It’s great to have a garage for parking your car and storing out-of-season items, but what if you want to use your garage as an alternate living space, a workshop, band practice area or for some other activity? What do you need to do? The first step to making your garage livable is soundproofing. In this article, we tell you how. Read on to learn more.
What You'll Learn Today
- 7 Considerations When Soundproofing Your Garage
- 1. What kind of soundproofing will you need?
- 2. Begin with a good, all around insulation treatment
- 3. Finish the garage walls
- 4. Install specially purposed soundproofing materials
- 5. Soften and insulate the floor with rubber matting and/or carpet
- 6. Save money and add an extra layer of quiet with acoustic sheets and blankets
- 7. Build a room-within-a-room
- Cheap & Easy Ways To Soundproof A Garage – DIY
7 Considerations When Soundproofing Your Garage
1. What kind of soundproofing will you need?
What kind of noise do you plan to make in your garage? If you’ll be using power tools, playing drums, moving heavy objects or perfecting your clog dancing skills, you’ll be making impact noises.
If you’ll be listening to music, practicing your Shakespearean soliloquies or watching sports on TV, you’ll be making airborne noise.
Each of these two types of noise require specific sorts of soundproofing. Of course, it’s entirely possible you’ll be making both kinds of noise, in which case, you’d need a combination of soundproofing methods.
2. Begin with a good, all around insulation treatment
No matter what kind of noise you plan to make, insulation is the place to start when soundproofing your garage. If you plan to spend time in your garage at all, you’ll want it to be comfortable and soundproof.
Insulating your garage door, walls, ceiling, and possibly the floor, will help you keep your garage at a comfortable temperature year round while simultaneously keeping outdoor sounds outdoors and indoor sounds indoors.
Choices in insulation materials for your garage floor, walls and ceiling include:
- Spray Foam
- Bubble Wrap
For garage doors, you can purchase handy panel kits for sectioned or solid doors. These ready-to-use kits are affordable and easy to install.
When choosing insulation products, don’t skimp. You are always better off having more insulation than you actually need. Extra insulation means added soundproofing.
Purchase products that are intended to deal with the prevailing weather conditions in your area. No matter what type of insulation you choose to use in your garage, remember to put safety first. Look for fire resistant products.
3. Finish the garage walls
Once you’ve got your insulation in place, you’ll want to finish to walls so that you’ll have an attractive surface you can work with. If you are making your garage into a living space, you will probably want to install drywall because it looks good and adds a layer of soundproofing on its own.
In fact, you can use drywall as soundproofing material if you use a double layer. For added effectiveness, sandwich the two layers of drywall together with green glue, which acts to convert sound waves’ kinetic energy into heat energy.
Drywall is easy to work with, adds to fire resistance and presents a smooth surface that makes a good basis paint and finishing (if you use double drywall) or for the next step if you decide to finish with a different soundproofing material.
4. Install specially purposed soundproofing materials
One of the most effective products for soundproofing available is acoustic foam paneling. These easy to handle panels baffle sound and prevent it from vibrating and bouncing by adding a soft layer over hard surfaces (e.g. drywall). This product is especially good at absorbing impact noise and will also help with acoustic noise.
You can install acoustic foam panels on both the walls and the ceilings of your garage interior. They are installed using double faced foam tape and/or spray adhesive. Use a box cutter or carpet knife to trim each piece as needed for a perfect fit.
Acoustic foam paneling tiles come in a wide variety of textures and colors. Tiles are typically a foot square and cost about $25 for a box of 12. You can go with all one color, or get creative by mixing and matching.
The only downside to this type of wall covering is that it tends to collect dust. Be sure to keep your shop vac handy for occasional touch ups.
5. Soften and insulate the floor with rubber matting and/or carpet
If your garage has a concrete floor, you can be sure that sound will bounce off it. Aside from that, it will make your extended living space cold and uncomfortable.
You can purchase rubber matting in rolls or as large tiles that can be laid down one-by-one on your garage floor. Both choices are affordable and easy to install, but the foam tiles are especially simple to deal with. They are usually about 2’ square and fit together like puzzle pieces.
Solid rubber matting is typically heavier duty than foam tiles and is probably a better choice for setting up a weight room, working on vehicles and other activities that might give the floor a beating. For light exercise and activities, such as dance, aerobics, yoga or kids at play, the foam tiles are probably fine.
If you are just planning to use your garage as an area to relax, you may even decide that laying down some carpet padding and adding a carpet is a good idea.
No matter what you do, adding a layer of softness to your garage floor will help reduce impact noise while keeping your garage warmer.
6. Save money and add an extra layer of quiet with acoustic sheets and blankets
If you just need temporary soundproofing, or if you want to add to existing soundproofing, look into acoustic sheets and blankets. This form of affordable, portable soundproofing can reduce noise levels by as much as fifty percent.
For a semi-permanent installation, you can install hooks or rods at the tops of walls, very near the ceiling and hang acoustic sheets and blankets from ceiling to floor, across entire walls.
You can also create a smaller quiet (and warm) space (I.e. “room-within-a-room”) within your garage or any room by installing hooks or rods on the ceiling in the area you want to partition.
Suspend acoustic sheets and blankets to create an enclosed quiet space for study, music practice/recording, or whatever purpose you have in mind. This area will also be easy to heat with a space heater if you don’t want to warm up the entire garage.
7. Build a room-within-a-room
For absolute soundproofing, you can build a room within a room by simply framing up second walls in front of the existing walls in your garage. You’ll want to have about an inch of space between the existing wall and the one you build.
The downsides of this include increased costs and loss of space, but if these aspects don’t concern you, and you are able to maintain structural integrity, this can be an excellent way to keep interior sounds in and exterior sounds out of a specified area inside your garage.
Cheap & Easy Ways To Soundproof A Garage – DIY
For more garage DIY ideas, have a look at our guide on building a safe room in your garage.