Soundproof wallpaper is one of the most stylish options for soundproofing your house. It’s easy to put up and later pull down in spaces where you’re staying temporarily. Not to mention, it’s one of the cheapest soundproofing strategies.
How do you choose the best wallpaper to soundproof your house? To choose the best soundproof wallpaper for your house, you need to carefully assess the following factors:
- NRC rating
- STC rating
In this article, you will learn how soundproof wallpaper works and the things you need to look at when choosing one that suits your needs. You will also find examples of the best soundproof wallpapers in the market.
How to Choose the Best Soundproof Wallpaper for Your House
Choosing the best acoustic wallpaper is simple once you understand what it’s made of and other components that may be significant to you. But before purchasing a soundproofing wallpaper, ensure that you already know why and where you need soundproofing.
Commonly, soundproof wallpapers are made with a waterproof surface that has artistic patterns and layers of various materials with sound insulating properties.
Here are common soundproof wallpaper materials:
|Foam||Its structure contains loads of air pockets that help in the absorption of sound.|
|Latex||It has a smooth texture with an ability to increase the density of materials even with thin layers. It is also used in soundproofing paint to provide sound blockage.|
|Cellulose||It provides a dense structure in the acoustic wallpaper for sound dampening purposes. It’s the best for walls that need to be breathable.|
|Fiberglass||This is one of the most porous structures with numerous interconnected voids that sound travels through, losing energy in the process. Even with thin fiberglass, you can find excellent sound reduction properties.|
|MLV||Mass loaded vinyl features a high density even with a thin film. MLV soundproof wallpapers are reliable at sound blocking.|
|Synthetic compositions||Some soundproof wallpapers are made with synthetic fibers interconnected to be porous for sound absorption.|
If you’re new to the soundproofing world, an NRC rating on a soundproofing product can confuse you. The Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) rating shows how much sound a soundproofing product can absorb. The ratings range from 0 to 1, where if a product has an NRC rating of 0, it has no sound absorption whatsoever, and if it claims to soak up all the sound that hits it, it’ll have a rating of 1.
NRC ratings can also be expressed as percentages. For instance, a soundproof wallpaper with a 0.99 rating would be able to absorb 99% of the sound it comes in contact with.
NRC rating ranges with frequency. Therefore, the same acoustic wallpaper with a high rating for medium frequencies wouldn’t feature the same for the extreme noises of the highest or lowest frequency spectrum.
Therefore, NRC ratings are calculated after taking measurements in four different frequencies. The answer is then rounded off to the nearest 0.05. Generally, any rating from 0.70 is good since most of the best soundproof wallpapers can absorb three-quarters of the noise that hits it.
While the NRC rating measures sound absorption qualities, the STC (Sound Transmission Class) rating measures the sound transmission qualities between rooms with soundproof wallpaper.
This can simply be explained as the measurement of the sound blockage capabilities of a soundproofing wallpaper. Typically, the higher the rating, the better the sound blockage qualities. Wallpapers don’t feature much, but even the little numbers matter.
Soundproof wallpaper durability depends on the quality of the material used. Unfortunately, this can only be determined by how the manufacturer has created their product.
The best way you can determine the durability of an acoustic wallpaper is through its pricing, and warranty period. However, wallpaper with scratch-resistant and waterproof features is sturdier than others.
Acoustic wallpapers come in various designs.
- Some come in plain colors with no sophistication whatsoever and are generally cheaper than others with specific patterns.
- You can also get brick, wood plank, and 3D styles, so there’s something for everyone.
- Some can be painted, and some can’t, so if you want to add soundproof paint to the wallpaper, be sure to choose one that can be painted.
When it comes to design, it’s always best to choose a wallpaper style that matches your decor. If your house has a traditional design, for instance, adding wallpaper with a rusty wood look would be more appealing than one with a plain color.
Like standard wallpapers, soundproof wallpapers can be installed with or without hardware. Some will need an adhesive to put up, but most come with a pull and stick feature that doesn’t need any other installation materials.
The following are steps you can use to install soundproof wallpaper on your wall:
- Prepare your wall by removing any debris.
- Use a wall sizing primer to promote adhesion and make positioning of the wallpaper easier.
- Peel the wallpaper cover carefully from the top.
- Stick the top first, ensuring that the corners are perfectly in position.
- Continue pressing to the bottom of the wallpaper for an even look.
- Press the seams.
- Wipe your wallpapers with a moist sponge.
Most, if not all, acoustic wallpapers are easy to maintain. They can be cleaned easily using a wet cloth. With some water-resistant qualities, they are capable of lasting long. However, generally, the more the exposure to water, the less the lifespan.
You should choose acoustic wallpapers according to their resistance to water and scratches. If you’re installing the wallpaper in a high traffic room with kids who regularly soil, scratch, and hit the walls, you’ll want a more heavy-duty wallpaper.
How Soundproof Wallpaper Works
You might be trying to prevent sound from leaking out of your house or unwanted noise from entering your room, or both. But one thing you must understand before going further is: soundproof wallpaper will only reduce noise, not make your house impenetrable by sound.
Here may be reasons you want to soundproof your house:
- You share a wall or walls with a neighbor.
- Your kid’s playroom is noisy.
- You have a home office you want to keep noise-free.
- You have a studio or a space for playing instruments.
- You want to reduce your house echo.
- You live in a noisy area but want a quiet space.
- You want to keep your conversations from leaking to your neighbor.
There are two terms you will commonly see when shopping for soundproof wallpaper: sound absorption and sound reduction.
Sound absorption happens when a sound wave enters a fibrous surface (wallpaper), which absorbs some energy from the soundwave and reflects a weaker soundwave. However, if the soundwave hits the standard hard wall of your house, minimal or no sound will be absorbed, and the wave returns strong, causing what you may perceive as noise.
Soundproof wallpaper is porous and has some air pockets that may be filled by noise; it helps absorb some of the sounds coming in and out of the room, causing sound dampening.
The above explanation only touched on the noise you generate in rooms, but keep in mind that the same happens with structural noise. Structural noise is the noise made by impacts such as a person in the next room playing with a ball against the floor or wall.[Related Article: How to Soundproof a Room from Outside Noise: 8 Best Ways That Work!]
Their impacts create vibrations that travel through the floor, wall, or ceiling structure to you. However, with wallpaper, some of that sound can be absorbed, and you might feel your space being less noisy than before.
So, to reach reasonable expectations of even the best acoustic wallpaper, know that it’ll only dampen the sound and not fully absorb all the noise in your room. Although it may be bearing the term “proofing” in its name, consider soundproofing wallpapers only as sound dampeners.
Sound blocking materials can be put a stop sound on its tracks. Blocking sound is mostly done with thick and dense materials that a standard wallpaper is not made from.
Although many people claim soundproof wallpaper cannot provide sound blockage, it manages to do so, even if it’s relatively insignificant. It adds mass and density to the existing wall, and some also have unique sound-insulating technologies to help boost their soundproofing properties.
Other Soundproofing Strategies You Can Use with Acoustic Wallpapers
Although soundproof wallpapers can improve your house acoustics on their own, they don’t do much to block and absorb the noise around your house. This is understandable since no soundproofing style can work flawlessly on its own. So, here are other acoustic solutions to help you mitigate your house noise problem.
Mass-Loaded Vinyl (MLV) If you want a non-invasive, flexible approach to soundproofing your house, MLV is the way to go. You avoid all the unnecessary bulk that comes with other materials, and since it’s flexible, you can wrap up many things that need soundproofing and lay the MLV on the ceiling, floor, walls, and other surfaces.
MLV blocks sound using a high mass material but also maintains its flexibility using vinyl. However, it’s also quite pricey when you apply it to numerous parts of the house. But for its ample applications and non-invasive properties, it’s worth it. You might be thinking of how ugly and dull MLV looks, but here’s the best part: it can be painted.
Therefore, you can use the MLV and repaint your walls to the previous color or renew the look of your space. Even better, you can use soundproofing paint and add more soundproofing to your house. Just keep in mind that MLV primarily works with latex paints only.
Involve a soundproofing expert in your local area to help you understand the most effective places in your house to put MLV. This can help to reduce the cost that you might otherwise incur when you put it up all over your house without significant acoustical improvements.
The MLV Barrier from Total Mass is an excellent mass loaded vinyl product to consider.
While you may be skeptical about this method of soundproofing your house, you’d be surprised how effective it is in reducing some noise levels. Even better, when used with MLV, it can drastically improve your house acoustics.
Acoustic paint is commonly made of latex featuring sound-absorbing microspheres. The latex provides a smooth sealed surface to prevent sound from penetrating while the sound-absorbing fillers do the obvious – absorb sound. Since it’s also made to feature the highest mass possible, it helps block some noise.
Soundproofing capabilities of soundproof paint are like that of soundproof wallpaper. It’s not much, but it can help improve your home acoustics. You can use the DEI Boom MAT Spray to add sound deadening to your home.
Soundproof paint will help:
- Reduce faint noises leaking in and out of your rooms.
- Decrease echo within the rooms
- Absorb some minimal structural noises
- Block all the noise coming from the neighbor if you share a wall.
- Prevent you from hearing the dog that keeps barking outside.
- Block all the structural noise like the walking neighbor above you.
- Block traffic sounds in a highway area.
- Make your room soundproof.
Acoustic Tiles and Panels
These are relatively similar, but the tiles tend to be straight with more versatile designs than panels, which you commonly see in studio rooms. They have sound absorption properties in their porous structure, mostly made of foam.
Although some people think acoustic tiles and panels can block sound between rooms, that’s unfortunately not true. While they can absorb some structural sounds, they can’t provide the sound blockage you can get from materials like MLV.
Fortunately, to add more soundproofing in places you haven’t put acoustic wallpaper, you can layout MLV on a wall, ceiling, or other appropriate surface and put acoustic tiles and panels on top.
The following acoustic tiles and panels are the best you can find:
- JARDEN Acoustic Panels: They feature an impressive NRC rating of 0.8 on the 2000Hz to 5000GHz range, the human hearing range. They are also a beautiful blue cutting edge beveled style.
- VaRoom Acoustic Plank Panels: This white brick style beauty claims to eradicate 85% of your noise and is eco-friendly since it’s not only fully recyclable but also made from used water bottles.
- Siless 12 pack Acoustic Panels: If you merely need the standard foam panels you see in a studio, these would be your best bet. They don’t come in dramatic styles, but the plain black is an aesthetic addition to your house nonetheless.
- Rhino Acoustic Absorption Panel: Boasting a high density and eco-friendly polyester fiber, this panel features an NRC rating of 0.95.
If you have gaps, cracks, or any spaces you can fill to help with soundproofing, try acoustic caulk. This sealant is permanently flexible with latex as one of its primary ingredients. It is specially made to decrease sound transmission; it seals gaps while providing acoustical benefits.
Acoustic caulk differs from regular caulk in that:
- It doesn’t harden but stays flexible.
- It doesn’t experience shrinkage and cracking.
- It features a longer lifespan.
- It reduces sound transmission.
- It’s easier to clean.
You can get the Green Glue Soundproofing Sealant and seal yourself to a quiet space.
If you need another non-invasive method for soundproofing your house, acoustic curtains are another popular option. They may not help with as much leakage of sound in and out of a room, but they sure help increase the quiet.
Soundproof curtains are generally dense to create some sound blockage. They also contain interwoven fibers that help in the absorption of sound.
You can use soundproof curtains where you need them most. For instance, if you need to keep the kid’s noises out when you’re napping or working from home, it’s best to have the acoustic curtains in your bedroom or office space windows.
The NICETOWN Microfiber Noise Reducing Curtains feature a triple weave technology that ensures their density. They not only offer sound insulation but also provide thermal insulation.
Door Seals and Sweeps
Those gaps at the bottom of your door are one of the most significant design flaws when we consider noise transmission. However, this flaw can easily be fixed with seals and sweeps.
Most door seals and sweeps are made of rubber, but you can get some that are specially made for soundproofing. Nevertheless, if you have draft stoppers lying around somewhere in your house, it’s better to use them to reduce sound transmission.
The Subtitles Door Draft Stopper is one of the best soundproof door seals and sweeps you can find online.[Related Article: Discover 5 Proven Ways to Soundproof Interior Doors]
Soundproofing your house in a non-invasive manner isn’t worthless, like some may think. In reality, most houses never manage to be entirely soundproof, so if you struggle with noises you wish to reduce, the above suggestions will help you. Remember that one acoustical solution doesn’t do you any good most of the time, so combine two or more solutions so you can enjoy some quiet in your house.