Working from home is fantastic. Not having to commute and deal with traffic is something that I love now that I’ve started working a lot more from home.
However, working from home means that you won’t be in a typical work environment where excessive noises, like the ones your kids make while playing, aren’t an issue.
This is why soundproofing a home office is so important, because reducing unwanted distractions means that you will be able to work much more efficiently.
In this article I will go over each of the steps necessary to properly soundproof a home office, starting with the ones I feel will be most effective.
Table of Contents
- Sound deadening vs Soundproofing
- Seal all the Gaps
- Soundproof the Door
- Soundproof the Windows
- Soundproof the Air- Vents
- Soundproof the Walls
- Soundproof the Ceiling
- Soundproof the Floor
- Acoustic Treatment Options
First of all, we need to clarify one thing in order to fully understand what should be done to the office…
1. Sound deadening vs soundproofing
Most people, me included a couple of years back, think that these two concepts are interchangeable, but they are not, they are two completely different things.
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.
Sound deadening consists in managing the sound generated INSIDE of the room by absorbing the soundwaves as much as possible, not allowing them to bounce all over the place.
When it comes to a home office, in most cases you will be needing to soundproof, although installing some sound absorption may be very beneficial as well.
In order so soundproof a home office you need to…
2. Seal all the Gaps
Sound will always find a way in, even through the smallest of gaps.
In order to soundproof a home office, the right way, you first need to perfectly seal all of those gaps to the best of your ability.
Most of the gaps and cracks will be between the door/window and the frames simply because they don’t form a perfect seal once closed, but air vents, or any other kind of hole should also be dealt with.
3. Soundproof the Door
The first and by far most important step is to soundproof the door.
There are many ways to approach this and a few things to consider.
If you have a very thin or hollow door, then you should consider replacing the entire door or adding mass to it in order to prevent sound from simply getting through it.
If you have a hollow door, unless you add mass to it, sound will always have a very easy time getting in or out, no matter what other soundproofing techniques you apply.
Step 1: Use a Weatherstrip
Applying high-density foam tape to the frames of the doors will further help with sealing them completely.
This tape is extremely easy to apply since it has an adhesive side, 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, it’s 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
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.
Step 4: Add Mass to the Door
I’ve already mentioned this previously, but now I will go into how you should go about doing this.
Here you have two choices; Install mass loaded vinyl or rigid foam insulation on the door.
Option 1: Install Mass loaded vinyl on the Door
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 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.
Cover the entirety of the door for best results.
Option 2: 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 to attach it.
Make sure to check if you are not violating your building code violation.
After you’re done with the doors, it’s time to soundproof the Windows.
4. Soundproof the Windows
Most of the noises generated outside of your home office, like car noises, people walking by, etc. will be able to enter mostly through the windows.
This is why soundproofing the windows is absolutely essential for any home office.
Just like with the doors, I’d recommend you start by applying a weatherstrip.
Step 1: Weatherstrip the Window
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.
Step 2: Use Acoustic Caulk
If there are any cracks on the wall alongside the frame, then make sure to cover them up with acoustic caulk.
Step 3: 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 inside.
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. 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.
Step 4: 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 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.
5. Soundproof the Air- Vents
The issue with air vents is that you can’t fully soundproof them without sealing them off entirely.
There are a couple things you can do, however, keep in mind that air vents are designed to keep air coming in and out of the room which means that obstructing them will lower that air flow.
Step 1: Hang Sound Dampening Materials in front of the Vent
Using sound absorbing materials like acoustic curtains or blankets and hanging them in front of the air vent will decrease the amount of noise allowed into the home office.
This is the simplest solution, even though some sound will still be able to get through.
Step 2: Make a Sound Maze inside the Vent
This one is a bit trickier to accomplish, but it certainly does work.
Sound likes travelling in a straight line, as soon as you build a maze out of sound absorbing materials, like acoustic foam, for it to navigate before it can reach the office, the level of noise that ends up getting in will be drastically lower.
It should look something like this;
Combining this method and the previous one should result in a significant noise level reduction.
Step 3: Block the Vent Entirely
If you don’t care at all for the vent and just want to fully reduce the noise, then it might be a good idea to simply block it off.
Here you have two options;
- Stuff the vent full of sound insulating material and then cover it up with drywall.
- Use this Big Gap filler that you can get on Amazon and fill the hole with it. It will expand and be air-tight as well as water resistant.
After you’ve done this you can sand it off and paint over it.
6. Soundproof the Walls
Vibrations generated by sound reverberate, which means that they will be able to travel through the walls unhindered.
Installing something like a drywall on top of the existing walls will reduce the level of vibrations allowed through as well as any kind of unwanted noise.
Here are the three options I consider to be the best;
Add an extra layer of drywall
Adding an extra layer of drywall may be a bit more expensive than most of the steps I’ve been describing in this article so far, but it really does help with lowering unwanted noises.
If you’re worried about reducing the amount of space within the office, don’t!
Adding drywall will only add about one inch to the thickness of the walls, you won’ even notice it.
Note: You should put a lot of this Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound on the back of the drywall. It will help a lot with sound absorption!
Don’t worry too much about the pattern, just try and apply it in a uniform manner across the entire surface.
After installing it make sure to put some acoustic caulk between the drywall sheets to seal the gaps.
This will provide the best seal possible and keep the noises at bay.
Install Mass Loaded Vinyl with the Drywall
Before you install the drywall, if you really want to take things to the next level, you should install MLV on the walls first and THEN the drywall on top of it.
- First you need to measure the surface that you want to cover, making sure that the MLV will cover as much of it as possible.
- Next cut the MLV to those exact measurements.
- Position the first strip of MLV in the top corner of the wall making sure that it’s straight and fasten it with nails, screws or a staple gun. Be generous with the staples since it’s heavy.
- Repeat the process until the entirety of the home office is covered.
- Cut out holes for the electrical outlets.
- Use acoustic caulk between each of the sheets of MLV, especially in the corners.
- Hang the Drywall and apply the desired finish.
I’d recommend you use this mass loaded vinyl which you can find on Amazon at a great price.
Use Soundproofing Paint
This is fairly straight forward since all you need to do is apply a couple of coats of this soundproofing paint and that’s it!
If you decided to install some extra drywall, then I’d recommend that you paint it with this kind of paint since it will further help reduce the transmission of sound.
7. Soundproof the ceiling
The best way in my opinion, but which requires a lot of construction work, is to do the same thing I just explained about installing MLV and drywall on the walls, but this time on the sealing.
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.
This will be way cheaper and also take a lot less time!
8. Soundproof the Floor
The best way to reduce noise transmission is by decoupling the structures that are connected to each other so that the vibrations can’t be transmitted through them.
When it comes to the floor you have a couple of options;
Install interlocking Floor Mats
Sure, they don’t look as good as one would like, but they do work.
To install them I’d recommend that you place one down in the corner of the room first and then work from there.
I consider this to be the easiest way to soundproof a floor, especially for anyone who doesn’t want to spend any money since they are extremely affordable.
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, which would be a great option if you’re willing to do this!
But you could purchase the flooring mats I just mentioned, but first install the underlayment first and THEN the floor mats on top of it.
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.
Install Carpet Padding
Installing a carpet padding is far easier than installing regular padding simply because you have to roll it out until it meets both the walls on each side of the office and cut it.
To adhere it to the floor you can use glue or nails, depending on what you prefer.
You can then purchase a big rug and place it on top since it will make it look a bit nicer.
There are many different carpet paddings available for the purpose of soundproofing, but I would absolutely recommend the premium grip rug pad available on Amazon.
This is because these pads are ultra-durable and slip resistant, making the application process easier.
9. Add some Acoustic Treatment to your Home Office
While acoustic treatment, or sound deadening, won’t help that much with reducing outside noises from getting in your home office, it will lower the echo in it.
In other words, soundwaves inside the office will die out much quicker, making it feel quieter.
Here are some basic things you can do;
Install acoustic panels
Installing acoustic foam or proper acoustic panels will reduce the noise inside your home office quite a lot, simply because they absorb the soundwaves not allowing them to bounce off the walls.
Acoustic foam is very cheap and it does work, the only down side is that it doesn’t look as good as these acoustic panels, which are also more effective.
If you like the way acoustic foam panels look or if you’re on a very tight budget, then I’d recommend you get these ones!
There is one other option which I absolutely love which is making acoustic panels yourself, you can even use artwork or paintings to make them into acoustic panels.
Acoustic Panels DIY
You will need a couple of old towels, some wood to make the frames and a bit of handiwork.
Step 1: Make a frame out of wood. If you’re using a painting then ignore this step since it’s already got a frame.
Note: If the artwork has glass covering it up, this won’t work. Either remove the glass or create acoustic panels from scratch.
Step 2: Cut a couple of old towels so that they fit perfectly inside of the frame.
Step 3: Stack them all on top of each other and place them on top of a bigger towel and sew the together.
Step 4: Staple the bigger towel on to the frame of the painting and then cut off the excess fabric.
Here’s a video by DIY Perks on how to make your own acoustic panels, but the same concept can be applied to the paintings.
Placing just one or two paintings, or even just acoustic panels like the ones in the video, in your home office, should help absorb most of the sounds that are generated inside of it.
Install Acoustic Blankets
Acoustic blankets are one of my favorite materials both for soundproofing and sound deadening mainly because they are so versatile and affordable.
You can hang them on the walls, ceiling, doors, windows, wherever you like and they will absorb a lot of sound.
Not only will the block sound from getting in, but they will also absorb the soundwaves inside the office.
You don’t need to spend a fortune on blankets, in fact, you can get this pack of 12 blankets on amazon for nearly the price of one acoustic curtain.
Note: Acoustic curtains work exactly the same as acoustic blankets, but they cost more.
There are a couple other things you could do like rearranging the furniture, filling a bookcase with books and placing it against a wall which will help with blocking outside noise.
Getting a big and thick rug is also a good idea since it absorbs a lot of sound.
Any type of sound absorbing material, which is a thick, dense and heavy one, will work well!
Working from Home is one of the best things you can do. There’s nothing like avoiding the morning traffic!
But, since you aren’t working in a regular work environment, there might be more annoying noises present.
Follow some of these steps I mentioned and you should be able to completely soundproof your home office in no time!
If you can think of any other ways to soundproof a home office, let me know in the comments below!
Have a wonderful day!