After an exhausting day at work, you have come home wishing only for sound sleep and some quiet time to yourself.
However, you have to bear the arguments unfolding in your neighbor’s apartment through their rather loud voices.
Oh, and your baby is a light sleeper and keeps on waking up in the middle of the night because of constant murmurs or conversations?
If this has indeed happened often enough, then soundproof paint for your walls might just be the thing for you!
While painting your drywall and ceilings with sound deadening paint is one good way that can absorb some noise, it’s not the best option out there to completely soundproof your room.
Plus, it’s not very cheap and if you don’t apply it right or choose a low-quality product, it can damage the overall look of your walls permanently.
So, before you decide to put them on your walls or ceilings, why not consider getting some more information to know how does it work, and whether it can really work for you or it’s just another marketing gimmick.
Let’s find out…
What is a Soundproofing Paint?
Soundproof paint (also known as acoustic paint, sound dampening paint, or deadening paint) is a thick water-based paint that comes with the ability to absorb sound.
Usually, the paint can block the sound waves of a lower to medium frequency (like conversational noise in your next room).
The good thing which I like about soundproof paint is its easy application.
This means, it is easily interchangeable with ordinary paint and can be used on surfaces that you can paint with ordinary paint.
This also means that you do not have to worry about cleaning and repainting the walls, as it is perfectly okay to paint it over on normal surfaces even if it’s painted with different paint.
Although noise dampening paints are available in a number of colors, you might not be able to get a huge range like that of ordinary paints.
It’s mostly available in lighter shades and tones, so you do not have the choice of a darker shade or color.
What is acoustic paint made of?
Soundproof paint has a much thicker density than other ordinary wall paints.
The reason for its thickness is the presence of “Sound-absorbing fillers”, which are the main component for blocking the sound from outside.
In addition to that, it contains ceramic microspheres, which add to the density of the paint.
Inside the Sound-absorbing fillers are the “Thermacels” which are packed with vacuum, and soft pigments of paint and Latex are its main component.
Because of its composition, it adds a little mass to the walls, so you should expect to see your walls painted with a thick material/paint.
How does the sound absorbing paint work?
As mentioned before, soundproof paint gets the ability to block sound from outside because of its “thermacels”, the operation is similar to that of a car’s suspension system.
In general, sound-reducing paint can reduce the noise at two different levels.
- Firstly, it will reduce the noise from outside sources.
- Secondly, it will reduce the sound level within the room for example echo.
The thermacels inside the soundproof paint are the real agents that help to avoid the bouncing of sound waves, which create the echo.
It helps by stopping the sound energy from being transferred outside, as when the sound waves hit it, it absorbs them and prevents them from spreading out.
In this way, it helps to eliminate the echo inside your room.
What are The Benefits of Using Soundproof Paint?
Soundproof paint can be very useful in some situations, and for certain kinds of sounds or noises.
Although it might not be able to convert your room or house into a completely silent area (Duh!), but it can help a lot in lowering down the issues to some extent.
What follows are the few benefits of using soundproof paints on your existing ceilings and walls.
Check them out to decide whether they can actually work for you or not!
1. Reduces the Echo by Absorbing Sound
This is the main purpose why most people try this kind of paint on their walls and ceilings.
It can significantly help if your sleep is easily disturbed by the murmuring voices at night, maybe because of late-night conversations by the people next door.
It can also help a lot if your baby is a light sleeper and gets woken up easily by the noise. And you can sleep in peace, phew!.
Not just that, in situations where you have to focus on your projects in the office, and your colleagues are a bit talkative, a room with sound-absorbing paint will help you focus on your work without getting distracted.
So, in all the situations where low-level noises are causing a disturbance in your life, you can avoid or eliminate the problem by introducing sound-proof paint at your house or office.
2. Creates a Thermal Insulation Sheet
Not only that, but the soundproofing paint can also work in creating a thermal insulation sheet, to prevent heat energy transfer.
It has been quoted by several users that there was a major change of temperature between a room painted with soundproof paint and the other painted with ordinary paint.
With that said, you can use this paint only on the walls you want to paint, you do not have to use it all over your house if you currently cannot afford or do not have the time to paint them.
If there are some specific spots that need soundproofing in addition to heat insulation, you can identify those spots and use the paint for those spots, using proper shades and colors.
3. Environment-friendly and Wide Range
Another benefit of soundproof paint is that it is environment-friendly, and will cause no harm, as it contains no toxic materials.
As previously discussed, the cells are filled with vacuum and soft pigments.
Therefore, if you are looking for an environmentally friendly way to solve your problems like loud neighbors, sound-reducing paint is the solution you are looking for.
It can also help to redesign your room if you are looking for redecorating – like ordinary paints, soundproof paint is available in a number of colors and shades.
If you are looking to purchase soundproof paint, the best choice would be to get the thickest available paint.
Because the thickness will add to the volume of the thermacels, and that would create more vacuum and would be successful in blocking the sounds.
4. Easy to Clean and Maintain
Most soundproof paints available on the market can easily be cleaned and would not create a lot of mess that is hard for you to clean up.
You can clean it up by using water and soap, so it would not be a hustle for you if you drop it somewhere or need a neat look in your room.
It might look a bit hectic to use different techniques of applying it, but in the end, it will create a difference and is definitely worth it, in some of the cases.
5. Saves Time and Money As Well
Saving time is also prioritized by many, and for soundproof paint, you can literally do it this weekend.
Get the paint, paint the wall, and ta-da!!
There you have the soundproofing complete!!
The wall painted with soundproof paint might look a bit different than the ordinary painted wall, because of the latex and other components of the paint.
Sometimes, it might make the wall look a little chunky (well, that’s a bummer!), it is because it often needs 2 to 3 layers of paint, and the material inside the paint makes it a little hard to have a smooth or soft look.
Now, coming to the price range, if you are someone who is looking for saving some money too, it is a cheaper option as compared to other soundproofing methods like panels or insulation sheets, but it is definitely not as cheap as ordinary paint.
Most of the time, it does not cost more than 30$ for a gallon.
So it is one of the cheapest methods if you are looking for a less expensive way to reduce noise and disturbing sounds at night.
How to Apply Soundproof Deadening Paint Correctly?
Drywall creates an airtight insulated extra layer sealed to form a solid barrier for incoming sound.
For better performance, you can apply a coat of noise-absorbing paint.
There are different ways to use the sound insulation paint which can further enhance its efficacy.
It can either be applied through a roller, a paintbrush, or via spray paint technique.
The spraying technique will speed up the process, and you can paint your house in no time using it.
However, you should try this method only if you are skilled in it.
No matter what way you apply, just take care of the few things below when you are applying sound barrier paints on your walls or ceilings:
1. Coats and layers
To achieve the best results, one of the most important things is to apply a few layers or coatings to the soundproof paint.
And the easiest method to get this job done is by using a roller. It would help in painting your room faster, than using a brush or spray.
It is recommended to use the paint for all the places or walls in a house, to create a silencing environment.
If not, and you are using it for some of the walls, it might minimize the effects of the soundproof paint, and can reduce its efficacy.
2. Surfaces to apply
This paint is usually used for interior walls, as it will have minimal effects when put on exterior walls.
You can also apply it to the ceilings of your room if you think the ceiling is more vulnerable to noise or low to middle-frequency sounds.
Along with its applicability on walls, it can be applied to wood as well as metal.
An important step would be to cover up any large holes which are vulnerable to produce more sound or noise, and then paint the walls completely with soundproof paint.
While applying, you need to be mindful of the quantity of paint used.
Make sure you buy enough paint to spread it out on all the desired areas, as because of its thickness it’s a bit harder to spread it on the walls.
Therefore, more quantity of the paint is needed to evenly spread it out, and use enough coats and layers of the paint.
3. Proper temperature and pressure sprays
It is also to be noted that soundproof paint will take a longer time period to dry, as compared to ordinary paint.
It is water-based paint, and it normally takes around 16 hours for the soundproof paint to dry.
But to make sure it is totally dry before applying another coat, it will be advised to give it around 24-32 hours to dry, and then you can apply the second coat of the paint.
Another important instruction is to keep the temperature of the room high, as it will help the paint to dry quickly as compared to a low-temperature room.
The low temperature will make the drying process a lot slower, and it will be too long for you to complete the process.
For applying the paint, a pressure sprayer is also one of the best techniques along with using a roller.
But you have to be careful with the use of a pressure sprayer, as it can spread the paint to the ceiling while covering the walls, and you might not want that.
A negative point of using soundproof paint is that it is not too even and smooth like ordinary paints because of the presence of thermacels in it, thus it has an abrasive effect.
Therefore, you should avoid touching the paint until it is totally dried up.
So, Does a Paint Really Work to Soundproof Your Walls and Room?
If you have problems finding a peaceful environment inside your room, because of conversational noises outside, soundproofing paint like Sherwin William’s sound-absorbing paint might be able to solve your problems.
People for whom I have used it before, do quote that this has helped them in an effective way to reduce noise.
Also, it has been easy to use, as it can be used like normal paints, though it is a bit thicker than that.
With that said, expecting a miraculously soundless and silent room from just the use of soundproof paint, I guess a little unreasonable?
I hate to say it but, paints like noise-reducing Sherwin William’s and Acousti Coat might not work for high-frequency sounds.
For example, noise blocker paint will prove to be a failure if you are using it to get rid of the sound of a barking dog or a crying kid.
And it will also not be successful in helping you reduce the sound of a TV or loud music.
It will also not solve your problem if you are being disturbed by someone playing the drums next door.
It will also not be effective if you are disturbed by the sound of heavy steps or by someone using a hammer on their walls next door.
However, it is claimed by many that soundproofing paints can significantly help in reducing conversational noise to a huge extent.
But if you live near a heavy traffic roadside, it might be hard to solve this problem only with soundproofing paint.
Remember, soundproof or sound-deadening paints can be bought at online stores like Amazon, eBay, and many others.
However, since these paints can be tricky to work with, just compare the brands and pick the right one that is reliable and is most effective in getting the job done.
Few Other Soundproofing Methods You Can Combine for Getting Better Results
Good acoustic insulators (such as soft cloths, pliable wood, porous materials, etc) can absorb the sound best.
However hard and dense materials like (metal, marble, etc.) can reflect the sound most.
So, if you have different surfaces like these in your room installed, there are different techniques you can combine with a soundproof painted wall to stop the sound from traveling.
To prevent echo in a room, there are certain techniques that you can use…
1- Use of proper furniture
To completely block the sound from entering your room might be a hard task.
But by using proper furniture and soundproofing materials (that can absorb the sound), you can reduce the traveling of sound to some extent.
For example, you can use a huge sofa with one of your walls, which will help in doing the job.
Using extra furniture items (like tables, chairs, wall cabinets) in your room can also help to stop the bouncing of sound waves.
If you want to stop outside noise, you can even use a bookshelf to create a stronger sheet that prevents the noise from coming inside very easily.
Moreover, room dividers and blankets might be another option to help you with this problem.
2- Carpets and rugs
If the sound is coming from upstairs, for example, through the steps of people, you can use thick carpets and rugs that can help a lot in reducing the sounds of steps.
A huge variety of soundproof rug pads, mats, and washable carpets along with soundproof paints are now available online at stores like Amazon, eBay, and many others.
Just find them and place them in your room to get extra soundproofing.
One of the most effective and cheapest ways I tried is by hanging the quilt, blanket, tapestry, or a decorative rug along the walls of the room.
These can also be pleasing to the eyes as it does not negatively affect the appearance of the room.
3- Covering windows and doors
The windows and doors in your room are also the reason you are disturbed by the noise.
So you should consider using soundproofing materials for them as well.
A thick noise-controlling curtain would be helpful in creating a shield for the incoming noise or disturbing sounds from outside.
Remember, these can be a little more expensive than normal curtains but can help in the absorption of the sound waves better.
You can also use thick padding for the floor or ceiling to absorb the sound waves, and create insulation for the sound.
4- Covering up holes and gaps
Green glue is a soundproofing substance that can be used to cover up any holes in the walls or the ceiling.
You can use it on the holes first, and then cover it up with soundproof paint, to make it more effective.
Some people also suggest that dark paint can help in reducing noise, but it is just a myth.
As the dark paint creates an environment of a quieter place by making it look small and intimate, in reality, it is as prone to noise and sound waves as a room painted with any other color.
5- Sheets and panels
Another idea to achieve the desired soundproofing results is to use panels for the walls and then use paint over them.
You can either use ordinary panels, which would be cheaper in price or if you want to stop high-frequency vibrations, you can use soundproof panels as well.
Acoustic ceiling tiles (for installing on ceilings) also serve great to soundproof and improve the acoustics of a space.
In order to avoid the sound traveling from windows and doors, you can use weather stripping to cover the gaps and holes.
And then cover the windows with heavy curtains.
Remember, if you are planning to use acoustic foams and not the panels, leave them unpainted.
Painting the acoustic foam or soundproofing foam can clog up their pores making them less effective or nearly worthless.
Expecting the soundproof paint to permanently solve your problems might be a little preposterous, but it can certainly solve some of your noise problems.
This means, if your neighbors complain about the noise coming from your house, you don’t have to waste a lot of money buying and installing expensive equipment (like foam panels).
You can simply apply 2-3 coats of noise-reducing paint to your walls, and get the job done.
However, if you have more money to invest, and noise is a huge problem for you, you might want to invest in something more effective.
It can either be soundproof panels, acoustic tiles, or other insulating materials.
I wish you, good luck with soundproofing your home!
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for more than a decade to serve the customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques that are being implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.
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