So, you live in a house with two roommates. Like most interior walls, those inside your house are not insulated, and sound carries easily. Or, you live in an apartment or condo. It’s nice and quiet, except for when your next-door neighbor serenades her cat. No judgment, but that probably means she can hear you too — probably when you’re working.
You don’t want to call a contractor and start some wild construction project, but how the heck do you soundproof those walls? There are lots of DIY options.
Note: if you are renting, you should choose a reversible option. I know you’re improving the place, but your landlord or property management company might not agree.
Sound leaks through the bottom, top and sides of doors that are not sealed — so plug the gaps You will need two things to do a simple soundproofing of your door: a vinyl top threshold with aluminum casing and some 1/2-inch-wide adhesive weather stripping.
Start with the threshold. Take an accurate measurement of the bottom of your door, then head to your local hardware store and pick up the correct size threshold piece. You should be able to wedge it between your doorjamb and the door — no need to screw it into the floor. Then, on to the weather stripping. Just peel off the back and stick the strip around the doorframe. When you close the door, it should seal the gap between your door and the frame.
Windows and walls
Depending on how you go about this, soundproofing windows and walls can be pretty — or pretty messy. All you really need to do is hang drapes in front of windows and walls. This can be done either by fixing a metal curtain track to the ceiling or with a curtain wire with clips. (Curtain wires are only suitable for lightweight fabrics, which block less noise.) Or, you can just get a cool quilt and tack it to the place where the wall meets the ceiling, which serves the same purpose.
If you really want to be bananas about it, tack some acoustic foam directly to the wall, which will then hide behind the drapes. If acoustic foam is too fancy, get an egg crate mattress pad from a big-box store and make it work.
Live above someone? Put down a rug. Even a smallish rug in the middle of the room will help muffle sound.
If all else fails or just in the interim, get a white-noise machine, or even a fan, to create a bit of ambient distraction.
Soundproofing is a two-way street in terms of helpfulness. If others can’t hear you, you probably can’t hear them either.
Got more soundproofing tips? Email me and tell me!