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Bathroom Soundproofing

How to Soundproof a Bathroom

How to Soundproof a Bathroom

A bathroom should be a peaceful and quiet place where can handle your business in a relaxed manner. And while soundproofing a bathroom sounds like you are worried people may get to hear you sing, in practicality the problem is typically much more mundane: noisy pipes. Pipes and running water can create all sorts of annoying sounds that can be fixed with a little soundproofing.

 

And if you are concerned about the others hearing when nature calls… well, we can help you with that too. Here at Second Skin, we love to make the sounds you don’t want to hear go away. You could even say it’s what we know best. This guide will walk you through how to knock out all the most common noises in a bathroom, and as always – we’re here by phone to help as well.

A bathroom should be a peaceful and quiet place where can handle your business in a relaxed manner. And while soundproofing a bathroom sounds like you are worried people may get to hear you sing, in practicality the problem is typically much more mundane: noisy pipes. Pipes and running water can create all sorts of annoying sounds that can be fixed with a little soundproofing.

 

And if you are concerned about the others hearing when nature calls… well, we can help you with that too. Here at Second Skin, we love to make the sounds you don’t want to hear go away. You could even say it’s what we know best. This guide will walk you through how to knock out all the most common noises in a bathroom, and as always – we’re here by phone to help as well.

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Popular Products for Soundproofing a Bathroom


Acoustical Sealant Caulk
Sound Lock™ Door Seal Kits
Luxury Liner Pro™ Sheet - MLV + Foam

Best Methods to Soundproof a Bathroom

The best way to soundproof your bathroom is to target the source of the sound, which in most cases is the pipes. It typically takes the least amount of material to treat the pipes directly, but if you aren’t able to access the pipes, your backup option is to soundproof the walls. To keep sound from getting out or into the bathroom, you’ll need to soundproof any doors for interior noise and windows for exterior noise. Depending on the type of noise, you could need to soundproof the walls too.

To soundproof a bathroom, you need the right knowledge and the right materials. Fortunately, we have all you need to get both.

Most Common Issue: Soundproofing bathroom pipes

The most common issue with bathrooms is the pipes and plumbing system. The sound of water moving through pipes can be quite loud when you turn on the shower when water rushes through your pipes. Newer homes tend to have bigger problems here because they’re built with PVC pipes. PVC is great for plumbing, because it’s lightweight, durable, and cost-effective. PVC is not good for soundproofing, because it’s not very dense, allowing sound to penetrate it easily.

Soundproofing the pipes is pretty easy to do if the pipe is exposed. The key is to wrap the pipe with a dense material that will block the noise, preventing it from reaching you. You’re basically creating an extra barrier around the pipe. This is slightly different that typical pipe lagging, which is primarily for heat insulation. Your barrier must be heavy enough to block noise.

When soundproofing pipes, we want to use materials that insulate AND block noise. The effectiveness of pipe lagging for doing BOTH depends on:

  • Insulating material to prevent thermal transfer and decouple the pipe from your barrier. Our preferred method uses foam.
  • Barrier material that’s dense enough to block noise. We use MLV.

Luxury Liner Pro combines a decoupling foam with dense MLV for the best possible pipe soundproofing. When wrapped with 100% coverage, this product creates a double-wall around the pipe’s surface, with the foam acting as an air gap between the pipe and the MLV.

Steps to Soundproof a Pipe

  • Cut the Luxury Liner Pro sheet so that you can wrap it around the pipe completely. Leave several inches of overlap.
  • The foam side should face the pipe’s surface. The mass-loaded vinyl side should face the outside.
  • After wrapping the pipe, secure the material in place with cable ties.
  • Either overlap the seams or wrap each seam with tape.

The other material we often use as pipe wrap is OverKill Pro. This foam does not include the MLV, so it will not block noise nearly as well. What it will do is isolate the pipe if it’s rattling and bumping into other structures. It’s an excellent decoupler, which combined with its thermal resistance and durability makes it a good option if your pipe is smacking into a hard surface while it moves to create noise.

soundproof bathroom

How to Soundproof a Bathroom Wall, Ceiling and Floor

Sometimes, reaching the pipes can require work you’re not willing to do, like when it’s already tucked behind a wall so you’d need to tear down the existing wall to reach them.

The good news is that you don’t have to tear down the wall. Instead, you can soundproof the wall, preventing the noise from the pipes from reaching you.

The best approach to soundproofing existing walls requires acoustical sealant, Green Glue, and new drywall:

        1. Seal up the wall with acoustical sealant: The first step is seal up any gaps, cracks, or seams in the wall. These are mostly around the perimeter and any penetrations in the wall (windows, air ducts, outlets, light switches). All those gaps have to be sealed up with acoustic sealant, just like you’d seal a swimming pool that you didn’t want any water to get out of.
        2. Add mass to your wall: Apply Green Glue to the back of a new layer of 5/8” thick drywall and then screw it into the existing wall. Seal up again with acoustical sealant. Adding Green Glue + 5/8” Drywall is the best soundproofing you can add to an existing wall without tearing it down first.

Green Glue and drywall works great for the walls and ceiling, but what about the floor? Most bathrooms have tile floors, which is not good for impact noise (footsteps). If you have an impact noise problem, you need to install UnderBlock rubber underlayment. Rubber is the best product for soundproofing any sort of hard floor with footsteps.

Soundproof Door and Window Treatments

Did you know sound acts a lot like water? It finds the weakest point and then flows through the opening. An air gap is the easiest place for sound to pass through, and is a problem that must be fixed for soundproofing. And In your bathroom, your door is undoubtedly the biggest gap that allows sound in or out.

When talking about doors, walls, and windows we often talk in terms of STC rating, which is a single number that indicates how well a barrier blocks noise. The higher the STC rating, the more noise a barrier blocks. A door almost always has a much lower STC rating than the walls around it. It’s the weak point!

When soundproofing a door, the first step is always to ensure you have the right door. The heavier and denser the door, the more noise it can block. A hollow core door is lightweight and much less effective at stopping sound. If you want your door to block sound, you need a heavy, solid core door.

A solid core door then can be sealed up around the perimeter and at the bottom with one of our Sound Lock Door Seal Kits. By sealing the gaps around the door to a solid core door, you can increase its STC rating by up to 20 points.

Are Weatherstripping or Door Sweeps Effective for Sealing a Bathroom Door

Good information is hard to come by. When there’s confusion, it’s often because the answer is complicated.

First ,on weatherstripping… yes, it will help seal the sides and tops of the door. It’s less effective than the jamb seals we use in our Sound Lock Door Seal kits, but we do use it in some situations in combination with our Sound Lock bottom seal. Use a proper gasket seal tape (like ours) and if you can, install two layers side by side.

Second, on door sweeps… these will block a very small amount of sound, but you shouldn’t expect much (1-3 db). Unfortunately, they don’t actually seal the bottom of the door well enough to effectively block sound. We would never recommend them to someone who needs soundproofing help.

Exterior Noise Gets Into a Bathroom Through Windows

Windows are another common pathway for sound to enter a home from the bathroom. The best solution to soundproof a bathroom window is with our Fantastic Frame Soundproof Window Inserts. They will reduce noise through any window by up to 80%. Reach out to us if you have problems with outside noise that you’d like to keep out of your home.

The Truth About Acoustic Panels for Soundproofing a Bathroom

Unfortunately, there’s more bogus information to correct. Before you ask, nope – acoustic panels or foam will not help you soundproof your bathroom. All acoustic and/or sound absorption products are designed to absorb sound that’s already inside a space. They improve sound quality by reducing reverb or echo. They do not keep sound out of a space. Save yourself the time and money, and don’t buy acoustical materials for soundproofing.

Now, let’s imagine you have a bathroom with an echo problem. That can happen if the room is large and most of the surfaces are tile or glass. In that case, the acoustic panels actually will help because you have a reverb problem. If you think this example applies to you, go ahead and get the panels. Otherwise… avoid!

Where to Start When Soundproofing a Bathroom

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions about your soundproofing project. We help all sorts of homes and businesses with their noise issues. Come to us if you need advice, or if you already know what you need and just want offer the best soundproofing products.

Have questions about your project?

Call us at 1.800.679.8511