If you’re a musician like me, you’ve probably gotten a complaint or two at some point during your recording career. It’s pretty much impossible to avoid! Either the neighbors hear you and eventually confront you about the noise, or you’ve got a habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time with your guitar. At this point, you probably asked yourself – how to soundproof a room? Either way, I’ve got a perfect solution.
I’ve now completely soundproofed my apartment, which doubles as my music studio, that ANYONE out there can duplicate. And everything I used to do it is totally cheap!In this article, I’m going to be listing all the supplies I used, and exactly how I set up the soundproofing itself, so you can get the exact same results!
And don’t worry about all the sites you see advertising super expensive soundproof foams and the latest fad equipment to get the job done. All you need are a few simple items, a bit of determination, and that’s it!
How To Soundproof A Room – My Simple Method – Supplies Needed
Milwaukee Sawzall (Or Equivalent Reciprocating Saw)A high quality reciprocating saw can go through tires like a hot knife through butter. Milwaukee Sawzall is the industry standard as far as reciprocating saws go, but any equivalent saw will work just fine too. People have used an AC Rotary Cutting Tool on a budget with success as well.
Demolition BladeThe fact that a demolition blade is designed to cut through steel, nails, and other objects that would completely dull other saw blades quickly makes it the perfect tire cutting companion. With a demolition blade, you can go through hundreds of tires in a single day with no worries about blade dulling. On a budget, pretty much any sharp tooth saw blade will do.
Old Junkyard TiresNow, the great thing about old junkyard tires is that they’re worthless for nearly all other purposes EXCEPT, you guessed it, projects like this apartment soundproofing. From each tire, you get a 1 ft wide X ??? ft long piece of rubber. How many do you need? For a 10 ft X 12 ft room, you’ll need to cover 352 total feet of wall space from top to bottom. As for the tires themselves, if they’re in bad condition, then prepare to do some sanding to ensure there’s no rotting rubber going to endanger your health. You may or may not need a belt sander.
French CleatsThese things are GREAT for hanging heavy objects. And considering you want the most width for hanging space you can get, while at the same time making as few holes as possible in the wall, these things worked perfectly to hang my tire strips from.
Gorilla GlueThis is an excellent bonding glue that bonds with extreme strength. Gluing the tires together allows you to make more from your french cleat hanging space and deal with fewer pieces. That way, if you need to pack up the tire soundproofing equipment, bigger pieces will create less of a burden and take much less time to manage.
Those Are The Supplies – What Are The Next Steps?
Slicing the tires all the way around creates a 3.5-4 ft foot strip off of each tire, but may be slightly more or less depending on what size tires they are. You’ll also have the small area in the middle of the tire, above/near the rim, which creates an additional 1.5-2 ft of rubber from each side. So in the end, you end up with between 5 – 6 cubic ft of total rubber from each tire.
After that, you simply install the french cleats into your wall, with the exact spacing you need. Every apartment, house, etc. is different, so it’s going to be up to you how to position the tires to eliminate annoying sound. In order to create a suitable soundproof barrier, you need to hang them butted up against each other, so they’re touching. Alternatively, you may need to use fewer tires for the soundproof effect and be able to get away with a couple feet apart, and possibly more.
Now keep in mind that the area I chose to soundproof was an apartment. But you can easily duplicate this soundproofing system to fit any living space there is, whether it be a whole house, single room, outside barn, business building, you name it! If you need a larger setup, you just need more old tires and more french cleats.
The Soundproofing Is Done – Now How Do I Make It Look Nice?
The choice as to whether or not to “finish” the tires with paint, lacquer, or another liquid so it dries with a visually acceptable appearance is up to you. This should depend on whether you’re needing the soundproofing to be permanent, or just a temporary thing.
In my music studio, the music I make is done at high decibel levels, pretty much every day. So, of course, I made the rubber tires a permanent part of my studio. You can choose to paint the tires the same color as the paint on the walls, or leave them the way they are. It’s totally up to you.
But as far as looks go, “finishing” the tires solved any problem I had with visual appeal. They blended in perfectly with the paint on my wall, and they don’t look at all obtrusive.
An additional visual consideration would be to cover the tires with something such as a blanket or tarp. These both make very good visual concealment options.
Considering this soundproofing solution is designed to fit a “shoestring budget”, for the low cost you really can’t complain.
High Grade Soundproof Foam – An Expensive Option That Works Perfectly
Now, above is the CHEAP way to soundproof an area. If you’ve got a little extra money to spend, and spending it doesn’t bother you, then why not get the best soundproofing you possibly can? When money’s not an option, tires aren’t the only way to go, that’s for sure. The following foams work wonderfully well and soundproof an area 100%, just as they’re designed to do.
Acoustic Wedges Studio Soundproofing Foam
For a 10″ X 12″ 253 foot room, 352 foot of 1-foot squares (12 inch x 12 inch) the cost should be a little bit more but looks more professional. This is also a bit more expensive than the tire method, at $5 a tire, as you would only need a total of 59 tires which cost a total of $295 to cover a 10′ X 12′ room.
Now, acoustic wedges work wonderfully well with their soundproofing ability. And the small 12″ X 12″ square size allows you to customize your soundproof space to use as few or as many as you need while being easily storable and portable. Most people are more than happy with the performance with zero complaints.
Another option – top of the line – would be to use specialized Sonic Homework’s soundproofing foam. They are quite expensive but it’s the best you can find on the market.
Last But Not Least – Be Ready For The Huge Change That Happens Afterward!
Time and time again, I end up getting the same response from musicians I’ve set up soundproof areas for. Not only do they absolutely LOVE the ability to practice and record sessions whenever they want, but for some musicians, it opens up brand new avenues of thought and talent they never knew were there.
For example, not having the time to practice a Verse, Chorus, Verse introduction to a song, and failing to become good at it, led a musician to believe he would NEVER get it right. After my soundproofing, he had more time than ever to practice and ended up getting it right sooner than later.
On the other hand, I’ve had musicians who did a complete “nose dive” in their personal life (and some of their work life) because of the change. They would start practicing so much they would lose track of time, or spend time practicing instead of being with friends and family when they should. So soundproofing can have an opposite negative effect too, depending on how you manage to have access to it.
Finally, I have to tell you. Once I saw this girl that was absolutely HYPED after one of my friends shows, I mean totally into the scene and happy to be there. And to top that off, now my friend (the lead singer of a band, is who the person is, we’ll just call him my friend) is able to offer her something super special, and that’s additional time soaking up the music and kick-ass times she loves so much! She used to be DAZZLED, now she’s like the 4th of July with her energy! And it’s all because of my soundproof sound setup. *SIGH* I love life!