VOLUME 7RQuick and Easy Ways to Soundproof a Room
By Anna Quinn
Ensuring quiet areas in a rental can be an important factor for tenants to fully enjoy their space, especially with the uptick in work-from-home jobs.

While landlords are required to protect tenants from repeated disturbances, neither Texas or Florida requires landlords to completely soundproof their rental units. This means blocking out everyday noise, such as footsteps or traffic, is up to the tenant.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways tenants can help soundproof their space. Here are some cheap, easy ways to ensure peace and quiet.

The Power of Fabric
Use items most tenants will likely already buy for their residence, including curtains, throw rugs and blankets.

Before taking any soundproofing measures, identify the entry point (ex. the wall closest to outdoor traffic sounds) and what is known as the reflection point, any wall directly across from the source that the sound might bounce off. Soundproofing measures should be added to both the entry point and reflection point for the best chance at reducing noise.

Curtains can soundproof both windows and walls with heavier fabrics such as velvet. According to residential remodeling expert Bob Vila, a curtain’s sound reduction abilities are tripled every time its weight is doubled, so the heavier fabrics the better. Pleats also go a long way in blocking noise since sound waves get caught in fabric folds.

If noise is coming from a downstairs unit (or if a tenant wants to minimize the sound of footsteps), throw rugs are another way to block sound. Putting padding under a rug can be even more effective at reducing noise.

Additionally, adding more upholstered furniture to a space can also help reduce noise because it provides more places for sound to be absorbed. If adding more furniture feels too crowded, spread out thick blankets and pillows on existing couches or chairs to help absorb noise from all directions.

Add Your Own Sound
Creating a peaceful environment can also be done by adding more noise to a space. Sound machines and ambient noise from fans or air purifiers can be pleasant ways to drown out more distracting sounds from other units or the outdoors.

On popular e-commerce websites such as Amazon, sound machines can be purchased for less than $30. They often include peaceful background noise such as rain, waves and birds chirping. These can be particularly helpful when trying to sleep, as can sleep masks or earplugs.

Air purifiers, with a starting range of $45 on Amazon, have the added benefit of cleaning a tenant’s space of pet dander, odors or other air particulates while providing ambient noise. Also, fans will produce similar background noise while keeping a rental cool.

Heavy-Duty Soundproofing
Although renters might not be able to make permanent soundproofing changes such as adding drywall, there are a few alternatives.

Soundproof foam boards can be attached to the ceiling or walls of a space using removable mounting putty so the property isn’t damaged in the process. (Spray foam is another option, but lacquer or acetone will be required to remove it.)

Foam soundproofing materials can also be added to the floor or doors of a space. On the floor, rubber mats should interlock with one another to fit the foam to the size and shape of a specific space. In addition to foam on doors, a door sweep will cover the gap at the bottom of the door and minimize noise.

Similar to foam, tenants could buy larger acoustic panels to secure to the walls or ceiling. These panels will likely need to be mounted with more heavy duty hardware, such as screws or Z-clips. Make sure nails or screws are allowed in the lease beforehand, and keep spackling paste nearby to fill in nail holes.

For tenants looking to save money, making acoustic panels can also be a do-it-yourself project. Home project websites such as Fix This Build That have detailed guides for making acoustic panels for approximately $20 each, compared to an average $150 price to buy the soundproofing panels.

No matter the approach, there are many options for tenants when it comes to soundproofing their home or even a single room. Doing so helps to avoid conflict with noisy neighbors and being the noisy neighbor too.