How Much Does It Cost to Soundproof a Room?
Noise pollution can make life incredibly difficult. If unwanted noises are reducing your quality of life, you may want to consider soundproofing. Whether it’s a noisy neighbor, busy main thoroughfare, or simply obtrusive sounds traveling between rooms, you can soundproof a room to help decrease the amount of sound disturbance.
It costs an average of $1,750 to soundproof a room. Homeowners spend an average of $20 per square foot to soundproof a room and $37 per hour in labor. You can expect to pay $15 per tile to soundproof a room and $40 per sheet of drywall.
We’ll walk you through all the costs involved in soundproofing a room so that you can be well-informed before beginning your next project.
How Does Soundproofing Work?
When air molecules vibrate, they create sound. With little to obstruction in its path, sound can effortlessly travel on to other places as sound waves. Soundproofing involves obstructing the sound wave’s clear path to reduce, or deaden, the sound. It is done in areas to either block sound from exiting a room or prevent noise from entering a room.
Soundproofing is achieved by using particular materials that either absorb or reduce sound. Although sound cannot be completely blocked, significant noise reduction is possible.
Determining What Area Needs Soundproofing
Before measuring a room, you need to determine what areas of your home need to be soundproofed. Although noise is often undesirable, it is an inevitable part of every day life. However, constant noise can elevate stress levels and keep some people on edge. The following are some reasons that people apply soundproofing:
- A corner room with two outside walls walls may need soundproofing to deaden the street noise on a busy corner.
- To enhance and enclose the sound of a home theater.
- Lessen the noise in a room may located near the busy hub of the house, the family room, and kitchen.
- Avoid disturbing other members of the household while playing an instrument.
- General privacy reasons.
The STC Standard
In the United States, a building’s sound insulation is measured in terms of sound transmission class, or STC. The STC rating measures the noise reduction provided by a sound blocker or absorber, such as drywall. The International Building Code (IBC) now requires a minimum of STC 50 for walls, floors, and ceilings in construction. This number is achieved with a combination of materials, such as studs, insulation, and drywall.
However, even at STC 50, loud sounds and low-frequency music can still be heard in muffled form. If the rating is increased to an overall STC 60, the noise levels are further reduced. The good news is that there are methods and materials that can be used to increase the STC number.
Cost of Soundproofing Materials
Overall, soundproofing is an expensive endeavor. There are a variety of inexpensive methods that you can try, however, they aren’t always the most effective. The following are some of the most common materials used in soundproofing and their respective costs:
- Acoustic Foam Panels: These panels are attached to the walls to help absorb sound. The price of this material varies based on the amount and size purchased. They generally come in packs costing between $2 and $3 a panel.
- Acoustic Tiles: Acoustic tiles cover both ceilings and walls and are used to deaden sounds. They usually cost around $10-$20 a tile and measure 20×20 inches.
- Soundproof Drywall: Soundproof drywall is simply acoustically enhanced gypsum. This material costs roughly $40 per sheet, with the standard price of conventional drywall being about $10 a sheet.
- Blown Insulation: Also referred to as “loose fill,” blown insulation consists of low-density cellulose material that helps to decrease the transmission of soundwaves. It costs approximately $1 to $1 per square foot.
- Soundproof Curtains and Wall Hangings: By hanging curtains or decorations, you can substantially cut down on noise transfer. The costs vary based on the actual material purchased but you can expect to pay under $100 for this soundproofing.
- Carpeting: As a flooring material, carpeting can help to absorb sound. Depending on the carpeting material you select, it’ll be around $3 to $10 a square foot.
Keep in mind, these numbers are just the approximate costs of the material and do not factor in the cost of labor for install.
Cost to Soundproof Particular Structures
Wondering how much it costs to soundproof a wall, ceiling, window, or some other specific structure?Although there are a number of variables to consider, the following chart displays the approximate costs to soundproof specific structures in the home.
|Structure||Cost to Soundproof New Construction (Labor Included)||Cost to Soundproof Existing Structure (Labor Included)|
|Walls||$150 to $300||$100 to $350|
|Ceiling||$200 to $400||$100 to $500|
|Windows||$300 to $1,400||$250 to $1,500|
|Floor||$150 to $1,000||$100 to $1,500|
|Doors||$500 to $3,500||$300 to $4,000|
Cost to Soundproof a Wall
If a certain room in your home could benefit from some soundproofing, just soundproofing the walls may make a big difference. There are several different ways to soundproof your walls, costing between $100 and $350 on average. Though, the cost of soundproof a wall depends on the soundproofing method used.
- Rockwool sound insulation: $1 to $2 per square foot.
- Mineral wool batts: $1.50 to $2.50 per square foot.
- Soundproof foam: $1.50 to $5 per square foot.
- Soundproofing paint: $2 to $4 per square foot, or $30 to $40 a gallon, not including labor.
- Mass loaded vinyl: $2.50 to $5 per square foot.
- Acoustic panels: $8 to $12 per square foot.
- Acoustical caulk: $15 to $30 per 28 ounces.
- Decoupling: $15 to $60 for an hour of professional labor.
- Double drywall: $40 to $60 per sheet of drywall.
Cost to Soundproof a Ceiling
Adding soundproofing materials to your ceiling can help prevent the noises in the upstairs or attic from disrupting your downstairs living spaces. There are a couple of different ways to go about doing this, ranging from $200 to $500 on average. Hanging acoustic panels from the ceiling will run you about $1 to $10 per square foot, while acoustic foam costs between $10 $100 per panel.
Adding fiberglass ceiling insulation is another option, which costs $1.50 to $4 per square foot. You can also try installing mass loaded vinyl on your ceiling, ranging in cost from $2.50 to $5 per square foot.
Cost to Soundproof a Window
The cost to soundproof a window also depends on the method chosen. You can choose to go simple and cheap by installing sound dampening curtains for under $100. Or, to maximize soundproofing, purchase brand new soundproof windows. This will cost you between $300 and $1,500 per window. Regardless, the cost to soundproof a window ranges from $250 to $5,000 on average.
Cost to Soundproof Floor
If you want to soundproof your room against impact noise, a rug pad or heavy carpet is quick, simple solution. Though, for new constructions, you can install vinyl barrier, resilient underlayment, and soundproof insulation between the floor joists for best results. The average cost of soundproofing flooring is between $100 and $1,500, but here’s a more comprehensive look at pricing based on the soundproofing method you choose:
- Soundproof floor underlayment: $0.20 to $0.50 per square foot.
- Soundproof carpet pad: $0.20 to $1 per square foot.
- Interlocking floor mats: $1 to $2.50 per square foot.
- Sound absorbing carpet: $1 to $3 per square foot.
- Sound dampening rug: $1 to $4 per square foot.
- Blown sound installation: Installing blown sound installation in between floors will cost between $40 and $200.
- Green Glue: This is a unique sound reduction product that can be used for floors, ceilings, and other home applications. It costs between $15 and $30 per 28 ounces.
Cost to Soundproof a Door
Depending on the soundproofing method you choose, the cost to soundproof a door is between $30 and $4,000. For a quick, easy fix, you can purchase acoustic door thresholds for $30 to $100. Similar to door sweeps, acoustic thresholds help prevent noise from getting through the bottom of the door. Door sweeps, on the other hand, cost between $60 and $120.
To weather strip a door on all sides and make it soundproof will cost you $35 to $90. Acoustic panels can also be bought for a couple hundred bucks to block sound or you can replace the entire door with a soundproof one for $300 to $4,000.
DIY or Hire a Contractor?
The choice to DIY your soundproofing vs. hiring a professional will likely depend on the soundproofing method you use. Small soundproofing projects such as hanging tapestries or applying soundproofing paint can easily be achieved by yourself. However, larger projects such as installing new drywall will necessitate the expertise of a professional contractor.
Unless you already have some DIY building experience, you will likely want to hire drywall professionals to do the work. Soundproofing an entire room requires a lot of detail work and practice to get it right. Putting drywall on a ceiling will require extra help and tools, such as a drywall lift, especially considering each sheet of drywall weighs about 70 lbs. The additional steps involved takes practice, as the challenge is to have no visible seams when finished.
If you elect to try to attempt the project yourself, there is plenty of how-to videos online to walk you through the process. However, if you are at all unsure about your abilities, consider enlisting the help of a professional. Although you’ll have to pay for the cost of labor, the benefits of having properly installed soundproofing far outweigh the added costs.
Soundproofing Labor Costs
In addition to the location and soundproofing material, another important factor to consider in the overall cost of soundproofing is labor. Though, this only applies if you are hiring a professional for the job. For large soundproofing project that involve installing wall panels, replacing windows, or adding additional drywall, you should strongly consider hiring an expert.
You can expect the hourly rate for a general contractor to be between $15 and $60, with a handyman costing roughly $12-$45 per hour. Depending on the scale of the project, the average cost of labor for soundproofing is $190 to $300. A project to soundproof a room that has a material cost of at least $1,600 will most likely cost at least $300 for labor.
It’s important to note, though, that the company’s location, reputation, and the time of year may also impact the labor cost. Most contractors charge by the hour, with some specifying a minimum number of hours they need to complete the project.
Costs of Enhancements and Improvements
In addition to the most common materials used for soundproofing, there are other methods specific to particular rooms or situations that can be implemented. These include:
- New Windows: Windows can be insulated three different ways: adding heavy curtains, adding a soundproof window ($300 to $800) to an existing one, or replacing the window with double pane glass ($350 to $900). Soundproof windows can offer a sound reduction of up to 95%.
- Weatherstripping: If you’re looking to soundproof your home on a budget, you can do so by weatherstripping. Simply install a door sweep under your exterior doors or use a weather-stripping tape around all the sides of your door frames. This will help reduce sound leaks, create a better seal, and prevent critters from entering your home. The average cost to weatherstrip a home is roughly $168.
- Chimney Soundproofing: Your open chimney may be a source of undesirable noise. In this case, your chimney can be soundproofed in three different ways: by adding a flueblocker ($35 to $55), using a chimney balloon ($45 to $55), or by installing a chimney cap ($50 to $2,000). Both a chimney balloon and flueblocker are easy to install and can likely be done as a DIY project. However, if you limited experience working on rooftops, consider having a professional attach your chimney cap.
Soundproofing your home does not have to be challenging or expensive. There are a number of low-cost ways to add soundproofing to various areas of your home, without the need for expert installation.
Do I need a building permit to soundproof a room with extra drywall?
Unless you are making some structural changes in your soundproofing project, a building permit is not usually needed. However, it is a good idea to check local building codes to be sure. If you hire a builder to do the work, the builder will know if one is required.
How do you soundproof an existing wall?
There are a number of methods to soundproof an existing wall, with the most popular and affordable way being to seal gaps and add mass where sound may be leaking through. You can also use specialized equipment to increase the insulation in an existing wall.
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