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How to Soundproof Noisy Pipes

How to Soundproof Noisy Pipes

How to Soundproof Noisy Pipes

If you’re fed up with noisy drain pipes, you’re not alone. With the growing use of PVC pipes in home plumbing, pipe noise is a much larger problem today than it was several decades ago. The good news is that sound proofing for water pipes exists, and it’s relatively easy to install! The trick is to gather the right materials to actually block noise. You won’t be using sound absorbing material for a pipe soundproofing project, because soundproofing your pipes isn’t about acoustics. It’s about creating a barrier around the pipes so the sound can’t get to you.

We’ll help you understand the basics of pipe lagging and tell you everything you need to know to say goodbye to those noisy pipes.

If you’re fed up with noisy drain pipes, you’re not alone. With the growing use of PVC pipes in home plumbing, pipe noise is a much larger problem today than it was several decades ago. The good news is that sound proofing for water pipes exists, and it’s relatively easy to install! The trick is to gather the right materials to actually block noise. You won’t be using sound absorbing material for a pipe soundproofing project, because soundproofing your pipes isn’t about acoustics. It’s about creating a barrier around the pipes so the sound can’t get to you.

We’ll help you understand the basics of pipe lagging and tell you everything you need to know to say goodbye to those noisy pipes.

Free USA shipping
Free USA shipping

Popular Products for Soundproofing Pipes


Luxury Liner Pro™ MLV and Closed Cell Foam
Overkill Pro™ Closed Cell Foam

What's Causing the Water and Drain Pipe Noise?

Before we get further into pipe soundproofing, there’s one point we need to make abundantly clear — serious plumbing issues cannot and should not be solved with soundproofing. If your pipes are making a lot of noise, make sure it’s not a plumbing issue first. If you’re unsure, consult a plumber. Some problems don’t need soundproofing materials to fix.

  • High water pressure
  • Blockages
  • Loose hardware (nuts, bolts, fasteners)
  • Drainage issues

Alright, with that quick public service announcement out of the way… what are the most common causes of pipe noise that can be solved by soundproofing? The most common ones relate to how the structure is built and may be more about common-sense than you initially thought:

PVC PipeS ARE NOISY PIPES

When homeowners (or business owners) can hear their pipes, more times than not, those pipes are made of PVC. PVC is not in itself a low-quality material — the opposite in fact. It’s lightweight, durable, and won’t rust over time. PVC pipes are effective, but because of how lightweight they are, they’re terrible at blocking noise. To block noise, a material needs density and weight.

LOCATION...LOCATION...LOCATION...

If your pipes are installed directly next to a main living area, you’ll hear them. This may sound like a no-brainer, but noisy drain pipes should not be installed near where you plan to watch TV.

Pipe Sound Insulation Through Decoupling

If you’ve read anything else from Second Skin Audio, you know how much we emphasize “decoupling.” This means to isolate materials so as to prevent them from clanging into each other or rattling. If you can track the source of the noise to a pipe that’s rubbing up against a wood or metal surface, you need to decouple the two surfaces. Keep reading for more details.

What’s the main takeaway here? Just because your home’s plumbing is up to code, doesn’t mean it’s soundproof. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with having PVC pipes in your home, but they should be installed with sound issues as a consideration. To attack noise issues, you need to follow some soundproofing best practices.

Pipe Soundproofing Best Practices

Although not every home or commercial building is the same, there are some general guidelines you should stick to if you’d like to soundproof your pipes.

Run Your Pipes WHere They Won't Be Noticed

This might seem obvious, but do your best (in new constructions) to run the pipes in low-traffic areas. You don’t want your family meals or Zoom calls interrupted by the sound of whooshing pipes. If a pipe must go past an area where sounds are likely to be noticed, consider upgrading that one section of pipe to cast iron for better soundproofing. Or you invest in a soundproof home office. Up to you!

Minimize turns, valves, and fittings

These components create turbulence in your pipes, which creates noise. Think of your pipes like a racetrack — every turn in the track forces the water into the walls (loud crash), whereas the straightaways are turbulence-free.

isolate pipes from the building's structure

Essentially, you want to decouple the pipe from all building materials. There are many ways to do this. You can install neoprene gaskets, use “hubless” pipes (straight ends) joined by neoprene sleeves, or simply cut away excess material where the pipe is making contact. Wrapping pipes in foam sleeves is another excellent option, which we often use for RV soundproofing. Overkill Pro closed cell foam’s combination of durability, sponginess, R-value, and water resistance makes it a good foam pipe wrap and pipe isolator. The only thing to check is how hot the pipe gets. If you have a high temperature water pipe, you need to install materials with heat rating in mind.

noisy pipes in a home
noisy pipes in a home

use wider pipes for heavy water flow

A surefire way to create turbulence in your pipes is to use a narrow pipe for a job that’s going to result in heavy water flow. Instead, use a bigger pipe with a larger diameter to create less vibrational noise.

soundproof the walls

Although it’s generally best to treat the source of the noise, your best option may be to just soundproof your walls and ceilings. Around the pipe should be packed with fibrous, sound absorbing material and then sealed airtight with caulk. The wall density may also need to be increased to make it a better noise barrier. For more details, check out our guides on how to soundproof a wall and ceiling soundproofing in your home.

Alright, the fundamentals are officially down pat. But if you have a noisy pipe in your home already and decoupling won’t fix the problem, it’s time to put a noisy drain pipe soundproofing plan into action.

How to Soundproof a Pipe with Pipe Lagging

The goal with pipe lagging is to create a heavy, airtight, sound-isolating wall around your pipe. You generally should stay away from lightweight pipe lagging (< 1lb / sq ft), because it’s not very effective for noise transmission below 500 Hz. The overall effectiveness of pipe lagging depends on two things: the surface weight of the outside wrapping and the thickness of the decoupling material between the pipe and that outside wrapping.

That’s why Luxury Liner Pro is an excellent option for pipe lagging. Its combination of MLV and closed cell foam creates a “double wall” effect around the surface of a pipe. At 1.25 lbs/sq ft, it’s heavy enough to block pipe sound even at lower frequencies. And then the foam is fused to the MLV barrier to simplify the install, while still delivering awesome results.

step-by-step: Pipe soundproofing

  1. Cut your sheet of Luxury Liner Pro so that it can completely wrap around the pipe with a few inches of overlap.

  2. Attach strong double-sided tape to the foam side so that the mass loaded vinyl side faces out, away from the pipe.

  3. Wrap the pipe, applying pressure along the surface to ensure the tape sticks securely.

  4. Fasten nylon cable ties to the pipe over the Luxury Liner Pro every couple of feet for extra support.

  5. Wrap all seams with tape. If the pipe is short, feel free to wrap the whole thing with tape.
pipe wrap with Luxury Liner Pro

That’s actually it. The process of installing pipe soundproofing is easy enough for most any do-it-yourselfer assuming there isn’t a wall in the way. If you’re savvy enough to consider proper pipe soundproofing before the walls go up, you’ll be happy you did. If you have questions or are unsure about the specifics of your project, give us a call or send us some more information. We’re here to help you solve your soundproofing needs.

Have questions about your project?

Call us at 1.866.570.5440