When it comes to soundproofing a room, there are many ways to go about it. And just as thankfully, there are many products out there that can help you turn an ordinary space into a soundproof one.
One of those products is soundproof paint. It’s paint for the ceiling and walls with a supposed soundproofing quality. The million dollar question on everyone’s mind of course is does it work?
The answer isn’t as cut and dry, for it truly depends on certain factors. It does work for certain levels of noise. But if you think painting your spaces with soundproof paint is going to suddenly be the miracle you need for soundproofing your room fully, think again.
There are many other factors you’ll want to add along with it, perhaps some soundproof curtains for example.
Plus you’ll need to seal any gaps if you want pure soundproofing for any room, whether you’re intending to keep the sound locked in, or keep other sounds from coming in to disturb you.
To learn more about soundproof paint and how it can be beneficial to your soundproofing efforts, keep reading along. You’re about to find out everything you need to make the best choices for your needs!
What’s the Difference between Soundproof and Regular Paint?
If you’re wondering how something like paint can possibly be soundproof or how regular paint even compares to the soundproof variety, you’re about to find out. It might seem like all paint is paint, but that’s not exactly the case.
It’s easy to be skeptical. After all, isn’t paint there for design and color? Isn’t it to keep your spaces looking fresh and protected for years? Well, yes. But soundproof paint exists and it has it a certain quality to it that does render it effective for soundproofing.
We’re getting ahead of ourselves though. First, let’s discover all there is to know about good old regular paint!
■ Regular Paint
When you’re planning on painting your spaces, you’ve likely looked at swatch after swatch of color to try to pick one you like.
But it’s not just about colors as you know. Regular paint is available in a dazzling array of colors. And furthermore, those colors come in tons of shades.
You’ll never realize how many shades of purple there are until you attempt to choose one for your room!
Regular paint is very thin though so it’s easy to paint with. It’s why most people choose to paint their spaces themselves rather than hire a professional, unless the room is expansive, features super-high ceilings, or has some other feature to it that makes it a bit more difficult.
There are many different brands of regular paint too and they all come in a range of prices.
Regular paint overall tends to be a little less pricey than soundproof paint but that’s not always true. A low-cost bucket of regular wall paint generally costs around $15 per gallon.
But going for cheap really shows. You want to balance your budget with quality. You can still find affordable paints that will fit your budget and come to last you years and years with a flawless finish.
Even if you have little money to work with, it’s a worthy expense to make more room for a better budget when it comes to paint.
The reason for this is that cheap paints tend to crack faster. Some may even change color after some time. In the end, this costs you more money than you planned.
It’s going to be cheaper in the long run if you buy the better quality paint to ensure that you don’t have to run back to the store to match your previous paint color and repaint again long before you really should be doing so.
Of course, there are some expensive wall paints out there that cost $100 per gallon or more. Unless you have an endless supply of money to burn, you’ll want to steer clear of those as well.
You can find plenty of paints that will be a reasonable price and have lasting quality to them. Do keep in mind though that the darker the color and the more saturated it is, the more expensive that gallon of paint is going to be.
There’s more pigment used to create them which will give them a richer look. And isn’t that what you want?
Aside from color, the other main point of regular paint is the finish. You can choose from glossy or matte, or some midpoint between these finishes.
If you go into public places like malls, schools, hospitals and the like, you’ll tend to find glossy walls. These are easier to clean. In most residences though, matte paints are preferred because they add a classic style.
■ Soundproof Paint
Now let’s explore soundproof paint. One of the first differences you’ll notice is that it doesn’t give you very many options when it comes to color.
You can choose from several tones, but don’t expect the robust greeting of thousands of colors and shades to peruse for your room when it comes to soundproof paint.
A gallon of soundproof paint will generally run around $35 to $80. That’s not too bad in the grand scheme of things, a wise investment full of quality for any space especially considering it can be used to cover as much as 150 square feet.
Soundproof paint is like regular paint in that it is water-based. But it lends a key difference that might be why it helps improve the sound quality for your spaces.
It contains latex as a main ingredient. Latex serves to make the paint dry faster, plus it’s non-toxic and lends a soundproofing quality to the paint.
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Rubber materials are commonly used for soundproofing as well as to provide thermal insulation on walls. Mass-loaded vinyl and other rubber materials are well-known for soundproofing effectiveness.
By using a soundproof paint, the latex will get into any small cracks and add a slight thickness to it. But because it’s a bit thicker, it can look a little chunky in texture. Regular paint glides on smooth.
Even if you mix it well, soundproof paint will have a visible texture once it adheres to your walls and ceiling. But this can be a benefit if you have any flaws that you’d like to cover up.
Still, soundproof pain isn’t going to suddenly add a huge amount of mass to your walls. You’d get more thickness out of a wallpaper for soundproofing.
Yet, the thickness of this paint is why it does provide more soundproofing qualities to your space.
What Is Soundproof Paint Composed Of?
It’s understandable that you might be a bit doubtful of soundproof paint over regular paint. After all, it does cost more. And it’s just paint, right? Not exactly.
See, if you put regular paint and soundproof paint side-by-side, you’ll be able to see the difference.
If you were to open a gallon of regular paint or even get a sample of it (a much wiser idea), you’d see that after mixing it up a bit, it will have a nice smooth consistency.
Now, look at soundproof paint and you’ll see a distinct difference in texture. It’s thick and chunky and no matter how much you mix it, it stays that way.
Soundproof paint is supposed to be thick so that it can aptly do what it’s intended to do…add a bit of soundproofing to your walls and ceiling.
Again, it’s not going to leave the kind of smooth finish regular paint will leave, but if soundproofing is your goal, this won’t matter to you.
With soundproof paint, it contains latex as well as ceramic microspheres, plus many brands provide eco-friendly options.
You should always choose soundproof paint that lists itself as resistant to fire, mold, and mildew. Antimicrobial options also exist which are ideal for anyone with children.
As an added bonus, soundproof paint is easy to clean despite it’s slightly chunkier texture. Mild soap and water can remove any unwanted murals left behind by your kids should they decide to take the wall as their canvas rather than all that paper you bought for them.
How Does Soundproof Paint Work?
Wondering if soundproofing paint can work for your room? Yes, it can, but it depends on what sounds you’re trying to muffle or dampen. Considering redecorating? Soundproofing paint can most certainly be a wise choice for you on your walls and ceilings.
Keep reading to discover about different sound frequencies, which play a role in soundproofing effectively.
With soundproof paint, it can handle mid-range frequencies. These are associated with the decibel volume of a normal conversation.
When it comes to high frequencies, like a flute, or low frequencies, like traffic outside, soundproof paint will need to be combined with other methods of soundproofing to make a big difference.
Aesthetically, soundproof paint will look very heavy and leave a raised texture. This becomes more evident with each coat, and the more coats you add, the more soundproofing measures will be in place.
You’ll also have to live with tinted or light pastel colors because of the high pigment content, but if your goal is soundproofing, you will have to find other ways to bring color into your soundproofed space.
Brightly-colored furniture and intricately-designed pieces can help you express yourself in your space rather than the paint.
However, you should know that simply painting your walls and ceilings with soundproof paint isn’t going to stop noise from going in or coming out of your room.
It will certainly help, but you’ll need to combine it with other soundproofing methods. It helps to understand different frequencies and how they come into play for getting soundproof paint to help you quiet things down in your space.
How Do Different Frequencies Affect Soundproof Paint?
Every sound has a specific frequency and that’s affected by the materials these sound waves encounter. When a surface is harder, sounds tend to bounce off of them with mid-range frequencies. Softer surfaces will absorb them though. Frequencies from bass aren’t absorbed easily by soft materials which makes them harder to control.
So with flat surfaces like your walls and ceilings, they can resonate more bass. Adding soundproof paint will help a bit here as most of them can help boost the STC rating of your room by anywhere from 3 to 7 points.
But again, there are many variables here to consider, such as what furniture you’ll have in the room, the construction of the room, room size, and how many coats of paint you apply.
Each situation and each space will require a different solution. If your reasoning for soundproofing is because you can hear your family talking in normal tones while you’re working in your home office, soundproof paint will help absorb that sound. If your son is practicing to be a drummer in the next room, it won’t.
Determine what sounds are bothering you in your space or what sounds you’d like to keep from escaping your room.
Parents that desire a bit of intimacy may find soundproof paint muffles romantic interludes enough to keep the kids from finding out.
But if you’re hoping to drive down the sound of traffic from the nearby highway, you’ll most certainly have to add other soundproofing measures for the best effect.
What Are the Benefits of Soundproof Paint?
Soundproof paint can help reduce the noise of most normal frequencies by as much as 30%. That’s a great benefit though it can do much more than that. Because it’s a thicker consistency, it can also provide thermal protection. That means it will help you keep your room warmer or cooler, depending on the season, which is always beneficial for keeping your electric costs down.
It can also help you smooth over a room that looks a bit worse for wear, giving it an updated look and feel, plus adding a boost of soundproofing.
While there aren’t as many colors to choose from, you can always add accents with your furniture and curtains.
Soundproof paint can also be used on any surface so wood, metal, and plastic are acceptable surfaces you can paint.
The thicker the paint, the better it will be for soundproofing so be prepared to add 2 or more layers of it.
Plan on getting plenty of paint to make that happen. On average, you’ll spend about $30 per gallon which can add up, but the results will be worth it.
If money is too tight though, consider economical solutions that work for you. For example, if you live in an apartment, condo, or townhouse where you share a wall with a neighbor, you can simply paint your side of the shared wall to help soundproof the room.
In fact, doing it this way if you’re renting is ideal because you don’t have to spend too much, your landlord won’t mind the paint because it’s easy to change, and they likely won’t mind your paint job since soundproof paint tends to come in pastel colors.
Some people believe the myth that darker paint is better at absorbing sound, but this simply isn’t true.
They’re just getting it confused with dark colors and light. Color has nothing to do with how well the paint absorbs sounds. In fact, these lighter colors are more pigmented which does the trick.
When you incorporate soundproof paint with other methods of soundproofing, you’ll get the best results.
In the example of shared walls of living spaces, soundproof paint can most certainly help, but adding bulky furniture can help swallow up sounds and echoes with ease too.
How to Apply Soundproof Paint
If you’ve ever painted a room before, it’s basically the same process for applying soundproof paint. Whatever works for you is good, be it a roller, traditional paintbrush, or even spraying it on. The best way to get an easier spread though is by using a wide roller so you can cover large areas quickly. For the maximum effect of soundproof paint, you should apply two or more layers.
As we mentioned earlier on, that can get pricey in a big room. But there are a few tweaks you can work with for more effectiveness.
Assuming you’re not renting or sharing a wall within a townhome or duplex and you need to pain the entire room with soundproof paint, these tips will help.
■ Prime the Surface
The primer will help your base coat adhere better when you apply it. You can do this with either a brush or roller.
As an added bonus, it will keep whatever color of soundproof paint you choose from mixing with the previous color of your walls.
■ Prepare Your Base Soundproof Coat
Because it’s so thick, you need to stir it up thoroughly. Use a paddle, or for less effort on your part, a drill will make short work of that.
■ Apply Two Coats of Base
Next, it’s time for the base coat. You should wait about an hour before adding the second layer. It’s very important to make sure the first layer has dried or you will wind up with an unsightly mess.
■ Apply the Soundproof Paint
Now that your second layer from the base coating is dry, you can add whatever color of soundproof paint you have selected.
You need to take care to really mix this one up too just like the base. You can choose to do multiple layers or simply do one, depending on your preference and how important soundproofing is to you.
Be sure though that you allow each layer you apply to dry completely.
■ Don’t Forget to Finish It
The final step for using soundproof paint like a pro is to apply a soundproof finishing coat once that last layer of your paint is completely dry. You only need one layer for the finish, and once that dries, your room will be ready to enjoy!
While it does take a while, you will have a lasting soundproof paint job that improves the look of the room as well as sound quality.
Again, if you want a completely quiet room, you’ll have to combine soundproof paint with other ways of dampening sounds.
In an apartment with a shared wall, you can paint that wall with soundproof paint and then once it dries, put a big bookcase or heavy furniture against it which will help protect from noise and echo.
Windows and doors also are prone points for sounds to come in and out of so if you need your space to be silent, you’ll need to fill the gaps.
For those of you with upstairs neighbors, painting the ceiling with soundproof paint can help. Perhaps getting to know them and asking them if they could put a rug down would help, but even then, if they have heavy footsteps, small kids, or active dogs, it will still create enough disturbance.
You can combat that by sealing any holes and cracks with green glue and allowing that to dry before you paint so you get a quieter environment.
In the end, you’ll have to decide why you need your room soundproofed. If it’s because the sounds from the neighbors disturb you, you can order a gallon of soundproof paint and get going right away.
Soundproof paint can also help with studios where acoustics matter, as long as you know that just applying this type of paint isn’t going to be all that needs to be done. It’s certainly a good start though.
So, Does Soundproof Paint Really Work?
In short, yes! Soundproof paint really does work. It has many benefits for all types of usage, and while it costs more than regular paint, it can be an effective solution for smoothing over sounds inside your home.
The thing you must remember is that the levels of noise really play a role. If you’re trying to fade out the sounds of people talking in the next room, you’ll be quite pleased with soundproof paint.
Expecting a baby? Painting with soundproof paint before the baby arrives is a smart idea that will reduce those random sounds you accidentally make once the baby takes a nap!
While it’s not a miracle solution to block out all sound, adding soundproof paint will work to dull regular frequency sounds.
It can also be used with different soundproofing options all working together for one cohesive effect. For fair noise, soundproof paint will smooth things over and put a damper on noise.
You just have to be realistic about your expectations. If you’re tired of the neighbor’s dog barking at 5am on the dot every day, it soundproof paint on its own won’t cut it. But if you can hear your neighbors talking (like in the movie Office Space), then you can use soundproof paint to help.
Ready to get painting? The sooner you do, the quieter things will be. Yes, it takes time to do it right. You may even need a full day to paint one room! But once you do, you will appreciate the results it can bring!