For many, the garage is a safe hobby haven. Your complete tool setup is in there, along with past projects you intend to complete, and of course, your car.
Maybe the garage is even your band’s practice area or you have a makeshift recording studio set up there. The garage is a secluded area away from the rest of the house that allows you to focus on improving your skills. But as much as you love banging the drums or tinkering in your garage workshop, your family and neighbors don’t approve of the activities.
Option one is to ignore the disapproving neighbors and risk receiving an official complaint, while option two is to soundproof your garage, and everyone is happy.
I’ll assume you choose the second option and prefer a soundproof garage, so you continue doing what you love. Here are some tips and tricks to help you.
Benefits of Garage Soundproofing
Apart from the obvious benefit of working on your projects when you want, there are several advantages to a soundproof garage. These are benefits for yourself, your neighbors, and the people you’re living with.
So, what benefits do you stand to reap after soundproofing the garage?
Keep Noises In
Soundproofing helps keep the loud noises from leaking out of the garage. This project will keep the sounds from escaping through the doors, windows, and walls.
A soundproof hobby garage space will keep neighbors happy. Plus, it allows you to use the garage whichever you want while cutting down on the number of complaints. People outside the garage also don’t know what you’re working on, increasing security and privacy.
Keep Noise Out
It’s sometimes critical to keep noises from the outside world from getting into your space. Noise from fireworks, cars driving by and honking, children playing, and more can be disruptive.
Outside noise is especially a major issue if you have a home office or recording studio in your garage. Do what needs to be done without the interference of the outside world.
Improve Indoor Sound Quality
Soundproofing can also help improve the sound quality in your space. This is especially true when you want to maintain the right amount of reverb while practicing with band members.
Tips for Soundproofing Depending on Garage Use
The plans for your garage will dictate how you carry out the soundproofing project.
For Use as a Workshop
A hand drill can achieve up to 98 decibels (dB) of noise while a hammer tops off at 114 dB. Prolonged exposure to sounds over 85 dB can damage your hearing, while noise above 120 dB can lead to immediate harm.
To soundproof a garage specifically for workshop tasks:
- Find the source of the noise
- Install rubber isolation blocks to separate your machinery from the cart or base
- Install sound-dampening materials to metal machine cabinets
- Place acoustic panels to your ceiling and walls to absorb sound from machinery and tools
- Place sound-absorbing rubber under units to reduce vibrations
Overall, soundproofing your garage workshop ensures you enjoy the freedom to work when you can and without worrying about affecting other people.
For Band Practice or Recording Studio
Musical instruments, such as a bass drum, can be problematic. This is because they produce a low frequency that demands a lot of soundproofing mass.
Besides the steps above, you’ll need to increase mass to your soundproofing for drums. Basic soundproofing tips for the musicians in the house include:
- Building a room within a room (decoupling) to keep low frequencies from drums and bass from traveling outside.
- Using resilient channels, MLV, or acoustic panels that act as shock absorbers.
- Combining different soundproofing techniques to add mass to your garage.
Other Factors to Consider Before Soundproofing Your Garage
You also need to consider things such as the garage size and your budget, so you choose the best insulation materials. Other things to think about include:
- How you use the garage – Whether as a home office, recording studio, or workshop to either block sound or improve sound quality.
- Construction of your garage – Garage construction materials such as concrete or metal will affect the soundproofing materials you’ll use.
- Garage features – Think of the number of doors and windows your space has.
- Garage door type – Consider your garage door’s material, how often you use it, and how it opens.
5 Steps to a Soundproof Garage
A soundproof garage blocks sound waves to reduce noise transmission. You’ll also need to ensure sound waves are absorbed to reduce reverberations and echoes.
Blocking sound waves involves closing gaps and adding mass. Installing sound-absorbing materials will help reduce the amount of reflective, hard surfaces in your garage. Here’s the sequence of steps to making your garage soundproof.
Step 1: Soundproof Your Door
One of the biggest garage soundproofing struggles you’ll face is dealing with the garage door.
Garage doors are the gateways for sound to escape from and come into your garage. These doors are perhaps the worst producers of noise.
They are big and have a ton of gaps that need covering from the sides and top. Sealing these gaps doesn’t guarantee that sound will not escape. This is especially true when you consider garage door movement.
Despite this problem, there are a few things you can do to soundproof your garage door.
Seal the Gaps
Gaps on garage doors are on the bottom, side, or top. Inspect your door’s nooks and crannies to determine where these gaps are.
Next, apply an acoustic sealant. The specialized sound-absorbing caulk in the sealant adheres to various building materials, including concrete, gypsum, wood, and metal. This pliable material offers a permanently flexible seal against sound wave travel.
Insulate the Door
Typical garage doors aren’t insulated; they either have a hollow or solid structure. Installing an insulation layer to the door effectively blocks and absorbs noise.
An effective and easy option to insulate your garage door is using Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV). Measure the door and cut the material so it’s the same size as your door. Use a green glue adhesive to secure the MLV in place.
You can also add sound-deadening blankets to soundproof the garage door. The blankets contain dense material that absorbs and deflects sound waves.
Replace the Garage Door
You might have to replace the existing garage door if you want to soundproof the garage permanently. Unfortunately, acoustic blankets are not effective in soundproofing areas with loud noises.
If you’re not ready to go through the hassle or expense of replacing the door, consider investing in a quieter garage door opener in the meantime.
Step 2: Soundproof the Walls
Is the wall hollow? Does it offer excellent sound isolation? If not, fix or even replace your garage walls.
The typical garage wall features thin materials that allow sound to escape. You have the option to open them up or install a new surface level.
Opening the walls involves taking out the old insulation and replacing it before putting drywall back.
Constructing double walls is also an effective way of blocking sound. The two walls have a small gap in between them and prevent sound from escaping the garage. However, double-wall construction can take time and lots of space, but it gets the job done.
You can always step it up by installing resilient channels, which make sure sound doesn’t vibrate through your walls. These channels contain thin metals constructed, which absorb sound from inside your garage. For brick or cement walls, put wooden studs over them and attach MLV.
If you want a professional finish, install acoustic tiles. The tiles are an excellent way to jazz up and quiet down the garage. They work by absorbing the sound waves and reducing the external noise level.
Step 3: Soundproof the Windows
Windows are thin and provide gaps through which noise escapes. Soundproofing your garage will also involve covering up the windows. But you’re going to lose natural light, so make sure you invest in great interior lighting.
There are several options for soundproofing your windows, including:
- Installing a custom acoustic plug from materials such as egg crate panels and untempered hardboard to close gaps between the windows;
- Putting in window blankets in front of the windows;
- Installing soundproofing curtains that also help put your personal touch in the garage;
- Or you could brick up the windows as a last resort.
Step 4: Soundproof the Ceiling
Fixing the garage ceiling is one of the easiest ways to soundproof your space.
While ceilings in garages are not a big problem, the little time you invest in fixing them is a brilliant investment for having peace. Fortunately, garage ceiling soundproofing projects are relatively easy and cheap.
However, be aware that you’ll have little headroom once you are done with soundproofing. Reduce the amount of noise bouncing off your ceiling using one of these materials.
Installing these tiles to the ceiling is an easy way to reduce the noise coming out of your garage. Sound waves bounce off smooth surfaces, which is what the textured soundproofing ceiling tiles prevent from happening.
You’ll notice a dramatic reduction of echoes, thanks to the active sound-absorbing properties of the tiles.
Installing the ceiling tiles doesn’t require professional help. It’s a simple DIY project that may take an afternoon to complete.
These panels provide exceptional soundproofing properties.
They are easy to find and install. However, they come with a hefty price tag, but you can find a variety of foam panels that fall within your budget range.
Step 5: Soundproof the Floor
Now you’re at the tail end of your journey to soundproofing your garage completely. Soundproofing garage floors is the easiest and cheapest step of them all.
Sound waves are continuously bouncing from the ceiling, wall, and back to your floor. The hard surface can amplify impact sounds while providing an area to bounce and vibrate off.
Luckily, you can prevent noise problems with a few simple solutions.
Garage floor cracks affect soundproofing. The cracks can break all other steps you’ve undertaken, especially if they are substantial.
Inspect your floor for significant damage, such as chipping. You might need to tear down a portion of the floor, repair it, and seal it with new tiles.
You can also fix cracking by sealing with glue so there are no spaces where sound can escape from.
Mats or Carpeting
Place a carpet on your garage floor. However, you’ll get better results if you use durable, thick mats that are specifically for soundproofing.
Soundproofing carpeting quickly absorbs sound and stops it from bouncing on your door, walls, and ceiling.
Installing a carpet is easy and will only take a maximum of a day. Place MLV under the carpets to provide additional acoustic underlay.
What are the Common Types of Garage Noises?
All the recommendations below are necessary because activities in a garage can be loud.
The limited space inside the home means carrying out your activities in a garage gives you more room to work with. But you need to consider two types of noises before you soundproof.
This noise occurs when solid objects knock against each other. The noise can be problematic if it leads to vibrations that enter your floor and walls. An excellent example of structure-borne noise is the knocking sound of the garage door.
Identify structure-borne noises by placing your hand on the door when you hear the noise you want to eliminate. Vibration from sound means the noise is structure-borne.
If there’s no vibration, then the noise is airborne.
These are sounds that travel from common sources, such as talking, power tools, garage TV, or music. The noises can travel into your garage and out through the garage door.
The noise performance of a house is determined by Sound Transmission Class (STC). A high STC rating means your home is efficient in reducing sound transmission within the frequency test range.
Sound is amplified when it bounces off hard surfaces. So imagine how loud something is inside your garage, taking into consideration the floor, wall, and metal hard surfaces.