When you want to effectively soundproof a car, room, or any other area, you need the right soundproofing materials. Fortunately, no matter your budget, we have a DIY fix to soundproof every space.
Finding the best soundproofing materials is crucial for an insulated and entirely soundproof area. Sourcing and installing your soundproofing materials can be complicated, which is why we’re covering 50 soundproofing materials and DIY tips suitable for any budget or skill level.
Whether you’re on a budget or just like to DIY, we have a long list of resources to help you complete the project. As this is a comprehensive list, you can jump straight to the portion that is relevant to you using the table below.
Soundproofing 101: How, What, and Why
The bottom line is that you want a space—like a room or a car—to be quiet. Enter soundproofing materials. Laying some thick material down will eliminate noise, right? Maybe.
There’s a difference between soundproofing materials and sound-absorbing materials. You need to know what you’re working with to be successful at soundproofing your space.
In short, soundproofing is the act of blocking sound waves from escaping. The soundproofing process can involve sound-absorbing materials, though. On their own, sound-absorbing materials probably won’t offer a completely soundproof barrier.[Source]
How Does Soundproofing Work?
Soundproofing is the act of blocking sound waves so that they can’t travel beyond walls or other types of barriers. The more scientific explanation is that you’re reducing the sound pressure from a specific source (say, your speakers) to the receptor (IE, your downstairs neighbor).
By using a range of soundproofing materials, you can cut the sound’s transmission to an almost unnoticeable level. Sometimes people call these sound-deadening materials. The process of soundproofing can involve sound-absorbing materials and also the physical distance between the source and receptor.
What is Sound Absorption?
Sound absorption is when the materials you pick “absorb” noises. Sound-absorbing materials are part of soundproofing, but the dynamic is different. Basically, instead of blocking sound from escaping the room, sound-absorbing materials soften the sound.
For example, your home or apartment likely has sound-absorbing materials in the walls already. The purpose of these materials is to soften the sounds of your home so that your voice doesn’t echo when you answer the phone or footsteps don’t sound like crashing cymbals.
You can use sound-absorbing materials as part of your soundproofing setup, but you still need “proofing” elements to block rather than absorb sound.
Why Soundproof A Home?
The simple answer as to why you’d want to soundproof your home is to keep others from hearing your noise. In fact, all homes, apartments, and even office buildings have soundproofing material in their walls. After all, no one wants to overhear their neighbor in the bathroom or their roommate’s TV in the middle of the night.
But sometimes this general construction soundproofing isn’t enough to keep your living space quiet. For many people, being able to hear their neighbors or even roommates at the comfort of your own room is nerve-wracking and just plain annoying. So, applying soundproofing measures could help keep noise out of your living area.
In contrast, you might be the guilty party who is annoying neighbors or family. If you like to play your stereo, TV, video games, computer, or instrument really loud in your bedroom, you will likely receive complaints from everyone within earshot.
Sometimes you also hope that you can skate in peace on the mini ramp outside your house or doing some side projects in your shed or garage without disturbing others.
The simple answer to this dilemma is installing soundproofing materials. You can reduce the amount of noise pollution you put out while keeping everyone else around you happy.
Why Soundproof Your Automobile?
One unique aspect of soundproofing applies to vehicles. In this case, you may not care how loud it is outside the car. The issue is keeping it quiet inside the cabin of the vehicle.
Fortunately, soundproofing works both ways—you can both insulate your vehicle against exterior noises while also keeping your tunes inside the cabin with you.
In fact, soundproofing your car can help reduce road noise and make your stereo sound better. It may even increase your fuel efficiency since you can stop running the heater or AC constantly while driving. You’ll definitely notice your car is warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, thanks to the extra insulation material.
Of course, not all types of soundproofing materials will work in either your home or car. Some types are specialized for different applications—or the materials may not be the safest for your chosen DIY project.[Related Article: Does Spraying Rubber Soundproofing Reduce Noise Significantly]
Soundproofing Basics: What You Need to Know
Grabbing a few sheets of soundproofing material and sticking them to your walls might seem straightforward. But before you start a DIY project, you need to know some of the basic principles of soundproofing.
These are the different aspects of soundproofing that can impact the final product, and how things sound—or don’t—when you finish the project.
Absorption “Soaks Up” Sound Energy
When it comes to acoustic absorption, it sounds simple enough to say that your soundproofing materials absorb the sound energy. But in fact, the material takes in the sound energy and transforms it. Part of the sound energy turns to heat, while the other part continues transmitting through the material.
Remember the lesson that energy cannot be created or destroyed, only converted?
Given that “law,” it makes sense that the soundwaves turn into other types of energy in order to dissipate. But this also means your insulated room could wind up being warmer due to the generation of so much heat energy.
Of course, it would take a lot of late-night electric guitar sessions to create enough heat energy for it to be noticeable.
Deflection Lessens a Soundwave’s Impact
When you think of deflection, it’s somewhat accurate to picture a soundwave bouncing off the wall and reverberating in another direction. But what’s happening on a more scientific level is that the sound wave is transforming into other forms of energy before it deflects.
This means less sound is heard since some of the soundwaves convert to another type of energy. Generally, increasing the mass and density of the walls is an effective means of corralling sound. Though some sound deflects, some also absorb into the denser material.
Thermal Conversion Changes Soundwaves to Heat Energy
Thermal conversion is another method of converting soundwaves into something that’s less noisy. In this case, it’s heat—but only trace amounts. Thin material doesn’t create a ton of heat, but it can effectively stop sound from getting through the barrier.[Source]
Thermal materials are also helpful for car insulation since you want to maintain the temperature inside.
Decoupling Reduces Vibrations, and Therefore, Sound
Decoupling refers to interrupting soundwaves by putting a space between different materials. In a real-world example, this could be a box inside a box, where the walls of one don’t touch the walls of the other.
The air inside reduces the transfer of acoustic vibrations. In short, there’s less sound reverberating around because the surfaces aren’t touching. Anyone who’s ever cranked up the bass knows that turning up the sound creates more vibration. By decoupling surfaces, you can reduce some of the sound that transfers into surrounding rooms or buildings.
Damping Minimizes Frequencies
With constrained layer damping, you’re adding a filler material that converts some of the sound to heat. Like other methods, constrained layer damping helps diffuse sound energy. It sounds complicated, but it comes down to strategies like adding sound damping materials under the drywall in your wall, for example.
Damping can be helpful if you need to eliminate low-frequency sounds. But it can also combine with other soundproofing methods for a practically noiseless environment.
What Method is Best for Soundproofing?
The bottom line is that there’s no one method that’s best for soundproofing. Just like there’s not a perfect soundproofing material that covers every scenario. Still, most soundproofing materials combine the different methods—whether you’re aware of it or not.
Generally, when you purchase soundproofing materials, a range of materials and components combine to make a more effective sound damping surface.
Different Kinds of Soundproofing Materials
Before we explore specific soundproofing products, it’s helpful to know what kinds of materials are available for sound deadening. Depending on the environment, square footage, and the reason you want a quieter space, you may choose multiple components listed here.
Soundproofing materials include:
- Acoustic Flooring
- Acoustic Foam
- Acoustic Fabrics
- Acoustic Isolation Membrane
- Acoustic Panels
- Decoupling Materials
- Open Cell Cavity Insulation
- Soundproof Doors
- Soundproof Windows
- Egg Cartons
When it comes to soundproofing a room, many people forget about the floor. But footfalls can be loud, especially if you’re practicing dance moves, playing sports, or just pacing the floor at night.
Acoustic flooring helps cut down noise transmission by creating space between the subfloor (what’s underneath your carpet or flooring and the underlying pad) and the flooring (carpet, tile, linoleum, etc.). Essentially, this is decoupling, but you’ll find acoustic flooring labels rather than ‘decoupling flooring’ when you go shopping for sound-deadening materials.
Acoustic foam is a popular sound-absorbing material for music studios. It’s fully customizable and comes in different sized panels and shapes. If you’re setting up a home music studio or soundcheck space, this could be the perfect solution to your acoustic challenges.
But if you’re aiming to eliminate sounds rather than balance acoustics, this type of foam isn’t ideal. Especially for larger areas, installing these foam panels can be time-consuming—not to mention expensive.
Some of the best cheap soundproofing materials come in the form of acoustic fabrics. Think hanging curtains with soundproofing material inside: acoustic fabrics can be used in blackout curtains that deaden sound and block light.
When you go to the movies, odds are, the movie theater has some type of acoustic fabric to prevent sound transmission from one viewing area to another.
Acoustic Isolation Membrane
Acoustic isolation membranes—or acoustic membranes—are specialized soundproofing sheets for a range of applications. These materials are often thin and easy to work with, whether you’re installing the stuff on walls, floors, or even ceilings.
The flexibility is helpful if you’re working in a small space, especially because the acoustic membrane won’t add bulk to the walls. Most varieties are measured in millimeters—that’s how thin they are. Not all acoustic membranes are lightweight, however. You’ll also find some thicker varieties that are heavier.
Mass loaded vinyl barriers, for example, are acoustic barriers that are also flexible and smooth. However, they add weight to your walls and are often thicker. The pluses with mass-loaded vinyl are that it’s waterproof, heat resistant, and odorless, and has a high rating when it comes to noise blocking.
Acoustic panels are another common music studio addition. Panels can go over the wall or even windows and doors. These can help adjust the acoustics of a room without detracting from the original look of the space. You can also customize these if you’re creating a music studio or another type of space that needs to look good and offer favorable acoustics.
Decoupling materials are any soundproofing measure that creates a space between two surfaces to reduce noise transmission. For example, acoustic hangers create a gap for hanging acoustic ceilings. Most budget DIYers won’t be able to use acoustic hangers since the process also involves hanging a soundproof ceiling.
Another decoupling product is resilient channels. These can come in different material types, such as metal. Resilient channels hold drywall, creating a gap between the studs/joints and the drywall panels.
Using resilient channels can help reduce sound seepage, and it’s an easy step to implement if you’re building or renovating an existing room. If you’re soundproofing after the fact, though, this probably isn’t the best method to choose.
Open Cell Insulation
Open-cell insulation is the type of foam or spray insulation you’ll find inside many roofs and interior walls. Closed-cell foam is harder and less flexible, but open-cell foam has cells that aren’t closed off—so the material is more flexible and easier to work with.
Open-cell insulation doesn’t offer water resistance, and it’s not very supportive in terms of strengthening the structure you spray it inside. When it comes to insulating against heat and cold, closed-cell foam is preferable. Open-cell cavity insulation is a smart option for noise reduction. It can also be more affordable than alternative modes of soundproofing.
Soundproof doors are a necessity in recording studios and other spaces where the acoustics are crucial. You can buy a premade soundproof door, but purchasing one can be costly. A soundproof door can also be challenging to install, as it will be heavy and thick.
You can also DIY a soundproof door by adding layers of soundproofing to the existing door. Blocking gaps in the frame and underneath the door can also help reduce sound transmission.
Soundproof windows are another fix for music studios that need some natural light. In general, DIYers won’t want to buy these thick windows—which come with multiple layers. Soundproof windows use decoupling via an air pocket in between the glass layers. They’re super heavy and tough to handle—not to mention expensive.
Fortunately, some of the best DIY soundproofing materials are far more affordable.
If you’ve already stocked up on egg cartons, you’re probably wondering what you can do with them. While egg cartons aren’t the best for soundproofing, they do an excellent job of reducing echoes in rooms.
When you place them on the surface of your walls, the shape of the egg cartons deaden noises by absorbing the impact initially made by sound frequencies.
When sounds waves approach a hard surface like a wall, they reflect off the hard surface that light reflects off a mirror. However, when the egg cartons are in the way, the textural properties of the surface break down the sound waves and scatter them in different directions. As a result, there’s a diffusion of echoes in the room.
As mentioned above, soundproofing requires decoupling, absorption, mass, and damping for a material to be effective in soundproof inga room. Concrete only check three out of the four ticks making it only suitable for blocking airborne sounds rather than impact sounds.
Some people will say concrete is wholly ineffective as a sound barrier, while others say that it works well. Ultimately, it depends on what you want to soundproof your house, apartment, or room for.[Related Article: How Soundproof Is Concrete As A Material]
Even though wood is the most common material used to build 90% of American homes, it is not really an effective standalone soundproofing material. However, it can a useful and inexpensive material for soundproofing when combined with other materials and soundproofing techniques.
Some people may say that it may not be that useful to soundproof rooms while others mentioned that if used well, it can reduce the budget required to soundproof your home or office.[Related Article: How Soundproof Is Wood As A Material For Your House]
The 30 Best Soundproofing Materials
When it comes to buying the best soundproofing materials, you have plenty of options. Here, we’ll cover 30 types of soundproofing materials you can grab for your next DIY soundproofing project.
Depending on the environment, the size of the space, and the purpose of your soundproofing efforts, you may want to mix and match these materials. Plus, stay tuned for a list of DIY tips for handling any sound deadening project.
Best Cheap Soundproofing Materials Under $50
Acoustic sealants come in a range of materials and styles. Generally, sealants can adhere to surfaces like wood, metal, concrete, and gypsum. Applying sealants is a quick, cheap, and simple way to start your soundproofing efforts.
Plus, different styles of sealants—like foam and caulk—are available for a range of applications. Technically, sealants are more elastic types of materials. In contrast, caulking is more rigid—we’ll discuss that further below.
Acoustic sealants are largely waterproof, and they come in all different sizes. You can apply a giant tube of sealant to your space and not overdo your budget.
Caulking is the household DIYer’s holy grail, and it can help with your soundproofing efforts, too. Applying caulking can help prevent drafts, reduce noise transmission, and even help with your climate control efforts if the space is too hot or cold.
The issue with caulking is that it can’t handle expansion or contraction. Unlike sealants, caulks are typically rigid once they dry. For wetter environments, a sealant might be a better bet, since it can flex with the material you apply it to.
Acoustic plaster is precisely what it sounds like—an aggregate or fiber-filled plaster that helps absorb sound. In the past, plaster contained asbestos, but today, the materials are much safer. You’ll find substrate panels with elements like mineral wool or glass granulate, which adds some texture to the finished product.
Sound-absorbing plaster can be found in many commercial settings, and it can help reduce sound transmission. However, acoustic plaster isn’t a standalone solution to soundproofing.
Door Seals and Door Sweeps
The number-one piece of advice for insulating your home is sealing up doors (and windows) and adding door sweeps. So, if it blocks air, it blocks sound, right?
Sealing up your doors can help reduce sound transmission—and it’s usually phenomenally cheap and easy to install. From caulking to dedicated door seals that you cut and glue to fit, there are all types of door seals to suit your needs.
Door sweeps, too, come in many styles and sizes. You can place a door sweep to keep out drafts and noise, and the dual purpose makes this a great budget fix for a range of household issues.
Best Soundproof Insulation For Home
Acoustic foam is a specialized product for soundproofing and acoustic treatment. Sound energy that hits acoustic foam dissipates as heat. What’s great about acoustic foam is that it comes in a range of sizes, styles, shapes, and even colors.
In contrast with standard foam, acoustic foam has a firmness that suits specific frequencies. Firmer foam tends to “soak up” low-frequency sounds, while softer foam addresses high-frequency sound.
As noted, however, acoustic foam is often more suitable for music studios than true soundproofing scenarios. But if you want to moderately soundproof a studio while maintaining excellent acoustics, you may want to take a look at acoustic foam.
Acoustic membranes come in a range of styles and brands, but they’re all relatively thin and help to prevent sound transfer. Sound blocking acoustic membranes often come with a label that denotes how effective they are at blocking sound. You might find a dB reduction rating, along with a Hz frequency specification.
Adding acoustic membranes to your walls, ceiling, and even the floor might be an easy DIY to complete. Of course, you’ll have to balance your need for budget-friendliness with the heft and thickness of the membranes. Brands run the gamut between supremely cheap and super expensive, so you should shop carefully.
When it comes to soundwave absorption, fiberglass is an excellent option. Many experts claim it’s the best soundproofing material out there, but it does depend on the application—and your budget.
With fiberglass composites, you can order customized panels to fit your space. A range of sizes, thicknesses, and even colors make fiberglass a helpful solution for music studios and other spaces that need to be visually and acoustically appealing.
When it comes to thicknesses, you’ll find fiberglass sound insulation ranging from an inch to more than four inches thick. The thicker the material, the better off you are in terms of sound reduction. At the same time, this may not be the most budget-friendly choice.
Acoustic Mineral Wool Insulation
If you’re mid-renovation project or are planning to tear walls apart for soundproofing, acoustic mineral wool insulation might be an excellent fix. Mineral wool cavity insulation goes in cavities behind walls, and you’ll find it in residential and industrial construction.
Installing this insulation can be challenging, but if you have your walls down already, it’s a superbly effective means of reducing sound transmission. Mineral or stone wool insulation is also resistant to moisture and fire.
However, you’ll want to wear protective gear when cutting or handling it because of the small particles that can escape into the air. Overall, however, the natural materials are safe—and such panels can be cheaper than many other soundproofing alternatives.
Best Soundproof Materials For Walls
Resilient channels, another common decoupling solution, can work in conjunction with acoustic hangers or on their own. These channels allow you to install insulation while creating a gap between drywall and your interior walls.
These are typically metal or wood, and you can attach additional soundproofing elements to them quite easily. Of course, this is another soundproofing step you need to implement while your walls are already down. For renovation or repair projects, this is a smart low-cost way to refinish your soundproof room.[Related Article: Resilient Vs Hat Channel For Ceiling Soundproofing]
If you’re building a new soundproof room or space, choosing soundproof drywall might be the perfect solution. Drywall already comes in various thicknesses and finishes, but soundproof drywall has additional layers of gypsum board (plasterboard) to help block sound.
The drawback of soundproof drywall is that it’s heavy and can be expensive—especially if you’re rebuilding an entire room. You may also need a professional to assist with the installation, so DIYing may not be an option with drywall.[Related Article: Soundproofing Walls: 8 Cheap Ways to Make It Happen]
Plywood is handy for a range of DIY projects, and it turns out it’s helpful for soundproofing, too. Chipboard, particleboard, or plywood (it goes by various names) can be cheap and easy to obtain. It does become heavy, though, especially when you’re affixing it to walls.
What makes plywood an effective sound blocking material is that the layers overlap. Instead of perfectly aligned fibers, you have a mishmash that makes the composite strong and rigid.
Acoustic putty or putty pads is a product you can use in conjunction with acoustically rated walls. For example, you can use acoustical putty to fill gaps around outlets, cables, ducts, and more. Acoustic putty is a good product to have on hand for filling tiny gaps if you already have high-quality, sound-absorbing panels or walls.
Acoustic Wall Coverings
If you have experience hanging wallpaper, installing acoustic wall coverings will be second nature. These flexible composite materials apply directly to the wall in a few easy steps. When you’re aiming to acoustically calibrate a room for professional recording purposes, this relatively pricey solution may be the easiest to install.
Still, if you’re hoping for complete soundproofing, acoustic wall coverings may not fit the bill. They’re also pretty expensive, which means you’re more likely to find such solutions in industrial and commercial applications.
Best Soundproofing Material For Basement Ceiling
Sound Absorbing Panels
Sound absorbing panels come in a range of configurations and styles. This is another potentially pricey option that provides a stylistic element in your studio or room.
Typically, sound-absorbing panels mount on the wall or ceiling. They might look more like art than a sound-absorbing material, so if aesthetics matter, make room in your budget for these.
The downside is this may not be a DIY—especially in terms of getting your acoustics just right. Some trial and error (and maybe an expert and their tools) will be involved.
Of course, finding the best acoustic foam panels and learning how to install them is definitely possible—with some additional help.
Acoustic Ceiling Tiles
You already know that installing an acoustic ceiling can be a big project. But for some applications, soundproofing your ceiling is a crucial part of developing the space.
You can choose drop ceilings to help control acoustics, and then hide the necessary ductwork and other building elements above them. Of course, this assumes a whole-room overhaul rather than a few upgrades to the existing walls and ceiling.
And again, DIY may not be possible since acoustic ceiling tile systems can be complex to install (not to mention, heavy).[Related Article: How To Soundproof Your Ceiling Speakers At Home]
Like we noted previously, acoustic hangers are a construction solution you can use to create a gap behind your walls and ceiling. Acoustic hangers achieve decoupling while you’re hanging drywall or installing ceilings.
The drawback is that you need to install these while you’re tearing apart a room or building and redoing the interior walls. Otherwise, you’re looking at a time-consuming and extremely expensive soundproofing solution. Then again, you can also use the box-within-a-box concept and hang panels over your existing walls and ceiling for optimal noise insulation.
Best Soundproofing Materials For Windows
Just like you can purchase blackout curtains to reduce light, so you can opt for soundproof curtains to block noise. Adding curtains to a space is one of the cheaper DIY options for soundproofing. However, costs can quickly add up depending on the material, thickness, and curtain size.
But, if a window or two is what’s stopping you from enjoying a soundproof room, sound-blocking curtains may be an easy fix.
Soundproof Window Cover
Besides using curtains, you may also like to consider using a soundproof window cover. The standard size should normally cover the whole of your window and also blocks away exterior light as well. The mounting strips are screwed onto the wall for super hold and you will be able to install them in minutes.
When you’re really serious about soundproofing, installing acoustic glass and window materials is a must. DIYing a window installation might not be the easiest household project, but the effort will pay off.
Acoustic glass involves a combination of glass sheets and interlayers that create a buffer against soundwaves. The bonded interior layer is most effective at blocking sound and even vibration.
Acoustic glass windows—or even panels of glass themselves—can get expensive. But the investment is worthwhile if you’re serious about soundproofing.
Best Soundproofing Materials For Floors
Like curtains, soundproofing blankets feature thick material that helps offset noise. You can hang the blankets up or even place them on the floor to help absorb sound. This versatile soundproofing fix can travel with you and even be washed, too. Check out our article on how to Soundproof A Room With Acoustic Blankets here.
Soundproof Floor Underlay
Are you preparing to replace your flooring in an effort to achieve better soundproofing? Installing a soundproof floor underlay before laying new carpet, wood, or laminate flooring could make an impact.
Like carpet pads, which lie under the flooring type you choose, soundproof underlays involve a bit of padding and insulation. What’s different about soundproof floor padding is that it’s usually heat-treated and has specialized fibers. The result is a denser material than typical padding—which is more effective at absorbing soundwaves.
You can usually get floor underlay material in rolls, and it’s a great addition to any floor-laying project you already have in mind.
Best Soundproof Materials For Backyard
Exterior Acoustic Panels
Most of our soundproofing materials are for the interior of your room or studio. But you can choose external fixes, too.
For example, exterior acoustic panels can help dampen noise inside a building or room. They’re durable—just like roofing and other outdoor tiles—and can withstand impact and changing weather conditions.
Acoustic absorber panels for the building’s exterior are an ideal long-term fix. They can get pricey, however. But you can likely DIY this the same way you’d install shingles or tiles on your roof.
Let’s say you want to have noise reduction outdoors. Most soundproofing materials are not weather-resistant or even easily portable. One solution to outdoor noise pollution is acoustic fencing. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a fence barrier (almost a cover for your existing fence) with specialized fabric that helps insulate against sound.
In scenarios where you can’t impact the ambient noise in other ways, insulating your yard can help cut down on noise inside. If you live near a freeway, train route, or even an airport, sound-blocking fencing might be the first step toward enjoying a quieter lifestyle.
You will need custom-sized panels for your existing fence, but it’s also possible to build a soundproof fence at home.
Industrial-Grade Acoustic Panels
If you’re looking for an industrial-grade indoor or outdoor solution to soundproofing, acoustic panels can be made to suit. Most industrial acoustic soundproof panels can handle high decibels, like noise from power plants and generators.
Generally, professionals choose these expensive panels to insulate against noise. For at-home applications, you will probably want to steer clear. If you’re a business owner, though, it might be worth the investment.[Related Article: How To Soundproof Your Mini Ramp So You Can Skate In Peace]
Best Soundproofing Materials For Bedroom
Another option that’s simple to DIY is soundproofing wallpaper. It’s similar to acoustic wall coverings but is less expensive than those semi-professional products. Unfortunately, you won’t get maximum sound reduction impact with wallpaper alone.
That said, it could be a good solution for balancing your room’s acoustics if you only need minor adjustments. Not to mention, it could be excellent for the aesthetics of the space. Even soundproofing wallpaper comes in a range of styles and finishes, and you can purchase easy-to-apply rolls that stick on and go.
Ready to choose a wallpaper for aesthetics and acoustics? Learn how to choose the best wallpaper to soundproof your house.
It might sound too good to be true, but soundproofing paint does exist. You won’t get the high-impact benefits of soundproofing modes like decoupling or the addition of mass, but a few thick coats of paint can make a noticeable difference in a space’s acoustics.
Soundproofing paint can be effective at blocking noise, but you’ll probably get better results combining this with other soundproofing DIYs.
Furniture and Carpeting
With all the available soundproofing products, you may have forgotten about old reliable: carpet and furniture. Carpet is better at reducing noise than any other type of flooring because it absorbs sound. Unlike the heavy footfalls you get with wood or the clacking you’ll hear on tile, carpet muffles every type of footstep.
Furniture can also help absorb sound—especially if it incorporates a lot of fabric. Leather couches, for example, tend to be noisy. But a cloth-covered couch can help absorb the sounds you make while getting comfortable and help absorb soundwaves that are bouncing around the room.[Related Article: How To Soundproof A College Dorm Room In 9 Simple Steps]
Best Soundproofing Materials for Autos
Unlike paint, soundproofing spray aims to fill in gaps rather than cover entire walls or ceilings. It’s a common in-vehicle soundproofing application, especially where consumers are applying other soundproofing methods, too.
For example, you could add soundproofing spray as a bottom coat before installing sound-deadening material in panels. This way, you reduce the transmission of sound from the vehicle body to the passengers.
If you’re working on a car soundproofing project or are hoping to soundproof your tractor cab, you’ll probably want a few cans of soundproofing spray for spot treatment. On its own, though, the spray cans won’t do a ton to reduce road noise.
Sound Deadening Mats
Sound Deadening Mats are another DIY fix for both buildings and vehicles. While Sound Deadening Mats for cars typically come in pre-cut styles to suit your vehicle, you can also find bigger rug-like mats that you can customize for any application.
Soundproof mats typically reduce vibration, which lessens noise transfer. If you’ll be working with heavy machinery (or just a really good bass) in your new soundproof space, mats could be a handy solution.
Best Soundproofing Materials For Office
Have you ever caught snippets of a conversation through the air vents in your home or office building? If so, you’ll see the benefit of acoustic louvers for soundproofing.
Acoustic louvers are similar to your existing vents in that they help block critters and weather from entering your home. If you need an exterior-to-interior means of reducing sound, placing louvered panels on the outside of the building’s vents can help.
At the same time, the vents let air flow, so you can also use them indoors as part of your HVAC system. While filling gaps is usually the best way to deaden sound, vents are a necessary part of your home or commercial building’s airflow. So, acoustic louvers fill a real need.
Even if you soundproof the rest of your room (or house), the door could be allowing tons of sound to escape. If you’ve sealed the door and added a door sweep but it’s still letting sound and vibration through, a soundproof door might be in order.
Soundproof doors are typically exorbitantly expensive, and they’re also seriously heavy. Installing one on your own—if you can even afford it—is not going to be a single-person DIY.
From dual-layer doors with sound-deadening gaskets to specialized frames that reduce gaps, soundproof doors mean business. They can also add extra security to your space, as they’re tough to break through under any circumstance.
Check out also our article on how to Soundproof Interior Doors here.
What Are Some Of Best, Cheap Sound Proofing Hacks
Now that you know about the best soundproofing materials, it’s time for the hacks that will help make your project a success. From what elements to incorporate for sound deadening to the tools you’ll need for your DIY, here’s what you should know.
When in Doubt, Fill Gaps
Filling holes and gaps in walls, flooring, and around windows and doors are the first step in your DIY soundproofing venture. If you’re interested in noise reduction throughout your home—say, because you live near a busy street—then addressing spots where air can flow in is your first assignment.
You can use a variety of acoustic caulk, plaster, sealants, and other easily applied products to help reduce airflow and sound travel. The best part is, you may not even need specialized acoustic sealants.
While a specialized soundproofing product is ideal, any hardware store caulking or plaster can fill holes and spaces around doors and windows.
Know Your Materials (and Your Project Goals)
Because there are so many types of soundproofing materials and tools, it pays to know what you’re doing with your project. For example, you’ll need vastly different products for soundproofing a car versus an industrial building.
On the same note, creating an acoustically pleasing music studio is also hugely different than soundproofing a room that contains a super-noisy HVAC system. While you can quiet down a noisy air conditioner with other DIY methods, some scenarios call for heavy-duty soundproofing measures.
Depending on your soundproofing goals and the setup of the space, you may need a combination of different soundproofing products and tools.
Don’t Just Soundproof the Room
While you might want to focus on soundproofing the room itself, considering what’s in it also matters. For example, if you want to soundproof a room because it echoes too much, your first step might be moving the furniture around for better acoustics.
On the other hand, if you’re trying to block sound from coming in through window panes or the wall itself, you may want to head outside to see what soundproofing measures can help in the yard, too.
Use Multiple Methods of Soundproofing
Remember those soundproofing basics we talked about? There are multiple ways to soundproof a space—and your technique matters.
The basic methods are:
- Thermal Conversion
Use multiple methods whenever possible for the best results. Which leads me to the next point…
Like anything else, soundproofing isn’t a one-size solution to noisy problems. Trial and error is part of the game, which is how I learned everything I know about soundproofing. And the most important thing I’ve learned? Diversify your approach!
That means using a range of materials and products to create the soundproof space you need. It also means not skipping a potential solution because it seems like it won’t make a difference. When it comes to soundproofing, everything counts.
So, aim to cover every base and fill every gap. The end result may be a room with soundproof wallpaper, noise-blocking curtains, and new carpet with a soundproof underlay. On their own, each of those elements would make a bit of an impact. But together? They might create a cozy and nearly soundproof room.
Don’t Cheap Out
Even if you’re on a budget, you shouldn’t settle for the cheapest material. Why? Because—like anything else in life—you get what you pay for. You don’t have to choose the most expensive option on the market, but making a smart buying decision can save you time and money later.
Live a Quieter Life
If you live somewhere noisy—such as by a freeway—you can’t really adapt your lifestyle to be less noisy. But when it comes to your everyday habits—and not annoying your spouse or roommate—living a quieter lifestyle could make a big difference.
While soundproofing measures are a great option, you can also choose the quietest products possible to use around your house. If you’re not running a super-loud paper shredder or brewing coffee that sounds more like a rocket taking off, you may not need that extra layer of soundproofing paint to not wake the baby in the next room over.
Plant a Garden
If you’re a fan of foliage, then I have good news. Plants can help reduce noise, whether you’re using them indoors or out. Plants—especially denser vegetation—are promising as noise reduction options near freeways and in other urban areas. Studies even suggest that greener streets help with noise reduction.
Think Up: Rooftops Matter, Too
Researchers have also concluded that “green roofs”—IE growing a garden on your rooftop—can also be a beneficial mode of acoustic insulation.[Source]
The dirt was the biggest factor, scientists confirmed, and some plants were better than others at absorbing sound.Then again, if you’re planning on installing a garden anyway, it might be worth considering a rooftop style if you want better noise reduction inside.
When in Doubt, Consult a Professional
DIYing is great—when things go well. But if you’re hitting a wall when it comes to your soundproofing project, seeking expert advice is always a smart idea. After all, a DIY is only more affordable if you don’t waste all your time and money getting the job done.
Where to Buy Soundproofing Materials
If you’re wondering about the best place to buy soundproofing materials, sometimes it’s your local hardware store! But if your store doesn’t stock the soundproofing-specific products you want, you can find other solutions online via Amazon.
Final Thoughts on Soundproofing Materials and DIY Tips
No matter what size or type of space you want to soundproof, the right strategy and the proper products are vital. By doing your research beforehand—and choosing materials that are the most effective at reducing noise—you can start enjoying more peace and quiet at home, in the car, or even outside.