Sound Proof Your Apartment For Cheap

As a college girl and apartment dweller two things are of paramount importance to me when it comes to my living space; I need it to be cost effective and quiet. When making improvements to your apartment you'd want to find solutions that are inexpensive and temporary. I hate noise and most apartment walls are so thin that you can hear your neighbors snoring at night. I've been looking for simple, cheap, temporary solutions to ensure that I hear as little noise from my neighbors as possible. If you're looking for ways to accomplish the same goal then hopefully these tips may be helpful to you.

The Door

Perhaps the best place to start soundproofing is the door. In an apartment, most doors aren't very thick and in most cases there are gaps between the door and it's frame. It's these gaps that not only bring a draft of cold or hot air into your apartment but these gaps are also responsible for adding to the amount of noise you hear from the hallway and from outside. As an apartment dweller you probably wouldn't be able to change your thin door to a thicker one but you can supplement its shortcomings with a number of cheap gadgets designed to prevent drafts. Sound waves are like air, in that they have a hard time making their way through sealed spaces.
A twin guard draft is an easy cheap device that you can slip under your door that blocks air (and sound) from both sides of the door thanks to two foam cylinders that rest on either side. It installs without requiring any attachment to the door itself, and works on most doors. Make sure you pick up one that is the right size for your door. Keep in mind that this isn't the ultimate solution. It just happens to be one of the more helpful ones without altering the door itself. You can get rubberized flaps that attach by way of screws or adhesive and rub against the floor as the door is opened or closed. This type of sweep seal is more effective, but requires some modification to the door itself.

Another great alternative or addiction would be to use weather-stripping foam tape around the top and sides of the door frame to create a better air seal that will limit the amount of sound that comes through a door. The foam tape and draft guard will reduce the amount of sound that leaks out through the door; the better the seal, the less sound will leak through. The weather stripping foam is usually under bucks 10 and can be found at any home improvement store. It has a self adhesive backing which makes it really easy for the least skillful DIY enthusiast. If installed with care the sound reduction will be significant just from those two tweaks.

Another cheap alternative would be to use egg carton foam (like the kind you find at bedding stores) can help. It isn't exactly studio quality, so it may not work as well as the more expensive stuff, but attaching that foam to the inside of the door can absorb some of the sound bleeding through the surface. It's not the most attractive option decor wise but it does provide some sound proofing benefits. Another thing to keep in mind with using foam on your door is that this may be a fire hazard. Think about it, foam stuck to the back of your door will be extremely flammable in the event of a fire. The use of the foam isn't my favorite alternative but like I said it does help with the noise factor coming from the door.    

Walls

Echo is a big factor in sound production. Walls in apartments might be thin, but there are a few things you can do to lessen the degree of impact this sound bleeding has on your apartment. As stated before, egg carton foam is a great sound insulator. If you can afford the expensive stuff, it could be worth it to you, but if your walls really are that thin, nothing short of a wall of toilet paper will insulate louder noises. 

Arrange foam in squares around the walls. It would be impractical to cover every square inch of the wall with the stuff, so try doing it in a pattern. A square could be turned and posted in a diamond pattern around the wall, with two-foot gaps between pieces. This reduces echo as the foam itself is quite absorbing. This won’t insulate against bangs and bass thumps from noisy neighbors, but it will help prevent noises from inside the room turning up on your recording. Use a mild adhesive. The foam isn't heavy, and doesn't require more than maybe a small tack or some of that gooey putty stuff. My favorite and most effective alternative is using a product called Audimute. My little brother went through a drum playing phase awhile back and the noise drove my parents crazy so my dad bought and installed about 10 sheets of Audimute absorption sheets. Audimute isn't the cheapest product but it's very effective and portable so you easily remove it and bring it to your new apartment/house. Another tip is to remember that the more furniture in your room would reduce the amount of sound. Hanging thick beautiful wall tapestries may provide a bit of soundproofing.
Another tip would be to use any bookcases that you may have close to exterior walls or walls where noise is coming from the other side. Book cases full of books standing against your walls will provide a bit of soundproofing. Clothes and towels hung on towel racks will provide some sound insulation in your bathroom. 

Windows

Windows may be one area that you have the least control over in your apartment. Aside from using heavy curtains or some basic weather-stripping, most apartments restrict you from doing anything to alter the windows. In fact, many apartments (mine included) require you to have the same brand/style of blinds facing outward that came with the apartment. Talk about a lack of options.

You can, however, find some interesting sound reduction curtains out there if the cost of those sound reduction curtains leaves you weary try your best to get thick/ double lined curtains. They may not be as pretty as the lighter decorative ones, but they do a pretty good job at absorbing the sound between the window pane and the room. Oddly enough these suggestions not only help with soundproofing but they also would help to keep your heating and cooling costs down. Score. Also when your lease is up you can remove the draft guard, foam, and bookcases without worrying about losing your security deposit. Do you use these tips or have any other suggestions you'd like to share?

Live long and prosper...in a sound proof apartment.

Haha...I apologize but I couldn't help myself. =) 
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