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How to Soundproof Your Bedroom

Soundproofing a Bedroom

Soundproofing a Bedroom

Soundproofing your bedroom is one of the most low-key impactful improvements you can make to your home. Whether you live near a busy street or have kids running around the house, a soundproof bedroom is a godsend when it comes to getting better sleep.

The bedroom is the place in your house where soundproofing matters the most. Did you know that a 2015 study showed a 5 dB reduction in average noise heard by Americans provided enough reduction in instances of hypertension and coronary heart disease to be worth $3.9B in economic benefits? Or that Apple Watch data shows 1 in 4 Americans experienced an average noise level higher than the 70 dB limit recommended by the WHO? And on a more practical level… how can you possibly enjoy reading a book in bed or watching a late-night movie when you’re constantly interrupted by the sound of noisy neighbors or revving motorcycles?

If you’ve had enough of the racket, taking steps to soundproof your bedroom just might be the best investment you’ve ever made. It’s a relatively simple process that you can mostly do yourself. Unfortunately, the internet is full of bad advice out there when it comes to bedroom soundproofing. That’s why we’re to give you a step-by-step rundown of what will work — and what won’t. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know what you need to do to create your own soundproof sanctuary (I mean, bedroom).

Soundproofing your bedroom is one of the most low-key impactful improvements you can make to your home. Whether you live near a busy street or have kids running around the house, a soundproof bedroom is a godsend when it comes to getting better sleep.

The bedroom is the place in your house where soundproofing matters the most. Did you know that a 2015 study showed a 5 dB reduction in average noise heard by Americans provided enough reduction in instances of hypertension and coronary heart disease to be worth $3.9B in economic benefits? Or that Apple Watch data shows 1 in 4 Americans experienced an average noise level higher than the 70 dB limit recommended by the WHO? And on a more practical level… how can you possibly enjoy reading a book in bed or watching a late-night movie when you’re constantly interrupted by the sound of noisy neighbors or revving motorcycles?

If you’ve had enough of the racket, taking steps to soundproof your bedroom just might be the best investment you’ve ever made. It’s a relatively simple process that you can mostly do yourself. Unfortunately, the internet is full of bad advice out there when it comes to bedroom soundproofing. That’s why we’re to give you a step-by-step rundown of what will work — and what won’t. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know what you need to do to create your own soundproof sanctuary (I mean, bedroom).

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Popular Bedroom Soundproofing Materials


Sound Lock™ Door Soundproofing Kit
RSIC™ Resilient Sound Isolation Clips
Fantastic Frame™ Window Inserts

Types of Noise in a Bedroom

To effectively soundproof a bedroom, you have to understand the type of sound that you’re dealing with and what tools you have to address it. Noise can either be transmitted either through structures (impact noise) or the air (airborne noise).

And then to stop that noise you have to use soundproofing techniques (not acoustics).

Impact vs. Airborne noise

As you might be able to tell from the name, impact noise (also called “structure-borne noise”) occurs when two objects collide, causing vibrations. When a heavy piece of furniture falls over on the hardwood floor in a room above you, it creates an impact noise that you hear through the ceiling. The best way to treat impact noise is by isolate or damp the vibrations, preventing the noise from entering your bedroom.

Airborne noise travels through the air, not a result of objects colliding. The sound of a TV in the next room traveling through the wall is airborne noise. The best way to treat airborne noise is by creating an airtight seal. Think of airborne noise like water — if you create a seal, it can’t “leak” through into your room.  

Soundproofing vs. Acoustics

It’s very common for your average person to confuse soundproofing and acoustics. Let’s start by clearing that up.

The goal of soundproofing is to block sound and prevent it from entering or exiting a space, whereas proper acoustics will simply improve the quality of sound within a room. That’s why you shouldn’t consider hanging acoustic panels or acoustic foam on the walls of your bedroom if you’re sick of hearing your neighbor’s dog barking throughout the night.

Acoustic treatments are designed to prevent reverberations, or the rapid back-and-forth bouncing of sound waves inside a space (that’s what musicians are doing when they hang acoustic panels). And although acoustic materials will improve the sound quality, they won’t do a thing to prevent the noise from traveling outside of the room. If someone is recommending an absorptive product to keep sound out of your bedroom, you should back away slowly (keep your eyes on them).

Soundproofing Bedroom vs Acoustic Treatments
Soundproofing vs Acoustics

How to Soundproof a Bedroom

Before starting your project, take a moment to ask yourself where the annoying sounds are coming from and determine if they are impact noise or airborne noise. If the issue is the sound of footsteps from above, it’s impact noise. If the issue is the sound of a fire truck rushing by, it’s airborne noise. If the issue is a loud HVAC unit on your roof, it’s a combination of impact and airborne noise.

Once you nail down the problems and how severe they are, you’re ready to get started.

Two keys to bedroom soundproofing

Windows

When we think of soundproofing from outside noise, we tend to think of walls first, completely ignoring the giant holes we cut into all of our walls — the windows! That’s right… when it comes to soundproofing, you have to treat windows for what they are: holes through which sound comes and goes.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “We’re only as strong as the weakest link.” This is especially true when it comes to soundproofing a bedroom. Even if you have two-foot thick concrete walls, you’re still going to hear the neighbor’s dog if your windows are cracked open.

When it comes to windows, the cheapest and easiest fix is to seal up and cracks with acoustic caulk. This acoustic caulk can to completely seal around the frame of the window, closing all gaps and breaks. You can even seal inside the window itself if you don’t care about opening the window again.

Best solution: Install window inserts. Turn any window into a soundproof window with our Fantastic Frame soundproof window inserts. These inserts magnetically seal against an easy-to-install metal trim piece to reduce sound through windows by up to 80%. They will cut at least 10 decibels and seamlessly blend in to just about any window frame.

Good solution: Cover windows with dense, noise blocking material that is completely sealed at the edges. You have quite a few ways to do this. The ones below will all block noise but they block sunlight at the same time. They also are less effective than the window inserts and offer varying levels of aesthetics.

    • Soundproof blankets. Covering your window with a Quiet Quilt 2-Sided Barrier is a high performing option. The barrier blanket combines mass loaded vinyl with an absorptive facing and includes Velcro that will actually seal the window.
    • Soundproof curtains. Although soundproof curtains don't create the seal achieved by window inserts, if you get a very dense/heavy option you can expect a modest reduction (up to 5 dB).
    • Mass loaded vinyl. If you just want to seal up the rough opening for the cheapest possible price, MLV is the way to go.
Peaceful Soundproof Bedroom

Doors

Doors, like windows, are giant holes in the wall. A door is a weak spots that you need to pay attention to in order to create a proper, soundproof seal for your bedroom. You really only have one effective approach unless you want to invest in a professional soundproof door.

Upgrade to a solid core door. If your bedroom currently has hollow-core doors, your door is not blocking very much noise. A solid core door has the density needed and is an instant soundproofing upgrade.

Add a door seal kit. Our Sound Lock door seal kits will turn any solid-core door into a soundproof door. The adjustable jamb seals allow you to account for irregular door shapes and floor unevenness, ensuring your door is completely sealed up and will not leak sound.

Some people try and use weatherstripping to soundproof a door. This approach can have a small impact (less than 3 dB), but if you’ve done it… you know it isn’t all that effective. Weatherstripping is intended for thermal transfer, not sound transfer.

Soundproof Bedroom Walls, Floors, and Ceilings

Once you’ve taken care of the doors and windows, most sound issues are going to be solved. If you still need additional soundproofing, it’s time to move on to the remaining surfaces. In order to truly soundproof a room, you need to treat all six sides of the cube (four walls, one ceiling, one floor).

Let’s start with walls:

Best solution: Install new ⅝” drywall with RSIC clips and 25-gauge hat channel. Sound isolation clips are a tried and true method for achieving top end soundproofing results (STC 55+). This solution does require construction, as you’ll need to replace your bedroom drywall. We go into more detail in our wall soundproofing guide.

Good solution: Install a second layer of ⅝” drywall with Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound between the two layers. Green Glue is a decoupling agent, that will get your wall’s STC rating into the low 50s. The benefit of going this route is you won’t have to remove any existing drywall.

Apartment solution: 100% cover the wall with BlocknZorbe sound panels. BlocknZorbe is one of the only truly “soundproof” panels because it both blocks and absorbs sound. If you live in an apartment and are very limited in the construction you can do, this is your best option to increase wall density besides something that will look terrible. Just screw the panels into your existing wall, and then take them with you when you move.

For any of these solutions, you should seal up around the perimeter and any penetrations in the drywall with acoustical sealant.

peaceful sound proof bedroom

Next, let’s quickly hit on soundproofing your ceiling:

Best solution for impact and airborne sound: Add RSIC clips. RSIC clips are the only real solution for impact noise coming through a ceiling that doesn’t involve treating the floor upstairs. RSIC clips attach to the joists. Use 25 gauge hat channel and 5/8” drywall.

Good solution for airborne noise only: Use Green Glue. Green glue is effective against airborne noise, but won’t stop impact noise (footsteps) the way RSIC clips do.

Finally, soundproofing your floor:

Install a rubber floor underlayment. This is really the only measure you’ll need to take to soundproof your floor. UnderBlock rubber underlayment will completely knock out both impact and airborne sound through any floor-ceiling assembly.

Avoid BAD Bedroom Soundproofing Advice

We’ll start by saying that it’s easy to buy soundproofing materials that won’t solve your problem. Most people don’t have any experience solving sound issues, and it doesn’t help that much of the readily available advice is terrible. If you’re poking around the internet and run across any websites recommending the solutions below, we’d recommend at least double checking any other advice they are giving you.

Here’s a couple quick-hitters of what we’ll elegantly call “bad bedroom soundproofing advice”:

Bad Advice #1: Use acoustic materials like acoustic foam, ceiling clouds, or wall art

By this point in the article, you know what I’m going to say. Acoustic materials don’t block sound. If you hang acoustic foam all over your bedroom, you’re still going to hear that train going by. Unless you like the look of foam, don’t hang it up. It won’t help.

Bad Advice #2: Install soundproof wallpaper

This one is pretty silly now that you understand the key to blocking noise is density. There is wallpaper out there that can help with acoustics, but we have yet to see any with the density to effectively block sound. (If you find one, send it to us!) So yeah… although you can find articles talking about soundproof wallpaper, at best they will improve acoustics.

Bad Advice #3: Rearrange the furniture in your room

How in the heck did this get started? No… this will not work. The key to soundproofing is sealing up the space and then either adding density (airborne sound) or isolating the structure (impact sound). Think of your bedroom like an above-ground swimming pool with a leak in the side. Changing the placement of inflatable rafts, volleyballs, and pool noodles within the pool isn’t going to prevent water from leaking. That’s not a perfect metaphor, but we love the “sound is water” comparison because everyone gets how swimming pools work. To soundproof a bedroom (or leak-proof the pool), you need to seal it up.

Want a Soundproof Bedroom? We Got You.

If you have unwanted noise disturbing your sleep and keeping you up at night, soundproofing your bedroom may be the best money you ever spent. Just like with many soundproofing project, you don’t have to do everything all at once. It can be done in phases, where you check after an improvement is made and see if you’re to a point where you’re happy. If you need help figuring out what that right point is, or just want to discuss your project, give us a call and we can help you get to the best solution for you.

Have questions about your project?

Call us at 1.800.679.8511