|| Five Ways NOT to Soundproof Your
There comes a time when you realize you need to soundproof a room.
It may be a basement you’re converting into a media room, a
spare bedroom you want to turn into a studio, or a nursery you want
to make quiet. Whatever the reason, many make the mistake of taking
on a “do it yourself” soundproofing project with the hopes
of saving money, only to find themselves in trouble down the line.
Most do-it-yourself soundproofing projects cost people more money
in the long run. Many assume soundproofing is a simple task. They
fail to understand how much research and testing it has taken to
develop the science of soundproofing. Some of the more glaring errors
people have made are perfect examples are how NOT to soundproof
your home. These include:
Empty Egg Cartons
Yes, people have gathered up dozens of empty egg cartons and fastened
them to their walls, assuming the shape will somehow absorb sound
because they look like those cool, wavy walls you see in recording
studios and radio stations. Nope. Doesn’t work like that.
Egg cartons are made of completely different materials than the
acoustical foam used in sound booths. In fact, the egg cartons may
amplify some sounds or cause sound distortion. Regardless, the result
won’t be pretty – or soundproof.
Mattresses and pillows seem to be a particular favorite of garage
bands and attic workshops, but you’re asking for trouble if
you start nailing mattresses to your walls or stuffing pillows into
every available crevice, inside cabinets, and under sinks. For one
thing, mattresses and pillows attract mold, mildew, and dust. You
are asking for a full-blown allergy attack at the least and serious
illness at worst. The stuffing is just too hard to keep clean and
dry – and it’s far too inviting for vermin. A singer
of one garage band passed out when a frisky little mouse chewed
through the mattress on the wall then dropped into the singer’s
Filling Your Walls
People are creative. Many people think the more “stuff”
there is between them and the neighbors, the better for soundproofing.
But if you hate listening to every discussion and telephone call,
filling the space between your walls isn’t the answer. People
have put everything from packing peanuts to sawdust in the space
between their walls. Bad idea – wood actually conducts sound
quite well. And if you put something in the walls that isn’t
up to code, you’re creating a fire hazard.
Suddenly those pesky neighbors don’t seem so bad, do they?
Flooring on Your Walls and Ceiling
You’ve probably heard that soft materials absorb more sound,
so carpet is better than tile or hardwood floors. This doesn’t
mean you should carpet your walls and ceiling - but plenty of people
It’s another way to stir up a lot of sneeze-inducing dust
and give your room the unfortunate look of a 1970’s, low-budget
roller rink. Unfortunately, carpeting your walls and ceiling does
little to soundproof your space. Next.
Yes, foam rubber is another material people throw up on their walls,
and no, it doesn’t work any better than carpet or mattresses
to deaden sound. We can’t stress this enough – unless
the material is specifically engineered to absorb sound, it won’t
work. Period. Some people think foam rubber works on walls because
putting foam rubber under their washer or dryer absorbs the sound
of these machines. It sounds fine in theory, but foam rubber only
muffles sound when the source of noise is in direct contact with
the rubber – it does nothing to stop sound from traveling
through the air. Plus, after a few years, the gummy, sticky rubber
on your walls will start to crumble.
These are the big mistakes – but there are certainly others
not mentioned here. Take care and be smart. When you are ready to
soundproof a room in your home, contact a professional and invest
in proper soundproofing materials. Nothing less will do –
and a job poorly executed will cost you a lot more in the end. For
those who still feel inclined to DIY, all we can say is “Good
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