If you use your garage for music practice, you will play loud musical instruments that may bother neighbors or disturb the occupants of other rooms in your home.
Power tools can be just as noisy, which means the same thing may happen if your garage doubles as your DIY workshop.
In any of these cases, soundproofing can help dampen the noise, keeping it localized within the garage space.
This article explains how to soundproof your garage in various ways depending on your budget, noise types, and the intended uses of your garage. It also discusses the factors you should consider when deciding how to soundproof your garage.
How do you soundproof your garage?
Soundproofing your garage involves identifying the type of noise in the garage and installing a material that prevents its transfer through the door, windows, walls, floor, and ceiling.
To do this, you must understand the various noise types and how they behave. Then you can decide the best way to prevent their transfer.
Noise types that soundproofing targets
There are two main types of noise to target when installing soundproofing material in your garage.
Understanding these noises will help you determine the correct way to soundproof your garage based on the noise type involved.
This refers to noises from all kinds of sound sources, including televisions, conversations, and music. Various rooms in your home have varying abilities to contain airborne sound, measured in STC (Sound Transmission Class).
The higher your home’s STC rating, the better it is at nullifying airborne noises. A home or room with a high STC rating lets out little noise into the outside environment.
Hard surfaces amplify airborne sound since sound bounces off such surfaces. Because the garage has various hard surfaces, it can significantly amplify sounds.
Adding as much mass as possible to hard surfaces helps block and prevent the transfer of airborne noises across. This means that denser walls, doors, ceilings, and floors will let out less sound than less dense ones.
Sounds become vibrations when they hit surfaces. The greater the vibrations, the more sound is transferred to adjacent areas.
For instance, banging doors, heavy footsteps, bass, power tools, and creaking furniture produce impact noises in the form of vibration energy.
Such noises are controlled through absorption to prevent them from passing through the structure. The more vibration energy a piece of material can absorb, the more effectively the material will decouple the vibrations and contain impact noises.
How to soundproof a garage
Different ways of soundproofing a garage exist. You can choose one or multiple ways depending on your budget, garage space, and the type of noise being produced.
If you are on a budget, you can go for the various budget options suggested below. Such soundproofing may be appropriate for minor activities like music practice and DIY woodworking.
If you intend to use the space for something as high-tech as a home theater, you should have no trouble affording a more extensive option for soundproofing your garage.
Naturally, such material will cost slightly more, but do an excellent job sealing out all the holes through which sound may escape.
All said, here is a detailed rundown of the various ways to soundproof your garage.
Build a room within a room
A ‘room within a room’ inside your garage is pretty much what it sounds like: a complete inner room within your garage isolated or decoupled from the outer garage space.
The method utilizes a specialized noise reduction system that attaches to the ceiling joists and garage wall. Your installation technician then builds new layers on the wall and ceiling, creating the inner room inside your garage.
This method of insulation is called a room inside a room because it involves fixing the layers of insulation onto the installed system rather than directly to the ceiling and garage wall.
The installed system acts as a shock absorber for sound vibrations inside the room. This approach effectively absorbs sound energy and stops it from transferring into the adjacent walls and the rest of the structure.
The greater the mass of the layer, the more sound it will absorb. A room within a room is highly effective in absorbing loud noises, making it ideal for live music and noisy equipment.
2. Hang sound control material above the garage door to absorb noise
The idea here is to keep the sound from getting reflected from hard surfaces. Notice that the garage door may comprise steel or wood, but mostly steel today.
Both are hard materials that create lots of vibration and amplify airborne sound. Unless the garage door is padded, it will not have the density to block sound.
So, you need something that will absorb the sounds before they hit the door. This is where a soundproofing material such as an acoustic quilt or MLV (mass-loaded vinyl) comes in.
To hang the soundproofing material, you must install a curtain rod above your garage door first to create an anchor point.
3. Install insulation on the garage door
If you want something attached to the garage door itself, you can go a step further and install insulation on the door instead of hanging it on a curtain rod.
This approach is one of the easiest ways to soundproof your garage door. You can use one of the three main soundproofing materials available: spray foam, fiberglass, and cellulose insulation.
Attaching such insulation material to the garage door creates a dense layer of padding or insulation panel that absorbs and dampens sound waves before they hit the hard garage door material.
And with their high R-values, such insulation materials also help prevent energy loss by reducing heat transfer into and out of the garage through the door. This means a more energy-efficient garage with a greater STC.
4. Replace your existing garage door with an insulated one
If you prefer not to do the work yourself, you can skip it by purchasing an already-insulated garage door.
Replacing your current garage door with an insulated option will give you the same benefit as installing a soundproofing material on the current door.
Notice that this option may cost more than installing insulation on an existing door because it involves buying a new garage door.
However, it will be a valuable investment, especially if your current garage door is already worn out.
5. Install acoustic foam panels on the walls and ceiling
The flexible, open-cell structure of acoustic foam serves as a natural sound wave absorber. It helps prevent airborne noises from getting reflected off hard surfaces like floors, walls, and ceilings.
This characteristic makes acoustic sound-absorbing foam ideal for garage wall insulation. Much of the sound energy hitting the foam is converted to heat, effectively reducing its ability to reverberate back into the room or anywhere else.
Adding acoustic sound-absorbing foam to your garage ceiling and walls should be one of the cost-effective ways to insulate and soundproof these areas.
The foam panels can work on the windows in your garage too. However, you should only consider adding the foam to your garage windows if you no longer require the natural light they contribute.
Additionally, ensure you clean acoustic foam regularly; they tend to get dusty quickly.
6. Hang soundproof curtains and blankets on the walls
Just like you could soundproof the garage door by hanging sound control material above it, you can do the same to the walls by hanging soundproof blankets and curtains.
This is one of the least expensive ways to soundproof your garage walls. They are less effective than the more extensive foam, fiberglass, or cellulose installations, but they work well enough and are effective against moderate sounds.
Perhaps their main advantage is the flexibility they allow—you can use more if you need greater insulation.
Alternatively, you can use the more expensive but more effective acoustic blankets, soundproof panels, and tiles.
These create a sound barrier that absorbs sound and reduces noise. You can suspend sound barrier curtains or blankets from floor-mounted frames or portable frames or attach them to the garage ceiling.
7. Lay down rubber mats to insulate the floor
Garage floors are typically made of concrete, a hard surface that amplifies sounds reverberating off it. This quality can make garage floors a significant weak link in your insulation strategy.
Thankfully, the floors are also one of the cheapest and easiest areas to insulate. Simply lay down rubber mats to take the edge off the noises.
Rubber mats are not primarily soundproofing materials, but they do an excellent job minimizing vibrations which help dampen the sounds.
You could also use a large store rug or cheap carpet instead. Any of these soft materials should help reduce sound reverberations from the concrete.
What can garage soundproofing do for you?
- Soundproofing allows you to live harmoniously with your neighbors, especially in a densely populated neighborhood. It can also help reduce the number of complaints from other family members in your home.
- Soundproofing can also reduce distractions from noises outside the garage. If you have a busy street near your home or garage location, the noises from the street can be a bother when doing something in the garage, requiring you to focus to be productive.
- Soundproofing can liberate you to use the garage in whichever way you prefer without worrying about disturbing people outside. You will know that all the noise produced is localized within the garage space, so you can work freely.
- Isolating you from the outside environment provides increased privacy and security. People outside will not know how or when you work in the garage.
What to consider when soundproofing your garage
Once you decide to control airborne sounds and vibrations in your garage, some factors will influence your choices. These factors will determine the ideal soundproofing method for your garage or limit your choices to specific options based on your situation.
Your budget determines the soundproofing material you can afford. If you have deep pockets, you should not mind replacing your current garage door with an insulated one or installing extensive insulation covering every inch of the surfaces in your garage.
However, if you are on a budget, your options may be limited to inexpensive soundproofing materials like acoustic curtains.
Your intended garage uses
If you plan to use your garage for extreme entertainment, such as playing live music, the expected noise level may require thorough soundproofing. For instance, a room within a room may be ideal.
However, if you wish to use the space as your home office, you may need only enough insulation to keep the minor outdoor sounds out. For instance, insulating your existing garage door should be enough to dampen the sounds from a nearby street.
Characteristics of your garage
Your garage may already have insulated walls or ceilings for thermal control. The dense walls will require no additional insulation. Or, they may need only a single insulation sheet if the finish is a hard surface, such as plywood.
The garage may also have various materials, including concrete and metal. Sound will likely reverberate off such hard surfaces, and this factor will influence the soundproofing material you can use.
For instance, if the walls are made of concrete and are uninsulated, they will require some padding to absorb sound and reduce vibration energy.
The video below shows how to soundproof a garage space
Key Principles of Soundproofing
You may only be able to carry out a successful soundproofing project if you understand the fundamental principles. The various soundproofing principles you can use in your garage space include the following;
You understand that a sound is a form of vibration. The sound can travel smoothly within a continuous solid. The best example of this principle could be those two orange cans you used to play with as a kid. Sound could be heard from the other can via the strings attached. When you cut the string (decouple), you could not hear the other person’s voice. Decoupling means disengaging or dissociating something from another.
Sound vibration travels through the solid. Therefore, it is advantageous to contain sound moving from one end of the wall to the other by decoupling the framing on the walls from the ceiling. Decoupling is simple, highly effective, and inexpensive.
You may have blown air over a bottle at some point. Did you notice the noise it makes? That is the sound of air resonating with the air inside the bottle. Your hollow wall will also trap air that resonates with the sound produced in the room next to you or the next-door room.
In this case, insulation will come in handy. But decoupling and insulation alone will not be enough to reduce your noise vibration ultimately.
Mass as requires you to make your walls denser and thicker. This you can achieve by adding drywall, plywood, OSB, or cement board to your existing wall. A sound has to displace the wall slightly for it to move, so you can reduce the displacement by adding mass to the wall, making it slightly heavy.
Drywall is your best option for adding mass; while I recommend two layers of 5/8-inch drywall, it is also important to note that heavy walls will vibrate, but only to a lesser extent.
You can halt the vibrations and get rid of the sound. The dampening principle involves minimizing or eliminating vibrations. You can dampen sounds by layering different materials with various densities to reduce noise. The best material to dampen your drywall at a lower cost is the Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV). You can place it in between standard drywall or subflooring. MLV will give you the best result in dampening.
Frequently Asked Questions-FAQs
Q1. Can you completely soundproof a garage?
Yes. As sound constantly seeks out the weak point and still gets through, all weak points, including windows, doors, and air vents, need to be considered, and any air gaps need to be plugged in to soundproof your garage completely.
Q2. Is soundproofing worth the money?
Yes. Any home in the heart of a bustling metropolis or situated on a sizable farm will eventually become too noisy. If a cost-effective way to treat the entire house is available, do not put up with unnecessary noises, which may cost more in the future in terms of health and law, soundproofing is definitely worth the money.
Q3. Does spray foam insulation act as a sound barrier?
Yes. One of the most outstanding insulation materials to put into reducing noise is spray foam. The fact that spray foam keeps in excellent sounds while blocking out undesired noise is one of the reasons it is regarded as the most incredible noise reduction material. For example, you want the audio to remain in that room while you watch a movie.
Q4. Does soundproofing add value?
No soundproofing does not add value to your property. The essential truth is that soundproofing won’t usually increase the value of your home and definitely won’t increase it by enough to pay for itself. Regard it as a lost expenditure if your objective was to increase the value of your home. Soundproofing will only guarantee you personal enjoyment and reduce disturbance that you can cause in the neighborhood from your garage space.
Q5. What materials can block sound?
There are many materials you can find in the market for soundproofing, while the most common you are likely to encounter are;
- Acoustic Hangers (Mounts)
- Soundproof Drywall (Plasterboard)
- Dense Board (OSB, Plywood, Particle Board, Fire Board)
- Soundproof Floor Underlay.
- Acoustic Membrane.
- Acoustic Mineral Wool Cavity Insulation.
- Resilient Channels.
Q6. How much is it to soundproof a garage?
Soundproofing your garage with acoustic panels, a door sweep, a soundproof window cover, a rug pad, and a bottom garage door seal would cost you between $230 and $450. You can spend an extra $2000 to $3500 to buy and install a soundproof garage door.
Garage walls are usually uninsulated due to the primary use of garages to store cars. However, if you opt to use the space for something other than housing your vehicles, you will want to repurpose the space to suit that function.
If the new role involves producing noise that could potentially disturb your neighbors or anyone outside the garage, soundproofing can help.
This article provides a wide range of garage insulation options to choose from. We hope this helps you find something appropriate for your needs.
If you have any thoughts or suggestions, we will be delighted to hear them in the comments.