How to Soundproof a Room

Noise pollution can be very annoying and distracting. You really cannot manage to concentrate on anything or even enjoy a good sleep where there is too much noise around you. Fortunately, something can be done to soundproof your home.

About soundproofing

In almost every way, the modern drywall-over-studs wall is better than its timber-and-masonry and plaster-and- lath ancestors. It’s fast and easy to build, lightweight and makes the most of inexpensive materials. But when it comes to stopping sound, the modern wall is a flop.

This article will show you how to make these walls (and ceilings) block sound better. The process involves ripping the existing drywall off the walls (and perhaps the ceiling), filling the walls with fiberglass insulation, attaching metal strips called “resilient channel” to the studs, and fastening new drywall to the channel.

This straightforward project doesn’t require specialized tools or high-level construction skills. Anyone who has experience hanging and taping drywall, along with a little carpentry and electrical know-how, can do this job.

Soundproofing is a messy, labor-intensive project, however. To minimize household havoc, it’s best to focus on one room, or at least one room at a time. The room might be a place that you want to keep sound out of—a home office, for example. Or it may be a room you want to keep sound in—like a home theater.

We won’t show you how to block noise coming from outside since most exterior walls already block sound fairly well. And any improvement you make to them will be of marginal benefit unless you also upgrade your windows.

Sound-Reducing Materials

Resilient channel acts as a spring between the drywall and studs. When sound waves strike a wall built with resilient channel, the drywall can vibrate independently without transferring the vibration to the studs. The metal channel is available at some home centers and all drywall suppliers.

  • Fiberglass insulation batts are available at home centers. Although “acoustic batts” are available, plain old unfaced R-11 thermal insulation works just as well. Don’t spend more for R-13 batts; a higher R-value may actually cut the STC rating slightly.
  • Type X 5/8-in. drywall is available at lumberyards and home centers. Type X drywall is meant for fire-resistance, but since it’s denser than standard drywall, it also stops sound better, especially when used with resilient channel.
  • Acoustical sealant is available at drywall suppliers, but silicone caulk found at home centers is also a good choice. With either type, you’ll need lots of it and will probably save a few bucks by buying a big caulking gun that uses the more economical 30-oz. tubes.
  • For attaching the channel to studs, use 1-1/4 in. screws. For attaching drywall to channel, use 1-in. screws. Fine-threaded screws grab on to resilient channel better than the coarse-threaded versions.
  • Door gaskets, door sweeps and transition strips are available at home centers.


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