Does soundproof paint or noise absorbing paint work? Or is just one of many fancy products that are out in the market that claim to be the answer to your soundproofing needs but fall flatter than a witch’s bosom.
Well, I found the answer myself last fall when three projects at the house all hit me at once. The house needed more organization, painting and most of all, soundproofing.
With my wife set to recover at home after major surgery, I needed to find inexpensive ways to soundproof the house. Between my neighbor’s conversations to the couple that regularly (and proudly I assume) exercise bedroom calisthenics, I really had to look for a cheapo solution since the aforementioned surgery nearly wiped away the money I had set aside for rainy days. And boy, the last thing I needed was another bill coming my way.
I spoke to several of my friends who were in the home renovation business. I told them about the needs I had with regards to our home and the budget that I NEEDED to work with.
The discussion eventually reached soundproofing paint, which they said would basically hit two birds with one stone: give the house a fresh look with a new coat of paint, while at the same time, giving it some sort of sound protection to give my wife sufficient peace and quiet in order for her to rest well.
I actually learned a lot from that enthusiastic conversation with friends. If for example, if the noise that is bothering is not really all that loud, then why would you spend so much on foam panels, blankets, and curtains when basic soundproofing paint can do the job just as efficiently?
Long story short, soundproofing paint proved to be a two-in-one solution to my problems. It simultaneously lessened the noise level and helped me redesign the rooms in my house. Nevertheless, there are a lot of benefits coming from this paint.
And while it no doubt demands equal parts of your time and effort, the whole operation is definitely worthwhile with regards to the final product and what you had to spend to get to it. Now, let me share some of the fundamental things that I learned from embarking on this particular soundproofing project involving soundproof paint, starting with learning what it is.
Table of Contents
Don’t want to read through our whole guide? You can use our table of content to jump to the part most relevant to you!
- What You Need to Know About Soundproofing Paint
- What is Soundproofing Paint?
- How Does Soundproof Paint Work?
- How to Get the Best Results with a Mixture of Methods
- The Bottom Line: Does Soundproof Paint Work?
What You Need to Know About Soundproofing Paint
Before you run off to buy soundproofing paint, there are a few things that you must know beforehand. After all, it’s best that you are well aware of what you are getting yourself into with regards to this soundproofing project. Basically, soundproofing paint can be utilized on essentially any surface on which regular paint can be used as well. If it can be painted on using good ‘ol paint, it can be painted on with the more sophisticated soundproofing paint.
Second, it’s not imperative that you paint your entire house using soundproofing paint. Rather, focus on the crucial spots that really need soundproofing. Other than those areas, you can just use regular paint with the other parts of the house. Trust me, this will save you a lot of money.
As I touched on above, soundproofing paint will work to a particular noise level. Sadly, if you live next to a residential housing a tribe of howling savages making all kinds of loud noises, then soundproofing paint is of no use.
For best possible results, choose to use the soundproofing paint at mid-frequency noise. To put it in simpler terms, it’s mainly the sound level at which a regular conversation is carried out.
So, the soundproofing paint should be used if you are hearing not that loud voice passing through your walls. In other words, trying to lessen the noise from the neighbor’s pack of dogs or some very loud music using soundproofing paint will most likely be in vain.
One of the most crucial things that you should know well ahead of this particular endeavor is that you will have to paint a few layers of coating. This basically means you are going to have to invest in more than just a few cans of soundproofing paint in order to get the best results possible.
That translates into more time, more money and of course, more effort. But you need to go through all these if you want to attain your soundproofing goal without having to shell out more money for other, more expensive soundproofing methods.
What is Soundproof Paint?
To really unlock the answer to this question, let’s first look at how regular paint works compared to that of soundproofing paint. There’s a stark difference, which says a lot for the efficiency of soundproofing paint. So, let’s see what regular paint first is.
If you’re really considering painting the walls of your house, you’ve already done your due research regarding the paint you are bent on using. Regular paint comes in all sorts of colors and shades. It’s thin and easy to manage, so you should be able to paint your walls without encountering much fuss or hassle.
In addition, regular paint might also be somewhat less expensive than soundproof paint. However, there are cases where regular paint can be prohibitively expensive. Often times, low-cost wall paint costs just about $15 per gallon. But, if you want something higher in quality, you’ll want to expand your choices and of course, budget.
Why? It’s simple! Cheap paint cracks faster and even alters its colors after some time. So you may be better off buying regular paint that hovers around the $30 per gallon range. That’s practically what you can expect soundproof paint to cost as well. There are some more expensive wall paints, some of which can reach north of $100 per gallon — but that’s not very realistic especially for someone who is set on cutting costs.
The way these prices get bloated is because of two elements: color and the kind of paint. Generally, darker and more saturated colors are reasonably more pricey. This is simply because more pigment goes into producing them.
The kinds of paints boil down to their finish, be it matte, glossy, or anywhere in between. Some areas, like hospitals or schools, make use of glossy paint on the walls to make them simpler to sterilize. However, matte paints are often preferred for homes.
Compared to regular paint, you really don’t have that many choices when it comes to soundproof paint and color. You’ll have a few choices of light tones and that’s about it.
As discussed above, a gallon of soundproof paint can cost you about $30. It’s not as inexpensive as some regular paints, but it’s not all that expensive too. The gallon of paint is sufficient enough to be used for up to 150 square feet.
Like common paint, soundproof paint is water-based. But the reason why it might boost the sound quality by a little bit is that the primary ingredient is essentially latex. Not only does latex make this product non-toxic and quick-drying, but it’s also just the element that delivers the soundproofing qualities that soundproof paint is known for.
Rubber materials are used to soundproof and augment thermal insulation to walls. Mass-Loaded Vinyl and identical rubber materials are often used to this end.
In the case of soundproof paint, the latex should plug any minute cracks in the wall and add some density to it. It should also give the wall an extra thickness this paint needs. Because of that thickness, soundproof paint can look a bit odd when you first lay your eyes on it.
Unlike common paint, which should be wholly liquid, soundproof paint may appear to be lumpy. No matter how thorough you are in mixing it, the paint will leave a texture on your walls, especially when you start adding one layer after another. However, that could be a beneficial thing, especially if your walls and ceilings have defects that you are trying to conceal from guests.
Whatever the case, soundproof paint surely isn’t adding a remarkable amount of mass to your walls. As a matter of fact, you can see more thickness with soundproof wallpaper. As it is, the thickness forms a small fraction of why soundproof paint might actually work to your advantage.
How Does Soundproof Paint Work?
Let’s get this straight: the thicker the material is, the better the soundproofing. That rule is simple and well-defined. And it virtually points to soundproof paint as well. To give you a well-rounded answer to the question of “how does it work”, I need to give you an understanding as to how thick this paint really is.
The thickness of this paint varies, depending on your penchant. In common cases, you will need, at the very least, three layers to lessen the normal talking noise, from the apartment next to you, by 50%. Basically, one layer is extremely thick for the paint.
Soundproof paint for walls is rich and heavy bodied, composed of ceramic microspheres and unique soundproofing fillers. This will considerably increase the amount of sound it can absorb. It is water-based and it will just as easily keep sound from bouncing around in your room.
Soundproofing paint will effectively stifle tinning noise and ringing in all metal structures.
Soundproofing paint is a great tool to use against the noise on two various levels. Firstly, it will diminish the noise by absorbing it. The noise from inside your room (like an echo) will be decreased. Also, the sound that is being conveyed outside of your room will be averted, keeping it from disturbing your next-door neighbors.
You can also use furniture or other heavy objects to prevent the echo. These pieces of furniture will prevent noise recoiling from flat surfaces and reflecting to other directions.
In relation to that, soundproofing paint also functions as a soft and thick surface that will prevent that sound from bouncing and protect your room from the echo effect.
On a whole different plane, this soundproofing paint will substantially lessen some reasonable noise that comes into your room. Ideally, you should paint over all the impact walls, which basically means those at the noise impact. If not, you run the risk of getting undesirable effects.
Soundproof paint is non-toxic and environmentally friendly too. It’s basically the same in this matter as a regular paint. The only difference is that this functions like a sound deadener.
Also, you can apply it in different manners. You can use a roller or a spray to hasten the procedure up a bit, or you can simply go with the brush. Since you will, at the very least, need a few layers, I would recommend this roller as it has been touted as the fastest performing tool.
These paints are can be cleaned rather easily. All you need to do is some water and some soap, and the paint will be clean in no time.
Where Can Soundproof Paint Be Used?
As mentioned above, you can use soundproof paint in areas where you feel are most vulnerable to noise. Basically, this paint is utilized on interior surfaces.
Aside from walls, and ceiling, you can use this paint on wood and metal, as well as on primed drywall.
Once again, make sure that you cover whole walls, as it will increase the absorption by a lot. Also, you may cover some crevices with it and seal the holes that release the noise.
What Are The Benefits to Using Soundproofing Paint?
Again, as touched on above, soundproof paint will diminish the noise of some normal frequencies by as much as 30%. Nevertheless, there are some other benefits that you can enjoy.
Soundproofing paint is a thick material. Therefore, depending on the coatings and layers that are applied, it can act as a great thermal isolator.
I’ve used this paint of most of the rooms in the house and I have actually recorded an astounding difference in temperature between the ones that have soundproof paint on and the ones that do not.
And finally, you can use this method as the answer to several problems. It’s an inexpensive method and you can do the job of soundproofing and painting yourself at the same time.
How to Get the Best Results with a Mixture of Methods
If you want to get better results, you can use soundproofing paint with some of the simplest soundproofing methods, or even use items you would normally see around your household.
Place Large Furniture Against the Wall
As such, if you want to block the noise more, then, after applying the soundproof paint, you can simply place a large piece of the furniture against the walls like bookshelves as an added layer of defense against unwanted noise.
That will also decrease the echo to 0, and keep the noise from bothering your neighbors. In addition, if your rooms have windows and walls, you should really think about soundproofing them as well.
Once you soundproof your walls with soundproofing paint, you can next take on the challenge of soundproofing windows and doors.
Paint Ceiling with Soundproof Paint
If the neighbors upstairs are making a ruckus as you can hear their footsteps or the dog barking, then, along with painting your ceiling with soundproof paint, you can ask them to possibly add some carpet on their floor in order to minimize the noise.
Seal Holes Before Applying Paint
Also, you should make doubly sure to seal all the holes before applying on the paint. While it is true that the paint is thick and it will cover them, but you should undoubtedly seal them with green glue, which is a soundproofing substance.
Simply put, there are a number of methods which you can use in tandem with soundproofing paint. Some of them are easy and don’t need all that much time and money, while others are kind of trickier and a lot more costly.
The Bottom line: Does SoundProof Paint Work?
With everything that has been discussed in detail about soundproofing paint, does it work, how does it work and what are the benefits of painting with it, it can be deduced that soundproofing paint does work, albeit on some levels.
Those levels are noise that is not all that loud. With soundproof paint, you will be able to drown out the noise of regular talking from the room next to you. Temper your expectations with soundproof paint and don’t expect miracles. It can’t be used as an enduring solution to noise problems like dogs barking or a kid crying.
Let me put it this way: it is a reasonable solution to reasonable noise.