I remember going to my grandparent’s house and seeing that the cellar was covered in egg cartons. The entire ceiling and walls where covered with them.
I used to think that this was a viable soundproofing option since so many people used it, so years later I decided to do some research and get a good answer.
First of all, let’s take a look at what soundproofing means, since many people confuse it with sound treatment.
Difference between Soundproofing and Sound Treatment
Soundproofing refers to a way of insulation in order to obstruct the passage of sound. In other words; don’t let the sound in or out.
Sound treatment refers to the use of sound-absorbing materials in order to reduce echo and reverberation in the room. In other words; Don’t let the sound bounce all over the room.
Are egg cartons a viable soundproofing method?
Egg cartons don’t block the sound, which means that any external noise will still be able to enter the room.
If you are trying to soundproof a room, which means that you want to keep unwanted noises outside, then egg cartons will not work.
Can Egg cartons work for sound treatment purposes?
This, again, is a myth, but I understand why someone would ask this question.
When you look at acoustic foam you will see why most people think that egg cartons can work as a soundproofing- and sound treatment method, since they share very similar shapes.
However, Egg cartons don’t work for treating the acoustics in a room either, since they do absorb some sound but only at the 650Hz mark. Any lower or higher than that and they don’t seem to absorb anything, which doesn’t really work for acoustic purposes.
Basically, if you want to be able to treat the acoustics in a room properly, you will need to install materials that actually absorb sound waves, like a rug, acoustic panels, acoustic blankets, etc.
What CAN egg cartons do?
Aside from protecting the eggs, egg cartons actually do offer SOME absorption and noise deflection, even though I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone for either soundproofing or treating the acoustics in a room since they do very little of it.
Because of how they are shaped, when a soundwave hits them it can get deflected, and this may give you the perception of better absorption.
Also, since they are made of cardboard, they will absorb something, but it’s not really that noticeable.
A better way-, if you really want to use cardboard, is to just adhere two or three layers of cardboard to the walls.
Still, there are much better ways to go about this, and some of them are very affordable as well.
Other Soundproofing Alternatives
Since egg cartons don’t really block sound, if you truly want to soundproof a room you should go about it differently; here are a couple ways you could do it:
One of the best ways to add insulation to a wall is by adding another layer, which will simply act as an additional barrier, and drywall is perfect for this.
Not only is it affordable, at least when compared to the cost of real walls, but it’s quick and easy to do.
What I’d recommend is attaching mass loaded vinyl to the back of the drywall.
Mass loaded vinyl is a fantastic soundproofing material and will definitely yield great results if you manage to install it as well.
Other insulation materials
I mentioned Mass Loaded Vinyl, but there are many other synthetic materials specifically designed for soundproofing that could be used.
However, unless you’re installing it between the existing wall and new drywall, it’s not going to look pretty.
Acoustic Treatment alternatives to Egg Cartons
Now, remember the difference between soundproofing and acoustic treatment? Acoustic treatment reduces the overall reflections in the room, making it feel quieter, while soundproofing simply blocks the sound going in or out.
Now, most materials used for acoustic treatment also reduce outside noise a bit because they absorb it, so you might kill two birds with one stone here.
I personally treated the acoustics in my home studio with rockwool acoustic panels (link to a guide on how to make them), and these cost me about $15 each because I made them myself, but you could definitely buy some.
However, if you don’t want to spend so much, you could always get regular foam panels that should cost you about $20-$30 for a pack of 12.
These aren’t as effective, but they should help.
Acoustic Panels DIY
If you don’t have the budget to purchase all of the acoustic foam panels, you could actually build them yourself.
All you will need are some pieces of wood for the frames and a lot of old towels.
These could literally end up costing about $2 for each one and what’s even more amazing is that they work just as good as the acoustic foam panels, if not better.
I found this fantastic video by DIY Perks on YouTube where he teaches you how to make them, so make sure to check it out.
I made a couple of these about a year ago and they truly work great! In fact, much better than purchasing cheap foam ones, plus it’s fun to make them.
Just make sure to stuff as many towels as you can inside of them.
Get Soundproofing Curtains
If there is one quick soundproofing method that actually works quite well, then it’s installing soundproofing curtains.
Curtains are one thing that should never miss in a room, so why not get soundproofing ones, since they are extremely affordable.
Why are they such a good investment?
They are effective, super affordable, easy to install and they even help with the décor of the room.
Consider acoustic blankets
Acoustic blankets are one of my favorite soundproofing items because of their versatility.
You can hang them from the doors, windows, walls, even on the ceiling.
The great thing about them is that they are dirt cheap, a pack of twelve should cost you well under $100.
Now, even though installing acoustic foam/blankets/curtains can do wonders for any room, if you truly want to reduce outside noise then you will have to seal every crack and every hole you can find, otherwise sound will always find a way in.
Even the smallest crack will allow a lot of noise to enter the room, so make this a priority.
Here’s a quick step by step guide; Links to the full guides included.
Soundproof the Door
Full Guide on how to soundproof a door.
- Use Acoustic Caulk to seal all the gaps you can find between the frame of the door and the wall.
- Adhere weatherstripping tape to the frame to completely seal the door once it’s shut. This is simple to do since weatherstripping tape comes with an adhesive side.
- Install a door sweep in order to seal the gap left between the door and the floor.
Soundproof the Windows
Full Guide on how to soundproof a window.
- Check that the glazing putty is in good condition, otherwise replace it.
- Adhere weatherstripping tape to the entirety of the frame of the window, this will form an air-tight seal once it’s closed.
- Consider installing double-pane windows.
Hanging soundproofing curtains both on the windows and the doors can really help keep the noises at bay.
Egg cartons are no suitable material for soundproofing since they offer no outside insulation at all.
Using Egg cartons as a Sound Treatment method can “work” just a little bit, since they only absorb a specific frequency range.
Plus, since they are very thin there is no chance that they will ever be able to properly absorb sound like other materials.
One other thing to take into consideration is that they can be a fire hazard.
Last Updated on March 3, 2021 by Facundo