For many, a bathroom is a place where you go to enjoy a bit of peace and quiet. Therefore, it can be incredibly annoying when you are trying to relax and there is an unfathomable amount of noise coming from within the room. The best shower ever can easily be ruined by loud pipes or an echoing noise in the room. Believe me, I have been there.
Thankfully, soundproofing a bathroom isn’t all that difficult. While there are some jobs that may require the help of a professional, most soundproofing can be done with a few supplies and some basic tools.
Step by step: How to Soundproof a Bathroom
The tricky thing about soundproofing a bathroom is that most of the soundproofing should be done when the property is being built. This means that for a DIYer, there is a lot that you can do.
I am not going to advocate for you tearing down your walls and insulating pipes. If you don’t know what you are doing, then no step-by-step guide is going to help you. This is really a job that should be left in the hands of professionals.
I am going to stick with some of the simplest methods for soundproofing your bathroom. Unless your bathroom is unbearably noisy, and I am talking pipes that constantly rattle, and wafer-thin walls, then these steps should help. If they don’t, then call in a professional.
- Adhesive foam tape
- Sound blocking door sweep
- Weatherstripping for doors (instead of the sweep)
- Heavy-duty bathroom rugs or rubber mats.
- Low flow showerhead
- Low flow taps
- Mass loaded vinyl insulation
- Door storage unit
- Slow closing toilet seat
Those materials should help to deal with the vast majority of sound issues in your bathroom. However, if you really want to take the soundproofing to the extreme, then I recommend the following too:
- Hardwood door
- 1/2″ thick drywall
- Green glue
- Bathroom wall tiles (if you do not have any)
- Tile adhesive
- Tile spacers
- Tile grout
- Sanitary sealant
Other than this, a basic supply of tools wouldn’t go amiss. None of this soundproofing will involve anything fancier than a drill and some screwdrivers.
If you are cutting tiles, then you should also get your hands on a tile cutter. An electric one would be preferable.
- Step 1: Soundproofing the Bathroom Door
- Step 2: Soundproofing the floors
- Step 3: Soundproofing the toilet
- Step 4: Soundproofing exposed pipes
- Step 5: Dealing with rattling pipes in the wall
- Step 6: Applying soundproof drywall to the walls
- Step 7: Tiling the walls
- Step 8: Soundproofing the taps and showerhead
- Step 9: Additional Soundproofing
Step 1: Soundproofing the Bathroom Door
First things first, you will need to soundproof your door. There are a few ways that you can do this.
The best way is to replace your door completely. Most homes will not have a hardwood door on the bathroom, and this means that the bathroom door is going to let sound in and out easily. In fact, because most bathroom doors are hollow, there will be a sort of ‘echo’ when that sound passes through. Install a hardwood door and you won’t have that problem.
There are two ways that you can soundproof the door. How you soundproof will be dependent on your budget and the overall aesthetics.
Weatherstripping is an affordable option, and it is quick and easy to apply since most stripping for interior doors will come in a tape form. You just have to apply it around the door frame as per the instructions (how it is applied will be dependent on the stripping) and the door should be properly soundproofed around the edges.
The second option, and the one that I prefer, is installing a door sweep. A door sweep helps to soundproof the bottom of the door. You will likely need to screw it into place. In rare cases, you may have to cut the door a small amount.
No matter what you do, round off by adding a door storage unit onto the back of the door. It will add some extra storage space to your bathroom while dampening out the sound.
Step 2: Soundproofing the floors
Soundproofing the floors should be quick and easy. You can either add some heavy-duty rugs to the floor, or you can use heavy rubber mats.
Rugs are the more aesthetic option, but rubber mats work better in bathrooms.
Step 3: Soundproofing the toilet
There are a few ways to soundproof a toilet.
At the very minimum, I suggest that you install a slow closing toilet seat. This will eliminate the irritating ‘bang’ as the toilet seat closes. Most toilet seats can be unclipped and a new one easily put into place. In some cases, you may have to unscrew the old toilet seat. In either case, this is a job that will take a few minutes.
The next step is to remove the top of the cistern. You can then stick adhesive foam tape around the edges on the top of the tank. This will dampen some of the sounds that come out when you flush the toilet.
You should also take the time to check whether there are any loose fittings around the toilet. If there are, then tighten them. Sometimes even a small amount of looseness can cause untold amounts of rattling noise.
If your toilet has an adjustable inlet valve, you can adjust this to reduce the amount of water that is following into the toilet.
The final option is to install a quiet flush valve. However, how you install this will be dependent on your toilet and the valve that you purchase. This sort of job is best left in the hands of a professional.
Step 4: Soundproofing exposed pipes
If you have any exposed pipework in your bathroom, then you can wrap them with pipe wrap. This is also known as mass loaded vinyl. It is not the most aesthetic of materials, so I tend to suggest using it on the hidden pipework. However, it is highly effective at keeping pipe noise to the minimum.
How you apply the pipe wrap will be dependent on the product that you have purchased, so read the instructions. In most cases, you just wrap it around the pipes and tape it up using waterproof tape.
Step 5: Dealing with rattling pipes in the wall
This isn’t really something that I would recommend dealing with yourself. There is far too much that can go wrong. I strongly advocate for you calling in a professional to deal with pipes that are rattling to the point where the sound is disturbing you.
The reason why I am mentioning this as step 5 is that if you move onto step 6 without dealing with incredibly loud pipes in your walls, then all of that hard work in step 6 will go to waste. The drywall will need to be removed, as will the tiling work you will (hopefully) be doing in step 7.
It is worth noting that most people will not have pipes in the walls that are so loud that a good bit of drywall and tiling won’t cover. So, it is highly unlikely that you will need to call in a professional. It is something that (mostly) applies to older pipework in homes that are several decades old.
Step 6: Applying soundproof drywall to the walls
If you need to soundproof your walls, then I do suggest that you call in an expert. Hanging your own drywall can be difficult enough as it is. Things become a whole lot more complicated if you have tiled bathroom walls as you will have to remove those tiles beforehand. However, if you do insist on doing things yourself, then I will walk you through the basics of the process.
Do note that if you have brick walls as opposed to smoothed concrete or drywall, then these steps will not work. You will have to call in an expert as the drywall needs to be hung with some rather complicated fixings and requires specialist equipment.
I suggest that you use soundproofing drywall sheets for this. Make sure the sheets have been rated for use in the bathroom.
- Remove all tiles from the wall that you will be attaching the drywall sheets onto.
- Smooth the wall completely. This means removing old tile adhesive.
- Measure the wall and cut the drywall sheets to size.
- On the back of the drywall apply green glue. This is a sound dampening adhesive. Make sure you have a decent amount on the back of the drywall.
- Push the drywall into place.
- Secure the drywall onto the wall with the right fittings.
You will now be left with some tiles that need replacing, which leads me to the next step.
Step 7: Tiling the walls
You will have to tile the walls if you want proper soundproofing. If you use standard wallpaper, then you will never be able to fully soundproof your room.
I recommend that you use porcelain tiles as opposed to ceramic tiles for your bathroom. They are tougher to drill through and they are more expensive, but they have better soundproofing capabilities.
Learning how to tile is simple, but the actual tiling process can take a decent amount of time.
Proper tiling begins with planning. This means measuring the walls perfectly and working out how many tiles you will need, plus the pattern that you intend to lay them in. Do not cut any tiles at the start.
Once you have your tiles and have mixed your tile adhesive, spread this tile adhesive evenly over a small section of the wall. Preferably, this small section will be just large enough to hold four tiles. Two up, two across. I suggest starting from one of the corners that don’t require you to cut anything.
Push the first tile firmly into the corner. Place one tile above this. One to the side, and the fourth tile above that one.
Place a tile spacer in the center of these four tiles and adjust them so everything is straight.
Repeat this process until you come to an area where you need to cut some tiles up. This will often be around pipework, or simply because you reached the edge of the wall and the required tile is smaller than the ones you have. In either case, make your measurements and cut with a tile cutter. Straight cuts should be made with electric tile cutters, while more intricate, detailed work should be carried out with a handheld tile cutter.
Allow the tile adhesive to dry. This could take a day or longer. Check the instructions for your selected tile adhesive.
Once the tile adhesive is dry, apply grout in between the tiles. Make sure that you have a decent amount of grout in between each tile. Not just for strength, but also for aesthetics. You can do this with a tool known as a grout float.
I suggest splitting the grouting up into sections. This because grout dries incredibly quickly. You will need to be washing any grout from the tiles with a dampened sponge as you go. It is harder to remove grout once it has dried.
Once the walls have been grouted and everything is dry, all you need to do is go around the edges of the wall with a high-quality bathroom-safe sanitary sealant. This will be applied using your standard sealant gun.
Step 8: Soundproofing the taps and showerhead
If the main problem in your bathroom seems to be huge amounts of noise coming from your taps and showerheads, then you can replace them with low flow options.
Replacing the showerhead should be easy. In most cases, this will simply involve unscrewing the old showerhead and screwing the new one into place.
The same goes for taps. More often than not, just unscrew the tap and put the new ones in. If you need to make any cuts, then I suggest asking a professional to do it instead. The last thing you want is a broken sink.
Step 9: Additional Soundproofing
Any additional soundproofing will be dependent on the design of your bathroom. For example, hanging up mirrors, fluffy towels, and pictures will add a bit more soundproofing to the room. None of this is necessary but, remember, empty rooms tend to echo a lot more.