Sound Dampening Suggestions Please

    by

    My living room shares one party wall with my neighbors living room. For a very long time, they would listen to their TV at a high enough volume that I could pretty much discern exactly what they were watching at any given time. I have spoken to them about it, they were friendly, and the noise has since been lowered significantly to what is probably your average volume. However, the party wall is so damn thin that I’m still getting enough noise from there to basically drive me nuts (being uber sensitive to noise is a curse I wish upon nobody!) Apart from this one issue, I really like the apartment, and would not consider moving otherwise. I feel that my neighbors have done their part by being more considerate, so my question is if there is any kind of wall treatment or hanging of something on my side of the wall that would help muffle the residual noise. This is a rental so I can not do a perm installation. The wall is roughly 12′ long x 9′ tall.

    Thank you for any suggestions. BoD

    15 Replies

    1. That’s a great company and they make great and well tested products. Similarly, there are other manufacturers of pre-damped drywall. This type of product is a drywall sandwich with some damping compound in between. Works great. Generally the lower the cost of these panels the less damping compound and the thinner (less mass) the overall drywall panel.

      But what you want is more mass and more damping compound.

      A comparison of cost vs. performance will direct you to a sheet of standard 5/8″ drywall and simply apply the damping compound yourself. Much less expensive, much higher performance.

      Because you are appying a damping compound directly to the existing wall you are much more effectively damping the original wall.

    2. “quietrock isn’t much (if any) heavier than the same thickness of drywall”
      Posted by: tekniskakustik

      I’m not a shil for quietrock – just saw the post from Rick and googled it because I was curious.

      Standard 1/2″ thick drywall is about 1.3 lbs/ft2

      From the quietrock website / product sheet…
      QuietRock 510
      Thickness: 1/2”
      Weight: 2.1 lbs/ft2
      STC-rated: 47–69 (ASTM E90)

      So it’s about 60% more mass for the same thickness.

    3. air travels through holes, so sound may go with it. insulating spaces like wall outlets and behind light swithches as well as caulking mouldings and joints may help, but that is just an educated guess.

      if you put up wall board, sound batts which can be fluffy insulation or brown sound boards, they may be more efficient than an actual air gap. also, adding rock to your wall is not always easy if their is moulding up hi or low, or needing cutouts for outlets etc… since this will create a new edge.

      if anyone knows what type of drapes work BEST i’d love to know of a special lining or material, but of course that can be a visual and economic consideration.

    4. In this type of installation (adding a layer), damped drywall (e.g. quietrock) will help, but probably no more than standard sheetrock, which is much cheaper. Quietrock is drywall with a thin layer of goo built in for damping of panel resonance, which can help in e.g. a new 2-sided wall with air cavities etc.

      In this case though you will just be adding mass, and quietrock isn’t much (if any) heavier than the same thickness of drywall. I’d suggest adding and finishing as much thickness of drywall as you care to pay for and leave behind (probably no less than a 5/8″ sheet to make it worth the effort, 2 sheets if you’re sporting).

      PS Pet peeve, when you quell sound/vibration you are “damping” it, which is an engineering term for dissipating energy through viscous friction. “Dampening” something makes it wet.

    5. ugh, I have this problem in my bedroom, and have since used quiet rock on the other side when the tenants before moved. The LL paid for it (co-op) It does work for sound, like TV and radio, but the banging and thumping, walking you still hear, closets closing….ugh !!!!!!

      Unfortunetely I have bricks on the party wall that were installed many years ago, thus not allowing me to quiet rock my side with 15 layers, I kid you not….and it might just come to that point…..

      For my own SANITY, if ever I need to move, I will install 15 layers of quiet rock then sheets rock. It is worth the money. I cannot stress that enough, even if you have to pay for it yourself, then move and leave it…I WOULD DO IT> money would be NO object !!!!

    6. Bookcase (especially) and tapestry are both good ideas, though it sounds like they may be impractical. I’ve done some soundproofing, and the air gap is probably the most helpful thing (or, ideally, offsetting a double row of studs so there isn’t a direct connection between their wall and your wall). The main thing you’re trying to do is damped the vibrations; while mass will help with that, a little mass will only help a little.

    7. Another alternative would be 1/4 or 1/2″ sheetrock, with a layer of green glue between.

    8. I’m not an expert & am not trying to sell quietrock – my understanding is that you can dampen sounds with air chambers, but a big factor is mass. Quiet rock has a layer of cement glued to a layer of sheetrock. Read up on their website –
      http://www.quietrock.com/

    9. I like the idea of quietrock because it seems minimally intrusive into my livingroom space, unlike say, a bookshelf as mopar suggests. The wall in question is actually along the “corridor” of the livingroom that goes back into the bed/bathroom area; so a bookshelf wouldn’t really work there because it’s too deep. The super has indeed listened to the TV noise, but he’s deaf in one ear (no joke) so it was deemed “not loud enough” to cause a big fuss. Fair enough. So my choice is try to remedy it myself, or move.

      Does the quietrock really work when applied directly to the existing gwb and studwall? I thought a seperation (airgap) between existing and new was the best way. Thanks! BoD

    10. I don’t have experience with it, but to add to Rick’s comment – why not add a 1/2″ of quietrock and finish the wall and leave it for good. It’s 38 bucks a 4×8 sheet at Lowes. If this is a rental and you get the landlord to listen to the neighbor’s TV, maybe you can split the cost and the landlord will consider it an inexpensive improvement.

    11. Heavy fabric like velvet can mask sound but it is a specific look! Hang them across the wall and it will make a difference.

    12. You could install QuietRock over the sheetrock and remove it when you move. There will be some wall repair but it shouldn’t be a big deal on a 12 x 9′ wall.

    13. They make battens for this sort of thing, but they are ugly. Check Mcmaster Carr for sound proofing. The only way I would consider these is if tapestries where hung over them.

      Steve

    14. Could you put up a great big wall of books in bookcases?

      Also, if your room is full of soft things such as rugs, upholstery, and curtains rather than glass panes doors and wood floors, it will make the place a lot less echo-y.