10 Simple Ideas For Temporary Soundproof Walls
For most people who lives in apartments and condos, or even people working in offices, noise is a common problem. The trouble is, most developers will not be doling out big bucks to build high quality soundproof walls.
You can read more about why apartments aren’t soundproof here. To put it simply, the cost does not warrant such a feature, though that could prevent a lot of people from getting upset and having disputes.
You can turn to professional soundproofing solutions, but as you can imagine, the price might seem like a big chunk after calculating all the other money you put into your place.
For me, the main reason is to block out neighbor noise and also to reduce the sounds my neighbor can hear. I believe courtesy works both ways.
With all that said, whichever situation you find yourself in, whether you are a landlord, renter, or tenant, there is definitely a way to create temporary soundproof walls so that everyone can live in peace and harmony.
In this post, we look at 10 of them so you know what to do the next time you can’t implement a permanent solution.
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How do I temporarily soundproof walls?
To be fair, each of us is in a different situation.
You could be renting the place from someone else where the amount of changes you can implement is limited, or you might be the owner of a place where you have more flexibility.
For the most part, the ideas here do not require you to make any drastic changes to your walls, or something that is hard to reverse.
With that in mind, here are a bunch of removable temporary soundproofing materials that you can use for a short-term fix.
1. Acoustic partitions
An acoustic partition is a great way to block out background noise and at the same time get some privacy within a home, room, or office. This is also a great way to reduce echo from reverberating in a room.
They are portable, which allows them to be moved around easily and create a temporary division. With this in place, even if two persons are working in the same room, they can barely hear each other and will not need additional equipment like earphones.
Some of these options also allow you to “zip” together 2 or more partitions to form a larger one to accommodate to your needs.
Most importantly, these partitions are typically made of sound-absorbing materials such as polyester that prevents sounds from bouncing off.
Below is my top choice and also check out this list of the Best Acoustic Partitions to pick the right one.
2. Acoustic foam panels
Another item you can use to absorb sounds is an acoustic foam panel. You might have seen these before in studios, which usually use them for acoustic purposes rather than soundproofing.
That said, they do a good job in absorbing sounds, much like the partitions, and they come in many shapes and sizes so that you can customize the coverage you need.
You can stick them to your walls as they mostly come with self-adhesive tape and are easy to remove when you do not need them anymore.
At the same time, they are highly cost-effective and I actually find that some of the designs are pretty cool. I have used them in my son’s drumming studio previously as well as the basement apartment and they work great.
If you have upstairs neighbors which are creating a din, using acoustic foam panels can be a viable solution.
Take note though, these foam panels work best when dealing with medium to high sound frequencies, so if you are playing heavy bass music day in and day out, these might not be the best solution for you. A bass trap would work better.
3. Soundproof curtains
Just like an acoustic partition, a soundproof curtain works by dividing up a room or space. They can also be used on your walls (not only windows), where they are much more effective than regular curtains due to the material used to manufacture them.
On top of that, most of them have insulating effects, which doubles up as a way to regulate the temperature within your home.
With sound-deadening curtains, you can also use them on thin, hollow doors which are the biggest culprit in letting sound pass back and forth.
Combining them with some of the other soundproof materials mentioned in this list gives you the highest effectiveness of achieving soundproofing. I also think that they are a great way to cover up things in your home that you prefer to be left unseen.
For me, I used them in my utility/HVAC room to cover the eyesore in there.
Check out my recommended soundproof curtains here.
4. Moving blankets (Soundproof blankets)
I can’t tell you the number of moving blankets I have lying around in my home as well as in the storeroom. I love them.
They are like a swiss-army knife. The primary purpose is to use them to protect your things when you move, but because of the way they are made, you can easily repurpose them to become soundproof blankets that can be used in almost every spot in your home.
I’ve even brought a couple out to test my soundproof tent previously, and they worked great.
These blankets are thick, which works to absorb sounds really well. Quite often, you can find them in recording studios (they call them studio blankets) or being used for soundproofing effects like silencing a dishwasher.
Choosing those that are made of polyester or fiberglass takes them up a notch, and they generally cost quite little.
If you really don’t wish to spend the money, try using old blankets. They will not be as effective, but hey, if you are on a budget, that will do.
5. Sealing off gaps
One of the ways sound travels is through the air, so if there are gaps in your doors or walls, you can be sure that soundwaves will find their way through them.
When I start any soundproofing project, I typically look for gaps or holes that are present and seal them up.
There are a couple of ways you can achieve that. One is by using weatherstripping tape, and the other method that I prefer is to use acoustic caulk.
It is basically a white-glue like compound that is used to cover up gaps and holes, and they are very effective due to their soundproofing quality.
My favorite brand to use is Green Glue. Expensive, but well worth it.
To seal off gaps below a door, I would use a door draft stopper.
6. Repositioning the furniture
To be fair, I should have listed this in point 1, since it is the most straightforward and free thing to do. But I thought that it is not always so easy to simply pick furniture up and move them around.
In order to reduce sound transmission on one particular wall, I would recommend moving your biggest and heaviest object there. Think large bookshelves and cabinets.
With increased thickness and room between you and the offending wall, sound can be greatly reduced.
When combined with the other ideas in this list, this can be one of the most effective ways to temporarily soundproof walls.
7. Adding rugs and carpets
I prefer to look at rugs and carpets as comfort and aesthetic items, but they do play a part in reducing noise.
While they do not go on walls (unless you really want to), rugs and carpets can play an important role in absorbing sounds throughout the room in general.
If you are considering how you can stop disturbing your downstairs neighbors by reducing vibrations, these two are the perfect ways to go about it.
You can say that you are soundproofing your floors, but the overall effect on a room cannot be underestimated too.
8. Mass Loaded Vinyl
On to the heavy weight of soundproofing materials, the mass loaded vinyl (MLV). To be honest, this will probably not make a good temporary soundproof solution, as the cost and effort involved is high, but I wanted to include it to let you know of the option.
The other thing is that you can always recycle MLV as they last a very long time, and you can repurpose the to use for keeping noise down in your car or something else.
Most people are using MLV within drywalls, but you can also customize a solution for your situation. Sticking them onto plywood (or any wood panels) can turn them into soundproof panels which you can hang on walls or doors to block out noise.
9. Soundproof wallpaper
Assuming that you own your own place or your landlord allows you to do so, you can put up soundproof wallpaper as a way to soundproof your walls. Not only do they help to solve part of your noise problems, but they can also come in attractive designs that add a nice touch to your interior decor.
It is easy to think that they are not effective, since most of us know that wallpapers are usually very thin. But the truth is, soundproof wallpaper is made of slightly different materials. There are usually a few layers within one and they work to dampen and block mid-frequency sounds.
Having tested them out before, I would say they are effective enough to block out TV noise or conversations next door.
Find out more about soundproof wallpaper here.
10. Soundproof paint
And finally, one last resort is to use soundproof paint. While this does not exactly seem like a temporary solution, it can be, since you can easily paint over it.
Painting in the same color also does not make significant changes to a wall, except to improve its soundproofing qualities. But does sound-absorbing paint work?
On its own, it does a decent job at absorbing sound, but for it to be truly effective, you will need to pair them with items such as soundproof foam or panels. A large piece of wall art can make a difference too.
Hey, quick one. If you intend to start a soundproofing project soon, check out our Best Materials for Soundproofing post to get a headstart. Most projects require similar materials, so this post will save you a ton of time researching.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What can I put on my walls to block noise?
Depending on your room type and location, drywall would be the best solution. Beyond that, the methods listed in this post such as acoustic foam, soundproof blankets, and acoustic partitions are great for temporarily blocking out noise.
How can I soundproof a room cheaply?
You can soundproof your home for free by looking around for some household items such as blankets or weatherstripping tape. If you have a small budget up to $100, investing in soundproof blankets, curtains, door drafts, and acoustic foam will be your best bet. Check out more details here.
Do soundproof wall panels keep out sound?
No, they cannot block out noise entirely. What they can do is absorb and diffuse the noise, while making them less obvious and more bearable to the point where you do not notice them at all.
What materials can block sound?
The best soundproofing materials include mineral wool, foam, polyester, and fiberglass among several others. A lot of these materials can be found in soundproofing products such as acoustic panels, foam, curtains, soundproof fiberglass, MLV, or floor underlayment. Lots of other regular materials could also be effective. Learn more here.
How much do soundproof walls cost?
If you want a temporary soundproof wall solution, it won’t set you back much. I would start with soundproof curtains, which can be bought for around $50. Acoustic foam comes in packs, and a large pack will likely be about $50 too. Most of the items listed here don’t cost much, and I would venture to say that you can do a remarkable job below $200 easily.
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