If you have thin walls in your house or apartment, it may cause problems. Quite often, people who live in apartments with thin walls complain that they can hear everything that’s going on in their neighbors’ apartments the same well as if it was in their own flat! And even if you own a house, thin walls will make all the sounds quickly access you in any room.
In this article, you can find information that will explain how to fix thin walls in houses and apartments. In particular, you will learn about thin wall soundproofing and other helpful ideas that will help you make your home cozy and noise-free.
How to Deal With Thin Walls In Your Apartment Or House
Having thin walls in the house can be a big problem and a very annoying one. Imagine you can hear everything that’s going on on the other side of the wall in your neighbor’s apartment! Noises and sounds like voices, music, sounds of cleaning, and laundry can make your daily life quite stressful.
If you live in a private house that you own, it may seem that if its walls are thin, you won’t have much trouble with that. However, it’s not quite true. The sounds of cars passing by, the sounds of people walking and talking outside in the street, as well as other street noises can be even more disturbing than your neighbors arguing in the next-door apartment!
What to do about thin walls, you may be wondering? Well, soundproofing seems to be the only reasonable solution in this case. Below, we will explain how to soundproof thin apartment walls.
But first, you need to get ready for soundproofing thin walls. It means you will need proper soundproofing materials. They can help control the acoustics in your living space and absorb any noise coming in through your thin walls either from outside/from the street or from the next-door/downstairs/upstairs apartment. Here is a list of popular soundproofing materials you will most likely need:
- Soundproof blankets
- Soundproofing curtains
- Rubber materials or mass-loaded vinyl
- Acoustic foam panels
- Soundproof insulation
With these materials, you can use one of the following soundproofing techniques to bring down the level of noise in your apartment. And the best thing about each of these methods is that it doesn’t require construction!
Use Soundproof Blankets to Block the Noise
To soundproof weak points in the thin walls, soundproof blankets can be the easiest solution. These blankets are exactly what they are called. They are sheets of soundproofing material that can help you block noises everywhere along the wall, which is very effective since sound/noise does not transfer equally through the entire length of a wall.
There are often points along the wall’s length that still let sounds and noises in. But with the help of a soundproofing blanket, you can block all of them completely. First of all, you need to look out for those weak spots on your apartment walls that let noises in. Then, use soundproof blankets to strengthen the soundproofing in those areas.
If your blanket is of high quality, you can expect it to reduce the noise by up to 50%! So, if you are ok with damaging the wall, you can easily mount these blankets on a wall with mounting putty or nails and forget any sounds and noises that used to disturb you.
Use Green Glue to Seal Holes and Cracks In Your Walls
Airborne noise typically enters your apartment through cracks and holes in the walls. Those cracks and holes usually appear in spots where a wall joins with another element of the house.
However, there could also be holes left from old nails holding picture frames or shelves in the past, etc. Think of gaps between the floor and the wall, and you can understand through what places sounds and noises can sneak into your apartment!
Luckily, you can patch those holes and cracks with Green Glue, the acoustic sealant. The good thing about this product is that it is not only useful, it is also extremely easy to apply. It works just like a regular caulk or sealant. To apply it, squeeze out the required amount of the green glue into the gap or crack using a caulk gun.
Try Acoustic Foam Panels And Acoustic Wall Tiles
To soundproof a thin wall in your apartment or house, you can also use acoustic wall tiles and foam panels. Both are becoming more and more popular for soundproofing paper-thin walls, and the reasons are apparent:
- They work incredibly well
- They are relatively cheap
- They are easy to install.
Acoustic foam panels help reduce sound by absorbing most of the noise that gets into your apartment. Moreover, they can also prevent sounds that you make from leaving the house! Finally, there is a bonus feature: many acoustic foam panels look great and can refresh your apartment decor!
Add Layers of Drywall to Increase the Thickness Of Your Walls
The reason why thin walls in our apartments let noises and sound in is very simple. It’s because such walls are typically very thin, unable to stop sounds from getting through. When we think of house walls, we imagine them to be thick and hard to penetrate for noise.
But in reality, we get completely the opposite. Instead of a sturdy and thick barrier that can stop all the noises, your wall might be just a thin layer of drywall! Of course, it is entirely insufficient for blocking out unwanted noises. It’s like expecting a sheet of paper can block any noise!
To make your walls more soundproof, you can thicken them by adding an extra drywall layer. It will be even better to add two or more layers to ensure the walls can block unwanted noises better. With several layers of drywall, it will be much harder for noises to get into your apartment and disturb you!
Now you know what methods can be used to help you soundproof your apartment or house walls. None of these methods require construction, which means using it won’t be messy. Also, each of them is easy to use, so you can basically manage yourself or with the help of a handy friend.
What Benefits You Get After Thin Walls Soundproofing
You might think that the only benefit you get after thin walls soundproofing is that you finally stop hearing all those sounds and noises that come from your neighbors’ apartments and the street. However, getting rid of annoying noises is not the only perk you get, although it is the biggest one for sure.
A soundproofed apartment offers plenty of additional benefits and perks to apartment dwellers, including:
- It gives you privacy. When you can keep outside noises at bay, it gives you calmness and peace of mind. Your neighbors won’t be able to overhear your conversations!
- You get an improved quality of life by being able to relax and enjoy your own personal space. Loud neighbors are not only irritating, they often lead to disturbed sleep and annoyance! Soundproofing your walls ensures you won’t be bothered by outside noises.
With your walls soundproofed, you will never be disturbed by a barking neighbor’s dog, a hysterically screaming child, or another late-night party. In addition, there will be no reason to keep yourself on your toes worrying that neighbors can hear your private conversations, which is a common issue when you have thin walls.
What You Can Do to Reduce the Noise When You Have Thin Walls
Soundproofing your walls will work if you use high-quality materials. However, some people can’t afford expensive soundproofing materials, but they still don’t want to suffer from annoying noises! What shall they do?
First of all, if you can’t afford complete wall soundproofing by a professional team, you can still take a few steps to reduce the level of noise. To do it, take several steps:
- determine your budget
- pinpoint the areas of your apartment that are especially noisy
- figure out how exactly noises get in (through cracks/holes/joints)
When this is done, you can reduce your sound levels quickly and inexpensively with a couple of easy and handy methods.
Move Furniture Closer Against the Walls
In particular, you should move your furniture closer to the noisiest areas of your apartment walls. However, note that you need big pieces of furniture that can “shield” the wall surface. For example, you can use wardrobes or bookshelves, or both.
By placing them against your wall to enhance the mass, you prevent sounds and noises from penetrating the wall and getting into your apartment. If you have very thin walls, you can also place thick blankets or foam padding between the furniture pieces and the wall. Foam padding and/or soundproof blankets will add an extra soundproofing layer and help to absorb unwanted sounds and noises much better!
<H3> Use Rubber-Based Materials to Soundproof Your Walls
By using rubber-based materials and mass-loaded vinyl, you can keep your living space quiet. As an extra bonus, these layers can help insulate your apartment and keep you cozy.
With the help of these tips and recommendations, you can easily block unwanted sounds from entering your home and disturbing you.
What Noise Level Is Considered Acceptable In Residential Buildings
Those who live in apartments with paper-thin walls often complain about the high level of noise, and thus, people wonder whether it’s legal to rent or buy/sell such apartments. Well, the issue of legitimacy depends on the country you live in. However, the root of the problem often lies with building regulations.
Certain noise level limits are allowed by authorities. And when builders are constructing a house, they could use different techniques to build more solid and thicker walls that would be able to dampen the sound transmission. But unfortunately, many builders choose not to do so simply to reduce costs! As a result, we have noisy apartments with extremely thin walls.
Just for you to know, this is the list of noise levels produced by different sources.
- 20 dB - ticking watch
- 30 dB - quiet whisper
- 40 dB - quiet park
- 50 dB - quiet street/office
- 60 dB - normal conversation
- 70 dB - phone ringtone/heavy traffic
- 80 dB - alarm clock
- 100 dB - blow dryer
- 110-120 dB - screaming child; thunder; loud music
In the United States, the accepted decibel level for residential buildings and areas is lower. Any noise exceeding 70 dB is considered disturbing. Residential limits usually start at 55 or 60 dB, which is the equivalent noise of a vacuum cleaner. Louder noises are not allowed after 10 pm and until 7 am.
Well, now you know not only how to fix thin walls in your apartment but also what range of residential noises is considered acceptable. Unfortunately, builders often refuse to make house walls thicker because it would cost more. This is why dwellers often suffer from noisy neighbors or street sounds. However, now you know what to do to reduce or completely block those unwanted sounds in your apartment!