How to Soundproof a Garage

How to Soundproof a Garage

Almost all of us have lived next to a noisy neighbor and almost all of us hated it!

You know the type, the one with a garage that sounds like a recording studio or a full-on manufacturing plant, with either super loud music or super loud tools making all kinds of noise at all hours of the day and night.

Well, it turns out that a lot of us that become homeowners want to take advantage of our garage spaces for hobbies, too.

But we want to make sure that we aren’t that noisy neighbor!

Thankfully, with the right tools, the right tactics, and the inside information below, you’ll learn exactly how to soundproof a garage the right way.

Best of all, you’ll learn how to do it with a DIY approach and without spending a mountain of money along the way.

Sounds too good to be true?

Let’s dive in and find out how to soundproof a garage in four steps.

Step by Step: How To Soundproof A Garage

  1. Soundproofing the Walls
  2. Soundproofing the Doors
  3. Soundproofing the Ceiling
  4. Soundproofing the Floor

1. Soundproofing the Walls

How to Soundproof a Garage Wall

The walls of your garage are going to be where most sound “leakage” finds a way to squirrel out, which is why you need to soundproof them ASAP.

First, you need to decide what direction you’re going to soundproof your garage walls.

You have a couple of different options, including:

  • Soundproofing existing framing with insulation and drywall
  • Building secondary wall frames inside your existing framing or extra soundproofing
  • Hang soundproofing sheets for curtains from the walls

Or a combination of all three!

The first approach is the simplest and the most straightforward. It’s also one of the least expensive.

As long as you have exposed framing in your garage, there’s no demolition involved, which is always a bonus.

All you have to do is get your hands on quality insulating materials with soundproofing properties (like any of these options, for example) and you’ll be able to reduce sound transmission by 40% to 50% or more.

Materials Recommended:

  • Fiberglass Insulation Batts
  • Fiberglass Boards
  • Acoustic Mineral Wool Insulation
  • Double Drywall Layers (1/8-1/4 Thick Each)
  • Double Walls, Staggered Joints
  • Sound Isolation Clips and Sound Resilient Channels

Traditional fiberglass insulation (R15/R30) will offer a decent amount of sound deadening and doesn’t take long to install. Acoustic mineral wool insulation is even better, though.

No matter which insulation you choose, though, the install process is straightforward. Cut each piece to fit each framing bay, staple it up, and then cover it with a plastic moisture barrier.

Pop on some drywall and you’re off to the races.

The second option to improve your sound dampening impact even more would be to go with a “double frame” configuration on all your walls.

This creates a wall within a wall, slightly reducing the interior footprint of your garage. It’s a little more expensive (unless you go with staggered studs, anyway) but can reduce sound transmission in a big way.

You’ll need some power tools to help you frame up new interior walls just inside of your exterior ones, though. Because they aren’t load-bearing, they don’t have to be as robust as your exterior walls, but you’ll still want to follow good construction practices all the same.

Measure your top and bottom plates first, laying them out inside of the existing walls. Then cut studs to fit (8ft tall or up to your ceiling joists/rafters) and you’ll be ready to go.

Keep studs 16 inches on center apart from one another, use two by fours to keep costs low, and then insulate and drywall things when you’re done.

The third option hanging sound dampening curtains all over your garage walls is the easiest and least expensive approach, but it also allows for the most sound transmission.

All you have to do here is buy high-quality sound dampening curtains, install them as recommended by the manufacturer on your exterior walls, and you are good to go.

Sound isolation clips, sound resilient channels, double drywall, and other approaches can effectively soundproof all of your exterior walls. These can be combined with the three choices highlighted above.

2. Soundproofing the Doors

How to Soundproof a Garage Door

You have two types of doors you’re going to have to soundproof in your garage the doors that go into and out of your home from the garage and the garage doors themselves.

The first thing to do is to take care of “normal” doors going into and out of your garage.

These doors are going to be super easy to soundproof. All it takes is to swap out traditional hollow core doors for solid core doors (maybe even steel solid core doors) and you are ready.

Remove the doors from the doorjamb (leaving the hinges in place for easy remounting) and you’ll be done in about 15 minutes. Just be sure that you level and plumb your doors before you call the job finished.

You want to confirm that your new soundproof doors are going to open and shut smoothly, after all.

Next, it’s important to understand that soundproofing a garage is an entirely different animal altogether.

For one thing, replacing hollow garage doors that retract with solid doors won’t just be prohibitively expensive, but it also makes doors too heavy for your garage door opener to manipulate.

No, instead you’re going to want to go with a couple of simple DIY solutions that will reduce sound transmission in a big way without you having to fiddle with your doors all that much.

Materials Recommended:

  • Solid Core Doors
  • Garage Door Gap Strips
  • Acoustic Caulk
  • Acoustic Panels Cut to Fit
  • Acoustic Blanks/Curtains

To begin with, you’ll want to seal all the gaps in your garage doors with purpose-made “sound leak” solutions.

These gap fillers are usually rubberized, compressible, and easy enough to fit your specific garage door set up. You want to make sure that they aren’t just filling the gaps between garage door panels but that there also sealing gaps at the floor and along both sides of the door as well.

Acoustic caulk solutions can also be used to dampen sound transmission, though this is usually a little messier than those rubberized fillers we mentioned a moment ago.

Using acoustic caulk follows the same process as any other caulking material.

Snip the end of the tube, insert it into a caulking gun, and then fill in any gaps you see. Allow the acoustic caulk plenty of time to harden (especially if you’re doing this job in colder weather) overnight at least and you should be all set.

After those nooks and crannies have been taken care of, it’s time to run sound dampening curtains in front of your garage doors.

The best thing about sound dampening curtains is that they are completely customizable to your space.

You can get as many or as few curtains as you need to cover your garage doors without spending a pile of money, and can even run double layers of sound dampening curtains to multiply their benefits.

Make sure that you attach these curtains to a curtain rod designed to support them, though.

You want to be able to retract these curtains when they’re not in use, preventing them from obstructing your garage door opening when you need to pull your vehicle in, your lawnmower out, or just use the space for something else.

Remember that the heavier the curtains the better the sound dampening properties are going to be, and always shoot for curtains that stretch from the ceiling of your garage to the floor with very little gap (ideally none) to speak up.

Those that want to take their sound dampening to the next level will want to consider building retractable sound dampening panels.

These are panels that they fold up or stow away when they want to do something noisy in the garage and are always a custom project.

If you’re going down this road, get your hands on some two by fours, some piano hinges, plenty of acoustic insulation or sound dampening tiles, and the power tools you’ll need to build false “foldaway” walls.

There are a couple of great YouTube videos (like this one) out there that can help you knock out this kind of project without a lot of extra effort.

An enormous benefit here is you can create total custom acoustic garage door barriers that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. This project is pretty involved, but the frames can be sized to your exact garage dimensions.

That’s going to seal out a lot more noise than anything “off the shelf” – including sound curtains.

3. Soundproofing the Ceiling

How to Soundproof a Garage Ceiling

For one reason or another, we’re not really sure why, a lot of people just don’t think about the importance of soundproofing their ceiling after they square away their walls and their doors.

That’s a big mistake.

Soundproofing the ceiling guarantees that you’re able to quiet down a full quarter of your garage space that would have been leaking sound like crazy otherwise.

Materials Recommended:

  • Fiberglass Insulation Batts
  • Fiberglass Boards
  • Acoustic Mineral Wool Insulation
  • Double Drywall Layers (1/8-1/4 Thick Each)
  • Single, Extra Thick Layer of Drywall (5/8)
  • Rubberized Workout Floor Mats
  • Acoustic Panels

Here’s how to start soundproofing your ceiling.

Insulate everything (not just the ceiling joists where applicable, but your rafters as well) with fiberglass insulation, acoustic mineral wool installation, or something similar.

After that’s done, consider adding double drywall layers to the ceiling if the framing will support it. Two layers of quarter inch drywall makes the job easy enough to do on your own but still offers plenty of sound dampening protection.

If you do take that approach, drywall the “upper facing” part of the rafter framing first. Leave a small area for you to get down from (maybe a cutaway panel so that you can access this storage space) and then do the garage facing portion of the rafters, too.

That’ll give you a great double layer of soundproofing to really deaden sound in a big way.

If you don’t have rafters but instead only have ceiling joists you could double up layers of drywall there, too. You could even go with a thicker drywall (5/8, maybe) or built-in “dummy rafters” to support your sound dampening efforts – if you’ve got the budget.

There are some people that have had great results soundproofing their ceiling with traditional MDX plywood on top of their rafters (creating extra storage space) with sound dampening panels added on top.

In a pinch (if your budget is tight) you could swap out the sound dampening panels and use the rubberized flooring mats popular in commercial gyms and fitness centers around weight machines to get almost the same results, too.

These panels can be cut to fit with an X-Acto knife or razor knife. If you really want to go all out you could also fill in the gaps between these tiles with acoustic caulk material, sealing them up and preventing (almost) any sound transmission completely.

All in all, just don’t forget about soundproofing your ceiling.

It really does make a big difference.

4. Soundproofing the Floor

How to Soundproof a Garage Floor

Finally, it may not be a bad idea to soundproof your floor, either.

Flanking noises (particularly high pitch sounds like those generated by power tools and saws, as well as a lot of popular instruments) are going to try and find any outlet they can to get out and bother your neighbors.

There are a couple of approaches to take here.

Materials Recommended:

  • Epoxy and Resin Based Floor Material
  • Fiberglass Boards
  • Rubberized Workout Floor Mats
  • Heavy Acoustic Underlayments

First, you can eliminate a lot of those flanking noises with epoxy/resin floor coverings.

These kinds of floor coverings are specifically designed with garage and concrete floors in mind. They generally come in two separate buckets (one part epoxy resin, one part) and need to be mixed before they are applied.

Floors need to be etched beforehand as well (almost all about see resin floor materials include etching solutions, too).

Clean the floor (brooming and vacuuming it, removing as much dust as possible) and then start the etching process. The etching material will foam and fizz for a little while, but then you need to let it dry for a couple of days maybe even a week.

After the garage floor is good and dry it’s time to apply the epoxy resin material.

Mix up the two separate materials (the resin and the hardening agent) and then get to work “painting” your floor. Give the whole space two or three days to dry completely before walking on it, especially if it’s cold out.

To take things to the next level you could drop acoustic floor mats on top of the newly sealed with resin floor, too.

These mats are super affordable, are designed to withstand the beating of being used in garages and basements, and are made out of a thick enough rubber to insulate a lot of sound as well.

Simply measure out the square footage of the garage floor, get enough mats to fit with some overlap, and then drop them in place. Cut some to fit with a razor knife and you’re good to go!

If you really want to go all out, you can get your hands on heavy acoustic underlayment materials and put something like a laminate floor down. But that’s a multi thousand dollar job, one you might not be comfortable tackling on your own, and maybe something little to “fancy” for what you want to do in your garage.

Those interested in that kind of project will want to hire it out to the professionals. Let them handle the heavy lifting!

At the end of the day, there’s a bunch of things you can do to better insulate the floor of your garage to lock out sound without spending a small fortune. Consider the options mentioned above and you’ll be able to quiet things down big time.

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