How To Soundproof an Apartment for Drums (Step-by-Step)


Playing loud drums in an apartment is one of those undocumented felonies that could earn you a direct ticket to Evictionville. That’s unless you soundproof your apartment for drums to keep the noise away from neighbors and the landlord. So, how do you soundproof an apartment for drums?

Here’s how you can soundproof your apartment for drums:

  1. Seal off gaps on your door.
  2. Block sound leaks on windows.
  3. Carpet the floor and use a drum rug.
  4. Cover walls and ceiling with acoustic foam.
  5. Minimize the volume of your drum kit.

In the rest of the article, I’ll explain the practical strategies that each of these steps has.

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1. Seal Off Gaps on Your Door

Sound travels faster through the air, around 332 meters (0.21miles) per second, and doors have plenty of air gaps. From the space under the door to the tiny gaps between the hinges and the hollow space in the interior, sound has plenty of air space to pass through.

Here are a few ways you can soundproof your door: 

Install a Door Sweep

It’s common practice for interior doors to be fitted with an opening beneath for ventilation. This opening is a good escape point for drum noise. 

You can use a door sweep to block sound from passing through the air space. Find a door sweep that you can adjust to fit the situation with your door. 

The Suptikes Door Draft Stopper from Amazon.com is a superb option. It’s made with flexible, durable, and easy-to-fit silicone. You can easily attach the draft stopper to the door to seal in sound and quickly remove it any time you want.

Door Draft Stopper Under Door Seal for Exterior/Interior Doors, Door Sweep Strip Under Door Draft Blocker, Soundproof Door Bottom Weather Stripping, 2' W x 39' L, Black
33,302 Reviews
Door Draft Stopper Under Door Seal for Exterior/Interior Doors, Door Sweep Strip Under Door Draft Blocker, Soundproof Door Bottom Weather Stripping, 2" W x 39" L, Black
  • 【HEAVY DUTY AND DURABLE MATERIAL】- Made of flexible and adjustable silicone for a snug fit, ensures door bottom seal is durable and easily attachable as well as removable.
  • 【ALL SEASON PROTECTION】- Protects your home and family from adverse weather conditions, stopping the heat from escaping during the winter season, and keeping cool air inside during the summer. A cool and warm gift for your family and friends.
  • 【INSTALLATION GUIDE】- 1)Measure the bottom of the door and cut the excess seal; 2)Clean and dry the surface; 3)Peel off the backing film; 4)Apply the strip to the door. Easy to install and stays in place. **Take on a couple of these steps and you will be amazed by the results!

Add Mass to Your Door

Heavy mass acts as a block to sound. Since you’re most likely to be using a room in your apartment to play drums and most interior doors have a hollow core, you can add mass to your door to block sound. 

You have three options here:

  • Give your door a solid core by installing soundproofing panels inside the door. Installing soundproofing panels will reduce the air gaps that let in sound and help deflect it. You’ll most likely need the consent of your landlord to do this.
  • Replace your hollow door with a new metal or solid wood door. For this option, metal is a better choice as it deflects sound while wood dampens it. But a metal door inside your apartment might not be allowed by your area’s fire code or your landlord. That leaves you with the wood door option.
  • Increase the mass on your door by applying a soundproofing blanket or Mass Loaded Vinyl over the door. Try the SoundproofingMLV Premium Soundproofing Mass Loaded Vinyl from Amazon.com. It’s easy to cut and install and is non-toxic and odor-free. You can choose from several available sizes according to your room space.

Noise Grabber Mass Loaded Vinyl 4’ x 4’ (16 SF) 1 LB MLV Soundproofing Barrier, Best Quality, Made in the USA
  • Highest Quality Mass Loaded Vinyl sound barrier, highest sound ratings by weight, heavy weight, odor free, non toxic, safely use anywhere
  • Best Product with a proven 26 STC Rating, Great for Walls, Floors, Ceiling, Doors, Home Theaters, Automobiles, Fences, Boats, RVs and more. Helps block exterior noises
  • Technical Specs: 1/8” thick, one pound per square foot, 4 feet wide by 4 feet long, weighs 16 LB. Shipped in high quality box, Made in the USA

Use Weather Stripping

Weather stripping is an optimal air and sound blocker at the point where the door and frame meet. You can find both metal and vinyl weather stripping. 

I would suggest you go for vinyl or foam as they’re more affordable and easier to install. Consider MAGZO Foam Strips from Amazon.com. The stripping is waterproof, has a strong adhesive, and sticks firmly without leaving marks when it’s time to remove it.

Adhesive Foam Sheets, 4 Inch Long X 4 Inch Wide X 1/8 Thicks Self Stick Neoprene Rubber Pads Black Shockproof Insulating Foam (10Pcs)
  • MULTI-FUNCTION FOAM PADDING - Relieve vibration; heat preservation; filling; attenuate noise; insulation; protection; cushion, prevent sliding; non-slip; weather-proof, etc.
  • ADHESIVE FOAM SHEETS WITH MULTIPLE PERFORMANCE - Adhesive foam sheets have multiple performance: resistant to corrosion, does not absorb water; resistant to high and low temperatures, etc.
  • HIGH QUALITY MATERIAL - Self stick rubber pads are made of high quality neoprene, durable to use. An ideal solution for gasket and insulation projects.

2. Block Sound Leaks on Windows

If you’re soundproofing a room in your apartment, chances are you only have a single window to deal with. But it would help if you still blocked any sound leaks. You have a few options here:

Replace Single-Pane Windows With Double/Triple Glazed Panes

If your proposed drum-room in the apartment has a single-pane window, consider replacing it with double or triple-glazed panes. Replacing window panes is a costly option and will require the approval of your landlord. However, the argon gas between the panes will work as an excellent soundproofing material.

Install Window Inserts

Window inserts are made with laminated glass and are installed in the window frame on the interior side. They’re often preferred over complete window replacement because:

  • They’re cheaper and easier to install. 
  • They require minimal maintenance once done. 
  • They’ll leave the original look of your windows intact.

As a soundproof option, window inserts will keep most of the noise from your drums in the room, up to 60% more than just having double window panes. 

Seal Any Gaps on Windows

Seal any gaps on your windows with weather stripping or acoustic caulk. Sealing the gaps will prevent most of the drum noise from escaping the room.

If you opt for acoustic caulk, go for the Flex Shot White from Amazon.com. This all-gaps-sealer comes in a free extension tube and doesn’t require the use of a caulking gun. It’ll contract and expand to seal any gaps on your windows.

Sale
Flex Shot White,8 oz
  • Caulks, bonds and seals virtually everything!
  • No need for a caulking gun! The free extension tube makes even hard-to-reach repairs easy
  • Gives you a perfect bead, every time. No running, no dripping, no mess!

Hang Acoustic Curtains

Acoustic curtains are soundproofing curtains made with heavy fabric like velvet and a vinyl lining. They don’t block sound but will work by absorbing and dampening the sound from your drums. 

Also, acoustic curtains reduce the reverberation and the echoes from your drums. They work best when used with other window soundproofing methods, such as window inserts. 

Use Double-Cell Shades

Double-cell shades, also called honeycomb shades or cellular shades work like acoustic curtains. They’re tubes of fabric piled together to create a light, heat, or sound barrier.

Unlike single-cell shades, double-cell shades are better at absorbing noise. They’re best used as complementary window soundproofing with other more effective options like window inserts.

See the CHICOLOGY Cellular Shades on Amazon.com for an idea. They’re made with 100% polyester yarn, and you can order according to size or make a customized order to fit your window frame.

Sale
CHICOLOGY Cellular Shades , Window Blinds Cordless , Blinds for Windows , Window Shades for Home , Window Coverings , Cellular Blinds , Door Blinds , Morning Mist, 30"W X 64"H
  • Do you need it fast? Order a size that shows the [Prime] badge and says “Ships from and sold by ”.
  • Do you want to customize it? Order a size that says "Ships from and sold by Chicology Home". You'll be able to choose from every inch sizes. To shorten the width, MESSAGE US within 24 hours of placing your order.
  • Enjoy the modern energy-efficient upgrade that is Chicology Cordless Cellular Shade. Signature honeycomb cells are great insulators and help prevent your home's thermal loss - keeping your home cool during summer and warm during winter.

Here’s my guide on How to Record Drums and Guitar at the same time.

3. Carpet the Floor and Use a Drum Rug

Playing drums on a bare floor will send amplified noise to anyone living on the floor below yours. Carpets are effective sound absorbers and will reduce the noise from your drums by a good number of decibels.

In addition, placing a drum rug over the carpeting is an even better option. Alternatively, cover the floor directly with drum rugs. 

Go for rugs designed for drumming like the Meinl Cymbals Drum Rug on Amazon.com. The drum rug has a tight grip on drum stands and spurs which means it won’t slide when you play. It comes with a travel bag to carry the rug when using the drums in a band. 

Meinl Cymbals Drum Rug with Travel Bag, Large Size for Bigger Setups — Durable Non-Slip Bottom with Tightly Woven Fabric that Grips Stands and Spurs (MDRL-BK)
209 Reviews
Meinl Cymbals Drum Rug with Travel Bag, Large Size for Bigger Setups — Durable Non-Slip Bottom with Tightly Woven Fabric that Grips Stands and Spurs (MDRL-BK)
  • Plenty of surface area for larger setups (black finish) — the large Meinl drum rug measures 6.5' long x 6.5' wide to accommodate larger drum kit or percussion setups with room left over for your throne so that everything is on the same surface
  • Made for drum set spurs and stands — we use a tightly woven fabric so your bass drum and pedal spurs have something to dig into and stay securely in place — this durable fabric also prevents drum and cymbal stands from sliding as you play
  • Rubber lined non-slip bottom — on the underside of this rug is a layer of thick rubber lining that eliminates rug slippage on any surface — this lining also prevents spurs from puncturing through the rug, eliminating potential damage to floors

Find out more on Drums Set Up on Carpet.

4. Cover Walls and Ceiling With Acoustic Foam

Sound bounces off of hard surfaces like walls and concrete ceilings. The back and forth bouncing of drum sound from one wall to the other will amplify the sound. To prevent this, cover the walls and ceiling with acoustic foam. You could even use the form as a form of interior designing, mixing and matching colors artistically. 

A good option is this XIN&LOG Wall Panels from Amazon.com that can serve both soundproofing and interior design purposes. They absorb high-range frequencies and are available in different colors.

48 Pack purple BLACK 1" x 12" x 12" Acoustic Wedge Studio Foam Sound Absorption Wall Panels
  • good for studios, recording studios, vocal booths, control rooms.
  • Used to absorb mid to high range frequencies and diminish echoes. Overall Noise Reduction Coefficien
  • foam tiles perfectly aligned, professional sound quality

5. Minimize the Volume of Your Drum Kit

Your drum kit doesn’t have a sound reduction knob or remote control. But you can use soundoff mutes to decrease the sound from your drum set when you play.

Go for a set that’s known for efficiency, like the Evans Drum Mute Pak from Amazon.com. These soundoff mutes will reduce drum noise by 95% without significantly altering how you hear your music. They go by drum size, and you can choose between a Standard, Fusion, or Rock pack or go for a box set for each of the three options.

SoundOff by Evans Drum Mute Pak (4pc) – Provides 95% Volume Reduction Without Drastically Altering Drums’ Feel – Quietly Practice Directly on Drum Sets – For Standard-Sized Kits 12, 13, 14 (Snare), 16
  • PRACTICE ANYTIME, QUIETLY – SoundOff by Evans Drum Mute Pak provides a 95% volume reduction, so drummers can practice on their normal drum sets in the comfort of their own homes, without making noise.
  • DURABLE – The textured drum mutes sit directly on top of the drum head and do not drastically alter the drum’s feel. Constructed from durable rubber, these drum mutes can stand up to frequent practicing.
  • FOR STANDARD-SIZED KITS – The standard-sized pack of four drum mutes includes sizes to fit a drum configuration of 12-13-16-inch toms with a 14-inch snare.

Check out my other article on Best Overhead Drum Microphones 2021 for your own recording studio.

Final Thoughts

If you go professional, soundproofing a room can cost you a fortune. Since not every drummer has the buck for the job, we thought of giving you a simple and affordable DIY step-by-step method. 

We hope your neighbors and landlord have nothing to complain about here when you roll your drums. 

Find out more on my drum recording guide article.

Sources

Last update on 2021-10-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Vinnie

I'm Vinnie, and I'm here to support you to create your own studio at home, whether it’s for photography, recording audio, podcasts, or videos!

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