How to Soundproof Your House or Room From Noisy Neighbors

soundproof your house from neighbours

Your neighbors might be so loud that they disrupt your sleep and distract you during the day. This problem can be very irritating, but luckily there are many solutions to soundproof your home.

Does Soundproofing Work For Noisy Neighbors

When you are hearing loud noises from your neighbors, it can be a frustrating experience.

Fortunately, there are many ways to soundproof your home. You’ll need to target areas like walls, windows, doors, ceilings, and floors.

Once you try a soundproofing method, you can open your sliding door a little to notice the differences in sound. Any soundproofing material aims to control air movement, and therefore control noise. With any combination of these methods, you won’t have to be bothered by your neighbors again.

How to Block, Muffle, or Reduce Noise From Neighbors

If you don’t want to do any renovations to your home, there are other options. We’d recommend wearing earplugs, carefully arranging furniture, installing ceiling clouds, or buying a white noise machine.

You might want to try these simple, inexpensive solutions before using more complicated, expensive methods.

Ear Plugs

A very simple, inexpensive way to reduce the noise from your neighbors is to wear earplugs. This can be a great solution for keeping a quiet living space. Although you won’t want to wear these all the time, they can keep you from hearing your neighbor’s late-night parties.

Silicone earplugs are comfortable, so they won’t disrupt your sleeping schedule. You can wear them to bed, when taking a nap during the day, or whenever you need them.

They are made for blocking extraneous sounds so you can have a peaceful, quiet home. Earplugs are also the cheapest option on this list. For around $5, you won’t have to worry about noisy neighbors again.

Furniture & Décor

You can block some outside noise by rearranging your furniture. This can be beneficial in apartments, where the walls are thin and sound travels very easily. Although this method won’t fully soundproof your living space, it can make a difference.

It’s best to use furniture that is upholstered with plush fabrics. Suede, microfiber, chenille, or corduroy furniture is all very effective in absorbing sound.

Notice where most of the sounds are coming from. If you can hear your neighbors through a specific wall, place your couch, bookshelf, or tapestries to cover that area. Even installing carpet instead of hardwood floors can dampen sounds.

Ceiling Clouds

Acoustic ceiling clouds hang from the ceiling and mostly reduce ambient noise and echoes. They are great for absorbing sound waves. After installing these, you’ll notice a difference in sound quality compared to a flat ceiling.

These ceiling clouds are easy to install, durable, and made from great sound-absorbing material. You can simply hang these from the ceiling using eye-hooks because they are so lightweight. Because they are available in many designs and colors, you’ll be able to find ceiling clouds that fit your home decor.

You’ll notice that ceiling clouds don’t completely block all sounds, but they do absorb any sound waves from basic speech to musical instruments. If you’re looking to improve the sound quality of a room, ceiling clouds are one of the most effective methods.

White Noise Machine

White noise machines can block out some unwanted noise, allowing you to have a more quiet space. You can find many different models that play anything from white noise to natural sounds. If you’re wanting to have better sleep, a white noise machine is a great option.

With a white noise machine, it may keep you from hearing your noisy neighbors. It will play consistent, calming sounds which will distract you from any unwanted noise. However, it won’t block all sounds. To fully soundproof a room, you might need to use a different method.

How to Soundproof a Room From Noisy Neighbors

There are many ways to soundproof a room. You can target walls, windows, doors, ceilings, and floors to create a more quiet and calm living space.

Each of these areas tends to let sound waves into your home, so you’ll need to apply a combination of method to each area for a fully soundproof your room.

After installing a soundproofing method, you can easily check to see if it is working properly. For this, you can use your phone. Simply play music on your phone, place your phone behind the soundproofed area, and see if the sound is coming through. If you can clearly hear the music, you may need to use a different method.

Soundproof a Wall / Bedroom Wall Against Noisy Neighbors

Seal Gaps Around Switches and Outlets

An improper seal around light switches and outlets can cause up to 50% sound leakage. Because of this, it’s important to seal these gaps to soundproof a wall.

For this project, you can use soundproofing green glue. This was manufactured with a special formula that targets sound leaks. You can apply this acoustical caulk around the perimeter of walls, ceilings, outlets, windows, and doors.

Green glue is inexpensive and easy to use. For less than $20, this is a very effective method of soundproofing your walls.

Add Insulation If Not Between Drywall

Before we had state-by-state enhanced building codes, many homes did not have insulation in their walls. If your home was constructed before the 1980s, your walls might not be insulated. Without insulation, sounds will easily travel through walls and disrupt your daily life.

To fix this problem, consider installing new insulation into the walls. Doing this process without damaging the existing wall is very difficult, so you should consider hiring a professional. They will have the experience necessary to assess the problem and come to a worthwhile solution.

2 Layers of 5/8″ Drywall + Green Glue + Mass Loaded Vinyl

Green glue is a very effective soundproofing method, but only when applied in between two layers of drywall. When you add green glue between your drywall layers, it can dampen noise nearly 100 times more than one layer of drywall.

5/8″ drywall is the best thickness to use. The thicker the drywall, the more it will be able to block incoming sound waves. Two layers of this drywall, with green glue in between, can be one of the best ways to soundproof your apartment.

Additionally, you can add a layer of mass-loaded vinyl for extra soundproofing capabilities. MLV can raise the effectiveness of green glue because it adds extra mass to the wall. You can install MLV in between layers of drywall, or simply hang it over the existing drywall.

The combination of 2 layers of drywall, soundproofing green glue, and mass-loaded vinyl can effectively block any unwanted outside noise. For this method, you may want to contact a professional to see the best results.

Construct a Wall in Front of Your Wall

If your walls are too thin, you’ll probably hear every noise your neighbor makes. This can be very troublesome, so you could consider building another wall over the existing wall. You won’t be able to do this yourself, but it is a very effective way to reduce the amount of noise traveling through the wall.

A normal wall usually has studs that are 16 inches on center. Insulation fills the gaps in the wall, then a layer of 5/8″ drywall is installed. With this, it doesn’t offer much protection from sounds. You’ll likely be able to easily hear your neighbors.

To fix this problem, a construction worker can install a new wall over the old wall. They will leave airspace, then build another wall with studs that are 24 inches on center.

Studs can transmit sound through a wall, so this extra wall has fewer studs. Because there is more air space in the wall, sounds won’t be able to pass through.

This process is very effective in blocking sounds. Although it is a more expensive option because you’ll need professional help, it could be worth it.

Optional – Add Resilient Channels

Using resilient channels in a wall can reduce up to 90% of vibration transmission. However, you’ll need to know how to install them correctly.

Resilient channels are thin metal strips that are screwed into an existing wall. They are made for separating the wall from any additional layers of insulation. This creates a space, or decoupling zone, that traps sound waves.

While they can be effective, resilient channels are not very popular. To find a high-quality resilient channel, you’ll need to find a good company that has lab test results to prove its effectiveness. Most local hardware stores won’t have good resilient channels. Because of this, resilient channels can be expensive.

It’s best to hire a professional to install a resilient channel. You might spend more money doing this yourself and may cause long-term issues.

Soundproof Windows Against Noisy Neighbors

Seal All Gaps Around Your Window

If there are any gaps in the caulking around your window, this could easily let sound inside your home. All windows should be properly sealed with caulking, but the seal could deteriorate over time.

You might need to re-caulk the seal of your window. This is a fairly simple, inexpensive process that you can do at home.

When you notice any wear and tear on an old seal, you can’t caulk over it. You’ll have to completely remove the old caulking and install a new seal. You can use a putty knife to scrape away the old seal.

Once the damaged seal is removed, it’s time to caulk. Use an acoustical caulk for a great, soundproof window seal. This costs less than $20, making this an inexpensive DIY project.

Make sure to not cut the tube tip of the caulk too much. You’ll need a narrow bead to properly caulk the window seal. Then use both hands to guide the caulking gun along the smooth window edge.

Seal Gaps Between Window Frame and Drywall

You can also improve the seal of your window on the inside. There may be a gap between the wall and the window, allowing sound waves to easily travel through. A good insulation spray can fix this issue.

First, remove the window frame using the back of a hammer. If there are any large gaps in this space, you’ll need to fill them with insulation spray.

Make sure to apply the foam from the bottom to the top. This will allow the insulation foam to stay in place, stacking on top of itself.

Once this space is properly filled, you can reattach the window frame. The insulation spray will create an extra barrier against incoming sound waves, improving the sound quality of your home.

Noise Reducing Curtains

A very simple solution to soundproofing your windows is to use noise-reducing curtains. These will cover the windows, effectively deadening internal echoes. Although soundproof curtains won’t fully block sound waves, they can reduce noise and sunlight.

Most noise-reducing curtains are made from triple-weave polyester fabric. This is a thick material specially made for soundproofing windows. With a variety of styles and fabrics, these curtains can be a great way to absorb sound while matching your interior design.

Soundproof curtains have a simple installation process. You simply slide the metal grommets onto a curtain rod. Because of this, you can remove them whenever you’d like.

DIY Window Inserts with Acoustic Foam

If you love a DIY project, you can make your own window insert with acoustic foam. This will take more time and effort but can be worthwhile. DIY window plugs are designed to fit tightly into a window to cut down on outside noise.

The basic construction of a window insert is a wood frame that is packed with acoustic foam, insulation, or other soundproofing materials. Then you can place a layer of fabric around it to blend seamlessly into your home decor.

It’s best to make the wood frame out of medium-density fiberboard. This is the best choice for blocking sound waves.

Use foam board to create a flat surface for all your soundproofing materials to lay on. Then you can fill the frame with acoustic foam, sealing the edges with soundproofing glue.

Building a DIY window insert can have many advantages. It is very effective in blocking sound and can easily be removed. Since it completely covers the window, it blocks light and heat as well.

Soundproof Barrier

Soundproof barriers control the amount of sound moving into your apartment through a window. When installed over a window, you can effectively reduce how much noise you’re hearing from your neighbors.

Each soundproof barrier panel is made from padded vinyl. It comes in a variety of colors and has a very simple installation process.

After receiving your barrier panel, it’s time to hang them. You’ll need to apply velcro around the edges of your window and use this to attach the panel.

You can order soundproof panels of any size. Before doing this, make sure you measure your window correctly. The panel covers the entire window, plus 2 and 1/4 inches of the surrounding wall.

Mark these areas on the wall and take accurate measurements. Then you can order and install your custom-made window panel.

The smallest size you can order is 24 by 24 inches. At around $300, this method is one of the most expensive options on this list.

Window Inserts

You might not want to change the look of your windows. In that case, it’s best to use window inserts. These are 1/4 inch acrylic panes that fit onto a window. Each pane is clear, so this won’t change the amount of light coming through your window.

Window inserts can be very effective in soundproofing a window. They are designed to block drafts and reduce outside noise. When used on a window, they can reduce up to 70% of unwanted sounds.

The silicone compression tubing around the edges keeps them in place. When installing them, all you have to do is press them onto your window.

This option is similar to getting double-pane windows but at a fraction of the cost. A standard window insert only costs around $30 per square foot.

Double or Triple Glaze Your Windows

Sometimes the best option for soundproofing a window is completely replacing it. Although this is an expensive option, double or triple glazed windows are much more efficient in blocking noise than single-pane windows.

Single-pane windows only have one layer of glass. This doesn’t offer much protection against outside noise. Installing double or triple pane windows is a much better option.

Double-pane windows have two layers of glass which are separated by a layer of air. When sound waves attempt to pass through these layers, they will be blocked or redirected.

Triple-pane windows can be even more effective because they have an extra layer of glass. When a window pane has more layers of glass, sound waves aren’t able to travel into the house.

This can be an expensive method, so we’d recommend trying other options first. Double-pane windows can cost from $450 to $600 per window. Triple-pane windows are even more expensive, costs an average of $550 to $1,085 per window.

This doesn’t include costs for labor, as well. For this process, you’ll need professional help. Because of this, the costs can easily add up when installing new windows.

Soundproof Doors Against Noisy Neighbors

Replace Hollow Core Door with Solid Core Door

Commonly, sound waves can easily pass through doors. They are thin pieces of wood with many gaps around the edges, disrupting the peaceful quiet of your home. One solution to this problem is replacing your hollow core door with a solid core door.

Hollow core doors are thin sheets of wood. You can tell if you have a hollow core door if it wobbles or has an echo when you knock on it. Solid core doors are made with solid wood, creating a better barrier against sound.

Seal Gaps Between Door Frame and Drywall with a Caulking Gun

Sometimes, there will be gaps inside the wall that allow sound waves to pass through the edges of a door. To fix this, you’ll need to seal any gaps between the door frame and drywall.

First, remove the door casing. Then fill the space with insulation spray. Make sure to place the foam from the bottom to the top for large gaps.

The density of the foam will fill any airspace in the door frame. This also creates a sound barrier, keeping your home nice and quiet.

Use Foam Strips Around the Door Frame

After you’ve taken care of internal gaps, you should fill the gap around the door frame. You can easily do this with foam strips, or weather stripping.

Each foam strip comes with an adhesive backing. Cut the strip to the size of your door and then apply it to all the gaps around the door edges. Use consistent, firm pressure to create an airtight seal.

Use Door Trim at the Bottom of the Door

If you look at the bottom of your door, you’ll notice an open gap. Because of this space, you’ll be able to hear unwanted noise from outside. A good way to solve this problem is by adding a door sweep.

Door trim can cover gaps up to 1.3 inches. Most have a velcro design, so they are easy to install and adjust.

After you’ve placed door trim at the bottom of the door, it will move with the door as it opens and closes. You won’t have to worry about adjusting it every time you open a door.

With door trim, sound waves will have more trouble traveling through the door. It can also effectively keep out cold air and heat.

Add Soundproof Barrier

Just like soundproof barriers for windows, there are soundproof barriers for doors. Each barrier panel is made from vinyl material and is custom-built for your door. These panels create a sound barrier but also can absorb sound.

Soundproof barriers are designed for soundproofing rather than any aesthetic value. They are available in a variety of colors, but they are not the best-looking soundproofing method.

Add Noise Reducing Curtains

Noise-reducing curtains can also be effective on doors. They absorb 2 times more sound than an average curtain because of their triple-weave polyester fabric.

Installing curtains over a door may take some effort and time. Noise-reducing curtains are installed onto a curtain rod, so you’ll need to hang a rod above your door.

This is one of the cheapest options for soundproofing a door. At around $50, these can sufficiently block any sound waves that come through a door.

Soundproof Ceiling Against Noisy Neighbors

Consider Floor Above You

If you own the room above you, you can take measures to soundproof the room below. This can be as simple as installing carpeting, an underpad underneath laminate flooring, or 1 1/4 inch plywood underneath tile.

These flooring options can offer great soundproofing effects. Each adds an extra barrier to prevent sound from traveling downstairs.

Add Fiberglass Insulation

Fiberglass insulation is designed with many air pockets, making it a great method for absorbing and dampening sound. To soundproof a ceiling, add a layer of fiberglass insulation before the drywall.

The advantage of fiberglass insulation is its price. Fiberglass insulation is just as effective as mineral wool, but it’s 1/3 the cost.

Use 2 Layers of 5/8″ Drywall

You can install two layers of drywall onto the ceiling to block unwanted sounds from upstairs. It’s best to use 5/8 inch drywall sheets. The two layers will not only be great sound barriers but also will create better insulation and resistance to fire.

It can be difficult to install drywall by yourself, especially on the ceiling. Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help.

The first layer of drywall should be laid parallel with the studs. Make sure to screw them tightly into the ceiling joists. For the second layer, install them going perpendicular with the studs. The drywall seams of the two layers shouldn’t be aligned.

Add Layer of Mass Loaded Vinyl

Mass-loaded vinyl is usually installed directly onto ceiling joists or studs, but it can be layered over an existing surface. MLV is a dense, but flexible material that is highly effective in controlling noise.

When installing MLV, leave a 1/4 inch gap around the edges of the ceiling. Use acoustical caulk to seal these gaps.

This material is thin and flexible, so it’s not too difficult to install. The main disadvantage of using MLV is its price. You could pay from $1 to $2.50 per square foot.

Use Green Glue Between Drywall Layers

For maximum soundproofing, use green glue in the drywall seams and between layers. Green glue was specially made for soundproofing, so it greatly reduces impact and airborne noise. Most sounds that travel down through the ceiling will be blocked using this method.

Start by installing the first layer of drywall. Then apply green glue to the back of the new drywall, using 2 tubes for every 4 by 8 sheet. Lay the second layer onto the ceiling.

It’s important to overlap the seams of the two layers. This decreases the number of sound leaks. Then fasten the second layer of drywall to the ceiling using mechanical fasteners.

Optional – Add Resilient Channels

Adding resilient channels to the ceiling can break up sound waves before they enter your home. They aim to separate drywall sheets from the building structure, reducing vibration transmission. They target impact noise rather than airborne noise.

Although they are usually installed before adding any drywall, you can also use them before adding a second drywall layer on a ceiling. This will create a dropped ceiling.

Resilient channels can be effective on the ceiling, but they are best installed by professionals. It can be difficult to know how to install these thin and flexible pieces of metal.

Up to 3 Layers of Acoustic Paint

One of the easiest ways to improve the sound quality of a room is by using acoustic paint. It might seem impossible that paint can block sound, but soundproof paint is much thicker than normal paint. With three layers, it can reduce background noise.

Acoustic paint is made to dampen ringing, echo, and tinning noise. It won’t completely block unwanted sounds, but it can improve internal sound quality.

The advantage of this soundproofing method is its installation. All you have to do is apply this paint onto the ceiling using a brush, roller, or spray. After three coats, you’ll notice a difference in what you hear.

Soundproof Floor Against Noisy Neighbors

Similar to soundproofing walls, doors, windows, or ceilings, having extra layers is important in soundproofing a floor. Sound waves cannot easily travel through layered materials.

For floors, use materials that will absorb impact noise and airborne noise. Thin, hardwood floors will likely not block any unwanted noise.

The best ways to soundproof a floor is to install carpeting, an underpad underneath laminate flooring, or 1 1/4 inch plywood underneath tile.

Final Thoughts

If you combine a few of these soundproofing methods, you won’t have to be bothered by loud, distracting neighbors again. There are many soundproofing solutions available; you simply have to choose which one will work best in your home. With many methods to choose from, you don’t have to be irritated by noise!

  • Gregory A Seely
  • Gregory A Seely

    Greg is a self taught home renovator and writer for RenoViso. His shares his experiences with Southern Living, Traditional Home and other publications.

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