You might be the sort of guitarist who likes to practice in your bedroom, or you may be fortunate enough to have a dedicated music room. Either way, you want to ensure that unwanted noise isn’t seeping into the rest of the house and that your playing isn’t disturbing your neighbors. Reducing external noise from an acoustic guitar is simple, close the door and keep it shut – but there’s more!
You can make a soundproof room for guitars by making the walls thicker. You can add sound-absorbent fiberglass panels to the walls, use thicker drywalls sealed with acoustical caulk or damping glue, install solid wood doors, and close any openings that link your music room to the outside world.
This article will walk you through the DIY process of creating a soundproof space for your musical instruments. You’ll learn what materials are necessary, how much space you need, and other great DIY ideas for soundproofing your recording room.
1. Before You Start: Equipment Check
Soundproofing a room starts with suitable materials. A quick trip to your local hardware store will stock up your toolbox with everything you need to get the job done. Some of the tools you need for new installations include drills, heavy-duty screws, electric screwdrivers, and a utility knife.
There are many different types of materials that you can use to soundproof a room. Some are more effective than others, and some are easier to acquire and cheaper to buy than others. The right materials will depend on the level of soundproofing you need, the size of the room, and your budget.
In most cases, you can expect to spend between $100 and $5,000 on soundproofing a room, depending on the materials you select and the size and condition of the room.
Here are the materials and equipment you will need to soundproof your room:
- a soundproof door
- acoustic sealant
- a wooden frame to surround the door
- acoustic insulation for the walls and ceiling
- acoustic panels
- acoustic foam for the walls
At this point, it’s worth pointing out that soundproofing a room may cost significant time, money, and effort. You can get around with cheaper materials if you don’t have that budget.
2. Identify the Areas To Soundproof
Soundproofing a home is not always a straightforward process. There are numerous factors to consider, from your home’s internal layout to its exterior walls and windows. Also, certain areas need more attention than others.
Start by looking at the areas that bring in the noise:
The walls are essential to any room, especially when soundproofing a room. The walls often transmit the most noise, so they need to be soundproofed well.
When sound hits a wall, it will either transmit into the next room or reflect off the surface and bounce back inside the room. The type of wall, its construction, and the materials used to build it will impact how much noise is transmitted or reflected.
How many doors does your room have? Even if your room is located in the basement and has one door only, noise can sneak in through all exits in the house and find its way into your music room. The reverse may also happen; your guitar’s sound can travel through the door and find its way to the outside world through the other exits in the house.
Additionally, most doors have imperfections that cause them to fail at sealing sound and light leakage; things like cracks, dents, warped frames, and misaligned hinges all affect the ability of a door to block out external noises and seal in your guitar’s sound.
When soundproofing a room, you often have to look at more than just the walls and the ceiling. You also need to look at the flooring. The floor can be very effective at transmitting noise to the outside world.
Floors are welcoming to the sound of footsteps, the refrigerator running, and your guitar’s sound when practicing. Other places to check include tiny holes and cracks in the walls, uncovered windows, and tight spaces around the door.
Now that you know where the sound is probably leaking through, it’s time to get down to work, seal those leaks, and soundproof your room.
3. Install Soundproof Doors
Unless you had soundproof doors installed on your property, you’re probably living with hollow wooden doors that allow sound to pass through them. Soundproof doors are often larger and heavier than ordinary doors. They’re also made with more composite wood and material and are often more expensive than ordinary doors.
Here’s how to install soundproof doors in your recording room:
- First, you’ll need a helping hand. Soundproof doors are quite heavy for one person to handle alone. Ask a friend or relative to help you throughout the installation process.
- Get the right door. High-density hardwood doors are great options, but they’re more expensive. You can get around this with a steel or fiberglass door with a sound-absorbent core, for instance, polyurethane foam.
- Measure the existing door opening and transfer the hinge markings from the door onto the hinge side of the wall.
- Place a shim on the highest hinge mark. Install more shims on the remaining hinge marks.
- Raise the door into position, keeping its frame in line with the wall. Hold the jamb and open the door all the way. Place another set of shims below the door to hold it in place as you install the hinges.
- Drive two long heavy-duty screws into each hinge. Drill deeper holes for the longer heavy-duty screws to secure the door in place in the wall.
- Put the backer rod into the spaces behind the door’s casing frame and apply the acoustic caulk. Lastly, install the trim frame to finish your installation.
The YouTube video below by Full Compass provides a more detailed guide on installing a Studio 3D Sound-Proof Door:
4. Apply Acoustic Caulk Around Your Existing Door
Installing a brand new door may not be on your budget. Don’t fret. There are several other ways to keep your instrument’s sounds locked in with simpler solutions, like applying acoustic caulk around your existing doors.
As mentioned earlier, sound travels through any space it can find, including the tight spaces around your existing door. Turn on the light and step outside the recording room. Do you see any light escaping through tiny spaces around the door? If so, your instrument’s sounds also escape through these tiny spaces.
- Put blue builders tape around the door’s frame.
- Use a caulking gun to apply acoustic caulk around the door. Leave the space under the bottom rail untouched.
- Fill any large gaps with a backer rod before caulking.
- Paint over the caulk (if possible) to match your walls.
Many standard doors aren’t designed for soundproofing, which means they don’t have enough insulation to reduce noise effectively. Since standard door frames are made of wood but lack special soundproofing, they allow sound to travel through them easily. Acoustic caulk is affordable and effective at keeping noise from traveling from room to room or even directly above or below you.
5. Soundproof the Floor
The floor transmits lower frequencies to other rooms in the house. Noise transmitted through the floor can be bothersome, particularly for homeowners living in an apartment or condo complex with thin walls. If you have a noisy floor, you’ll want to soundproof it. This can be done with a few materials that are probably already lying around your house.
Use Old Carpets and Rugs
You can use old carpets and rugs to create a barrier between the ground and your amp. This works for both concrete and wooden floors. Be sure to use thick, dense materials so that the noise is blocked by a thick barrier.
If you have wooden flooring, you can also use soundproofing underlay. Soundproofing underlays are specifically designed for wooden floors. It works by creating a seal around the flooring. This seal acts like a soundproof barrier to keep noise from passing through.
Although rubber floors won’t cut out the noise completely, they’ll help absorb more sounds and prevent them from being transmitted to other rooms. Installing rubber flooring in your recording room will also absorb your footsteps and violent vibration from your amp.
Mass Loaded Vinyl
Mass-loaded vinyl is a type of soundproofing material that’s widely used in homes, offices, hotels, and recording studios. The material is made from weighted materials such as calcium silicate and barium sulfate to add the mass that makes it so effective at dampening noise. It’s available in a variety of colors and finishes to suit any interior design style.
Acoustic tile flooring is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve soundproofing in a room. Acoustic tiles are usually made of thick foam, fiberglass, and fabric that have been compressed together. The different layers help absorb sounds at different frequencies.
When buying acoustic tiles, ensure that you find tiles made for floor soundproofing. Other types of acoustic tiles exist for ceilings and walls.
Other Ways To Prevent Noise Escaping Your Recording Room
Even with the best acoustic panels and soundproofing in the world, walls will always let some sound through. That being said, there are still plenty of ways you can reduce the amount of sound that escapes your recording room and disturbs your neighbors.
Here are the alternative ways to minimize the noise going out from your recording room:
Add Soundproofing Curtains
Soundproofing curtains are useful for reducing the amount of noise coming from your home. If you have thin walls or windows letting noise in from the outside, it’ll be impossible to record without anyone hearing the sounds inside your home.
Soundproof curtains are normally made of fabrics that are thick and heavy. They also have insulation properties that keep outside noise from entering your home or workplace. They are also often lined with a sound-deadening material like mass-loaded vinyl, which, if you remember, helps prevent sound from passing in between spaces.
Others are made from fabrics like velvet, silk, or faux fur, better at blocking sound than lighter fabrics.
Double-glazed windows are great for soundproofing. They are basically two windows in one frame and are often made of two layers of glass with an air pocket (or vacuum) in between.
Double-glazed windows are a bit different from ordinary single-glazed windows. They have two panes of glass instead of one, with a small gap of about 14-16 mm between the two panes. This small gap is filled with a gas, such as argon, which acts as a good insulator and has the additional benefit of blocking sound from coming in or going out.
However, it’s worth pointing out that double-glazed windows will not fully prevent your guitar’s sound from leaking to the outside world.
Sound-Absorbent Wall Padding
Wall padding, especially in a recording room, helps with soundproofing and noise reduction. The right wall padding helps reduce the amount of sound that bounces off the walls and ceilings, making your recording experience more pleasant and noise-free and making sure that your recordings don’t disturb your neighbors.
Sound absorbent wall padding is a type of wall covering material that helps reduce the amount of sound reflected from the walls of your recording studio. Various sound absorbent wall padding materials exist, including acoustic tile, fabric, and foam.
Wall padding is an affordable, DIY option that is easy to install. It can be purchased in rolls or tiles and is available in a variety of thicknesses and materials, depending on your desired application. Wall padding is easy to install, so you can start enjoying better acoustics as soon as it arrives. Most padding tiles have an adhesive side that you can stick onto your walls.
As you can see, there are many different ways to soundproof a room, depending on what kind of noise you need to block out and which areas of your home are affected by that noise.
We’ve come to the conclusion that noise is unavoidable. Yes, it’s true, but we can always try to control it. By using the tips and tricks in this article, it’s easy to reduce noise in your home and enjoy a more peaceful environment.
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