How To Reduce Sound/Noise In A Duplex

Nick Durante
by Nick Durante
Credit: Shutterstock / fizkes

Constant noise and movement can stop you from getting comfortable in your duplex. This is especially annoying if you’re a renter and can’t renovate your duplex to fortify the walls. Many people struggle with how to reduce noise in a duplex.

Install acoustic panels and hang soundproof blankets on the walls to absorb sound in your duplex. You can also use weatherstripping under your doors and put inserts over your windows to block outside noise. Another cheap option is to push your furniture against the walls to absorb noise and put heavy rugs on the floors.

Unfortunately, there is no way to 100% soundproof your duplex. That said, we have found many simple ways to reduce the noise in a duplex that doesn’t cost a fortune. Follow along as we explore some simple ways to avoid excessive noise in a duplex.

How Can I Reduce Noise Between Shared Walls?

Whether it be heavy rugs or window inserts, there are several ways to reduce sound in a duplex. Let’s look at the easiest and cheapest ways to reduce noise so you can get comfortable at home.

1. Install Acoustic Panels

Acoustic panels are just as useful in a duplex as they are in a musical recording studio. They are often made of foam and cellulose stretched over a wood frame. Usually sold in bundles, you can find packs of 15-20 acoustic panels for under $30.

However, professional-grade acoustic panels that recording studios use typically run at twice the price. You can easily attach acoustic panels to a wall with any adhesive spray that is rated for walls.

2. Hang A Soundproof Blanket

Soundproof blankets are similar to acoustic panels in that they are easy to hang and quite effective. They are typically made of cellulose, but many of them also contain cotton. Soundproof blankets are quite thick, and that’s how they absorb noise.

You can find soundproof blankets at TV stations and recording studios, but they are just as effective at home. Basic soundproof blankets cost $45. Large soundproof blankets meant to cover all the walls in a room typically cost over $400, but they may be overkill for a duplex.

3. Install Weatherstripping

It can be quite annoying when sound from the street spills over into your duplex. This typically happens because there is a gap under your door. Luckily, this is an easy problem to fix, and it doesn't cost much.

Weatherstripping can block outside sounds, lower your electric bill, and keep bugs out of your duplex. You won’t need to crank the AC or furnace as high if you install weatherstripping. That’s because the air won’t leak from your duplex, and this will save you money.

Weatherstripping strips cost as little as $4, but you can also make them at home. For example, you can cut strips of an old towel and secure them to the bottom of your door. The noise-blocking effect of weatherstripping is just a bonus compared to the money you’ll save from lower energy bills.

4. Push Furniture Against The Walls

Do the walls in your duplex rattle when your neighbor walks around? If so, then the solution might be right there in your duplex. Simply push some of your furniture up against the walls to absorb the sound and stop the walls from rattling.

It’s especially useful if you have heavy pieces of furniture, such as a dresser or bookcase. Shelves and cabinets can also help reduce the sound, that is unless you place items on them that rattle easily.

5. Use Heavy Rugs

You’d be surprised how effective heavy rugs are at blocking noise. Place some heavy rugs on the floors in your duplex to absorb some of the sound. This won’t necessarily block sounds from outside your doors and windows.

That said, the rugs will help absorb sound that travels through the walls and floors from the other side of the duplex. This is also a cheap option, especially if you can find the rugs at a thrift store.

6. Run A White Noise Machine

Sometimes, you can’t simply do enough to reduce the noise in your duplex. That is especially true if you’re a renter and aren’t allowed to modify the doors, windows, and walls. White noise machines don’t reduce noise, but they simply block out other sounds.

They are especially useful if your duplex is loud at night. You can find white noise machines for as little as $20. High-end models cost closer to $100 and they come with more options. Whole-house white noise machines cost over $700, but that’s probably unnecessary if your duplex is small.

7. Install Window Inserts

Window inserts are underrated and many people have never heard of them. You can put them over your windows to block outside noise that interrupts your peace at home. They are easy to install and remove if you choose to move.

You can find window inserts made of glass, aluminum, and polyvinyl film. Costs vary based on the material you choose, but they typically cost between $15 and $50.

8. Contact Your Landlord

Do you rent your duplex? If so, your landlord may be able to help reduce the noise. In this case, you won’t have to spend a dime as your landlord is likely responsible for fulfilling maintenance requests.

Pay close attention to where you think the most noise is coming from. In many cases, the noise is due to cracks, weakened caulk, and door and window gaps. Let them know about this, so they can repair whatever is needed to reduce the sound in your duplex.

9. Talk to Your Neighbor

If your neighbor is overly loud, you may simply need to speak to them. It’s common courtesy to be as quiet as reasonably possible when you share walls with a neighbor. Some people simply don’t know how loud they are until you let them know.

For example, they may be unaware that their footsteps are heavy or that they play music too loud. That doesn’t mean that they’re trying to annoy you, but they must learn so they can fix the problem. This is easier if you already know your neighbor, but it’s a necessary conversation if the loud sounds continue.

Write them a note about the noise if you are uncomfortable speaking with them. Be careful with the words you use so your neighbor doesn’t feel attacked. This should solve a lot of the noise problems in your duplex.

Summing It Up

It’s hard to soundproof your duplex without doing some construction, but you can reduce the noise. Weatherstripping and window inserts can help reduce noise in your duplex that comes from outside. Push furniture against the walls and place heavy rugs on the floor to help absorb noise and vibration. Otherwise, you may simply want to talk to your neighbor and politely tell them that they’re being too loud.

Related Guides:

Nick Durante
Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

More by Nick Durante