Whatever your need for soundproofing a room – be it for privacy, better acoustics for a home theater, a music study, or just for some plain peace and quiet – there are many ways to go about it. If you’re looking to do so affordably, you may have heard that egg crates can be a cheaper alternative for acoustical foam or other sound absorbing materials.
Some say these have been used in broadcast and recording studios. Interestingly, a study was conducted to determine whether this egg carton acoustical idea had any merit. Turns out, the study showed that egg cartons measure at an NRC of 0.40.
So, it’s not all some silly hoax. Well, not entirely. However, before you go plastering your walls with egg cartons, there’s much more to this fascinating story. Keep reading to find out what you can do with egg crates and soundproofing!
Soundproofing a room with egg cartons…does it work theoretically?
Technically speaking, yes you could use egg cartons to soundproof a room and block the sound waves from going through the walls. It sounds good on paper, for egg cartons, the ones made of cardboard that is, are quite cheap and could really diffuse sound waves.
But the thing is, they’re just not good enough for this task. They certainly diffuse those sound waves. They spread them out and alter the way they move. Unfortunately, they don’t block that sound out quite so well.
It’s easy to see how this little rumor came about. After all, egg crates do resemble the real soundproofing foam you’ll find in music studios anywhere on the planet. They have a similar size and shape. It’s rather uncanny. But that’s where the similarities end.
Acoustical foam for soundproofing in music studios is made out of a material that has been specifically created to soundproof and diffuse sound waves. Those egg cartons were created to provide cushioning for eggs and reduce vibration to prevent them from cracking and breaking before you get them home and safely stow them in your fridge. The acoustical values of each of these are not at all the same.
True that egg crates will reduce echoes and certain reverberations of sounds at limited frequencies, they just aren’t cut out for the job of soundproofing. So essentially, while it works in a very limited capacity, this isn’t the best solution to your needs. They can reduce echoes, but they will not reduce noise.
Soundproofing a room with egg cartons… does it work for real?
Short answer: no. Egg crates will not soundproof your room. You can staple them up around your walls all you like. They will change sound reflections from wall to wall at a variety of frequencies, but they’re not going to change a thing when it comes to sound coming into or out of a room.
There’s no absorption here which is really what you need if you want to reduce noise. Even with the best materials, it’s impossible to fully soundproof a room if you really want to split hairs here. You can only reduce sound transmission. Think of that old bear in the woods joke and you’ll see sound always exists if someone is around to hear it but reducing the impact of the sound waves or absorbing them effectively is the only way to “soundproof” anything.
Knowing all this, you’ll now need to consider what you’re trying to do with soundproofing your space. It all depends on if you’re trying to keep sounds from getting out or getting in. Sound can come through the wall materials, and low frequencies are rather adept at getting through any gaps like at the door frame or even through electrical outlets.
If you’re still hellbent on using egg crates to soundproof your room, you’ll need to do a few things to make it effective. Remember, it will merely reduce echo and help in the slightest way, but it won’t stop the noise. You can put them up as an added measure, but don’t expect it to be some miracle that suddenly stops all sound from entering and exiting your room. It’s not built for that.
– Seal all the gaps
Look for places where gaps and air leaks exist. Take care by outlets and correct gapping by windows, doors, and HVAC vents. Check, check, and check some more. These little spaces, cracks, and holes can be your undoing, even when you do everything else on this list to soundproof your space.
– Put mass on your walls
The thicker the walls, the harder it is for sound to get out. You can add drywall (about 5/8” thick) up on your existing walls. Make sure you seal each layer. Repeat the process a few times, but no more than that or it wastes your time and doesn’t add more protection.
– Use a stud wall
In the case that you’re building a new wall, one of the most brilliant tactics is to create a stud wall. It’s also a smart value too. You’ll put dry wall on one side and fill the inside up insulation. On the other side, add a double layer of drywall.
– Try adding a double door
When you’re building from scratch or can aptly replace an existing door setting, you can put in a double door. You’ll need to seal around both doors in order to limit the transmission of sound.
– Go for a room within a room
Another way to go about it is to construct a room within a room. When the structures are decoupled, this can be a very effective soundproofing solution.
– Float your floor
If coupling through the floor is a problem, try floating it. This is simply building a floor atop rubber supports.
You can put up all you like on the walls to aid with sound transmission, but drywalling and sealing is going to be most effective. When you hang acoustic materials on the wall, it will reduce the liveliness of the room. This can lend a peaceful environment. However, it’s not going to keep sound from getting in, or out, for that matter. And egg crates will really only help dull the echo.
How to improve your egg carton soundproofing
Want to improve your egg carton soundproofing efforts? Here’s what to know!
– Soundproofing Drywall
In the process of remodeling a room already? You should pony up for better drywall materials. A great option is buying insulating drywall. If you can’t do that, try adding an extra layer of the material beneath the sheetrock.
Are you not remodeling? That’s ok. It’s still more budget-friendly to just add another layer of drywall and seal it all up yourself. If you’re not handy, it will be wise to hire someone to do it or else risk a costly and messy affair.
– Soundproofing Insulation
If you use soundproofing insulation, you can drastically reduce noises in any room. Fortunately, there are quite a few options for these types of insulation materials. You’ll find them at any hardware store. Usually, they are made from recycled fiber or synthetics, similar to fiberglass.
In fact, they are applied in the same way as fiberglass, though the key difference is that these soundproofing insulations are much denser. They also have a focus on reducing sounds rather than assisting with energy efficiency.
Speaking of energy efficiency, they do add that to your home or office space that you’re trying to soundproof, which is a nice bonus. In the long run, it does pay for itself because it saves you money on heating and cooling. Not bad, right? Plus, you can use soundproofing insulation just about anywhere. Put them inside your walls, in the floors, and even in the ceilings. They’re safe and effective at insulating any space for sound purposes with the added bonus of extra efficiency when it comes to your energy bills.
Cheap Alternatives to Egg Cartons for Soundproofing
Again, we can’t stress enough that egg cartons aren’t the best option for soundproofing. You may find them helpful in a temporary situation, perhaps in a dorm room, for example, where you wouldn’t want to (or be able to) invest time and money into soundproofing. This would help quell hallway noises from being disruptive during times of study, or conversely, prevent disturbing everyone else when you want to listen to your music.
If you’re looking for a cheap way to soundproof your spaces, you can look to these alternatives over egg crates.
1. Use soundproof curtains
An easy, attractive, and completely affordable way to soundproof a room is that of soundproofing curtains. Specially-designed options can drastically reduce sound, though they should be lab tested to ensure their abilities. They’re made out of thick materials that are designed for soundproofing for both incoming and outgoing noises.
You should also take care to ensure they run from ceiling to floor and extend past the width of your windows. This will make them most effective. As an added bonus with soundproofing curtains, they come in a variety of styles and designs and add a posh look to any space. The ones that have eyelets make them much easier to put up.
Even in the above-mentioned dorm room example, these would be far better (and far cooler!) than egg crates!
2. Place some soundproof blankets
Soundproofing blankets are another way to go. These are fantastic for noises coming from the outdoor world plus they can also keep sounds in your room so no one will hear. These are very thick and a bit cumbersome, so enlist the help of a friend to help you hang them up. It’s a bit tricky to try to handle them on your own, no matter how strong or handy you happen to be.
You can hang them on walls or doors to help with noise, but soundproof blankets are best for covering noises that aren’t all that loud. They can also be used as moving blankets. But the problem with these is that they get dirty more easily. You should make a point of washing them every once in a while.
Soundproofing blankets really are best when you need to absorb sounds instead of reflecting them. They’re not as attractive as the soundproofing curtains, but they will take care of the sound situation. Again, it may be a great solution for a dorm room too.
I helped a friend of mine install these in his dorm room and to be honest, they’re quite effective, he got them fairly cheap on Amazon (check out the current price).
3. Install weather stripping on your doors
As mentioned, sounds can get out through gaps. One big gap you’re likely to contend with is that of the one under your door. If you seal this space between the door and floor, you’ll reduce sound. Weather stripping is the solution used on your exterior doors. It also prevents pesky insects from coming in.
This same method can be applied to the room you want to soundproof. When you install weather stripping on an interior door, it will have the same benefits as it does on exterior doors. It can also help prevent thermal leaking.
Weather stripping is incredibly cheap and easy to install. I’ve done the research and found that these have the highest reviews on Amazon, so I bought them and they’re just awesome, easy to apply and best of all, the bond is super strong. If you’re taking the steps to soundproof your space, don’t miss this critical step. You can do the walls, floors, and windows to perfection, but if you miss this gap under the door, you’ll still have sound pouring out of your room. It won’t be much help on its own but combined with all the other soundproofing tactics; it will be the icing on the cake!
4. Anti-vibration pads
A bit similar to acoustic foam panels, anti-vibration pads are thick and made from a very similar material. The only difference is that these pads are made to prevent vibrations. On both sides of the pad, there are ridges that are at 90 degrees. When you put them up on your walls, or floors they stop noises from getting in or going out.
What these will do for you is stop low-frequency noises from bothering you. If you play bass guitar or you like to play your music loud (or you have kids that turn up the stereo), it won’t be heard. This is a smart solution that will keep the peace with the neighbors.
You can also put them under the feet of your bed if you’re experiencing vibrations due to a train passing by. These work great for just about any type of vibration and they’re quite affordable at around $11 for a pack of 4.
5. Investigate for the holes and seal them
When you do soundproofing right and follow all the tactics mentioned above, you’ll enjoy the serenity of a soundproofed space. But if you can still hear the noise outside your room (or even inside it if you’re trying to block the sound from outside), you’ve missed a crucial gap somewhere. Just like skipping the weather stripping on the door after doing everything else will lead to leaked noise, so too will a hidden hole.
Go around the room and look for the holes you might have overlooked. Even those small ones that are from cables going through the walls can let sound out. When you find little holes, cracks, or leaks, seal them with green glue. This glue is made from soundproofing materials but beware! It’s incredibly sticky, something you definitely don’t want getting on anything else, or on your own hands.
- 20 Unique Non-Looping Fan and White Noise Sounds
- => 10 Fan Sounds
- => 10 White, Pink, and Brown Noises
- Sleep Timer
- Powered by AC or USB
- Measurements in Inches: 4.4 x 4.4 x 2.2
- Measurements in cm: 11.17 x 11.17 x 5.58
- Weight: 1.2 Pounds / 0.54 Kg
6. Listen to white noise machines instead
If all the other methods are too much work for you, or you simply don’t have the time to enact them just yet, you can use white noise machines for a temporary solution. White noise is used at the frequency of sound that your brain automatically tunes out.
This is an excellent solution if you have a new baby in the house. It sounds just like what the noises in the womb did and brings about peacefulness. You don’t need to be a baby to enjoy white noise or benefit from it though. It can help whiteout other noises, say like the busy city streets below your apartment so that you can work or sleep in peace, or even noise inside your home, say, from your new puppy, btw. feel free to check out my other post on how to stop your dog from barking at night.
Egg crates can be used in tandem too to help maximize the benefits. This isn’t a permanent solution, though one you may find beneficial until you can put in the hard work to fully soundproof your space. Though honestly, it’s best if you kick the egg cartons to the curb and use real soundproofing materials for the job.
White noise can be even cheaper to get too. If you’re saving your budget for a professional soundproofing renovation or are still shopping around for soundproofing curtains you like, you can check out this soundproofing machine by LectroFan on Amazon which so many people swear by!
Egg cartons were designed for the sole purpose of keeping eggs cushioned in transport. While they look much like the studio soundproofing materials used in professional applications, they are not at all the same thing. It’s definitely interesting that they do measure with an NRC of 0.40, but they don’t do much for soundproofing.
You could use them, but it will be a waste of time and effort. There are certainly much more effective solutions to soundproofing your space. Some are more costly and time-consuming while others take very little time to enact, like soundproofing curtains or blankets.
When soundproofing your spaces, consider what your needs are for this project. Do you want to keep sounds in or keep them out? And do you have the budget for a big project? Answering these questions for yourself will help steer you in the right direction for a home or office that has all the peace and quiet you’ve been dreaming of.