Nobody likes to hear unwanted sounds entering their rooms all day. If you have been in a similar situation before or facing it now, you know how frustrating it is.
You must have done some research and looked at the various soundproofing options available in the market, you might be overwhelmed.
Even if you decide to follow the simplest DIY soundproofing approach, you still run the risk of messing things up, wasting your money in the end.
If you don’t know what to do, you have come to the right place. In this guide, we have discussed different steps that offer guaranteed soundproofing results.
8 Ways To Soundproof A Brick Wall
Before you proceed to soundproof brick wall, you must inspect the condition of the wall and know what’s causing the problem. Only then you must decide on an appropriate technique and choose materials accordingly.
Also remember that no matter what technique you decide to proceed with, the density of the brick wall plays an important role. It’s a crucial determining factor that you mustn’t overlook. Additionally, you must set a strict budget before beginning the workarounds.
Contacting a professional before making any decision is also advised. It’s because soundproofing brick walls isn’t easy and presents a lot of problems and challenges which call for a thorough understanding of the problem and strategic approach. Calling an expert would certainly benefit you in this regard. The expert would inspect your wall better, thereby giving you better soundproofing ideas. It would also help you decide on what you should and shouldn’t work.
Now that we have discussed a lot, let’s go through the different steps to effective brick wall soundproofing.
Find out where’s the sound coming from
You need to know the origin of your problem to find out the appropriate solution. Similarly, before you decide which soundproofing technique to follow, you should know where the sound is coming from. Sound waves follow the path of least resistance. Therefore, your task is to find out the existing holes, gaps, and cracks from where sound is likely to pass through without any hindrance.
Give time to find out the source of the noise. Closely inspect the brick wall. Check the weak points. Examine the switchboards, ventilation system, corner posts, lintels, steel structures, etc.
Understanding Building Structures & Common Problems
To find out why your brick wall is not soundproof, you have to study the building structure. Only then can you understand how to fix the issue. Therefore, inspecting the structure thoroughly is highly recommended.
You might hear your neighbor next door through the common wall. This is a common scenario that every building suffers from. Get to know the building structure, layers, and fabrics used to construct it. By doing so you would understand how sound is traveling from its source to its receiving point. If you can find out the root cause of your problem, you wouldn’t have much problem solving it.
Oftentimes, homeowners invest money and time more than what’s necessary. We, therefore, advise homeowners not to overlook this step. If you can’t understand the building structure and other aspects, you must seek professional help before proceeding with a soundproofing technique.
Plug Sound Leaks
The first thing that’s bound to strike your mind is sealing all existing cracks, holes, and gaps. Well, it completely makes sense. One should use an excellent sealant and seal all openings first, before advancing to the next step. Inspect the wall properly and make sure there’s no hole left open. You must know that even though the tiniest of gaps, sound can easily travel.
If you are in search of the appropriate sealant to soundproof bricks, in this case, we suggest you use an acoustic sealant and fill all cracks, joints, and holes. Don’t forget to check the outlet and switch boxes. Green glue is one of the most used sealants nowadays. Not only is it effective but also affordable.
Add a layer of acoustic drywall
One of the various ways of soundproofing brick wall is by deflecting the sound waves using materials having high mass and density. Going by this, brick walls already have these properties. Therefore, if there are leaks on the wall’s surface and sound can easily travel through them, your first job would be to strengthen the deflecting properties of the wall by adding extra materials.
Adding acoustic drywalls is the best way to do this. Drywall highly prevents sound transmission by increasing the mass and thickness of the wall, thus hindering sound vibrations to pass through the surface. Therefore, adding drywall is certainly an effective way to soundproof brick walls. If there’s no possibility of reframing or using other structural methods, this is your go-to option.
Now, whether to choose standard drywall or a sound dampening one is a highly debatable topic. A lot of research has been conducted in this regard and it is concluded that the latest soundproofing drywalls work better than the traditional ones when it comes to resisting sound vibrations.
You can find a variety of brands selling soundproofing drywall panels. However, you must prefer the best-rated ones while buying. Check their customer reviews to get an idea of how they perform. If you can’t come to any conclusion, don’t hesitate to ask for expert guidance in this matter.
It must be mentioned that these noise-proofing materials are manufactured using the latest technologies, which makes them expensive, but certainly worthy of your investment.
For better soundproofing results, what you can do is spread an acoustic sealant like green glue on top of the drywall panel and then fix the drywall in place. After screwing the panel in position, you should cover the joints and holes with green-glue caulking to increase the wall’s soundproofing properties.
Add mass loaded vinyl
If the previous option seems a little out of budget, you can proceed with mass-loaded vinyl for soundproofing brick walls. They are affordable and effective at the same time. Mass-loaded vinyl has been specially manufactured for soundproofing walls and surfaces. Not only does it render brilliant results but also is easier to be attached to any surface.
You don’t require an expert to add a layer of MLV to your existing wall. Research has proven that mass-loaded vinyl improves the sound transmission class ratings of any surface, reducing noise transmission consequently.
What makes MLV useful for soundproofing is its high density. It’s a flexible, nontoxic material that is available in different sizes. Mass-loaded vinyl can be easily attached to the drywall or existing wall with glue.
However, if you are looking for better soundproofing results, we recommend attaching MLV in better two layers of drywall. Not just that, proper sealing is also important. You should seal the perimeter after attaching or hanging the MLV panel to your existing wall. Even a small hole can ruin all your efforts.
Add Acoustic Panels on the brick wall
If anyone is looking for a quick, effective method to soundproof the brick wall, one can attach sound-absorbing panels. These sound-absorbing panels have high density, works like a sponge, and absorb maximum sound waves passing through them. As a result, the sound soaks in before reaching your ears.
Attaching acoustic panels also results in a better sound quality inside your room. Nowadays, these panels are available in a variety of sizes and colors. Their density also varies. Therefore, you can easily choose the most appropriate ones that match your home decor and enhance the appearance of the room too.
Try out insulating
You can also try out insulating the wall’s interior space if the structure of the wall permits so. To know whether or not insulation is possible, you must contact a professional. The procedure also needs to be done by an expert in this field. This option is cheap and not time taking.
How to insulate the wall depends on the expert inspecting the surface. One can take various approaches for insulating a brick surface. The most appropriate approach would depend upon the construction procedure, framing structure, and various other aspects.
Some brick walls can’t be insulated at all, due to the structure and fabrics used. If you want to insulate such walls, you have to take them down entirely and construct a new one.
Decoupling means receiving the sound waves and breaking their wavelength, hindering their flow as a result. Decoupling affects the velocity of the vibrations, reducing their overall effectiveness as a result. There are a few ways in which decoupling can be done. They have been explained below.
Creating a room within a room
For this, you have to construct two separate walls, creating a gap between them. This empty space would act as an air cavity, where moving sound waves would be captured. If you want the entire room to be soundproof, this is an excellent option to consider. This method is however not cost-effective. If you are looking for affordable decoupling methods, refer to the other methods explained below.
Double stud wall
A cheaper and simpler alternative to the previous method is attaching two sets of studs to the same base plate. After that, a drywall panel is attached to the exterior surface.
Staggered stud wall
Another economical and easier way to decouple is by attaching a 2×4 set of a stud on both sides of the base plate, at a distance of 6 inches. By doing this, you create an empty air cavity, where sound vibrations would remain trapped while passing through.
Sound isolation clip
The last way to decouple single brick walls is by using sound isolation clips. These clips can be attached to the studs as well. Overall this is an effective sound dampening method.
Each one of the decoupling methods listed above isn’t simple. They are complex and therefore call for professional help. Some of them are expensive too. Therefore, people are advised to try out the simpler soundproofing methods first.
By now you know the various steps to soundproof a brick wall. No matter what you do, a thorough study of the wall’s condition is necessary. Before you select a definite method, consider your budget, available time, and personal preferences. Only then make an informed decision.