What Is Cheap Soundproofing?
Cheap soundproofing can mean a lot of different things to different people, and can easily confused with other terms like sound dampening, acoustical engineering, sound blocking, or just improving the quality of sound in a room. Depending on your circumstances, cheap soundproofing might mean keeping noise in your home, for example, if you have a home studio and you don’t want to disturb your neighbors. For others, cheap soundproofing might mean trying to finally get a good night’s sleep after months of being kept up by a noisy neighbor or busy highway. Perhaps you are not concerned about keeping sound in or out, you just want to improve the quality of the sound in a room, removing echos and reverberations.
Another problem with “one size fits all’ cheap soundproofing is the fact that cheap is a relative term. For the owners of an auditorium or sanctuary “cheap” might mean under $10,000 and consider bringing in a specialist. Whereas someone renting an apartment might consider cheap something under $100 to help block the sound of the neighbor’s dog barking.
Types Of Cheap Soundproofing
Before determining what type of cheap soundproofing is best for you, the source of the sound must be determined. There are two types of sound, airborne and impact. Airborne noise is any noise that travels through the air such as a television, stereo, or a dog’s barking. Impact noise is caused from the impact of one object against the other such as a foot hitting the ground walking, a chair sliding across the floor, or a headboard hitting the wall. Your success with cheap soundproofing will vary drastically depending on the source of your noise. Airborne noise can be remedied fairly easily and inexpensively. Impact noise however is much more difficult to block. The cheapest way to soundproof any room is stop the noise at it’s source. For impact noises it might mean asking your neighbors to walk with a little more courtesy during evening hours, or requesting the put felt pads on the bottom of their furniture.
Cheap Soundproofing For Airborne Noise
If the noise keeping you up at night is simply the voices of others in the room next to you, or music from the stereo next door cheap soundproofing is a real possibility. The solutions will not always look very good, but they can help the problem. The best way to soundproof a wall is by removing the drywall, installing resilient channel, and “floating” the drywall away from the studs. A cheaper alternative is to use a dried bead of silicone lining the entire length of all of your studs before installing the Sheetrock. Then, cover the Sheetrock with a thick layer of silicone beads and apply a second sheet. This double layered drywall with two silicone isolating barriers will help improve your wall’s ability to block and absorb sound.
If you rent your home or you cannot afford to replace all of the drywall in your trouble areas, then first cheap soundproofing solution is to address known weak spots for sound transmission such as windows, doors, and wall outlets. Airborne noise increases dramatically if you give it any open path to follow such as a poorly sealed window. Inspect any opening in the room for drafts and fill any problem areas with non-hardening silicone. Remove all of your outlet covers (consult a licensed electrician) and fill the gaps between the wall and the outlet box with self-expanding foam. Make sure your the area is air-tight before spending money on cheap soundproofing products.
If after basic gap testing you find the noise still penetrates the room, your cheap soundproofing solution is to purchase soundproof blankets for around $50-100 a piece. These blankets come in varying sizes and can be hung over windows, doors, and entire walls to help block unwanted sound. Although they may not be the best looking solution, they are non-permanent and fairly inexpensive. With a noise reduction of up to 21dB you will certainly notice a difference. Warning: Don’t be fooled by companies selling packing or moving blankets and calling them acoustic blankets. Make sure that a NRC or dB reduction measurement is provided before you purchase. If noise is coming through your ceiling or floor, be sure to check our additional cheap soundproofing guides.