How to soundproof a room in an apartment: New construction renovations look nice and sleek with recessed lighting in just about every room. Great right? Not for soundproofing. These are all holes inside of our ceilings that contribute to the transfer of sound from one room to the next. When soundproofing a room, a central air unit with ducts that runs throughout the entire ceiling, can be a major noise problem that only sound deadening materials can solve. Contractors cut costs by not insulating, leaving hollow ceilings which act as if they were echo chambers. The truth is, new building developers don’t think about soundproofing at all, and to be quite honest, they never did. The best way to soundproof a room is by using the best soundproofing materials. The best materials on the market are Rockwool Insulation, MLV, Resilient Isolation Channel, Quietrock and Green Glue.
Time needed: 6 days.
HOW TO SOUNDPROOF A ROOM: 10 STEPS
- DETERMINE THE SOURCE OF THE NOISE ISSUE
How to soundproof a room by installing sound absorbing materials: It’s possible to reduce reflection within a room by adding soundproof curtains or change placement of large furniture. Otherwise, add a throw rug to the floor or install acoustic panels on the ceiling. When soundproofing a room, you need to know exactly where the noise issue is coming from. What is the main noise source? After determining the severity of the noise issue, there are some minor disturbances that can be resolved by installing an additional layer of Quietrock with Green Glue to an existing wall. Otherwise, you should demo the wall or ceiling and let’s get started.
- FILL GAPS AND CRACKS
(Spray Foam, Acoustical Caulk)
First, seal all cracks and gaps with acoustical caulk such as quiet seal pro or green glue noiseproofing sealant. Additionally, spray foam is used to fill in larger gaps. The excess spray foam can be cut back, and if necessary, you can seal the foam with one of the above acoustical caulking products. One small crack, in particular, can transfer upwards to 50% of the sound originating on the other side of a surface. Consequently, it’s very important to make sure you get into and around all pipes and holes for electrical as well as ductwork. Every single hole you find needs to be filled, so make no exception.
- DAMPING/ SOUND DEADENING
(Sound Deadening Materials, Soundproof Clay, Damping Sheets)
In the case of soundproofing a room, you must seal around under and above, everything possible. Cover all outlets and electric boxes for lights and light switches with quiet putty. Get up into the ceiling and cover all ductwork with neoprene duct insulation. Some scenarios will require sound damping sheets to help damp resonating sound frequency within the duct. Adding mass loaded vinyl around these areas will create a damping barrier for resonating issues.
- SOUND PROOF INSULATION
(Sound Proof Insulation)
Insulate ceiling and wall cavities with Rockwool Sound Proof Insulation. (Rockwool Safe and Sound, Havelock Wool Insulation, Quiet Batt, Owens Corning, or Rockwool Comfort Batt). Cut into the insulation with a drywall knife for smaller crevices in addition to the corners of the ceiling. Soundproofing a room using double insulation will furthermore slow frequencies from resonating inside a cavity. Using a combination of Rockwool comfortbatt + safe n sound has shown great results. The variation in density between the two products helps reduce different frequencies. Using different density in materials is key to the success of any soundproofing treatment.
(Resilient Isolation Channel)
Install Resilient Isolation Clips as well as the Resilient Isolation Chanel. When installing the clips, you need to stager the clips, every 3rd joist. The next row of clips is installed 1 joist over from the last row, stagger these clips every 3rd stud or joist as well. The visual result will be a 45 degree diagonal array of clips, whereas the staggered installation helps disperse vibration transfer. Staggering the resilient isolation clips also promotes even weight distribution for the conversely heavier hanging soundproof drywall. The Resilient Isolation Channel easily clicks into the clips.
- DRYWALL INSTALLATION
(Soundproof Drywall, Fine Thread Screws)
The next step is Installing the first layer of drywall or Quietrock onto the resilient channel. After installing the Resilient Isolation Channel and Rockwool Insulation, use fine thread drywall screws to install the drywall. Use the correct length of screws, otherwise the screws will pierce a stud or joist, in this case creating new ways for vibration to transfer directly to the soundproof drywall and possibly compromise the treatment.
- DRYWALL + GREEN GLUE
(Quietrock, Green Glue)
Starting with 2 tubes of Green Glue per 4’ x 8’ sheet of Quietrock. In this case spread the Green Glue onto the surface with a disposable joint taping knife. Otherwise, if you are using 5 gallon bucket of green glue, measure 56 oz with a measuring cup. After installing the second layer of soundproof drywall, the green glue will be forced into all of the screw holes and seams as a result of the pressure, to create an airtight seal. Stagger installation of the second layer of Quietrock to cover seams from the first layer of drywall. Use the correct length of screws to install the drywall in order to not pierce the studs or joists.
- LEVEL 5 SKIM COAT
If you want to learn how to soundproof a room, you will first need to learn how to skim coat. Level 5 Skim Coating will add an additional layer of mass to the sound proofing treatment which will encase the drywall seams completely all while furthermore reducing sound transmission. Afterward, skim-coating will not only strengthen the treatment by adding mass but will also increase the STC value for the entire soundproofing treatment.
- SOUNDPROOFING LIGHTS
(Soundproof Sealant, Sound Deadening Sheets)
Before installing lights, cut the smallest hole possible into the drywall as well as use faux recessed which mount to the exterior of the drywall. At the same time, press clay sheets into the back of the ceiling light cover plates. After that, use a sound deadening clay based sealants such as Quietseal Pro to seal around electrical wire. Also, cover the back of light switch plates and outlet covers with Quiet Putty.
- FINISHING ACOUSTICAL SEAL
How to Soundproof a room using acoustical caulk and Green Glue Noiseproofing Sealant. Run a bead of caulk into the drywall crevice, along the perimeter of the ceiling and wall. Also, remember to caulk around all switch plates, outlet covers, lighting mounts and duct registers. Let the caulk set for at least 24 hours. Finally, go back to double check that there is no shrinkage that is separating the caulk from any of the surfaces. Reapply where necessary.