If there is one place in the house that should be kept safe from the problem of noise and sound leaking, it should be the bathroom. It is a deeply intimate and personal place for everybody and what we do inside should be nobody else’s business.
But what if someone on the outside can hear every flush and the rest of it? Pretty embarrassing right?
The disturbance and annoyance extend to both sides of the bathroom door, the ones on the outside also don’t wish to hear every sound from the inside.
The only way to remedy this uncomfortable situation is to get a soundproof bathroom. By blocking all noise from leaving the boundaries of the bathroom, you will have the freedom to use the space in whatever manner you please without annoying anyone on the outside or making yourself embarrassed.
Moreover, when you are inside, loud noises coming from the outside can be annoying too.
A bathroom is a place where many people wind down after a tiring day or a place where they can be alone with their thoughts, and all of this is ruined by outside noise entering a bathroom that is not soundproof and has an echo problem.
11 Ways to Soundproof a Bathroom
Let us look at some working solutions to soundproof a bathroom and make it a truly private space :
Apply Weatherstrips on the Bathroom Door
While we are at it, let us begin at the most common vulnerable area of a bathroom- the door.
Unfortunately, many modern styles of construction do not use a solid heavy-duty material for the bathroom door and instead use a material that is light and hollow. Apart from this, there is the issue of gaps that exist between the door and door frames that make the whole problem of sound leaking worse.
So it only makes sense that for noise reduction, the gaps should be blocked. This can be done with weatherstripping.
Thin strips of sound-insulated material like foam are stuck on the door frame in straight lines so that when the door closes on it, there is no gap from where any air or sound can pass.
Originally weatherstripping was meant to protect rooms from elements of weather such as sunlight and rainwater but since it blocks the passage of air, it can be a perfectly good soundproofing technique and is often used like that.
To install it, all you have to do is peel off the paper from the sticky side of the weather strips and paste it on the door frame.
Install a Door Sweep
Another way to deal with the bathroom door is to close the gap on the bottom. Ideally, there shouldn’t be a gap at the bottom of the bathroom door, especially in homes where water can leak outside into the main living space.
Yet some constructions install doors with gaps on the bottom. Most of the time there will be no door frame on the bottom to weatherstrip the area but what you can do is install a door sweep.
A block of insulating material or hard metal is hammered or stuck to the bottom of the door parallel to the ground in order to close the gap.
Once the gap is sealed, the possibility of sounds leaving or entering from there is greatly reduced. For better results use both weather stripping and a door sweep.
Add Mass to The Bathroom Door
If the bathroom door is made from a hollow and light material, then completely blocking the gaps between the door frame won’t cut it.
One way out of this situation is to replace the existing door with a dense wooden door but if you don’t want to do that it’s alright.
The goal here is to make the door heavier and have more mass so that the sound cannot easily percolate through it. Therefore, it will be sensible to add mass to the door with something that absorbs sound.
One such thing is a soundproof blanket or soundproof curtain, which you basically wrap the door with but it is not a very aesthetically agreeable choice and will make your room look clunky.
Another thing that you can do is to screw an MDF panel on the door covering its entire surface area. This will both look good and add mass to the door. MDF panels come in various designs and patterns so you can choose one which fits your door.
Acoustic Fiberglass panels are also a good choice in this case as fiberglass is waterproof and thus has no chances of getting damaged due to splashing water if fitted on the inside of the bathroom.
Resilient channel with Drywall for the Bathroom Walls
Now that we have a soundproof door, let us move on to the walls. Adding a layer of moisture and mold-resistant drywall is a great choice for soundproofing bathroom walls.
To be fair, you can try adding a single layer of drywall and see whether or not it blocks noise but if that doesn’t work you can add a resilient channel along with another layer of moisture and mold-resistant drywall.
Resilient channels employ the technique of decoupling to soundproof a wall. Decoupling works on the scientific fact that when sounds come into contact with a solid layer they create vibrations and pass through the layer easily.
Thus, if two layers of solid material are placed together but not kept in contact, the sound waves will pass through one layer, hit the second layer, and reflect back. This will happen in quick successions until the sound dies out. In this way, decoupling prevents vibration transmission and blocks noise.
Although this process is costly, it is worth it and can deal with impact noises as well as airborne noises very well.
Another way to soundproof a bathroom wall is to apply blown-in insulation to the wall cavity.
This insulation type is one of the most commonly opted for because of its low-density cellulose composition that offers a two-fold function of inhibiting the transfer of sound waves as well as providing insulation to the walls.
Before the insulation is blown into the wall cavity, it is filled with air, and the air results in the creation of a resonant space that adds to the incident sound.
Filing the wall with blown-in insulation stops it from resonating and echoing back. A heavier grade of insulation will have a better effect on sound deadening.
Applying blown-in insulation to walls is a complicated process and thus should not be attempted without professional equipment or skills.
Add Wall Tiles
Covering the walls with tiles helps with noise by adding mass to the walls.
Tiles help to keep the sounds from leaving the walls of the bathroom by providing a hard surface that repels sound waves. But whether the tiles will repel or absorb the sound waves depends on your choice of material.
Cork is an absorbent material filled with air. Whenever it is hit with sound waves, it is compressed and its honey-combed-shaped air spaces absorb the vibration thus killing it.
That is why bathroom walls can be covered with cork tiling too. It is also waterproof which makes it an ideal choice for a bathroom installation. Cork tiles can also be used to reduce echo in a bathroom.
Rigid PVC tiles are also another option to check out although it is costlier than cork. It has great sound blocking effects and also blocks sound reverberations almost completely, making it an ideal soundproofing material.
Wainscotting / Wall Paneling
Wainscotting refers to the wood paneling that is applied to the lower portions of walls. This is usually done to walls in older constructions that have started showing cracks and have gotten fragile.
Wainscotting is popular both because of aesthetic and pragmatic reasons. It not only will add beauty to your bathroom walls but will also add mass to it and keep it insulated against sound and extreme temperatures.
Heavy beadboard wainscotting is an helpful solution for both insulation and soundproofing.
Take Care of the Ceiling
If the bathroom in question is located below another level, then chances are that you are being forced to hear every word from above as well.
A simple way out of this is to cover the ceiling with acoustic tiles. These tiles can soak up sound waves thus preventing their intensity as well as completely blocking sounds that try to leave or enter the room.
Acoustic tiling can also be used on a decoupled ceiling by installing a suspended or drop ceiling. This type of ceiling is built by attaching metal beams that hang from the actual ceiling. Then the drop ceiling is placed on the hanging metal beams.
Decoupling the two surfaces inhibits the sounds from creating vibrations and traveling inside or outside through the surface of the ceiling.
This is also a decoupling method to soundproof a bathroom’s floor.
This is very effective and transfers very little noise to the room located underneath the bathroom, so go for it only if the need for soundproofing in the room below is absolutely necessary as the process can be quite complicated and costly.
Soundproof floating floors are made with resilient layers bonded to the underside of the surface.
The two surfaces being separated prevents the transfer of sound through the floor and through the floor joists into the room underneath.
Soundproof Bathroom Pipes
Plumbing errors inside your bathroom can really make the place sound haunted because of the sounds it makes. The two most common types of plumbing noises in a bathroom are a banging noise and a shrill hollow noise.
If your faucet makes an awful banging sound every time you turn it on, then it is probably being caused by an issue in the plumbing line commonly referred to as a “water hammer”.
This is quite damaging to the pipes and unfortunately, the only way to solve it is to refill the air chambers in the plumbing system or to regulate the water pressure so that it does not exert too much effort on the pipes.
Now to deal with rattling and howling pipes, you can tighten the mounting straps giving it less space to rattle.
You can also wrap the pipes in foam wrap to further dampen the sounds coming from the pipes. Your prime attention, however, should be paid to the water pressure of your bathroom and whether or not it is displacing the pipes.
Seal any Gaps with Acoustic Caulking
All your efforts of soundproofing a bathroom will be for nothing if you ignore gaps and cracks on the surfaces.
If the construction is old, then it is quite natural for the surfaces to develop minor cracks or holes. You can deal with this by sealing them with acoustic caulking.
Acoustic caulking employs the use of an acoustic sealant like green glue soundproofing compound to fill those holes so that no air or soundwaves can pass through them.
For electrical sockets, you can install acoustic insulation inserts in them to make them soundproof. Make sure the insert you are going to purchase is waterproof.
It is better if you begin the project to soundproof your bathroom by identifying the areas where the said gaps or cracks exist.
If you fill these with an acoustic sealant and then cover the entire wall/floor/ceiling with a soundproofing material, it will end the chances of air entering through those cracks and forming air pockets behind the layer of soundproofing material.
A bathroom soundproofing project is one of those things you are never going to regret because broadcasting the sounds from inside a bathroom is the last thing anybody wants.
Other methods that you can try is to place rugs on the floor or strategically place racks filled with towels near the walls. But these options were not provided in the main guide because many people do not prefer to keep fabric in their bathroom area
The process to soundproof your bathroom need not necessarily be expensive and that is why both expensive and their less-pricey counterparts have been included in this guide.
Try these out today to see which works the best in turning your bathroom into a quiet and private space without exterior disturbance of any sort.