Soundproofing a room is a great way to reduce how much sound can travel between rooms and allows you to create a more comfortable living or working space. The total cost to soundproof a room will vary depending on the size and number of rooms you’re dealing with.
Whether you want to reduce unwanted noise from neighbours, or keep in sound for a recording studio or home cinema room, soundproofing is becoming increasingly popular with homeowners across the UK.
Before you get started, it’s important to consider a number of factors that will contribute to how and where sound is travelling. Most rooms will have noise leaking in through doors, windows, air vents, and even light fixtures – as well as noise vibrating directly through the walls, ceiling and floor.
To get the best results for your home, you’ll want to identify the type of sound you’re dealing with and where it’s coming from in order to choose the most appropriate soundproofing method for your room. From there you can then work out how much your new soundproof room will cost.
The costs in the table below are to be used as a basic guide. They represent costs for an average square room and will increase with the size and complexity of the dimensions of the room.
How does soundproofing work?
Soundproof room costs Range - low Range - high
Create a second wall £1,100 £1,600
Fix a new wall on to existing wall £1,000 £1,400
Fix rubber mat and plasterboard on to existing wall £800 £1,200
Fill existing stud wall with rock wool and replace plasterboard £800 £1,200
Airborne noise travels from one space to another through the air. Common airborne noise includes high pitch sounds such as whistling or shouting/screaming.
Impact noise involves soundwaves that travel through materials, such as the bricks, timber or plaster that make up the walls, floors and ceilings in your home. Sounds like this, that vibrate and allow sound to pass from one room to another, tend to be low pitch or bass sounds, such as washing machines, feet stamping and objects dropping onto hard floors.
Soundproofing a room involves using different types of material to tackle these two types of noise. Generally, fibrous materials like foam work well at blocking high pitch airborne noise, while rubber sheets are particularly good at stopping impact noise. Once you establish the approach you’re taking you’ll have a better idea how much your soundproof room will cost.
Ways of soundproofing a room
Commonly, there are three different ways to soundproof a room and each will come with their own price tag.
Block noise coming through the air by adding a thick layer of a heavy material to the structure, which reduces the ability for the noise to pass through it.
Reduce impact noise to minimise sound being passed through a structure, by using a damping compound in between the layers of a wall, floor or ceiling.
Absorb unwanted sound within a room by using soft furnishings, curtains, plants and specialist sound absorbent materials. This prevents it from echoing and amplifying when reflected off hard surfaces.
The method you choose for your room and the associated soundproof room cost will depend on where you’re soundproofing. Walls, floors, ceilings and doors each come with their own requirements to consider for reducing noise travelling between rooms.
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Soundproofing a wall
There are a number of ways to reduce the amount of noise that passes through walls. The method you choose and the size of the walls in your room will affect how much soundproofing walls will cost you.
Create a second wall
The most effective way to soundproof a wall is to create a second wall in front of your existing wall, leaving a gap between the two (ideally 100-150mm). The gap is then filled with soundproofing materials that will absorb sound passing through the wall. Foam, rubber sheets and fibrous material are some of the most commonly used for this.
In order to minimise sound vibrating through the walls, there should be minimal contact between the new wall and the existing wall. This can be achieved by securing the new wall into place using the floor and ceiling, creating a standalone effect.
Being the best solution means it also requires the most amount of work and consequently soundproofing walls this way costs more. It’s also important to know that you’ll lose space due to the depth of both the new wall and the gap.
Fix a new wall to your existing wall
If you don’t have the luxury of space to lose by creating an independent new wall, a popular alternative is to fix a new wall directly on to your existing wall. This is done using a metal or wood framework, which creates a much smaller gap of approximately 30mm that is then filled with fibrous material glued to your existing wall. A double layer of acoustic plasterboard is then fixed to the bars of framework with a rubber sheet sandwiched between them.
Although this method isn’t as effective as creating a standalone wall, it does still offer a good level of soundproofing. It also proves to be a popular option for many homeowners as you can often buy all the necessary materials off the shelf, meaning that soundproofing your walls this way comes at a lower price.
Use rubber mat and plasterboard
Another option that can help reduce airborne noise travelling through a wall is to fix a thick sound absorbing rubber mat directly on to your existing wall and then fixing two layers of acoustic plasterboard on top of it. For additional soundproofing for your wall you can add in a thin layer of acoustic rubber between the two layers of plasterboard.
This option isn’t great at reducing impact noise as the materials are fixed directly on to your existing wall, allowing sound vibrations to still travel through the wall. On the upside, this option of soundproofing walls will cost less than the previous two methods.
Insulate a stud wall
If you are planning to soundproof a stud wall and you don’t have space to lose in your room, you have the option to insulate the existing wall itself. This option will stop some of the airborne noise coming through the wall, but has little impact on impact noise vibrating through the wall. To insulate the wall, the original outer plasterboard is removed and then the gap behind is filled with acoustic insulation, such as Rockwool. Acoustic plasterboard is then used to replace the original plasterboard to provide the extra layer of sound protection.
With this option, you can always add another layer of acoustic plasterboard with a rubber sheet sandwiched between the two plasterboard layers. This will further reduce the amount of airborne sound passing through the wall.
Whatever your budget, it’s best to discuss your plans with a professional tradesperson first to get their advice and discuss the price of soundproofing your walls.
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Soundproofing a floor
The cost of soundproofing floor installations will depend on the structure of your home. It will also be affected by the type of sound you want to stop coming in or getting out.
First, ask yourself whether it’s airborne or impact noise that you’re dealing with. Acoustic floor insulation will prevent airborne sound travelling through wooden floors and can be added between floor and ceiling joists. Other options, such as floating floors and acoustic matting, can be used under carpets or hardwood flooring, to give significant sound reduction for impact noise – however, you’ll need to consider the floor finish and height.
Identifying the structure of the existing floor and adjacent walls is an important factor to consider when deciding what approach to take. It also enables you to better understand the cost of soundproofing your floor. Many flats and apartments are made of concrete, whereas period houses will usually be made of brick and timber.
In properties with a concrete structure you’ll be able to apply soundproofing acoustic insulation directly to the concrete. However, to reduce the airborne sound through wooden floors, acoustic insulation is best installed between the floor joists and that will affect the cost. All of these factors will influence the price you pay to soundproof your room.
If you’re looking to keep the price of soundproofing the floor to a minimum you can start by using rugs or installing a heavy underlay, if you have carpet in the room. These will soften some of the sound travelling through the floor but, if you’re looking for more significant soundproofing, here are some of the main ways you can achieve the best results:
Matting is commonly used on top of a timber structure and underneath floor finishes such as wooden floors and carpets. It’s an ideal way of soundproofing your floor against impact noise.
Acoustic matting is fairly easy to install as the mats can be cut into shape using a sharp knife and then put into position, often in a brick-like pattern. In order to reduce movement and potential damage to the edge of the flooring finish above, we recommend adding a layer of ply on top of the matting.
This method uses an interlocking system with tongue and groove edges that slot together to hold them in place. When you buy soundproof floating floors, they come ready to lay directly on the existing floor and will reduce the amount of sound that passes through them to the room below.
Using acoustic panels is another effective way of reducing the amount of airborne or impact sound that travels through your floor to the room below. They can either be laid directly on top of your existing floor, or laid onto the joists. By adding these panels you’re increasing the mass of the floor structure, which enables it to absorb more sound and therefore decreasing the amount of noise heard below.
This option is a great way to reduce airborne sound, and is popular for use in floors, as well as walls and ceilings. One thing to watch out for is not using thermal insulation rolls for your soundproofing project. Thermal rolls are much less dense, which make them unsuitable for absorbing sound. Instead, make sure that specific acoustic insulation slabs are being used to maximise the sound absorption for your floor.
Each home is different and the cost of soundproofing floors will vary from room to room. We recommend taking time to understand the type of structure you have in your home and discussing the options with a professional to ensure you choose the right soundproofing for your floor.
Soundproofing a ceiling
Before discussing the soundproofing ceiling cost, it’s first worth mentioning that soundproofing the floor above always achieves a better result than trying to absorb the vibration from the ceiling below. Reducing impact noise at the source is much more effective, as it minimises the amount of vibrations entering the structure of the building.
However, understandably if you live in an apartment block or converted building where you don’t have access to the floor above then soundproofing your ceiling is the next best option for you. To help you carry out a soundproof room cost evaluation, here are the three common ways you can soundproof a ceiling:
- Use acoustic insulation
Acoustic insulation slabs are one of the most effective ways to absorb sound, and the thickness of the material is key to achieving the necessary soundproofing results. You can install compressed acoustic insulation slabs into the cavities of the ceiling for increased density and maximum sound absorption. The insulation slabs will need to be at least 100mm thick and ideally have a density of 60kg/m3 in order to achieve a decent level of sound absorption.
- Install soundproofing panels
An alternative to acoustic insulation is to use soundproofing ceiling panels instead. These will add mass to your ceiling, which reduces the amount of sound that can travel through it. These panels are usually made of cement particle board which offers a better result than an acoustic plasterboard, for example. The increased density of the panels reduces the amount of vibration passed to the room below and so less noise can be heard from above. This method of soundproofing your ceiling is often the most cost effective as it can be done without opening up your existing ceiling, or constructing a new one.
- Build an independent ceiling
Similar to the method commonly used to soundproof walls, creating an independent ceiling underneath your existing ceiling structure is often the most effective way to reduce noise penetration. It does, however, usually mean it’s the soundproofing ceiling method with the highest price tag. It also requires losing height within the room, which makes it more appropriate for properties with higher ceilings.Current building regulations stipulate a minimum drop of six inches, which can make this option unobtainable for many homeowners. If you do have the space to create a new ceiling, it proves to be a very effective solution for tackling both airborne and impact sound. In most cases, new ceiling joists will need to be installed so we recommend that you use a professional tradesman to carry out the job. Speak with a professional tradesman to get an accurate soundproofing ceiling cost for your room.
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Soundproofing a door
Sound can travel through air gaps, so you need to ensure a door seals properly when it’s closed. If not, you need to ensure there is a consistent seal around the entire edges of the door to prevent sound from leaking through.
If you have a hollow light door, swapping it for a heavier solid one can make all the difference. However, installing specialist doors that are acoustically-rated can be an expensive option and there are ways to work with your existing doors so that your soundproof room costs less.
With doors there are three ways to address problematic sound travelling through them:
- Add panelling to your door
Hollow doors are easily penetrated by sound. If you can’t replace them you can add thickness to them instead by adding a piece of dense material to the door panel, such as MDF. These panels are quick and easy to install and are available in a range of styles to suit your home.
- Fill gaps around the door
There are, in fact, two potential gaps that you might need to deal with around the door. The first is between the door frame and the wall, which can usually be easily filled using an architrave. An architrave is a type of interior moulding that sits around the frame of a doorway (or window) and is typically available in a range of materials that can be finished with either paint, stain or varnish. The second potential gap is between the door itself and its frame. Here you’ll need to remove any existing architrave and fill any gaps with a dense soundproofing rubber or acoustic sealant and then replace the architrave.
- Address the gap at the bottom of the door
This is often the greatest offender for sound to pass through, and also happens to be the hardest to overcome. Floors are rarely level and the gap between the door and the floor usually changes between the door being open and when it’s closed. Here, an automatic door bottom can prove to be an effective solution as it automatically rises when the door opens and drops back into place when the door closes.
Types of soundproofing materials
One of the key factors that will impact the overall price of your soundproof room is the type of material you use. Below are three of the most common types of material used:
Soundproofing plasterboard is a much higher density version of regular plasterboard, necessary to effectively reduce noise travelling through it. It’s often used in walls and ceilings in order to reduce the amount of noise coming from either side of the wall/ceiling structure.
To achieve optimum results from acoustic plasterboard, it is used along with acoustic insulation materials so that it achieves the maximum noise reduction possible. By adding it to the wall or ceiling, acoustic plasterboard adds necessary mass that increases the overall density of the structure, which then makes it much more difficult for sound to travel through. Its dense nature acts to absorb sound and dampen the noise, so that sounds cannot be heard as clearly.
A common way to install acoustic plasterboard is by using a metal framework that fixes to your existing wall. The plasterboard is then fixed to the metal frame to keep it in place. For more information and advice about the best option for your room we recommend contacting a professional tradesman.
Soundproofing panels are a particularly cost effective way to reduce noise. Commonly made from wood and fiberglass, they come in a range of sizes and can be easily mounted onto walls and ceilings. They can also be made of other materials including acoustic foam, polypropylene, polyester, and cotton. They are great for soundproofing as they act in two ways by both absorbing sound as it passes through and reducing the noise level within the room. Absorbing the sound helps reduce the echo effect of it bouncing of hard surfaces that distort and amplify the noise. Dense foam soundproof panels are perfect for absorbing sound and muffling noises to make them much less audible.
Using acoustic panels and installing them yourself can mean your soundproof room cost will be lower overall, though a professional will be able to provide you with
If you’re choosing to buy acoustic panels and install them yourself, the layout of where you place them on the wall or ceiling is both a cosmetic and acoustic decision. You’ll want to evenly distribute them on the wall/ceiling, if you aren’t planning to cover the entire surface.
Whether you’re doing a DIY job or hiring a professional tradesman, there are two common ways to panels, using clips or ‘cloud mounting’ them.
The clip method will use one of a variety of clip systems, which will often depend on the manufacturer of the panels. For some clip systems you’ll need to attach the one part of the clip to the wall and the other part to the panel itself. For other clips you may use wall bars that you attach to the wall and use in conjunction with clips that you attach to the soundproof panel. And others may involve a simple method of attaching a clip to the wall and using adhesive to attach the panel to them.
Cloud mounting is used to create a floating effect for acoustic panels hanging from the ceiling. Eye bolts are attached to the back of the panel and then you simply thread wire through the holes and attach to the ceiling as you wish. Cloud mounting is more of a style choice than an acoustic decision, as the panels will work in a very similar way to panels fixed to the ceiling.
Acoustic roll is usually made of a lightweight, non-combustible glass mineral wool and used for walls and floors and work in a very similar way to acoustic slabs. The roll increases the density and mass of the wall or floor structure to act as an effective solution for absorbing sounds and reducing noise. It can be used in both domestic and commercial properties and being in a roll format makes it easy to fit any space. Working in a similar way to acoustic plasterboard and acoustic slabs, acoustic roll is particularly effective when used in conjunction with acoustic insulation products.
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Calculating your soundproof room cost
One common mistake that people make when calculating the cost of soundproofing is that they forget to include the labour cost of a tradesman – which is a significant part of the total soundproof room price. The cost of your materials can vary but, if you’re hiring a professional to do the job, make sure you factor in their labour charge. This cost will vary depending on the area and complexity of the soundproof room, and the average time for an installation is between two to four days.
Doing the work yourself might mean your soundproof room costs less, but hiring a tradesperson for the job is often a lot quicker and more efficient. They also come with the added benefit of knowledge and experience, meaning they can advise you on the most appropriate soundproofing solution for you and your budget.
What are the benefits of soundproofing a room?
Why do it?
Many houses in the UK have thin walls, floors and ceilings without adequate soundproofing for day-to-day noises. And over time the sounds of your neighbours, or the passing traffic outside can become a nuisance. Or, you might be the one that wants to make noise without disturbing others. In either scenario, addressing the issue by creating a soundproof room is often a price well worth paying for.
As part of the current Building Regulations, the government passed legislation in 2003 that requires all new buildings and refurbishments in England to meet a rough guide target of 45 decibels for airborne noise resistance. If you plan on exceeding those limits then finding a professional to soundproof a room in your home can be extremely beneficial.
For example, if you play an instrument, are recording music or have a home cinema system, you’ll be causing substantially more noise than everyday household noises. Soundproofing means you can happily make as much noise as you like with that new drum kit or surround-sound system, without disturbing your neighbours.
- Soundproofing reduces the amount of noise coming from outside and create a more peaceful environment
- It provides you with a greater level of privacy as the homeowner
- Soundproofing a room allows you to minimise sound coming from outside as well as inside the house
- It allows creative work, such as making music or recording visual content, to take place without disturbing (or being disturbed by) people in neighbouring rooms or properties
- For places where confidential information is often discussed, such as banks and doctor’s surgeries, it can provide a much-needed level of privacy
- The cost of a soundproof room can be kept to more modest budgets using DIY techniques
- Properly soundproofing your home can be expensive, even for just a single room
- There is a risk of damaging electrical wiring and pipework during the installation process
- By blocking out unwanted noises you may also block out necessary sounds, such as fire alarms, children crying or the doorbell
- Installing soundproof materials can be a pain in existing homes due to the structure of the building
- Ongoing maintenance work on cables and pipes can become more complicated for rooms with soundproofing
- Some soundproofing solutions can be unattractive to look at if left open, rather than being enclosed properly
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