We all hate noise. It gets rid of our privacy and our opportunity to relax when we need to.
It is irritating, but the fact that we have to endure this is more frustrating.
And though soundproofing our room is probably the best solution we have, most of us can’t afford the best soundproofing methods.
But, there is one solution that some people claim to be the cheapest. And that is soundproofing using egg cartons.
They say that the round part of the egg cartons can absorb noise, therefore reducing the noise.
But is this enough? Does using egg cartons for soundproofing work?
The most honest answer is NO, egg cartons are ineffective for sound proof a room. Egg cartons mainly reduce vibrations at certain frequencies, and it will not be effective in reducing noise. This is because the material used in egg cartons can’t serve as sound barriers. They are thin and certainly not flexible, making it easy for noise to pass through.
If your target is to prevent sound from coming into your room, you would have to use this together with other soundproofing techniques. For example, you should put up a thicker layer first before placing the egg cartons.
This article will explain more on what egg cartons can’t do and cannot do with regards to helping make things quieter for you.
We will also show you some cheap alternative methods that you can try.
Why is Soundproofing with Egg Crates a Myth?
A lot of people consider using egg crates as the cheapest soundproofing method, but this is far from the truth.
Aside from reducing echoes, egg cartons don’t have the ability to serve as sound barriers. But, what they can do is assist.
The very shape of the egg carton helps in reducing vibrations, thus reducing echoes in the room.
This is because the curvatures and dips of the crates allow sound waves to scatter at different frequencies.
In other words, it assists in deflecting noise by reducing the number of sound reflections.
Egg cartons can’t reduce noise effectively because simply absorbing some frequencies can’t deaden sound.
This is most especially if the noise comes from the outside. Egg cartons are also only made for one purpose, and that is to protect the eggs, so it doesn’t contain materials for soundproofing.
How to make Egg Cartons a more effective soundproofing material?
If you want to use egg cartons, you would have to add in some extra effort to make it work. Here are some things that you can do:
- Add soft materials between the wall and the egg cartons: You can make use of a thick blanket for this or a curtain. Simply put up the soft material first before putting up the egg cartons.
- Fill one side of the egg carton with scraps (paper or fabric): Egg cartons are very thin, which is noise from the outside can still easily pass through. Filling the inside of the crate will help in increasing the density and thickness of the egg carton. This will help in increasing its soundproofing capability.
- Combining other soundproofing techniques: You can use other soundproofing techniques before putting up the egg crates. For example, you can paint the walls with soundproofing paint first. Or, you can make sure to seal any gaps to prevent noise from entering.
Because egg cartons are not a standalone solution, you can’t consider them the cheapest solution to giving yourself peace.
What is the closest to Egg Boxes that can soundproof?
Acoustic foams are the closest to egg boxes that can effectively help in soundproofing your room.
The idea that egg cartons make excellent soundproofing materials came from how they’re shaped.
As you can observe, they are similar in shape, size, and appearance as the acoustic foams found in musical studios.
This is probably why people thought that they’d be able to achieve the same soundproofing results at a lower price.
But they can’t, mainly because acoustic foams are designed for soundproofing while egg cartons are not.
Acoustic foams are made of open-cell polyurethane foam, which is useful in reducing sound.
This is because the noise would have to hit the foam first before hitting the wall, thus improving sound quality inside your room.
However, it will not also be very effective in preventing sound from coming into your room, but it’s better than egg cartons.
Not to mention that it’s even more aesthetically pleasing and comes in various shapes in sizes.
Acoustic foams are soft, dense, and thick, which makes them excellent acoustic materials.
Egg cartons, on the other hand, are not flexible, compact, and thin.
It’s also more challenging to put up egg cartons to your walls than acoustic foams.
Both are not very effective in preventing noise from coming into your room.
Both are effective in helping absorb sound inside your room and improving sound quality.
But, using acoustic foams is overall better than using egg boxes.
Are there other alternatives I can try?
Of course, there is.
Egg cartons aren’t the only things you can use for soundproofing. Because there’s a demand for effective soundproofing techniques, there are a lot of cheap soundproofing materials you can try. The best thing about this is that they are available in your local store and they’re easy to DIY.
Below are not only cheap soundproofing materials but are also very effective techniques that you can do on your own.
1. Soundproofing Blankets
Soundproofing Blankets are one of the best and most effective soundproofing techniques.
You can place them on your walls and doors to thicken the surface and prevent noise from passing through quickly.
Soundproofing Blankets are large, thick, and heavy. Most of the time, it would require at least two persons to put this thing up and place it where you need them.
However, it’s best to remember that soundproofing blankets can only prevent sounds that are not too loud.
When it comes to aesthetics, soundproofing blankets don’t look so beautiful, either.
They also easily get dirty, and you will need to wash them from time to time.
This means you would have to take them down and put them back up again.
Though they are easy to put up and put down, it still requires a lot of effort.
Another thing that you can take note of is that they work more as sound absorbers.
However, they are much better at preventing noise from coming in compared to using egg cartons.
They can also be a bit more expensive, but they are affordable, and a little investment is worth it.
- Sound absorbers which can aid in deadening noise.
- It can thicken doors or walls to prevent sound from coming in.
- Easy to Install and Take Down
- They don’t look nice.
- May not be very useful in preventing louder noises from coming in.
2. Soundproofing Curtains
If soundproofing blankets don’t work for you, then another method that you can try is putting up soundproofing curtains.
This method is perhaps one of the most popular, and it’s best used in soundproofing your windows, walls, and doors.
Unlike ordinary curtains, soundproofing curtains are thicker and heavier too. They make excellent sound absorbers and sound barriers.
They help in deadening noise to a tolerable degree, however, just like soundproofing blankets, they can’t cancel it.
Soundproofing curtains are also fairly easy to install. You can try to search for those that already contain eyelets, so it’s easier to install.
If you want to place them on your door, you can attach a rod at the top, so this is where you can hang the curtain.
This soundproofing material is inexpensive and is a practical choice too.
There are a lot of designs that you can choose from which you can match to your room’s aesthetics.
This way, you can enjoy serenity without having to sacrifice beauty.
- Excellent in deadening noise.
- It can be used to soundproof windows, walls, and doors.
- Easy to install and Put Down
- It comes in various designs.
- It can’t completely cancel out the noise.
3. Anti-Vibration Pads
Anti-Vibration pads, as the name goes, prevent vibration. They are almost the same with thick acoustic panels. The only difference is that they are more affordable.
Placing anti-vibration pads to your wall will prevent noise from coming in and also from coming out.
It adds more privacy in your part. You’re free to play music without having a fear of neighbors banging at your door.
This way, you’re not the only one who can enjoy peace, but your neighbors as well.
However, just like other soundproofing techniques, this is not foolproof.
You would have to use other soundproofing techniques to seal small gaps or thicken some areas to ensure that the area is soundproofed.
- Improve the room’s sound quality.
- Prevent noise from coming in and coming out.
- Not foolproof, and you will still need to incorporate other techniques.
4. Sealants, Weatherstripping Tape & Door Sweeps
We’ve already mentioned above about sealing gaps. This is extremely important because those gaps will serve as an entry point of noise, no matter how small they are.
These gaps can only come from your window frame or door frame. So, make sure to check those two areas.
For the window frames, you can use sealants to close the gaps. Make sure that it’s completely sealed to prevent traffic noise from coming.
For the doors, you can use a weatherstripping tape. These are very easy to use as they usually come in adhesive tape.
All you have to do is to measure your door frame, get your weatherstripping tape, and cut based on the length of the door frame. Remove the adhesive and easily stick it.
If you’re using a non-adhesive weatherstripping tape, then you can also use glue.
For the big gap between the bottom of the door and the floor, you can use a door sweep.
The most common type is the rubber door sweep; however, this can be noisy if it comes in contact with the floor.
A great alternative is to use some old cloth and stick them under your door.
Make sure that it’s a tight fit and that there’s no gap for the noise to enter.
By sealing the gaps with these methods, you’re creating an excellent sound barrier.
This is also the most important method that you should always apply.
Because thickening your walls and doors won’t be effective if you don’t close gaps where noise can still pass through.
- Affordable Materials
- Easy to do even on your own
- An excellent sound barrier to prevent noise from coming in
- May also need to combine with other soundproofing techniques for better effectivity
5. Soundproofing Paint
Another thing you can do is painting your wall and door with acoustic paint or soundproof paint.
Soundproof paints are thicker than regular paint mainly because it’s heavy and has a higher density.
It contains soundproofing fillers called thermacels, which are responsible for its soundproofing capability.
By applying this paint to your walls or doors, you’re also thickening these two areas and creating yourself an effective sound barrier.
Just remember, though, that it is most effective in preventing low-level noise from coming in.
This means murmurs, late-night conversations, and the likes. It will not prevent a dog’s bark, heavy traffic, or any other loud noise.
Because of this, it’s still best to supplement it with other soundproofing techniques.
- Thick and Dense
- It’s an effective sound barrier
- You can choose a color that will match your home’s aesthetic
- It can only prevent low-level noise from entering
6. White Noise Machines
The last soundproofing material that you can use is a white noise machine.
Well, this is not a soundproofing material, but it is useful in drowning out noises.
This is best if you have already applied all possible soundproofing techniques, but there are still sounds that pass through.
With this case, you can use white noise machines so you can focus on that sound instead of the sound from the outside.
It’s creating an alternative and more likable noise that will help you concentrate.
White noise machines are, most of the time, light and portable.
You can take them anywhere with you, wherever which part of the house you are.
This way, every time you want to relax, you can conveniently place this beside you and turn it on.
- Light and Portable
- Drown out undesirable noise
- It’s not an excellent fit for everyone as some people like complete silence
Noise is something that we shouldn’t tolerate. And if you don’t have the budget for soundproofing, it’s only natural to find the cheapest technique that you can do.
Unfortunately, using egg cartons is not the best way to go.
In this article, we have already presented you with the reasons why it’s not the best.
We also showed you some excellent and affordable alternatives that you can try.
All you need to do is apply these techniques, and you’ll be sure to get serenity.
Of course, not all of these are foolproof, so feel free to sprinkle some creativity and combine some techniques.
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.