There are a lot of reasons to soundproof a garage, whether you are doing it to be able to practice with your band, or if you are using it as a workshop either for your job or for a hobby, you might upset your neighbors and even your own family if you can’t keep the noises down.
Not only is soundproofing your garage important to keep your neighbors and family happy, but it’s also a great feeling when you can decide to practice, work, etc. even late at night knowing that no one will be disturbed.
There are a lot of things you can do to improve the sound insulation of your garage and in this article, I will be listing all of them.
Some of them will be essential, while some others will simply be extra steps to further enhance the soundproofing.
Either way, if you follow all of the steps, then the results you’ll get will be excellent.
Table of Contents
- Soundproofing Vs Acoustic Treatment
- Different Types of Noises
- How to soundproof the Garage Door?
- Soundproof the Garage Windows
- Soundproof your Garage Walls
- Soundproof the Floor
- Soundproof the ceiling
- Get some Acoustic Blankets
Before I mention every way to soundproof the garage, I think that there are some important concepts to go over which are important and that may get overlooked sometimes.
Soundproofing Vs Acoustic Treatment
Most people tend to confuse the two or even think that they are synonyms, but they are actually two very different things.
For you to make the right choice and install the proper type of material, you should know the difference between the two.
Why is it important to know the difference?
Some materials are good for soundproofing while some others are good for sound treating purposes.
What tends to happen is that you buy something like acoustic foam panels thinking that they will block sound from either coming in or out of the garage, when in reality, acoustic foam panels only absorb sound.
They might reduce the amount of noise allowed in or out, but it’s just a slight reduction.
Soundproofing consists in utilizing materials which block sound not allowing it to get in or out of the room you’re in.
Example: If you live on a busy street and you want to lower the car noises coming in to your apartment, then you would need to soundproof the apartment.
Acoustic Treatment, on the other hand, consists of managing the sound generated INSIDE of the room by absorbing the soundwaves as best as possible, not allowing them to bounce all over the place.
This is essential for a music studio, for example, since you don’t want the microphones to pick up any of the ambient noise.
If you’re trying to prevent sound from either entering or exiting the garage, which I assume is what you’re trying to accomplish, you will need to install soundproofing materials.
Different Types of Noises
There are two types of sound that you should know about;
Air-Borne Noise: These are the sounds generated in the air which then hit the walls, ceiling, etc. and generate vibrations which then travel through these structures.
If there are and gaps or cracks between the walls, doors, windows, etc. this kind of sound will have a very easy time getting in or out.
Examples of air-borne noises are; TV, people talking, music playing, the noise your garage tools make, etc.
Structure-Borne Noise: These types of sounds are created when an object hits another one and the vibrations generated travel through said objects like walls, ceilings, floors, etc.
Examples of structure-borne noise are; Footsteps, objects hitting the floor, machinery that vibrates against the floor or against the work table, etc.
How to Eliminate them?
For Air-Borne Noise you mainly need to stop it from leaking out, which means sealing every gap and crack you can find.
For Structure-Borne Noise you need to block the path and absorb the noise by installing materials, like Mass Loaded Vinyl, which do this.
Start with the Doors
Both the exterior door, as well as the door that connects the garage to your house, should be soundproofed.
Depending on if you want to keep the noise inside the house down or if you want to reduce the amount of noise that’s allowed to leave the garage, you may prioritize one door over the other.
My recommendation is to fully soundproof both.
How to soundproof the Garage Door?
The first thing you need to do is check if the door has some mass to it, and what I mean by this is if it’s thick and solid.
This is important because the thicker the door, or even better if it’s completely solid and not hollow like most ones today, the less you will have to worry about soundproofing it.
But the issue arises when the garage door is made of thin and hollow metal.
A thin and hollow door won’t block then sound; in fact, it sometimes can even amplify it.
There are two solutions to this problem;
Replace the entire Door
This is by far the most time consuming and expensive option, but it will work.
However, I assume that most of you are looking for an easier alternative.
The best alternative is to add some mass to it yourself.
Add Mass to the Door
Adding mass to the garage’s door will stop most of the sound from simply getting through it and out onto the street, where it can annoy everyone.
Here are the two options;
Install Mass Loaded Vinyl
Out of the two options, even though this one will take a bit more work, it’s by far the most effective one.
Mass Loaded Vinyl is one of the best soundproofing materials available, and this is why it can be used to soundproof lots of different things.
Note: MLV is very heavy, which means that you can’t just easily hang it from the door and be done with it.
The best way to do this is by either nailing- or gluing it to the door or using high-quality Velcro like this one which you can get on Amazon.
What you need to do here is cut the vinyl to the exact measurements of the door and simply adhere it using the Velcro, nails or glue.
Cover the entirety of the door for optimal results.
Install Rigid Foam Insulation on the Door
Adding some rigid foam insulation on top of the door will definitely help with sound absorption as well as with thermal insulation.
It’s very easy to install, just cut a piece of the rigid foam to the exact size of your door and use nails or glue to attach it.
Add mass to the Doors that Swing Up
Again, you should check if the doors are thick and capable of blocking sound or if some material should be added to them to add some mass which will then block the sound.
To add mass to these types of doors I’d recommend using acrylic or fiberglass welding blankets and adhering them to the door.
Now we need to take care of the little gaps where sound might be able to get in or out;
Seal all the Gaps
It’s a good idea to think of sound just like we think of air; If we close the door but it doesn’t form a perfect seal, then air, and therefore sound, will still be able to get in or out.
Even the tinniest of gaps will make a huge difference, so how do you go about sealing them?
Step 1: Use a Weatherstrip
Applying high-density foam tape to the frames of the doors will do wonders.
This tape is extremely easy to apply since it has an adhesive side, so you don’t need any sort of glue to do this.
How to apply a Weatherstrip
Tape it around the entirety of the frame where it will be in contact with the door once it’s closed.
If done properly it should form an air-tight seal which will prevent a lot of the sound from coming in to the room.
This is the weatherstrip that I recommend you purchase from Amazon, since it’s affordable and of extremely good quality, it should last you for a very long time.
Tip: If air can come in, then so does sound. This means that you should close the door and feel if there are any air drafts entering through any gaps that you still haven’t sealed.
Another way to check for gaps and cracks is by using a flashlight. If everything is sealed up perfectly, no light should be seen between the door and the frame.
Step 2: Use Acoustic Caulk
This is extremely easy to do as well as fast and very effective.
You need to get this Acoustic Sealant and using a caulk gun you can begin the installation.
It’s designed to fill small 1/8” gaps to ½” gaps and should be applied between the frames and the door.
It’s designed for interior use only; it shouldn’t be used on the exterior!
Note: After you have applied it, give it about 48hs to dry completely.
Step 3: Install a Door Sweep
Note: This only applies to the door that connects the garage with your home.
Door sweeps are great because they are super cheap, easy to install and effective, which makes them an obvious and ideal choice.
I found this great door sweep on Amazon which has an adhesive backing, meaning that the installation should take about one minute at most.
Now that you are done with the door, it’s time to soundproof the windows, since this is another spot where a lot of sound might leak out.
Soundproof the Garage Windows
Soundproofing windows isn’t much more complicated than soundproofing doors, in fact, some of the steps are identical.
Weatherstrip the Window
You can use the same weatherstrip that you used on the door here.
Simply apply the weatherstrip to the entirety of the frame making sure that once the window is closed there are no unsealed gaps left.
Use Acoustic Caulk
If there are any cracks on the wall alongside the frame, then make sure to cover them up with acoustic caulk.
Install Acoustic Curtains
Acoustic curtains are one of my favorite ways of soundproofing a room for the simple fact that it’s fast and effective, while also being very affordable to do.
Note: Acoustic Curtains won’t completely soundproof a window, but rather reduce the level of the noises allowed to leave the garage.
The ones I recommend the most are these curtains that I found on Amazon since I was pleasantly surprised at how well they worked, especially considering their low cost.
Another option, if you are on a very tight budget, would be to purchase acoustic blankets and hang them on the windows.
I much prefer the curtains for the simple fact that they are easy to open and close, while with the blankets you would have to take them off every time you wanted some sunshine.
Blankets, however, are much more versatile and can be used for a lot of different things.
Make a Window Plug
A window plug is simply a piece of foam that you cut to the exact shape of your window while making it just slightly bigger, this way you can push it into the frame and the pressure will hold it in place while creating a tight fit.
Acoustic foam isn’t really the best way to block sound, it’s great for acoustic treatment but not for soundproofing.
It will still help and it’s an extremely affordable material, you could get some acoustic foam like this one from Amazon.
One big con to this method is that the acoustic foam will completely block out any light from coming in through the window.
However, they can be easily removed.
Replace with Double-Pane Windows
Glass isn’t particularly known for being able to block sound, but double- or even triple-pane windows actually help quite a bit.
This last step is definitely not for everyone since it requires a lot more time and a huge money investment since you not only need to purchase the windows, but you also need to hire a professional to properly install them.
If you have the budget, then this might be the best option of all.
Soundproof your Garage Walls
There are a couple different things you can do to soundproof the walls, but the first one would be to install some extra drywall.
Install Drywall on the existing Walls
Installing an extra thick layer of drywall on top of the already existing walls is a great way to lower the amount of sound that can leave the garage.
Simply adding another layer will stop the vibrations and the sound transmitted by quite a bit.
The great thing about this method is that you can do it yourself and save a lot of the money that you would have otherwise spent on hiring a professional.
It will just take a bit of time, patience and some handiwork.
There are a couple of things to take into consideration;
Apply a Noiseproofing Compound
Before installing the Drywall make sure to apply a generous amount of this Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound (link to Amazon) behind the drywall sheets.
You don’t need to worry about the pattern or how you apply it, simply make sure that it’s evenly distributed.
This Noiseproofing Compound will further reduce sound transmission by a lot, so don’t skip it!
Green Glue is the by far my top recommendation for the Noiseproofing Compound because of its quality, plus it’s actually quite affordable.
Apply Acoustic Caulk
Once the drywall sheets are in place, it’s time to seal the gaps left between those sheets with the same acoustic caulk I mentioned earlier on the part about how to soundproof the door.
When applying acoustic caulk, it’s very important to seal ALL of the gaps.
If even the tiniest of gaps is left unsealed, sound will be able to get in!
Install Mass Loaded Vinyl
If you don’t feel like going through all the hassle of installing the drywall, then this step might be the one for you.
Note: Mass Loaded Vinyl only comes in black, which means that you would need to get some fabric to cover it up and make it look nice or find some ways to paint over it, unless you don’t mind the black look, which isn’t too bad for a garage.
First you will need to purchase some Mass Loaded Vinyl, this one on Amazon is a great choice and also a very affordable one.
Installing mass loaded vinyl on the walls is no easy task since it’s pretty heavy, you may need the assistance of another person.
Take the edge of the MLV and using screws attach it to the corner of the wall first, right against the ceiling, making sure to not leave any gaps between the ceiling and the MLV.
Then just continue screwing it onto the wall.
You should also be applying the same Green glue Noiseproofing Compound I mentioned earlier on the back of the MLV to further increase sound insulation.
Once the MLV has been installed, you should apply Acoustic caulk between the different Vinyl sheets to seal those gaps.
Install the Drywall with the Mass Loaded Vinyl
If your walls are very thin, then it might be a good idea to combine the two methods which will ensure the best insulation possible.
First install the MLV and then the drywall on top of it.
The Noiseproofing Compound and the Acoustic Caulk should still be used both on the MLV and the Dywall.
Soundproof the Floor
Even though this might seem pointless for the simple fact that there is no one living under your garage, installing soundproofing materials on the floor, especially ones which absorb vibration, can reduce the amount of vibration transmitted from the floor to other structures, like the walls.
Install Anti-vibration pads and anti-vibration mats
Installing anti-vibration pads or anti-vibration mats under any equipment or under any work table that has equipment on it that can create vibrations will help prevent these vibrations from being transmitted to other structures.
If you’re building a rehearsal room in your garage then installing anti-vibration mats under the drum kit and amplifiers will reduce these vibrations and, in turn, the noise.
Related: How to soundproof a rehearsal Room
Install interlocking Floor Mats
I consider this to be the easiest way to soundproof a floor, especially for anyone who doesn’t want to spend any money since interlocking floor mats are extremely affordable.
To install them I’d recommend that you place one down in the corner of the room first and then work from there.
I got these ones on Amazon which are super affordable.
Just make sure to get enough to cover the entirety of the room’s floor.
Install a Floor Underlayment
Floor Underlayment is usually installed under laminate flooring, but you could even install it under the interlocking floor mats or under the carpeting.
One of the best underlayments for soundproofing purposes is the Floorlot Shop Underlayment which is 3mm thick, giving it the best soundproofing potential.
To install simply roll it out from wall to wall and adhere it to the floor.
Soundproof the ceiling
The best way in my opinion, but which requires a lot of construction work, is to install Mass Loaded Vinyl and Drywall, exactly like I suggested for the walls, but on the ceiling.
This will take a lot of time and effort, but it’s certainly a good option.
Another option would be to install a dropped ceiling since it’s the only way to deal with structure-borne noise.
Of course, both of these would require a huge investment of both time and money, which isn’t ideal!
The only option available, which doesn’t require you to hire someone and spend a fortune, is to get some of these BA Series 9 panels and install them on the Ceiling yourself.
This will be way cheaper and also take a lot less time!
Get some Acoustic Blankets
I already mentioned that soundproofing curtains could be worth purchasing because they can reduce the amount of sound that is allowed to leave the garage.
There are also acoustic blankets which are way more affordable and can be used to do a lot of different things.
Acoustic blankets are extremely versatile and they are also super affordable!
You could use them to cover the door or the windows, to further soundproof them.
Another option would be to hang them from the walls and the ceiling which will absorb a lot of the noise generated inside the garage.
Related: I wrote an entire article on why acoustic blankets work and which ones I recommend the most.
Soundproofing your garage may be no easy task, but if you’re driving your family and neighbors crazy, then it might be time you do it.
Start with the door, then soundproof the windows.
If this isn’t enough move on to the walls. Maybe install some acoustic blankets before installing the drywall or the Mass Loaded Vinyl, and see what happens.
If you follow most of the steps in this guide, you should notice a dramatic noise reduction.
I hope you have a wonderful day!