How to Soundproof a Room
LESLIE: Andrew in Idaho is on the line needing some ways to soundproof a room. Tell us what room. What’s going on?
ANDREW: Hi, Tom. Hi, Leslie.
ANDREW: I’m having some problems. I’ve got four roommates. We’re all friends.
TOM: And you want to stay that way.
ANDREW: Yeah. And I just got a new job. I work at 3:00 a.m. in the morning.
TOM: Oh, man.
ANDREW: A lot of them stay up until 3:00 a.m. in the morning.
ANDREW: And I was just wondering if there was any quick and efficient ways I can soundproof, say, my bedroom to be able to sleep at night.
TOM: Yeah, now, where is your room in relation to the noise? Are you like at the end of the hall or anything like that? Tell us about it.
ANDREW: We’ve got three steps; there’s three different levels.
ANDREW: And I’m in the tallest level. You walk down a flight of stairs; they’re mostly in the living room. And if you take another corner from going down those stairs, you’ll go into their rooms.
TOM: OK. So, sound transmits, as you know, pretty quickly and pretty aggressively. If you want to quiet it in your room and you’re willing to do a little bit of work, you can make it a lot softer by improving the walls.
There are a couple of ways to do this. One way is to use a product called Green Glue, where you essentially put the glue on the walls and then put a second layer of drywall on top of that. And that second layer, with the Green Glue in between, sort of isolates it.
That said, it’s expensive to – because you need 2 tubes of Green Glue for every 4×8 sheet of drywall and we’re talking about these big tubes, not the little caulk tubes. The ones that are humungous. And so you put a lot of Green Glue and a lot of drywall and of course, you’ve got to spackle, you’ve got to paint; you’ve got to do all that. That’s the first way to do it.
The second way to do it is to use a product called QuietRock, which is kind of like a laminated drywall that already has the glue sort of in it and whatever else they do to stop sound transmission. And again, with that you put a second layer on your existing walls.
And the QuietRock is about, what, 35, 40 bucks a sheet, Leslie? Something like that?
LESLIE: Yeah, it – I mean it’s pricey but it does the trick.
LESLIE: Andrew, are you renting?
ANDREW: It’s kind of hard to explain. One of the couples just got married and they bought this house.
ANDREW: And they’re – I’m renting the room, technically.
TOM: How do you feel about improving their house, even though you’re a renter?
ANDREW: They’re fine with it because they’re wanting to do the same thing for their rooms, so …
TOM: OK. Yeah.
ANDREW: For the Green Glue, do we have to worry about texture?
TOM: No, no, no. It’s all between.
LESLIE: Well, that goes in between the two sheets of drywall.
LESLIE: It sort of acts as the sound barrier behind that new sheet of drywall that you’re putting on. If you go with the QuietRock, which is the second option, you don’t need that Green Glue but you are adding a second layer of drywall.
TOM: Right. Now, there’s one other important thing I have to mention, Andrew, and that’s this: technically, to soundproof a room, you really need to get to the electrical boxes and other penetrations of the wall from behind it, from the inside. And of course, that’s impossible to do in a finished house.
So even though you’re going to quiet it, you’re not going to do as good a job as you could because if the wall was wide open, you’d go from the back side and you would be wrapping the electrical boxes that are special, almost like a clay-like kind of a material that you press around the box with the QuietRock, that seals in all of those gaps so that no sound gets through there.
So you can’t do everything but you can do a pretty good job.
ANDREW: OK. Yeah, we were just wanting to do a little bit of changing just so people talking in the living room and stuff, it won’t come into the bedrooms.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Well, unfortunately, it’s not a simple fix; it’s basically taking all of your stuff out of your room and redrywalling the whole thing. You can put heavy drapes up, you can put carpets on the walls – I mean hang wall coverings, things that like – that will soften it from a décor perspective. But realistically …
LESLIE: But it’s not going to do what you really want it to do.
ANDREW: Well, I will definitely look into that Green Glue. I do have some sheetrock experience.
TOM: Alright. Well, then, maybe it’s a good project for you. It’s either that or earplugs, my friend, OK?
ANDREW: Alrighty. Thank you, guys.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.