When soundproofing a home, it can be tempting to use DIY techniques as a quick or more cost effective solution. But do these techniques really work? Here we look at the use of egg crates, carpeting walls, wallpaper, fiberglass insulation, cellulose insulation, the appearance of acoustic panels and how easy it is to soundproof a space.
Read on for the truth behind the soundproofing myths.
Why egg crates?
It is probably because egg crates can be made from polystyrene foam and foamed plastics that the link has been made with soundproofing. They are perfect for use in lightweight packaging but when it comes to soundproofing and providing acoustic insulation, they are no good at all.
One look at the material will show you why. It is extremely porous which means it offers no sound protection whatsoever. The shape of egg crates is similar to soundproofing tiles with is probably another reason why this myth has persisted. But those are the only similarities between the two materials.
Also take note that egg crates are highly flammable and so aren’t appropriate as soundproofing material.
Carpeting the walls
Placing soft surfaces and furnishings is an effective tactic to disrupt soundwaves in the room. The same thing applies to carpeting and curtains which can absorb and dampen soundwaves but are not enough to soundproof a room.
Carpeting is usually laid wall-to-wall which means there is a far larger surface area covered by the material. The only way to produce a similar effect on a wall would be to carpet the entire wall from top to bottom, which would look totally absurd.
Placing a piece of carpet, or even a mattress up against the wall does nothing to stop soundwaves travelling through into the room. Not only that but using either would spoil the interior design of the space.
Using wallpaper to soundproof
Soundproof wallpaper may sound like a ‘thing’ but it offers no real function beyond being a fanciful idea. There are companies that produce these products while marketing it to customers with suggestions that it will significantly improve the soundproofing within any given room.
The make-up of this type of wallpaper comprises of the typical designs we see in commercial stores, with either foam or another form of deadening material integrated into it. The key difference to point out here is that while it may reduce some noise at mid-range frequency within the house, which is typically conversational sound, it does not soundproof the room.
Anything in the higher or lower frequency ranges will still be able to penetrate through the walls, so things like TV or noise from nearby traffic can still be heard. While soundproof paper does provide some help within the house, it certainly doesn’t live it up to its name.
Dark coloured walls
It’s hard to think of a reason why this became a myth that has existed for so long. Perhaps it is because darker colours hold more depth that it was presumed they are also more dense, which makes them good for soundproofing.
Unfortunately, that isn’t the case and dark coloured walls do not offer any help when it comes to soundproofing. No matter what colour you paint the walls in a room they will have zero effect on either the soundproofing or sound quality in the space.
Common fiberglass insulation
Using fiberglass to thermally insulate a room is a popular choice. However, it should not be used for acoustic insulation as it is a low-density product that can’t block the transmission of soundwaves in or out of a room.
Fibreglass insulation does offer some absorption qualities that are useful, and like soundproof wallpaper, may be able to reduce the sound of mid-range frequencies. But in terms of soundproofing a room and significantly lowering the noise levels, it doesn’t offer much help at all.
As with fiberglass, cellulose insulation is designed to thermally insulate a home or office rather than for soundproofing. Insulation used in any building does offer some level of sound absorption as it increases the mass of the wall, thus helping to dampen down the noise travelling through it.
Acoustic panels do not look good
When you think of acoustic panels, the first image that comes to mind may be the dark, ridged designs that are often found in recording studios. This often puts people off considering them for use in soundproofing a domestic property.
One look around at your local DIY store, or online, and you will see that there are a wide variety of acoustic panels available. They come in a range of different sizes and can be altered to accommodate almost any type of room design.
They are also a very cost-effective option if you are not able to afford some of the more expensive acoustic insulation solutions.
Installing soundproofing is easy
Although some forms of soundproofing will need a professional, there are ways to soundproof a room by yourself. When redecorating, you could add soundproofing panels as part of the process.
For more information on how to soundproof a house, read our guide now.