Sound Proofing Interior Walls

Sound proofing interior walls involves a process called dampening, which means retarding the vibrations that are caused when noise is created. Mass and space are required to halt the noise before it penetrates through to any adjacent rooms, so using interior walls as the buffer zone is the logical way to maximize dampening.

Sound proofing interior walls is commonly done in private home theaters so that the entertainment experience can be enjoyed more without disturbing other occupants of the home. Also, an excellent home studio can be created to allow a musician to practice or record without issue. Banging away on a drum kit till two o'clock in the morning doesn't win anyone any friends!

Materials that Don't Work

When it comes to sound proofing interior walls, many people claim to be experts and they will throw plenty of advice around, not necessarily caring whether or not you take it, and caring even less if their advice brings you success. Some sound proofing solutions you may have heard of are actually entirely impractical, and even useless.

- Particleboard and plywood panels are inefficient because wood is an excellent conductor of sound.

- Cardboard egg cartons, for instance, offer little to no benefit and might even enhance the transmission of sound through walls.

- Attaching carpet to the walls improves a room's acoustic qualities, but it doesn't help significantly with sound proofing.

- Fiberglass insulation, while highly effective as a thermal insulator, fails at sound proofing interior walls.

- Using foam rubber mattresses to insulate against sound is not only somewhat ineffective, but it is also an extremely hazardous practice : imagine what would happen in the event of a fire!

- Mattresses take up a lot of space, look ugly and potentially smell bad.

- Cellulose insulation pumped into wall cavities may be minimally effective at sound proofing interior walls but is arguably not worth the expense it takes to have it installed.

What Does Work

Sheetrock is a prime material used in sound proofing interior walls, but it must be used in layers, using silicone caulking between them for maximum effect. The silicone itself performs as a sound dampener to retard vibration transfer. It is inexpensive so you can use it liberally.

  • Apply a thick layer of silicone to all stud surfaces before applying the sheetrock. Use screws to attach the sheetrock to the walls as it allows you to create fewer holes than you would need to if using nails.
  • Apply a second layer of sheetrock, using a thick coating of silicone in between. As previously mentioned, mass is important for sound proofing so the thicker the wall, the better it works.

As for space, the space in the wall cavity will have excellent sound proofing qualities because without having something solid to vibrate, the sound will dissipate into the empty space.

Using sheetrock when sound proofing interior walls is efficient and inexpensive and doesn't take up a lot of room. It is a permanent solution that won't need repairing or maintenance and you can decorate it to suit the appearance of the room. Remember windows, skylights, doors and floorboards when sound proofing a room because they will potentially be the downfall in your efforts. Depending on just how sound proof you want or need the room to be, they will be fairly important considerations in your master plan.

See Also:

Home Theater Ceiling Tiles
Repairing Plaster Walls