If you’re a musician, you’ve likely been asked multiple times by your neighbors, roommates, or family members to keep it down. One of the best ways to deal with this issue without sacrificing precious playtime is to simply make your room soundproof. However, how do you even soundproof a room for playing music?
To soundproof a room for playing music, you should replace the doors and seal all gaps, install acoustic windows, isolate the instruments, build a room within a room, and soundproof electrical outlets.
Although you can’t fully soundproof your room, there are several methods you can follow to reduce how much sound escapes. I’ll go in-depth on these topics so that you can create a space where you can practice with peace of mind.
- 1 1. Replace the Door and Seal All Gaps
- 2 2. Use Acoustic Windows
- 3 3. Isolate the Instruments From the Floor
- 4 4. Build a Room Within a Room
- 5 5. Soundproof the Electrical Outlets
- 6 Bonus Tips
- 7 Final Thoughts
- 8 References
1. Replace the Door and Seal All Gaps
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to soundproof your room is by replacing your door with a soundproof door. It’s a common practice to use thin and hollow doors in houses as they are cheap and easy to install. However, this comes at a cost as they don’t have great soundproofing abilities, thus making your doors one of the main ways sound escapes your room. Changing your door is the single best thing you can do to soundproof your room.
Another common problem with doors is that they don’t form proper seals. Try this simple experiment to see what I’m talking about.
Go to your room and turn all the lights off. Get a flashlight and shine it on the door. Now, leave your room, close the door, and turn off all the lights outside your room. You’ll see all the light from the flashlight inside the room coming out from every side of the door.
Even when you close your room door, it still leaves a gap between the frames and the floor. This allows light to shine through, meaning that sound can easily travel through your door as well.
How To Soundproof your Door
So, how do you stop sound from traveling through doors? The best thing you can do is replace your thin, hollow door with a solid core variant. As their name suggests, solid core doors are completely filled with wood or other solid materials. This will help minimize the sound that leaves your room, as it will lose energy as it travels through a greater amount of mass.
Although you should notice a significant improvement by replacing your door, you still have those pesky gaps to deal with. Luckily, fixing this problem is much easier. You can use a door seal kit to fill in the door gaps to prevent sound from escaping your room. If possible, go for the spring-loaded variant, as they provide excellent seals.
I recommend the Audimute Soundproofing Door Seal Kit (Available on Amazon.com) as it is easy to install and designed specifically for blocking sound.
- Includes (2) Door Seals (3/16" x 1/2" x 50') and (1) Door Sweep (1/2" x 1.5" x 25').
- Designed to treat up to 4 standard size doors.
- Soundproofing Door Seal Kits will help to block sound from traveling through gaps around doors.
Last update on 2022-10-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
You can also apply weather seal strips along the door frames to improve the seal. Though these are not designed for soundproofing, they will also be helpful at reducing the amount of sound that leaves your room. These are often more affordable than dedicated soundproofing kits, too, so you should be able to find one that works for your budget.
After replacing the door and sealing the gaps, perform the flashlight experiment again. If you can’t see any more light, then you’ve successfully filled in the gaps between the door and the frame.
2. Use Acoustic Windows
Windows are often a common weak point that allows sound to escape your room. If they don’t form a seal with the frame when you close the glass pane, it doesn’t matter what soundproofing techniques you use, as your music will always be heard from the other side.
The easiest way to get rid of this problem is to just remove the windows altogether, but this really depends on your preferences and level of comfort. For example, if you don’t have any heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) system set up in the room, summers will be a sweat fest inside your room without windows.
Luckily, you can easily soundproof your windows.
How To Soundproof Windows?
There are several ways you can soundproof the windows in your room. First, replace the existing panels with acoustic or soundproof glass.
Generally, they are thicker and absorb sound waves, making it harder for people outside your room to hear you play. They also contain a layer of air or inert gas, improving its soundproofing qualities.
So, does installing acoustic windows mean you can call it a day? Not really, as this won’t be enough to prevent sound leaks.
Like a storm window, you must have at least two layers to effectively block sound. After installing the acoustic glass, ensure there are zero gaps throughout the frame.
Use high-quality caulk to seal any gaps. Professionals recommend using Green Glue Noiseproofing Sealant as it doesn’t form cracks over time. As a result, you won’t have to worry about noise leaks for several years.
Once you seal the frame, you need to install another set of windows, either in front or behind your existing window. Make sure there is a sufficient gap between the doors for best results.
Also, don’t use glass panes of the same thickness in both frames. This can amplify the sound instead of reducing its energy.
If you can’t use thick or acoustic glass, create a door in front of the window using plywood. You can use a sliding track or a hinge to ensure a tight fit between the wood and the frame.
3. Isolate the Instruments From the Floor
Sound transfers through the floor easily. This is why you can hear your upstairs neighbors when they walk. If your room is in the basement or the floor is made out of concrete, you can get away without soundproofing it.
However, you won’t get a proper seal, and the noise will continue to leak.
How To Soundproof the Floor?
If you don’t have financial restrictions, the best way to soundproof the floor is to lift it. This involves making significant changes to the flooring, which is quite expensive. However, this may not be an option if you live in a rented property or have a tight budget.
The cheapest solution is to use a thick carpet and place all your instruments on it. In other words, you need to isolate the sound sources from the floor. Make sure you do the same for your amps and speakers, as they provide sound with large amounts of energy.
This won’t make a significant difference as it can still transfer through the floor. You can improve the room’s soundproofing by installing a raised stage.
Elevating the stage by 4 – 6 inches (10.16 – 15.24 cm) from the floor should allow sound energy to dissipate. You can improve its ability to absorb sound by filling the extra spaces inside the stage with insulation like rock wool or fiberglass. Placing rubber feet at the bottom of the stage adds another level of isolation.
It can be expensive to build a stage for your entire room. A better solution is to build one big enough to keep all your equipment.
4. Build a Room Within a Room
Although all the above methods provide some level of soundproofing, having a room within a room is the best way to keep sound leaks to a minimum. Although it gives you excellent results, it is also the most expensive solution.
This works because you can isolate the new room from other structures in your house. It allows you to add thicker drywall and improve insulation for better soundproofing. If you think this project is beyond your scope, a professional can always help you.
How To Create a Room Within a Room?
If you don’t mind DIY projects, you can room within a room on your own. First, you’ll need to acquire the following materials:
- Drywall or dampened drywall.
- Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound or any other damping product.
- Fiberglass, rock wool, or any other soundproofing insulation.
- Sound isolation clips or resilient channels.
You need your room’s dimensions to estimate the material you’ll need for this project. Below are 10 steps to follow to create a room within a room.
- Remove all existing drywalls from your room.
- The next step is to fill the existing studs with the soundproofing insulation of your choice.
- Make sure you seal off any gaps with the help of a sealant.
- Apply a Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound coating to the removed drywall before putting it back.
- You can mount the studs for the new room. Make sure there’s a gap between the old drywall and the new studs as you want to isolate both structures. Having an air gap between the drywall layers helps isolate the new room from existing structures.
- Fill the new studs with insulation.
- Now, you can install joists, which are horizontal studs. They provide the structure for your internal ceiling.
- Fill the internal ceiling with insulation.
- To decouple the internal ceiling, you can use sound isolation clips. Resilient channels are a cheaper alternative if you’re looking to reduce costs.
- Add a dampening layer to the new dry walls before installing them on the insulated studs.
Note that this process is more straightforward if you haven’t built your room yet, as you can make the necessary adjustments without tearing anything down.
If you’re making changes to your current room, you’ll need to think about electrical wiring and where you’d like the outlets to power your equipment.
In this situation, only handle the electrical wiring if you have prior experience in this field. Otherwise, contact a professional to take care of the wiring.
After you install one layer of drywall, make sure you seal all openings with the acoustic sealant.
Build a Second Door
Once you complete building the room within a room, you can now install a second door. This is necessary to isolate the new structure as much as possible.
As suggested in the first step at the top of this article, install a solid core door to maximize the soundproofing.
5. Soundproof the Electrical Outlets
When it comes to soundproofing, electrical outlets are often overlooked. How much of a difference can a few openings make? Even if you’ve followed all of the tips above, you’ll still have some sound leakage through the outlets.
How To Soundproof Electrical Outlets?
Take out all the light switches and receptacles from the wall. If you look at these openings, you’ll notice plenty of space.
One way to soundproof electrical outlets is to use acoustic putty. They are fire resistant and make it harder for sound to leak.
What should you do if the switches and receptacles are back to back? In this situation, you can replace them with a surface-mounted electrical box.
Here are two tips you can implement for improving your room’s soundproofing.
Choose a Room With the Least Common Walls
For soundproofing, it’s always better to choose a room with the least number of walls that are common with the rest of the house. Common walls allow sound to transfer, reducing your soundproofing’s effectiveness. Try to soundproof the room with the least common walls with the rest of the house.
Build an Isolation Box for Amps and Speakers
If your setup uses amps and speakers, there’s a pretty nifty way to soundproof your room. Using an isolation box for amps and speakers is a great way to reduce how loud you are as you play music.
This is great for recording electric guitars as it significantly reduces the loudness of the amp. Also, it’s great for recording different instruments in isolation.
Here’s a video you can follow to build an isolation box:
Building a room within a room is the best way to soundproof your room while playing music. Replacing your thin and hollow door with a solid core door, closing leaks with acoustic sealant, creating a raised stage, and using an isolation box can also make a considerable difference. And don’t forget to seal the electrical outlets!