humming noise. Our house is old with stucco finish outside and looks like there is not much sound insulation – we can even hear birds chirping outside, even though we just replaced all the windows (triple glazed)

    THANK YOU !!

    Reply
    • Hi Sorab,

      Too bad that Toronto is such a backwater–with a lousy hockey team. Says the guy from Alberta–where we have 2 lousy hockey teams. You can find QuietRock at Bernardi Building Supply in Toronto. Get the 5/8″ thick. Either QuietRock or Certainteed. The extra 1/8″ of mass is really helpful. You can also use ordinary 5/8″ drywall with Green Glue. It will do the job–not quite as well. But it is much less expensive. Make sure you use acoustic caulking to seal all of the gaps–including electrical outlets (remove the covers, then caulk, then replace the covers using electrical cover insulation gaskets and box extenders (both available at Amazon). Then install new drywall, tape and mud, and paint.

      Hope that helps,

      Terry

      Reply
  13. Hi Terry,
    I love your article and all the answers you provided. As we rent at the moment and our upstairs neighbour has a really loud voice and all sorts of sounds transfers down to us – even the use of the bathroom, I wanted to understand if installing acoustic panels would help with keeping the sound out?
    Thank you in advance.

    Susi

    Reply
    • Hi Susi,

      Acoustic panels inside your room will do very little for incoming noise. It will help keep any sound you make inside the room. Not the problem, not the solution. Ideal answer would be to convince the neighbor to put down thick rug and soundproof underlayment along with some acoustic panels in her/his apartment. Usually difficult to accomplish. Otherwise your best bet for the ceiling would be isolation clips, hat channel, and either double 5/8″ drywall with Green Glue sandwiched between, or a single 5/8″ soundproof drywall like QuietRock. If the ceiling is smooth you can use resilient channel instead of isolation clips and hat channel. If possible, you could also blow dry cellulose insulation between the floor joists. Sounds to me like the floor is not insulated enough to deaden any noise.

      Soundproofing blankets or Mass Loaded Vinyl on the ceiling will help somewhat, but they are a large pain to install.

      Because you are renting, it might be worthwhile to talk to the owner or landlord. Not sure he/she will spring for a fairly healthy expense. And I am sure you do not really want to donate much to a building you could be leaving.

      Hopefully that answered your question, although it may not have solved the problem.

      Terry

      Reply
  14. My son recently bought a condo. He has neighbors upstairs and on one side. He works from home and loves gaming online. If he can blow insulation in the walls and then add a layer of QuietRock on top of the existing walls and ceiling does that sound like a plan to keep his noise inside his office?

    Any idea what it might cost for this DIY project in a standard size bedroom?

    Reply
    • Hi Jan,

      I sounds like a good plan. Use Cellulose blow in insulation. He will need to cut a hole in the drywall at the top of each stud cavity, drop the blower hose to the bottom, turn down the air, and retract the hose slowly as it fills. (You cannot just cut the hole, shove the hose in a couple of inches and blow. Because every nail, electrical box, wire, etc. will have a small hollow below it.) Then add new drywall. It might be a good idea to use Green Glue sandwiched between drywall layers. Other options include Mass Loaded Vinyl over the old drywall, then paint it with latex paint. MLV over old drywall, then add QuietRock. Hang soundproofing blankets. (As long as the color black is acceptable. He may also just be able to use acoustic foam and acoustic diffusers on the walls and ceiling. They will help keep the sound inside the room and are quite inexpensive. (Make sure he uses 2″ thick product.)

      As for cost, he is probably looking at between $5.00/square foot to $30.00/square foot. Of covered area. It depends on what he is doing. For instance: QuietRock is about $2.50/square foot, Cellulose about $5.00, Green Glue about $1.00/square foot. And is he doing the work or hiring someone. Sorry I cannot be more exact.

      Hope this helps.

      Terry

      Reply
  15. Hi Terry,

    Thank you for your article, it’s very informative. I moved into a brand new townhouse and the walls are paper thin. I have a neighbour 2 houses down that likes to play music at all hours of the night. Sadly I hear it in my bedroom. Beside my bedroom is the master bathroom which shares the wall with my neighbour and beside my neighbour is the loud one. When I put my hear to the wall separating my bedroom with the bathroom I can also hear the vibrations in the wall. I can also hear vibrations on the back wall too. I’m guessing if I have to add drywall, it would have to be the entire length of the bedroom?? What would be your reco for the easiest solution?

    Thanks in advance for your help

    Reply
    • Hi Michelle,

      In answer to the drywall question: yes, you will have to add drywall to the complete wall to get value from the mass. You might have to add drywall to both the back wall and common wall with your neighbor. 5/8″ drywall with Green Glue sandwiched between will absorb some of the sound. You can also use 5/8″ QuietRock drywall either with, or without the Green Glue. Window frames, door frames, electrical boxes will also have to be extended and re-finished. I also have a few random thoughts you could consider:

      1) You could hang soundproofing moving blankets on the walls. Not pretty, but less expensive.
      2) Talk to the condo board.
      3) Talk to your neighbors–the one making noise and the one in between.
      4) Consider a white noise machine to cancel some of the noise.
      5) There is a possibility that the noise is flanking noise, which comes through the ceiling or floor and is not travelling through the unit between you and the racket. If that is the case, a rug with soundproofing underlayment like RugPadUSA would soak up some of the sound. Or more attic insulation.
      6) I do not know where you live, but if it is a new townhouse, what kind of building codes are there? And what kind of shortcuts did the builder take?

      Hope some of that is helpful,

      Terry

      Reply
      • Hi Terry,

        Thank you for the info. I live in Ontario, Canada. As per the builder representative, she says the walls are built to code. Not sure how I can confirm or know if shortcuts were taken.

        Is there a way for me to confirm if it’s flanking noise?

        Are there options to minimize noise from windows?

        Thanks

        Reply
        • Hi Michelle,

          As a redneck Albertan with granddaughters in Toronto, I will refrain from any comment on your hockey? team.

          It is difficult to confirm shortcuts or not without taking walls and floors apart. Flanking noise from the ceiling is fairly easy if you have access to the attic (and a decibel meter, if possible). When the noise is loud in your place, just open the attic access and either listen or use the decibel meter–both in the room and the attic. As far as the floor goes, I am not sure that the meter reading will be any different held against the wall and the floor. Don’t think they work that way.

          As far as window noise goes, here are 4 options:
          1) Soundproof curtains like Nicetown Blackout curtains.
          2) Moving blanket. effective but cheap and ugly.
          3) AcousticCurtain by Residential Acoustics. Reduces noise by up to 25 decibels.
          4) Shuteye Acoustical Shutters. Reduces noise by up to 50 decibels.

          Either of the last two are great options, though more expensive.

          Terry

          Reply
  16. Good ideas, but how do you deal with outlets and light switches? I could build another wall in front of the existing wall, but it doesn’t seem like I’d be able to pull the outlets out of the existing wall another four inches. Or am I not following?

    Reply
    • Hi Kyle,

      You probably have to cut out some drywall to access the existing box and wires. Might end up being a fairly big hole. Then you can remove the box from the stud, and staples from the electrical wire. With any luck there will be enough slack to extend the boxes to your new wall. Newer houses usually have a fair amount of extra wire. Older houses–not always. If this method works for you, it is possible that switches and plugs may not be at the exact same height.

      Another option is to marrette extra lengths of 14/2 wire onto the existing, run them through a punch-out box cover and into a new box on your new wall.

      Terry

      Reply

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