How to Soundproof Your House from Outside Noise

6 min read

how to soundproof your house from outside noise

For many of us, home is where we relax, escape from the outside world, and experience moments of blissful peace. But all too often, our fortresses of solitude are invaded by the sounds of traffic, neighbours, pedestrians, and construction, seeking to disturb us and jolt our minds out of their restfulness.

This may be a symptom of modern life, but that does not mean we have to put up with it. In this article, we will explore how to soundproof your house and restore the zen of a peaceful home.

How does sound insulation work?

To answer this, we must first understand what sound is and how it operates. At its most basic, a sound is the energy produced when something vibrates. This energy travels out from the source in waves, causing the air and any objects they come into contact with to also vibrate with the same frequency.

Unlike light, sound waves travel through most objects with relative ease, which is why you can still hear traffic noise despite having your windows closed.

Soundproofing works by adding extra obstacles which sound waves must travel through, reducing the energy of each wave until it is inaudible or dampened to such an extent that it is barely audible.

Most common reasons people soundproof their homes

There are many reasons why people decide to soundproof their homes, but the most common is to stop noise from getting in/out and to increase the value of the property.

To stop noise from getting in

If you live in a noisy area with a lot of road and foot traffic, then you know how disrupting street noise can be. The sound of engines, screeching tires, horns, sirens, and shouting are all commonplace and can easily disrupt your sleep or concentration.

Inconsiderate and noisy neighbours can be a nightmare. Whether it is an obscenely loud TV or non-stop late night parties, they can seriously affect your quality of life by disturbing your sleeping patterns and denying your mind the opportunity to recuperate from a full day of people demanding your attention.

To stop noise from getting out

Musicians, vloggers, and others whose profession requires a recording space may take their neighbours into consideration and soundproof their home, or a room at the very least. This is done in order to keep the noise that they make down to a minimum so as to not disturb the lives of others living in the vicinity.

Increased value

Well-soundproofed homes provide a certain serenity. Upon entering, you are isolated from the outside world as its noise can’t reach you. This peacefulness can increase the value of your home substantially, especially if you live next to the main road or in a particularly noisy area.

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How to soundproof your house from outside noise

Now that we know what soundproofing does and some of the reasons why people soundproof their homes, let’s dive into how to do the same to your house.

  • Fix any holes or cracks in your walls. Inspect your walls and pay close attention to the areas around window frames, ventilation grates, and electrical sockets. If you find any holes or cracks, repair them with caulk. If the damage is substantial, reach out to a professional to handle drywall or plaster cracks and holes.
  • Seal your doors. Installing weathering strips to your door frames not only helps to stop heat loss but can also help to hamper noise traveling throughout your home.
  • Replace your internal doors. If the doors inside your home are hollow, you may consider replacing them with solid doors. This will reduce the amount of sound which is able to pass through. You could try fitting it yourself but for truly great results you better reach out to professionals.
  • Replace or repair your windows. This is an expensive option, depending on how many windows you replace. However, upgrading your windows to double or triple-paned with PVC frames can dramatically reduce noise pollution. If you prefer natural materials, having your wooden windows and frames repaired can also help reduce the clamour and racket coming from outside.
  • Fix squeaky floors. Hardwood floors look great and can add a lot of character to a room, but if one or more of the floorboards are loose, it can cause a never-ending squeaky nightmare. Although a fresh installation would be great, to get your flooring back in shape with trusty specialists is the best.
  • Insulate your walls and ceiling. Installing insulation product, such as ceiling panels, mass-loaded-vinyl, neoprene rubber, viscoelastic foam, and fibreglass behind walls and ceiling panels can drastically lessen the amount of noise coming in, or out, of your home.

Smart home organising tips that help with noise absorption

If you are unable to put the above suggestions into practice due to financial constraints or you are renting the property, there are some other methods you can use which won’t break the bank or require another person’s permission.

  • Make use of big, thick rugs. If you cannot bear to cover your hardwood floors, the next best option for blocking some of the noise from below is to use rugs. The right rug can really tie a room together, as well as provide a soft, warm refuge for your feet.
  • Consider putting up heavy curtains. Changing your curtains for an alternative made from a heavier material can absorb a surprising amount of noise from the street. To block even more noise, make sure that your curtains also cover the wall below and above the windows. For a fantastic job, consider our fantastic curtain fitting service.
  • Rearrange your furniture. You can block some of the noise from the next door neighbours by arranging your furniture so that larger pieces are placed against the shared wall.
  • Build and fill a large bookcase. This one is especially aimed at book lovers. You can pick bespoke furniture or flat pack assembly. By filling the bookcase and ensuring there isn’t a lot of empty space on the shelves, you will find that a good amount of noise from the outside, or your neighbours, is unable to make its way into the room as books are excellent at absorbing noise. If you are a passionate book lover, read our blog on how to make the perfect reading nook.

So there we have it, your guide to soundproofing your house. As we discovered, you can effectively soundproof your home in a number of ways, ranging from insulating with noise-absorbing materials to simply putting a rug down and rearranging your furniture. While you can achieve success with any one of these methods, for best results we advise you to use a few of the suggestions and apply them at the same time.

Image Source: Halfpoint/shutterstock.com

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19 Responses

  1. Lauren says:

    How do you block outside drumming noise. The neighbor plays his drums every night. Very annoying sound. How can i block some of the noise.

    • Liz says:

      There are a few different ways to handle that, Lauren.
      1) Ask him if he could practice in a different time (while you’re at work for example)
      2) Ask him to soundproof his practice room
      3) Block the noise by using earplugs, headphones, earmuffs or earbuds
      4) You could soundproof your room to block the incoming noise (though it’s quite expensive and not sure if it would be worth the time and money, he might just quit playing in a few months)

      Hope it helps, Feel free to ask any additional questions. Cheers

  2. Wendy mock says:

    What is the best way to block out siren noises?

    • Fantastic Handyman Team says:

      Hello Wendy,

      We’ve already suggested a few possible solutions to blocking street noise, in the section “how to soundproof your house from outside noise”. They should work for sirens, too, albeit the most effective a method, the more expensive it gets.

      A cheap option is to use thick curtains, a sound device that will play different sounds (anything is better than a honking car), sealing your windows, there are multitude of methods.

      Hope some of the above mentioned will work for you.

      Best regards!

  3. Susan says:

    I have a lot of noise coming through my bedroom window, i.e
    Next door neighbours dog barking early when I’m not an early person, them slamming their door, and car door.
    Now a builders radio blaring out from 8amto4pm daily.
    My window was installed 25 years ago, it is wooden frame and I notice there are gaps where it opens and closed.
    I also have a secondary window installed 25 years ago, and I notice that isn’t fitting as well as it did.
    I have thought about sealing the external window with acoustic sealant, but don’t know what to do about the secondary glazing…..any advice would be appreciated.

  4. odessa Forde says:

    hi does MLV hold heat, can using it in a hot country cause the house to be hotter, if its used on the external wall. i want to use it to keep out external noises from my home,however, i live in a hot sunny country and i read that mlv is rubbery. so since its rubbery,would it absorb heat and transfer it to the wall making the house hot?

  5. Mike says:

    Hey I currently have a warehouse right next to railroad tracks and I’m trying to make a recording studio in here because it’s affordable and it’s a good spot but I have would rafters ceilings and a side of my wall is dry walled and the other half is concrete with a concrete floor. How would I go about keeping the train sound, that comes every 5 to 10 minutes, out?! Thank you so much.

    • Fantastic Handyman Team says:

      Hello, Mike. The standard solution to soundproofing your recording studio is using mass loaded vinyl on the walls, floor, and ceiling. A more expensive, but effective option is building a room within a room. The goal is for the inner walls, floor, and ceiling to have minimal contact with the outer ones in order to prevent the noise vibrations from leaking inside.

  6. L says:

    I live next to a newly built him with 6 residents, the noise can be extremely annoying mostly talking and slamming doors (the uno has laminate and heavy fire doors. How can buffer the sound? We haven’t got the room or money for soundproofing?

  7. Chris says:

    Hi, the noise coming through the wall we share with nextdoor is making our life miserable.

    They keep their toddler up until 11pm and have numerous late night visitors, so the main noises are kids running around on laminate flooring, banging of doors, and adults shouting/laughing.

    I’ve paid £800 for plasterers to install acoustic foam & double plasterboard on the affected walls, but it’s made virtually no difference.

    We can’t afford the full soundproofing. Apart from bookcases and wardrobes, is there anything else we can do?

    Desperate and open to suggestions! Many thanks in anticipation.

  8. Kate says:

    I live on a main road in a bungalow it is a rented bungalow i have just installed a new double glazed window installed which made no differance inn my bedroom so i got a secondary window and can still hear the traffic noise the sitting room is very bad you would think the traffic is in the house with you i am at my wits end can u give me any ideas please.

    • Denis says:

      Hello Kate,

      Even though you started with heavy-duty means of soundproofing, sometimes it’s not enough, especially in bad cases like this one. You’d need to further proof the rooms – thick curtains, shag rugs, sound-deflecting window blinds/curtains, window inserts, acoustic panels, door curtains, soundproofing your doors (the gap between the door and the floor), choose your weapons or combinations of all.

      Sometimes investment like these in a rented flat might not be worth it in the long run, or you’d probably need some permissions from the owner, but if you already installed new windows, I suppose that wouldn’t be a problem. if you don’t consider moving out any time soon, think about investing in some of those heavy-duty means.

  9. Chloe Meeds says:

    I’m moving into a medium sized bedroom, I don’t want to disturb my room mate or neighbours from me staying up and listening to my music. I’m not sure how to soundproof it while my walls looking nice still. I have a sofa, black out curtains, 3 shelves, a mirror and carpet flooring. Not sure what else I can do.

    • Fantastic Handyman says:

      Hello, Chloe

      The room rearrangement tips we added in the article aren’t enough to soundproof a room. They only help with noise absorption. Insulation is most effective for reducing the noise to a minimum.

      The Fantastic Handyman Team

  10. Michael says:

    I am disabled and I have these upstairs neighbors where the kids runs SO HARD it vibrates metal in my apartment. I asked the Apartment manager to do something their response is move. The noise mostly comes from the kitchen as the other rooms are carpet (and when they run on the carpet it is not to loud) any suggestions on how I can stop the noise coming in

    • Fantastic Team says:

      Hello, Michael

      If you have an idea which exact parts of your kitchen vibrate, you could try cushioning them. For example, if it’s the metal legs of your kitchen table against the tiled kitchen floor, you could put a rug under the table. If your dishes and cutlery make the noise, you could try rearranging them so they don’t vibrate against a hard surface.

      The Fantastic Handyman Team

  11. Ben Agusputranto says:

    I aim to seal traffic noise coming from ceiling, does rockwool or glasswool will do the job ? Which one best ? Any other better material to do the job best ?

    • Fantastic Team says:

      Hello, Ben

      The best material for soundproofing walls, floors and ceilings is mass-loaded vinyl.

      The Fantastic Handyman Team

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