When it comes to soundproofing, DIY techniques are getting traction. You may have read about using egg crates, carpets, and even some absurd things like using darker paint for effective soundproofing. But the question is, do they work? Here we are going to separate myths from facts. First of all, start with the most bizarre myth that the use of the darker shade of paint will somehow block the sound waves from penetrating the walls. I don’t even know how it perpetuated. There is not one ounce of truth in it. The same is the case with egg crates; at least I can see the cause of such beliefs. The egg crates are made of polystyrene, a material used in many soundproofing products. But if we examine the container, it will be evident that the thing is porous; hence, it can not deaden the sound.
Now moving on to the rugs, are they ineffective against noise too? To simply answer the above question, No, carpets are not ineffective when it comes to reducing echoes and absorbing sound. But the actual result depends on several factors like the thickness of the rug, the material, and the area it covers. If you cover the whole floor with it, most of the noise will not pass through it. But that is not what’s wrong with this entire idea. The actual absurdity is the claim of using it on the walls for soundproofing the room.
Soundproofing vs. Sound Absorbing Material
Before discussing what’s wrong with using carpet the walls for soundproofing, let’s examine the difference between soundproofing and sound absorption. They are often used interchangeably, but there is a notable difference between them.
In soundproofing, a solid material doesn’t let the sound pass through it. You can regard it as a barrier that blocks all kinds of noises. On the other hand, sound absorption commodities, as the name suggests, traps the sound within it. Take this example into consideration, if you break a glass on a sound-absorbing material like the carpet, you would hear a very dampened noise. If you repeat the experiment with mass loaded vinyl, the sound will be louder, but if you break a glass in a room soundproof with the said material, No one outside the room will hear any noise.
Are Rugs Good For Absorbing Noise
Due to their thickness, they are suitable for this task. The sound can travel down to the apartment below and if you hear complaints from them simple carpeting or rugs will dampen the noise and they won’t have any reason for complaining. This is a very effective and inexpensive method comparatively.
Some of the better performing carpets in this regard are as below.
Persian Carpet– Persian carpets are dense and that is good for absorbing the sound. The only drawback is that they are very expensive. So, better go with the other options.
Woven Wool– They are not only comfortable but they are also exceptionally good at trapping the noise.
Any Other Carpet- Any other carpet will do the job, just make sure they aren’t thin.
Carpets On Wall For Soundproofing
One thing is clear that the carpets are capable of dampening the noise. So, should you use them on the wall? No, absolutely no. It is not that they won’t block the sound on the contrary they are quite good at it. But can you recall any house where you have seen the whole room covered in carpet from floor to ceiling? And that is for a very good reason, they are not made for this purpose and just calculate the cost of such a task. You don’t want to end up spending a huge sum on a project when for lower costs you could have attained superior results.
While there is no denying the fact that the rugs and carpets are effective in soundproofing a room. But they are only cost-effective for the floors. If you are looking to soundproof your room there are some other budget-friendly DIY projects for this purpose.
First, you need to identify the source of the noise. Once that is done there is a high probability that you will be able to deaden it without spending much. If your room has windows then they are the biggest source of noise penetration and covering them will quite the room a lot. This can be achieved with the help of heavy curtains or placing blankets against the wall. Covering any space with weatherstripping will also work.
If windows aren’t the culprit the doors could be responsible for this especially if you have a hollow door. The weatherstripping door sweep can be used to cover the gaps, soundproofing the air vent is helpful too. After that move onto the door itself. A hollow door will let the noise pass through it without major resistance. To stop this, you can either use mass loaded vinyl (this can be quite heavy and blocks about 30-40% of the noise) for a more permanent solution or use blankets (any regular or a moving blanket will be enough) to trap the noise. One of the most effective and inexpensive methods is acoustic foam panels. A product like Mybecca or Soundtrax pro foam will dampen the noise by 20-25%. They are more suitable for reducing the echoes so expecting a huge noise reduction would be wrong.
How To Soundproof The Wall
If you think that the above methods won’t work or the noise is passing through the walls, this step will solve that problem too. There are several methods through which we can achieve this. Some of them I have tested personally and this also includes a method that is being praised a lot but I haven’t used it for my projects.
If you want the best results this solution is for you. It is capable of reducing noise by 65-70% the only downside is the cost. It is also hard to install so you will be hiring someone for this job. Adding all the costs you end up with the most expensive solution in this list.
Drywall is made up of calcium sulfate dihydrate (gypsum). You will be applying it on top of your old wall for even better results you can try it in combination with either mass loaded vinyl or acoustic foam panels.
Mass Loaded Vinyl
Mass loaded vinyl mats are thick soundproofing panels with the ability to dampen the sound by 35-40%. They are very good at blocking the low-frequency noise. It can is expensive comparatively but still cheaper than the drywall.
The downside of this product is its weight and an average sound dampening when the price is considered. You will need the help of your friend or a family member in the installation process.
Acoustic Foam Panel
It is the most inexpensive method of soundproofing a wall but the results aren’t something to be proud of either. At best we can define its performance as average. The idiom, you got what you paid for, applies here perfectly. You will be able to block only 20-25%. This material is designed for studios where reducing echoes is a priority, not soundproofing. Maybe that’s the reason for its abysmal quality soundproofing.
I have read a lot of reviews on this product and the Amazon review section is also filled with its praise, although there are some negative reviews that claim the exact opposite. I am not sure which side to believe but one thing I noticed is that this material takes 60-90 days after application to produce results. So, maybe the negative reviews are from those who were expecting immediate results. I won’t be able to give any conclusive remarks before testing this product thoroughly and I have already ordered the green glue from Amazon.
Once it is delivered, I am going to test it and will be posting the results after 90 days from then. I guess that would mean the review won’t be out until next year. If you can wait for that long I will say subscribe to the newsletter and wait for the article or you can decide based on the reviews from Amazon. The choice is yours.
While it may seem a good idea to use carpets on the wall for soundproofing, it is not the most efficient or cost-effective way. You should make sure that the noise is entering from the wall and not from either the door or the window. Once you are sure about the source there are several methods, with varying degrees of success, to soundproof the wall.
For an inexpensive project, the acoustic panels will do the job but don’t expect some huge noise reduction. A better solution is the use of mass loaded vinyl or drywall but they have with their own set of issues. And finally, there is green glue, an untested but a praised method supposedly capable of delivering better performance than others.