11 Budget-Friendly Tips To Soundproof a Wall Cheaply: DIY Soundproofing for Less!

How to soundproof a wall from neighbor noise Existing or new cheaply

These days it becomes extremely important to soundproof an existing wall to reduce the noise coming from the neighbors, but where does this need how to soundproof a wall is coming from?

Due to the increasing population and more demand for renting properties, it has been popular to partition the two houses with timber board and sometimes with insulated plasterboard, however earlier most of the walls were made of bricks or blocks.

If you are living beside a noisy neighbor and sharing a common wall then it is obvious that you are struggling with the unwanted noise and to overcome those you can go with either soundproofing or sound-absorbing techniques.

Where soundproofing will help us to unwelcome the unwanted noise coming from noisy neighbors however sound-absorbing will help us to minimize the echoes. For more read a suggested guide on soundproofing vs sound-absorbing.

Noise is measured on a decibel logarithmic scale which actually tells us the intensity of the noise coming from different sources. Here are a few references to the noise such as.

  • 20 dB ticking watch
  • 30db quiet whisper at 3ft
  • 60db: Normal conversation at 3ft.
  • 110 Rock music or screaming child

I am sure you are familiar with or experiencing a similar kind of noise coming from the other side of the wall, so I have listed the 11 best DIY Tips on how to soundproof existing walls from noisy neighbors or effective tips on soundproofing walls cheaply.

This guide is written taking the focus on minimizing the wall soundproofing budget as cheap as possible, simply by changing or using the existing materials. So let the first talk about the things needed for the cheapest way to soundproof a wall.

Things Needed for the Cheapest way to soundproof a Wall?

For DIY soundproof walls, you needed the below list of materials for the cheap way to soundproof a wall.

  • No products found. to seal the gaps or cracks
  • No products found. to absorb the sound waves.
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  • Soft materials (Sofas, carpets, rugs, etc).
  • Drywall in case of major issues with an existing wall.

Well, the above-shared materials can help us cheaply soundproof a wall inside the room but if you need a complete guide on how to soundproof a room cheaply then we already have a separate guide.

So let’s discuss the best way to soundproof the existing wall from neighbors.

DIY Tips on How to Soundproof a Wall Cheaply?

The explained tips will explain all the possible ways to soundproof a wall against noisy neighbors no matter it is a brick block or a plaster wood.

We will discuss all possible ways of fixing the existing wall and replacing the existing wall, How to create an acoustic wall, and how to prevent noise from the next-door neighbor.

I have been struggling with the same when I recently moved to my new house and searched a lot on soundproofing a room and then specifically on the wall.

I have found the very best optimum solution and I did implement them based on my need the results were good so I collected all information in a single guide to highlight for you.

Few methods are cheap while others are expensive and a couple of them are targeted around specifically existing walls.

1: Fill the Cracks or Gaps using Acoustic Sealant for existing walls

This has been observed multiple times that thin plasterboard wall are having gaps and cracks on the walls may be at the corner or another side of the walls.

This causes soundwaves to easily pass through the walls and come to your house and obviously, it could be a big threat to privacy.

The most important thing you should work on first is to identify those spot which you can get at night by just close your room light and make sure your neighbor light is on.

You can see the light coming from another side of the neighbor to your room and that’s the spot you have to fix first.

You can fill those cracks or gaps using the best sealant and caulk both are used for the common purpose but there is a slight difference between both.

Difference between Acoustic Sealant vs Acoustic Caulk?

Acoustic Sealant is more elastic and made of flexible material that can be easily expanded and shrink based on the condition it is made of silicon materials.

It makes sealant ideal for the area which is prone to expand or shrink based on temperature hence it is the best solution to fill the gap.

Acoustic Caulk is another kind of insulating soundproofing material but it is rigid in nature when got dry. Hence it is not like a sealant to expand and shrink as it is inelastic in nature.

It makes caulk well fit on those areas where the fixing is permanent and not more prone to shrink or expand based on temperature.

Both of these can be used on the wall but the most recommended is the insulating sealant due to its elastic nature using the caulking gun.

For the best acoustic sealant here is one of my best recommendations.

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How to use the Acoustic Sealant to fill the Gaps or Cracks?

This acoustic sealant comes with a nozzle, so just cut the tube and nozzle as needed. You can squeeze out using the hand but for proper and simpler dispense it is advisable to use the quart size Caulk gun

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With smooth pressure on the gun handle, point the nozzle to the gaps or cracks wherever you found and seal them, later remove all the extra sealant using the big wipes.

Use of the sealant will be a game-changer and 1 tube of around 29 OZ will be good enough to cover the 40-50 linear feet.

Note Acoustic sealant is different than Green glue, the acoustic sealant is used to fill the gaps or cracks and green glue is in between the membrane of the building

This will help us to fill the gaps or cracks on the wall if you are partitioned with a thin wall like plasterboard or any wooden board.

2: Add Additional Mass on Wall using  Mass loaded Vinyl (MLV)

The basic principle to create a strong barrier for noise is to increase the mass or density of the wall, and the cheapest solution to soundproof an existing wall is Mass loaded vinyl (MLV).

MLV is a thin flexible and high STC (sound transmission class) material specially used for blocking soundwaves. It is made of vinyl which is a synthetic plastic material.

It doesn’t absorb sound waves as it has a reflective surface but it adds additional mass to the walls to block the pass-through of noise waves.

The other most important element with MLV is calcium silicate, which is an additional mass element to make this strong barrier for soundwaves. The best part of MLV is its thickness to mass ratio.

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, it is recommended to go first with MLV, which has the ability to cover the wall with easy installation.

How to Use Mass loaded Vinyl?

  • Cut the MLV sheet with proper sizing of the wall and make sure to have it in good shape.
  • Make sure to start from the top of the wall to the bottom to get a better idea of which side is fitting well.
  • Start from the corner of the top of the wall to the floor to get proper covering or blocking of noise.
  • Make sure to overlap every piece of shit with others at least 1 inch for proper coverage and fewer voids.

Well in terms of price MLV is a bit expensive as compared to other sheets but it gives you an easy way to set up a strong barrier for the existing wall and better soundproofing of the wall.

Here is my best recommendations for the mass loaded vinyl.

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3: Install Drywall on top of the Existing Wall

Installation of drywall is obviously an expensive solution but the most effective solution as now you actually creating an additional strong barrier with the existing wall.

It will help to minimize most of the noise, as now noise has to travel multiple layers or strong barriers instead of the earlier thin layer.

It is obvious that this is going to be a burden on your hard-earned pocket money but for quiet, peace, and privacy it is worth investing in.

What is Drywall?

Drywall is a readymade wall prepared in a machinery house to get easy setup at the construction site and certainly cheaper as compared to cement and plaster we did in the past. Learn more here about does Drywall really helps in soundproofing?

Drywall is a Gypsum panel that is made of calcium sulfate dihydrate and some other additives depend on the purpose of their use. Where all such materials are pushed between two thick sheets of paper. Here both papers are designed in a way to make one as the front face and the other as the backend.

How to Soundproof Wall using Drywall?

Having single drywall always has a problem of noise coming from the noisy neighbor, so it is advisable to use the Resilient channel, so let discuss how to effectively use Drywall.

 Step 1: Install Resilient Channel

You can not directly drill the existing wall to cover up with new drywall, there must be some fixing that helps you to set up a layer of drywall.

This can be done through the resilient channel, it creates a decouple between the two walls and cause noise to get trapped and reduce the forward movement.

It is a thin Metallic rail that screwed with the existing wall and on top of that, we can screw the new drywall as the first layer.

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Step 2: Install DryWall on Top of Resilient Channel

It helps us to add the mass on top of the existing Drywall which in result the width of the existing wall get increase and due to screw with the resilient channel it also creates decoupling.

While considering the drywall which is having a common stud connected to both sides of the wall. If we set a resilient channel and fit another drywall on top of that will create an air pocket in between both of the walls.

Well done you are now finished, and here is how it works?

This means if your neighbor’s wall vibrates there is no direct connection with your wall cause less vibration on your side of the wall. Which is called the decoupling in soundwave transmission.

It is what we can refer to the room as a room that loses its connectivity from the neighbor wall and less transmission of the noise or soundwaves.

While setting up drywall make sure to cut its frame in size the same as the wall and mark each point on the wall to which you are expecting to fit this. 

4: Reduce the Resonance of the Noise in between the Two Drywalls

It is obvious that you can set drywall on top of the existing drywall, which may help us to create a decouple zone where the noise waves can be trapped.

This decoupling can help us to isolate the higher frequency but not good enough for low frequencies but the air inside the cavity will transmit the trapped lower frequencies to one of the walls.

This transmission of low frequencies to your wall can be minimized by using Green glue.

What is Green Glue and How it Works?

Green Glue is a viscoelastic compound helpful in dampening the noise in between the two layers of drywall.

Green glue has its ability to convert the soundwaves into heat and quite effective in dealing with the low-frequency soundwaves and reduce the sound to the interior of the structure.

This does not act as a sound deadener or sound absorber but acts as a sound-dampening source, So how does this work?

Remembers soundwaves is an energy wave. Which travels through the air by moving the air particles which is a sort of mechanical energy hence Green glue will absorb that mechanical energy and convert that to heat.

It is another type of material that is cheap and not necessary to install but advisable in case you are struggling with low noise frequencies. 

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How to use Green Glue?

This is a three simple step process on how to use green glue.

  • Apply multiple layers of the Green glue at the backside of the second drywall, ideally, 1-2 tubes are good enough
  • Now firmly press this drywall on top of the existing wall, remember it takes 15 minutes to dry.
  • Now screw the second drywall with the existing drywall.

Hence not directly but indirectly green glue can help us to dampen the soundwaves and reduce the resonance and best effective solution on Soundproof existing Wall.

5: Add Acoustic Mat Close to the Wall Area

It is the concept of flanking noise, where the soundwaves trapped in between the drywall get resonated and amplify and find out space to coming out from the wall.

Which in result more reflection, vibration, and generation of echos which further amplify and escape to your wall void area.

The best possible way to coming out is the joints around the side corners and gaps close to the ground on the room and wall.

To overcome this, it is advisable to set up an acoustic mat close to the wall area, which could absorb as much echo as possible and minimum transmission of the soundwaves to the room.

If there is any void left around the joints make sure to fill that with acoustic sealant as we discussed earlier.

Make sure to set up this mat in a way that connects the wall with the ground and should be dense enough to absorb as much as it can.

In such a way using an external mat you can soundproof a wall.

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How to SoundProof an Existing Wall?

Well, the above shared 5 tips are quite effective for soundproofing walls cheaply but if you already have an existing wall and only willing to look for minor fixes then can also try the below-given tips.

6: Use SoundProof Curtains and Blankets on Wall

The use of curtains and blankets is the much easier solution but both are more focusing on noise absorption so here is how they help to soundproof an existing wall.

What are soundproof curtains and How to use?

Soundproof curtains are heavier than conventional curtains, which are also known as blackout curtains. It can be used for multiple purposes. Learn more about the best curtains.

Don’t be confused with the functioning of the soundproof curtain as a sound absorber then the sound barrier as its main function is to reduce the echoes or absorb the noise only.

So it will not be strong insulation but anyhow help use reducing the echos and of course the amplification of the noise.

Simply hang those curtains on top of the wall and that can help you in minimizing the echoes of the sound by simply absorbing the noise coming from the wall.

Similarly to increase more absorption ability combine it with the soundproof blankets, yes these are the same blankets which we use for moving things from one place to another.

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What are SoundProof Blankets and How to Use them?

Soundproof blankets are dense enough and most effective up to 80% to block the noise even the main purpose is to trap the noise and absorb as much as possible noise.

Ideally, the NRC (Noise reduction coefficient) score for the Soundproof blankets is 0.8 which means it absorbs 80% of the noise and reflects back 20%.

SoundProof blankets outer layer is made of woven fabric which allow noise waves to pass through but internally it traps that noise and dissipates most of the energy, in this way it helps absorbing up to 80% of that noise.

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With the combinations of both blankets and curtains, you can double the barrier of the existing wall but make sure you cover the full length and width of the wall for the best effective soundproofing of an existing wall.

7:  Use Additional Layer of Drywall

Earlier we installed the drywall on top of the wall to improve its density but there will be more advantageous if you can place one another layer of the multiple layers of the drywall.

With the new placement of the drywall, it is again advisable to create a decoupling zone in between both drywalls and if possible use the Green Glue to dissipate noise energy into the heat form.

The use of drywall can be an expensive solution but the most effective solution to overcome the noise but here use the soundproof drywall which has a sound transmission capacity (STC) is more or above 50.

8: Use SoundProof Paint on Existing Wall

I am not sure if you ever heard about such soundproof paints, but in reality, they exist and quite effective in creating insulation for noise.

Here what we trying is to create a strong barrier for noise to escape from the wall and reduce up to 30% noise according to the research paper, so the use of soundproof paint which is different than regular paint is more effective.

What is SoundProof paint?

Soundproof paints are higher in density than conventional paint due to the ingredient ceramic microspheres and sound-absorbing fillers like latex.

And the most popular ingredient latex is one of the major sources of soundproof insulation so it is different than conventional paint.

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How to use SoundProof Paint?

Well, the use of soundproof paint is not different than regular paint so follow the below steps. It can be used on any type of surface such as wooden, ceramic, drywall, or even metallic surface.

  • Clear the wall surface area with sandpaper.
  • It is much of in liquid form, so if possible use the pressure No products found. as if you use roller it becomes heavy after some time.
  • Spray this to every single area of the wall but avoid spraying on top of the ceiling or floor.
  • Due to thickness in quality cause it needs more in quantity to cover the same area as conventional paint.
  • After successful paint clear with wipes all around the area and give its time to dry.

To learn more about how to soundproof paint works and how to use it effectively on the wall I strongly suggest you read the exclusive step by step guide on how to soundproof paint reduce noise.

9: Use the Insulation to Fill the Existing Wall Cavity 

We already knew the noise only travels much faster if it has no strong batteries and of course the same case applies to the wall with a huge cavity.

If your existing wall is having a cavity then we need to fill that cavity with the insulation materials. Insulations are of different types such as 

  • Fiberglass insulation
  • Mineral wool insulation
  • Cellulose insulation
  • Spray foam insulation

Well, the most recommended insulation is spray foam insulation because it is made of two chemical ingredients isocyanate and poylol rasin.

These two chemical compounds have the ability to expand when reacting together, so once it blows inside the cavity of the drywalls they easily fit into every small gap of the walls and offers 30-60 times more insulation as compared to others.

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How to use Spray Foam Insulation?

Unfortunately to use the foam insulation you need a professional, so here is a quick tip for DIY if you want to give a try.

  • Create a small hole in the drywall to open space for inserting foam.
  • Now inject the spray foam insulation with the help of a blow-in pipe.
  • Hold it until it covers the complete cavity and once finished just remove it out.
  • Now seal pack the opening on the drywall.

If you found spray foam insulation as a bit expensive solution then for an existing wall you can also use cellulose-based insulation, which also has an STC score of 44 and BRC of 0.8.

This could be an expensive solution so I recommend you to learn more in detail about the use of types of insulation for an existing wall to get better clarity and plan your investment accordingly.

10: Use Decorative Acoustic Panels on Wall

Acoustic panels are among the most trusted and suggested solution to absorb the noise, yes again it works as a noise absorber than a noise barrier. 

It mainly used in the music studio to absorb the noise and improve the sound quality but the same could be an effective solution for soundproofing an existing wall. Here are the top 10 best acoustic panel collections.

You can get the various types of acoustic foams such as 

  • Eggcrate Acoustic panel.
  • Flat-panel acoustic panel.
  • Pyramid Acoustic panel.
  • Grid Acoustic Panel.
  • Wedges Acoustic Panel.

The purpose for each type of acoustic panel I already explained in the separate guide of soundproof foam works or not, but for soundproofing existing wall the suggested is the most decorative flat panel acoustic panel.

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How do you install Acoustic Panel on Wall?

The use of the acoustic panel can be very effective if you combine it with all other suggested soundproofing materials.

  • Now wipe the wall with a clean rag or cloth to clean the dust off the wall.
  • Measure the size of the wall and compare it with the acoustic panels.
  • Now use the knife or any cutter to make acoustic panel size appropriate.
  • Draw an outline of the panel size on the wall to make the proper placement.
  • Use an adhesive spray and spray at the backside of the acoustic panel (You can skip if your panels are adhesive in nature).
  • Now press the foam against the wall and hold it for the next 30 seconds until you feel comfortable that it now settled.
  • Repeat the same process to cover the complete wall.

I am sure it is one of the easiest jobs you have ever done. There could be different ways to install acoustic panel here is a detailed guide.

11: Use Soft Materials around the Existing wall

Well, this is just changing the surrounding of the walls and will not need a single penny to invest.

Identify, every small piece of the room which has the ability to absorb the noise especially all the soft materials including books, etc.

Move around those things close to the wall as they are most effective in sound or noise absorption. So place the sofas close to the wall.

Hang the soft materials like curtains or blankets on the wall and place the bookshelf if you have near the wall. If the room has carpet then make sure it extended to the wall.

Have a heavy dense rug and also place it near the wall and in such a way just moving around a couple of things you can soundproof the existing wall.

Wrap Up on  How to Soundproof an Existing or New Wall

There are few ways to overcome noise coming from the walls not by covering the wall but by fixing the room such as we set up noise-absorbing material around the wall.

Every soft thing installed in the room is the highest source of absorbing the soundwaves and causes less reflection of the soundwaves.

So make sure to cover your window or door with soundproof curtains and set soft things like cuisine, sofas, and if possible set bookshelves near the wall which has the ability to absorb the soundwaves.

To improve the best effective results, I strongly advise combining 3 or more suggested ways out of 11 such as 

  • First, use the insulation to fill the cavity of the drywalls.
  • Now use the multiple layers of the drywall. so you already improved the insulation.
  • Now use the soundproof paints to fill the cracks or increase density or use MLV to increase density.
  • Now install the acoustic panels on top of the wall.
  • Now place all the soft things around the wall.

Here is all you have to try if really keen to soundproof a wall existing or new and I hope this guide has added some value in your learning and ofcouse to make your life easier or peaceful out from the noisy.

Hey, I am Kirtish Vyas a YouTuber and believer in making life peaceful, a couple of years back I started soundproofing my house, bedroom, studio, and Car to reduce the unwanted noise, and the same experience I am sharing on SoundProofidea. Read More