Soundproofing On a Budget

Posted on Posted in General Article

Soundproofing your home does not have to cost a fortune. If you are under new construction we all know that money it tight. There are many common hardware store items that can be used for soundproofing that won’t break the bank. Most people don’t think of sand as a soundproofing material, but it actually a very good for soundproofing. If your walls are re-enforced, you can use sand in the stud cavities as a soundproofing material. You must be sure that your walls can withstand the weight of the sand. Always use refined or purified sand, not common beach sand that could cause mold or have other bacterial in it that will cause you problems down the line.

Let’s say you are in the middle of new construction on your new home and you know that one of the rooms is going to be your new home theater. You want that room soundproofed but you budget is already stretched to its limits. Did you know that you can use common rolled roofing material from Home Depot or Lowe’s? Rolled roofing is what is generally used on buildings like chicken coops and other roofs where aesthetics is not an issue but stopping leaks is. Rolled roofing generally comes in 30′ long rolls and is 3′ wide. I hear the little wheels in your brain spinning at a hundred miles and hour. What am I going to do with all this rolled roofing material? Well, I’m glad you asked. One of the best soundproofing agents on the market today is mass loaded vinyl, (MLV for short) Mass loaded vinyl is a high grade vinyl material that is impregnated with barium salts and silica to give it the same soundproofing properties as lead sheeting without the hazards associated with lead.

Now MLV can cost from $1.25 to $2.00 per sq ft and when you are building your new dream home that just might be beyond your budget. So now enters the rolled roofing material. I am suggesting that you stretch the rolled roofing material across the studs or the joists if you are soundproofing your ceiling. You will staple or nail the rolled roofing directly to the stud structure like a membrane across the face of the studs. The next section of rolled roofing should overlap the first piece by at least 1″. It is essential to caulk the over lap with an acoustical caulk (hey you have to buy something from the soundproofing guy for giving you all this free advice, right?). The acoustical caulk can be purchased from any reputable soundproofing company like Acoustical Solutions, Sound Isolation Company, or Soundproofing America. Any of these companies will carry a good quality acoustical caulk and can ship it to you. Now back to our soundproofed walls. Once you have the rolled roofing in place and you have caulked the 1″ over lap, you will also need to caulk around the entire perimeter of the newly installed rolled roofing membrane. There is a little saying we have in the soundproofing industry, “Caulk is cheap”. I think you get the pun. The point is, use as much caulk as you need to seal every seam gap or crack in your soundproof membrane. You want this roofing material to be as sealed and air tight as possible. Now seeing as the rolled roofing does not have the same soundproofing horsepower as MLV, I would strongly suggest a second layer of the rolled roofing be applied to each wall and to the ceiling area that you that you are soundproofing. Stagger the seams wherever possible This is a small investment to have a soundproof room for your home theater or simply a quiet place to study.

Once you have your 2 layers of rolled roofing installed on your walls and ceiling and everything is caulked liberally, it is time for the finished layer of drywall. I would suggest installing a layer of 5/8″ fire code drywall to finish off your soundproofing project. Don’t forget to tape mud and paint the finished drywall.

Now finally I would like to say a little bit about the acoustical caulk. Acoustical caulk is a cheap commodity when compared to the cost of other soundproofing agents, but it is one of the most essential parts of any soundproofing endeavor. Buy a good acoustical caulk and not some cheap silicone caulk. We are already being frugal with the soundproofing material; lets not skimp on the caulk. A good acoustical caulk is OSI-175 SC caulk or Tremco Smoke and Sound caulk. Both of these caulking compounds possess superb acoustical properties. If you have questions about acoustical caulk call one of the online soundproofing companies, they will be glad to help you.

Once the drywall is up and the rolled roofing is completely covered, you will discover that you have a well-soundproofed room and you did it a half the cost of using the professional soundproofing agents. That being said, today’s modern soundproofing products are extremely effective and I feel very reasonably priced compared to other specialized building materials. In this article I just wanted to show that there are other ways to soundproof a wall or ceiling with out using the more costly professional soundproofing agents. I hope this narrative has been informative; it was a pleasure writing it, as there is so little information out on the net about soundproofing. Once again, this is Dr. Bob…Out!