How to Soundproof an Apartment
Chatty neighbors, crying babies, barking dogs – despite all the perks of apartment living, annoying noise from neighboring units can be a big drawback at times. If you’ve ever tried politely asking people in the units around you to calm down to no avail, you might feel like your sanctuary has become a lot less inviting.
Fortunately, you will find many ways to reduce the noise entering your home. Soundproofing an apartment doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. In fact, you can easily DIY soundproof in a pinch. Here are some simple tips for soundproofing your apartment and keeping yourself comfortable in your home using things you might already have lying around.
Noise reflects off hard surfaces such as ceilings, floors and walls. This adds to the overall level of sound in a given room. You can reduce sound reflection by covering bare walls (and even ceilings if you want to go that far) with soft things so that noises such as barking, vacuuming, and conversations don’t reflect. Reducing reflected noise can go a long way in making your device more peaceful.
Try putting rubber textile mats on your walls and a high pile carpet on your ceiling to reduce noise in your apartment. These items also absorb noise from adjacent units. If you have hard floors, you’ll want to lay a thick carpet on the floor as well. Increase the noise attenuation potential even further by using a density pad under your carpet.
Waterproof the front door
Can you hear every word spoken in the hallway of your building from your sofa? If so, you probably have large air holes around the front door. By sealing these leaks, you can help reduce chatter. Since sound travels through the air, any space that you see light passing through also lets sound in.
A door sweep offers a quick solution to sealing large spaces under apartment doors. Go for a commercial grade sweep that has a thick rubber band to seal against the sill. This solution also helps to avoid drafts, dust and insects as well as noise. You can also try sealing the sides and top of your door using foam weatherstripping if your door does not close well against its jambs.
Treat the doors
Weather protection is not the only option you have when it comes to doors. You can add an extra layer of soundproofing to your front door by hanging heavy blackout curtains. Curtains help absorb any noise that is still leaking through that door when you close them.
Maybe interior doors (like the one in your bedroom) are part of the problem. Gaps under doors inside your unit can also let a lot of noise through, so fill those gaps with a pull plug. You can buy one or make it yourself. The versions that attach to the door, usually via an elastic band, offer the greatest convenience so you don’t have to constantly put them in place.
Muffle with a bookcase
Soundproofing an apartment can also offer decoration possibilities. Place a wall-to-wall bookcase on a thin wall to muffle noise from the adjacent unit. Not only will you reduce the sound passing through the walls, but you will also be able to show off your impressive collection of books while saving space.
Overall, this trick adds mass to the partition between units. Since massive objects and materials are resistant to vibration, they also reduce the transmission of sound. Just make sure that the edges of your bookcase fit perfectly on each wall as well as the floor and ceiling. This ensures that you don’t have any air holes, which let in sound.
Install professional products
If household hacks like rugs and bookcases don’t do the trick, you can also invest in more professional products to try and reduce the noise further. Acoustic panels offer one possibility. You can find them made in the form of planks or fabric that you can hang on your walls. There are a few varieties, including those created to keep sounds from bouncing off hard surfaces and others designed to keep noise from entering through a window or door.
Soundproof curtains offer another alternative. Rugged products can prevent outside noise from disturbing you while you sleep. An acoustic curtain designed for an average window can weigh about 15 pounds. You will need to install it so that it sits flat against the window trim or the wall to block sounds and send them back out. You can also find styles of noise reduction curtains that are designed to slide along the tracks to make it easier to open and close.
Window inserts are another option to block outside noise but not your view. You can install these clear acrylic or glass panels over the windows you already have. The design creates an airtight seal, reducing exterior noise by half or more. For added convenience, try a design that pops up quickly when you want to open your window to let in fresh air.
Mask the sound with white noise
If all else fails, go for a white noise machine. You can try an audio machine or an application installed on your phone, tablet or other device to transmit the sound. Whether you put on soft sounds or your favorite songs, it can distract you from the annoying noises coming from your neighboring unit.
You don’t have to let a noisy environment ruin your dream home. Soundproofing an apartment doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult, and you probably have some useful items around your apartment that you can use to get started. These soundproofing tips can help you soundproof your apartment so that your dream place becomes that peaceful retreat you love again.