The Goods

Noisy neighbours? Here's how to reduce the racket so you can get some peace

Permanent and temporary thin wall fixes for your happy place.

Permanent and temporary thin wall fixes for your happy place.

(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

Even if you're lucky enough to have your own space, noisy neighbours or the screams of kids bouncing off the walls can quickly turn a calm night sour. There are many products on the market designed to insulate and soundproof your home, but while great and effective, most of these choices should be made during construction and renos. So designer Steven Sabados pulled together the keys to soundproofing when renovating, and then he dug into less drastic interventions to help with noise in an already renovated home. Here are his top tips, picks and DIYs for keeping your place a little bit quieter.

Soundproofing products for the renovation stage

At its core, soundproofing is a building technique. These options help drastically cut out the noise, and are great additions for when you're building or renovating.  

Soundproof drywall

Soundproof drywall is super heavy and works great when it comes to cutting the noise. It costs about 6 times the price of regular drywall, but if you're willing to splurge, or just want to take care of particularly noisy room, it's a product that makes a big impact. Steven says this type of drywall is great for teen bedrooms or media rooms down in the basement where you want to keep noise to a minimum.

Soundproofing floor and wall insulation

Sound doesn't just go sideways, it also goes up and down. This building material is mandatory during the building of condos so that you don't have to hear your neighbours walking around. It's also great for between walls and is ideal if you're in the midst of building or renovating.

Sound absorption solutions

Since renovating is not always an option, these solutions work wonders on common sound issues in an already renovated house.

Absorbent home accents

If you're dealing with echoes in your home, this is actually a sound absorption issue rather than a sound barrier problem. Acoustic pieces can help because they're made from soft, squishy materials that will absorb echoes. Dense, heavy, airtight materials will also help block the sound. Some easy-to-find fixes are actually decor pieces you may already be shopping for, such as lined curtains, rugs and anything soft.

Acoustic panels

Acoustic treatments really can make a room, allowing people in them to feel calmer as a result. Restaurants have been using this technique to dampen noise for ages by concealing panels on the roof, and it can look so cute in a playroom. These decorative acoustic panels from Acoustics With Design are an innovative product from Wobedo and are made to reduce sound reverberation inside an enclosed space by about 40-50%. You can play with colour and shapes to create an installation that is functional and looks like artwork.

DIY thin wall fixes

If there isn't much money in your budget to purchase sound absorption products, there are a few ways to make your own at a lower cost.

Sound-blocking panels

A second layer of drywall is a great solution, especially in a home with thin walls. But rather than adding another layer onto an entire wall, consider applying panels and disguising them as raised moulding.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Noise-cancelling drywall
  • Wallpaper (enough to cover your panels)
  • Wallpaper paste
  • Noise proof glue (Note: The glue is permanent and can not be removed or repositioned without causing damage.)
  • Primer (optional depending on your wallpaper paste)
  • Moulding to line your panels
  • Paint to match your wall colour

Here's how to do it:

1. Cut the noise-cancelling drywall into the panel sizes that best suit your space.

2. Apply wallpaper to the drywall. You may need to prime before pasting, so be sure to check the instructions on your wallpaper paste.

3. Tack to your wall or apply with noise-proof glue.

4. Trim the drywall with moulding.

5. Paint the trim to match the wall. Done!

Temporary acoustic panels

More layers of the same material is not always more effective. Steven explained that sound is actually confused by layers of dissimilar materials, so changing densities, thicknesses and using larger air spaces can help to produce better soundproofing results. Consider making temporary acoustic panels with insulation foam and fabric for a simple and inexpensive solution.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Polystyrene panels (found at most hardware and renovation stores)
  • Fabric (enough to cover the front and a small portion of the back of the panels)
  • Spray glue
  • Heavy-duty tape
  • Staples and staple gun
  • Z-clip or velcro

Here's how to do it:

1. Cut the polystyrene panels to your desired size.

2. Wrap the front of the panel in fabric and secure any loose fabric at the back with a staple gun. Use a bit of spray glue to help keep things straight and flat.

3. Secure the back with some heavy-duty tape.

4. Hang on the wall using a Z clip or velcro.

Resource guide:

Acoustics With Design

  • Acoustic panels

The Quiet Room 

  • Acoustic panels

Quiet Rock

  • Drywall
  • Quiet Glue

Lowes

Rona

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