How To Soundproof Thin Walls? A Comprehensive Guide-2020


how to soundproof thin walls

When I first moved into my student apartment, the thing I found the most disturbing was annoying noises. And the reason behind it was the walls of my apartment. So, I had to learn how to soundproof thin walls. All my efforts helped me to learn various ways of soundproofing thin walls with and without construction. So how do you soundproof thin walls?

Soundproofing a wall simply means adding mass to it so that noise doesn’t escape easily. The most efficient ways to soundproof thin walls include the use of mass loaded vinyl, acoustic foam, and fiberglass panels. Alternatively, you can use furniture and paint to further increase the mass of the wall.

In this article, I will be sharing my experience of soundproofing along with the costs of the materials that are very effective in muffling sound.

How to Soundproof Thin Walls?

Thin walls often deliver disturbing and unwanted noise from next-door neighbors. But there is a solution to everything; you can soundproof thin walls using soundproofing materials, which will give to an effective result.

Efficient ways to soundproof a thin wall include the use of Mass Loaded Vinyl, Acoustic Foam, and Fiberglass panels. Plus the use of furniture and paint.

Let’s discuss these standard methods to soundproof thin walls.

1. Seal All The Gaps

Caulking gun

One way of soundproofing thin walls is to reduce the airflow. By doing so, it will automatically reduce the transmission of sound. You can do this by sealing all the gaps.

Sealing the gaps in a wall to stop airflow will give you an effective result.

As you know, sound travels through the air. As a result, if you’re experiencing a higher level of noise coming into a room, then airflow is more than a required rate.

So, by sealing the gaps in a wall, you will surely get a sufficient airflow along with soundproofing. For this purpose, you can use soundproofing caulk.

Soundproofing Caulk

Soundproof caulk is much more flexible than silicone caulk, which hardens as it dries and works as a good soundproofing layer.

You just have to apply the caulk on the boundaries of the wall, but before applying the caulk, make sure the surface is dry and clean. Moreover, you can use a caulk gun for this purpose as it has a long and narrow end, which will help you to fill up holes effortlessly.

It’s easier to work with soundproofing caulk, and you can also paint it after when it dries up.

2. Get Fiberglass Panels

fiberglass panel

Using Fiberglass panels to soundproof thin walls will be useful as well as a valid option. Fiberglass works well in blocking sound as it provides you an extra layer to block the incoming sound waves.

Moreover, the additional layer of fiberglass increases the surface area of the wall, which will make it harder for sound to penetrate, making the other side quieter.

The fiberglass panel is a thin and lightweight board, manufactured from the pressed strands of fiberglass. People use it as an alternative to metal sheeting and traditional glass as wall material.

You can get fiberglass panels in different kinds of sizes and colors according to the surface pattern.

Some advantages of using fiberglass panels for soundproofing thin walls are:

  • There will be no cracking by driving nails in walls during installation.
  • It provides excellent resistance to sound.
  • A Fiberglass panel has an excellent clean appearance, and it is bright.
  • It provides you a long service life.
  • Popular than other soundproofing materials because it is lighter.
  • It does not rust like iron.
  • Available in cost low than metal or glass.

With all these qualities, fiberglasses panels can turn out to be excellent and reliable material to soundproof thin walls.

3. Install Acoustic Foam Panels

soundproof panels

Using Acoustic foam panels to soundproof thin walls would be a smart choice because of its great sound-reflecting qualities.

Sound waves can pass through small holes or openings in the walls. So, acoustic foams can reduce noise pollution or sound leakage.

The basic principle on which acoustic foam works on thin walls is that it reduces the amplitude of the sound waves by dissipating the sound energy.

Moreover, to enhance this effect, there must be a good air gap between the foam and the wall.

The air gap provides a broader surface area of the foam panels to incident waves, thereby reflecting them and reducing the echo.

Moreover, acoustic foams are available in different shapes like:

  • Egg crate shape
  • Wedge style
  • Pyramid shape
  • Square shape

There are a variety of colors, textures, and sizes available in the market for acoustic foam panels.

You can buy an acoustic foam panel in your favorite shape and color. Besides, every shape has its unique look, and it will give a stunning look to your wall.

Acoustic foam panels will make your thin walls soundproof and stunning at the same time. Moreover, this method of soundproofing does not require any kind of construction.

4. Paste Mass Loaded Vinyl

mass loaded vinyl

Mass loaded Vinyl is one of the most popular materials used for soundproofing. Besides, it’s a highly versatile and effective medium for blocking the transmission of soundwaves.

By applying Mass loaded Vinyl on thin walls, you can accomplish the kind of silence you want. Also, it is the most effective solution that you can add on a thin wall to increase the Mass and cause soundproofing in the house.

Mass Loaded Vinyl is a dense material that has lots of other stuff and chemicals in it to make it thicker for fulfilling soundproofing needs.

Moreover, the nature of MLV is that it flows when some force gets applied to them, and return to their original shape when the force has been removed.

The principle under which Mass loaded vinyl works is the damping of sound. It does not have sound-absorbing quality, but instead, people use it for damping.

Therefore, by applying MLV over thin walls will create a 3-dimensional barrier that can reflect soundwaves. Besides, you can also call it a reflective sound barrier.

Everything which is thicker in size always has Mass, but this is not the case with Vinyl, which has the best thickness to mass ratio as compared to other heavy materials.

Because of its outstanding nature, I recommend going first with Mass loaded Vinyl, which can cover the thin wall with easy installation.

All you have to do is to follow the following steps so you can apply Mass loaded Vinyl on your wall.

  • Cut the MVL sheet with proper sizing of the wall and make sure to have a good shape.
  • Also, make sure to start from the top of the wall to bottom, to get a better idea on which side it fits well.
  • Start from the top corner of the wall to the ground for properly covering it and blocking the noises.
  • Make sure to overlap every piece of sheet with other at least 1 inch for proper coverage and fewer voids.

Mass loaded Vinyl is no doubt very useful in sound-blocking, but it’s also quite expensive. However, the quality of the result that you’ll get is worth the price.

5. Use Soundproofing Paint on Walls

soundproofing paint

While reading this title, the first question that pops up in your mind would be, does paintwork in soundproofing thin walls. Well, the answer is YES! Using soundproofing paint on thin walls does work for certain levels of noise.

However, the application of the soundproof paint is the same as regular paint. Besides, the equipment you use for painting your walls with regular paint is also the same for soundproofing paint.

The principle under which soundproofing paint works is that it absorbs sounds.

Soundproof paint contains latex as the main ingredient. Latex makes the paint dry faster. Moreover, it is non-toxic and gives a soundproofing quality to the paint.

When you use soundproof paint on thin walls, then the latex will get into small cracks in the wall and add a slight thickness to it. But due to its thickness, soundproof paint can give your wall a bit bold look.

However, the thickness of the soundproofing paint is the main reason that provides soundproofing quality to your thin walls.

But the thing that you should know is a soundproofing paint only focuses on mid-range frequencies, which is the sound of normal voices talking.

So, if you are trying to drown the noises like a barking dog or loud music, then this is likely not your best option. And for the sound-blocking capabilities to be useful, you must apply more than one coat of this paint to your walls.

Nevertheless, there are a lot of benefits coming from this paint. It demands a little bit of your time and effort, but the whole procedure is entirely worth it.

6. Insert a Drywall

Inserting drywall is the most effective solution to fix the thin walls. With the addition of Mass will make that wall area denser and your job easier to trap the noise.

A drywall is a high-performance soundproofing product that enhances the soundproofing properties of a thin wall. Moreover, it will help to minimize most of the noise, as it has to pass through the multiple layers instead of the previous thin layer.

Drywall panels are made up of multiple layers of different materials, which increase the Mass of the wall and reduces the amount of sound penetrating through a thin wall.

The layers of drywall panels differ depending on the level of performance it was designed for. Most often they are constructed of:

  • Thick paper
  • Gypsum
  • Steel sheet metal
  • Special Mass loaded polymers.

The steel sheet metal and Mass loaded polymer layers are installed in such a way that they are sandwiched in between the layers of gypsum.

Along with this, a mass-loaded drywall panel also forms a rigid structure that is perfect for soundproof thin walls.

While installing drywall, you can use standard drywall screws to attach to the studs while mounting onto the wall.

Moreover, for better performance and to prevent unwanted sound leakage, you should take an extra step of sealing with soundproof glue. These additional layers will give you even better results.

It is evident that inserting drywall is going to be a burden on your hard-earned pocket money, but for quiet, peace, and privacy, it is a worthy investment.

Find out more methods of soundproofing thin walls on soundproofliving.comThey have some fantastic techniques that can help you minimize the efforts and increase the positive results.

How to Soundproof Thin Walls Without Construction?

You can soundproof thin walls without construction by rearranging the furniture or adding some thick fabric on the walls.

Many people cannot afford to soundproof their thin walls because the soundproofing material which is available in the market is quite expensive. Moreover, the addition of construction bills makes it out of range.

So, in the later texts, I will tell you some effective and easy ways to soundproof thin walls without construction.

1. Have a Bookshelf on Your Wall

book shelf for soundproofing thin walls

Every house, apartment, office, or hostel usually has a bookshelf.  You can use these bookshelves for soundproofing thin walls as well.

This point might sound kind of silly and confusing that how a simple bookshelf can make your wall soundproof, but trust me, it can.

First, you will have to understand that sound is a kind of energy, and it needs a medium to travel. This medium could be anything. It can be your room’s wall too.

If your room has a thin wall, then it will be easier for the sound waves to penetrate. However, having a bookshelf attached to your wall will increase the surface area, and it will make it difficult for a soundwave to penetrate, making the other side quieter.

Moreover, books are bulky and make excellent sound insulation. Covering the wall with bookshelves or moving your book collection to that side of the apartment can increase the sound insulation dramatically.

The bulk of the books and the shelves themselves will help cut down on the noise. Besides, you can strengthen the bookshelf’s sound-blocking capabilities by sliding a thick piece of foam between the wall and the bookshelf.

2. Place a Wardrobe in Front of the Wall

wardrobe for soundproofing thin walls

One of the best solutions for effective sound insulation is to thicken your walls using a wardrobe. This method is applicable when you want to soundproof thin walls without construction by using household furniture.

As sound waves can travel through a medium, so they can also penetrate through walls, and in the case of thin walls, penetration of sound is even more.

You can reduce this incoming sound through walls by placing a wardrobe in front of it.

Every house has a wardrobe in every room. Therefore, placing a wardrobe in front of a thin wall will reduce sound penetration by making the surface area larger.

Moreover, it would be hard for the sound waves to pass through, and you will experience quiet surroundings on the other side.

Using a wardrobe for soundproofing is the cheapest and easiest way, and the result you’ll get would be satisfactory.

Taking Wardrobe Soundproofing to the Next Level.

If you want to enhance the soundproofing quality of a wardrobe, try to fill it up by adding some clothes in it. The addition of clothes will increase the Mass of the wardrobe and fill up the inner space.

The thing which you should remember is, more the Mass of the object or material used for the soundproofing more effectively, it’ll work.

3. Hang Thick Blankets

Soundproofing thin walls with just using thick blankets is one of the best and cheap methods of soundproofing.

Either you have a noisy neighborhood or any appliances making noise in the next room, you can not take a breath until its quiet and calm.

Moreover, if you are living in an apartment with thin walls, then it will double up your problems.

Thin walls allow more sound to penetrate as compared to standard walls. Because of these factors, noise is a common problem for people living in apartments having thin walls.

With all these challenges, the only option you are left with is to soundproof those thin walls.  The good news is that you can soundproof thin walls by using thick blankets.

Blankets make a massive difference to the appearance of a room if used correctly. They are a cheap and effective solution to noise problems.

Blankets work in such a way that they absorb and soften sound waves. You can enjoy soft music, and reduce unwanted echoes in your house.

Some of the advantages you’ll get of using blankets as a soundproofing material for thin walls are:

  • They are cheap to buy.
  • There is less maintenance.
  • Easy to install.
  • Flexible to be used on different parts of your room.
  • When used properly, they can be part of your interior decor, depends on your creativity.

Moreover, one thing that you should keep in mind is that not all the blankets can be used for soundproofing. Only the blankets that have thick and dense material (fabric) are suitable for soundproofing.

Now a question arises that which fabric is suitable for soundproofing? So, according to Ted (a soundproofing expert from a company named Acoustical Surfaces), the best ways to find the soundproofing properties of the fabric are:

  1. Hold the fabric and see if light could pass through it. If it does, then that material is not suitable for soundproofing.
  2. Another way is to try to breathe through that fabric if you can breathe, then again, it’s not a material that you should probably be using for soundproofing.

Thicker blankets soften airborne sounds and vibrations. When you think of soundproofing, you should look for blankets made of the following materials.

  • Cotton
  • Multilayered polyester
  • Mineral wool

By keeping all these measures in mind, you can soundproof thin walls very easily and without spending a considerable sum of money.

If you find these methods to be fulfilling your soundproofing needs, then click here to find out more ways to soundproof thin walls without construction.

Do Soundproofing Thin Walls Work for Noisy Neighbors?

There are many effective ways of soundproofing thin walls for the reduction of noise coming from a noisy neighbor. Moreover, these methods are very popular and quite easier to apply.

Due to the increase in population, there is also an increase in the demand for renting properties. It is trendy these days to partition two houses using a thin wall.

Moreover, if you are living beside a noisy neighbor and sharing a common wall, then it is apparent that you are struggling with the unwanted noise.

To overcome these noises coming from your neighbor, you can go with either soundproofing or sound-absorbing techniques.

Soundproofing your walls will help you to overcome the unwanted noise coming from noisy neighbors. However, sound-absorbing will help us to minimize noise and echos.

There are many ways of soundproofing your walls, by which you can overcome the annoying and disturbing noises from your neighbors, but I have two proven methods for you.

1. Fill The Cracks and Gaps When You Want to Soundproof a Thin Wall

It has been observed multiple times that thin plasterboard walls have holes and cracks on the corner or another side.

These cracks can cause soundwaves to pass through the wall easily. You can fill those cracks using the sealant and caulk.

The sealant is more elastic and made of flexible material that can quickly expand and shrink because it is made of silicon materials.

On the other hand, caulk is another kind of insulating material, but it is rigid when it gets dry. Hence it is not like a sealant to expand and shrink as it is inelastic.

Caulk will fit in those areas where that require permanent fixing. Moreover, it is not prone to shrink or expand according to temperature.

However, you can use both sealant and caulk as soundproofing material on a thin wall, but I recommend the insulating sealant due to its elastic nature.

2. Use Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV)

Using mass loaded vinyl is the most effective way for soundproofing thin walls. It is a lightweight and flexible material specially used for blocking the soundwaves. Moreover, it is made of the Vinyl, which is a synthetic plastic material.

MVL doesn’t absorb sound waves due to its reflective surface, but it adds additional Mass to the walls to block the pass-through of noise waves.

You can find other materials of soundproofing to reduce noise coming from neighbors, but these two are the most popular and effective ways to soundproof thin walls. If you want to purchase MLV, then make sure to check it out here on Amazon.

How Much Does it Cost to Soundproofing Thin Walls?

The costs of the best soundproofing materials along with their dimensions, size, quantity, and source of purchase are:

Name Dimensions Price Source
Mass loaded Vinyl 9 sq ft (1 sheet) $44.99 Amazon
Fiberglass Panels 400 x 300 x 12 mm $29.99 Amazon
Soundproof Curtains 52 x 63 inch $69.95 Amazon
Mineral Wool 2 x 12 x 24 inch $29.50 Amazon
Acoustic Foam Panels 12 x 12 x 1 inch (Pack of 48) $45.99 Amazon

Wrap-Up

So far, we have seen various methods of soundproofing thin walls with different materials. However, you will most probably be thinking about which material or technique is best for attaining our soundproofing goals.

So, from my point of view, you should go for adding some thick soundproofing material like MLV on your wall. Also, try to cover the wall with a wardrobe or a bookshelf to increase the sound insulation.

By combining two methods, you can attain the best possible results of soundproofing thin walls without construction.

Recent Content