Soundproof Paint: Does it Work?
When it comes to soundproofing a room, a lot of people are wondering if soundproofing paint does work.
The answer is that yes, it could. It just really depends on the noise you’re trying to block out.
When you’re thinking of redecorating a room and you want to soundproof it as much as you could, then going for a soundproof paint to apply on your walls or ceilings would most likely be one of your options.
This is fine, but there are still things that you should know about soundproof paints. We’ll have them covered as you read along.
What’s in a Soundproof Paint Anyway?
A lot of people are skeptic about purchasing soundproof paint rather than regular paint since a soundproof paint can be a bit expensive than the regular ones.
Some are even thinking that these two are the same so why bother to get something specific for soundproofing, right?
The truth is that it’s called as a soundproof paint for something. You can even check this yourself by buying a small or getting a sample can of both paints.
When you open a can of regular paint, you’ll probably chunks and a bit bubbling due to storage, but all you really have to do is to mix and mix until you achieve a flowy and smooth consistency.
This is how you can see the difference between a regular and soundproof paint.
The consistency of a soundproofing paint is noticeably different from a regular one. It’s thick and a bit chunky. The problem is that it could stay that way because it is made to be that way.
Soundproof paint really has to be thick so that it can efficiently do its job.
This is why it’s something that you may want to consider when deciding to paint your walls with one. Your walls won’t look as smooth as you prefer if you use soundproof paint.
Soundproof paint is mainly water-based and contains latex and ceramic microspheres for most brands. A lot of soundproof paint manufacturers also claim that their paint is eco-friendly.
It’s best to get ones that are fire, mold and mildew resistant. If there will be kids in the room, you can also get the ones that are antimicrobial.
Speaking of kids, it’s sometimes not easy to avoid their writings on the wall. Fret not because soundproof paint is fairly easy to clean. All you need is some mild soap and water.
How Effectively Does a Soundproof Paint Work?
If you are thinking that using a soundproof paint alone wouldn't solve your noise problem, then you may get disappointed because it won’t.
You shouldn’t even consider using just this soundproofing product, especially if you’re trying to block loud noises from the outside.
It’s best to use this option along with other soundproofing methods that you know to actually make a big difference.
Soundproof paint, however, could efficiently decrease at least 30% of the sound you are trying to block off. It could both absorb and reflect sound waves and act as a thermal isolator because of its thick consistency. So it just doesn’t function as a soundproof product.
Just remember that soundproof paint can only work with mid-frequency noise. It means that it can only lessen the sound of anything that’s louder than two people talking with their normal volume and not completely block it off.
It’s why it’s more often called as a sound-dampening paint rather than a sound-deadening paint. It doesn’t completely block loud noise, so don’t expect much from it.
However, soundproof paint can work well when it comes to lessening the echo in your room. Basically, It could work with your room’s acoustics.
Where Can You Use Soundproof Paint?
The good thing about a soundproof paint is that you can use it on any surfaces. You can use it on painting plastic, wood, and even metal. Just make sure that you have any of them primed.
The thicker the paint is, the more efficient it is when it comes to not letting sound waves get through your wall.
This means that a soundproof paint works best if you apply at least more than two layers of it.
With that said, you may need a lot of paint if you are going to paint the whole room, including the ceiling. A gallon of soundproof paint could cost you about $30 and so doing your whole room could get quite expensive.
To avoid too much expenses, you can simply choose the wall where you think the noise is coming from.
If you live in an apartment, then just paint the side of the wall that separates you and your neighbor.
Speaking of apartments, using a soundproof paint is actually a great and better option for soundproofing that applicable to renters and landlords. It’s easy to change and not too invasive.
It’s better than taking the wall down to replace it with thicker materials and installing acoustic panels.
Don’t worry about the aesthetic of your room as soundproof paint is easily available in different colors and shades. Although you have to take note that it’s mainly available in pastel color.
If that turns you off because you’ve heard somewhere that the darker the paint is, the better it is with sound absorption, then you shouldn’t really believe that. It’s a myth we’d like to debunk!
How to Use a Soundproof Paint
Like a regular paint, Acoustic Coat can be applied on your walls in multiple ways. You can use a traditional paintbrush, a roller, and even spray.
Experts would rather suggest using a roller if you’ll do this yourself, as it’s easier to spread. A wide roller would also make it easier for you to cover a large area quickly.
If you’re really after a good outcome when it comes to its declared purpose (soundproofing), it’s best to apply the sound deadening paint with at least two to three layers.
With these said, it may take quite an effort to use this in a big room. Aside from that, it can also cost you since you will need a lot of paint for layering.
How to Make a Soundproof Paint More Effective
It’s best for you to get a base and finishing soundproof coat as well to make quite a difference when it comes to stopping noise from getting into your room.
Here are five easy steps to follow on how to apply both soundproof base and finishing coat on your walls:
- Prime the surface of your wall. You may use a brush or roller when doing this. This helps your base coat stick better once it’s applied. This also makes your colored soundproof paint not mix with the old color of your wall, if in case it has a strong color.
- Get your base soundproof coat. This also is thick and so make sure that you properly and thoroughly stir it with a paddle or drill.
- Apply your base coat twice. It’s best to wait for 40-60 minutes before applying the second layer to make sure that the first layer is dry.
- Once the second layer of your base is dry, you can apply your colored soundproof paint. Take note that you also need to mix this thoroughly. It’s up to you if you want to use multiple layers of this. Just make sure that you wait for each layer to dry before applying the next.
- After the last layer of your paint becomes dry, you can get your soundproof finishing coat. It’s best to only apply just one layer of this.
Those are 5 steps you can follow. It does sound like tedious since it may take you a whole day to finish an entire room, but if you’re all for soundproofing, it shouldn’t bother you. Besides, painting can be a fun project.
Soundproofing Methods that You Can Partner with This
As already mentioned, using a soundproof paint alone won’t miraculously deaden the noise you are trying to avoid.
Here are other soundproof methods that you can partner with this method so that you can achieve a significant change:
Use Soundproof Curtains
You can either use this on your windows or just the wall itself. Either way, this would help lessen the noise that still got through the walls that are covered with sound reduction paint.
Rearrange Your Furniture
This is something easy, especially if you just repainted your walls since most likely, you removed your furniture in the room.
You have to be strategic when it comes to arranging your furniture to help you lessen the sound waves that travel through your walls.
You can put bookshelves or big cabinets against the wall where the noise is coming from. These would help block sound waves filtered by your soundproof paint.
Adding Acoustic Panels
It’s not necessary to cover your entire wall with acoustic panels. You can just place it on the area where the noise is really coming from.
In fact, you can even disguise these panels as artworks, so it could still be a great addition to your wall that can work well with your soundproofing desires.
Is Soundproof Paint Really Worth the Try?
If you’re on a budget and you do not want or can’t just take down your walls to replace it with thicker and soundproof walls, then yes, this is still something you can do.
There are other benefits that you can get from using a soundproof paint. If your walls have cracks or shallow holes, soundproof paint can help you cover them up.
As you already know, its texture is thick and could even be a bit rubbery, so it could take care of those imperfections.
If you’re someone who takes soundproofing seriously, this could strengthen the methods you’ve already used or are planning to use.
Again, it could decrease at least 30% of the noise you are trying to block so it’s still something.
Lastly, remember that you have to figure out other ways to block the noise from getting through your walls completely aside from the use of a sound reduction paint. This alone won’t do the job you want to be done.
The bottom line is that it works, but it doesn’t exactly do wonders. It’s just a cheap and alternative solution.
Jessica is a Acoustical Engineer, currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. After graduating from her degree in Master of Engineering degree in Acoustics from Solent University in 2014, Jessica worked for a few companies before She will be blogging about her past and current experiences in the studio and sharing her journey as she pursues her career goals. She enjoy the balance of work inside and out of the office, solving practical problems on a daily basis as every project is different and requires a different solution, the variety of work (sound insulation testing, background noise survey, mechanical plant commissioning, external plant assessment, plant room breakout assessments) and the mix of independent and team work.