How to Soundproof a Mobile Home
Mobile homes have thinner walls than most regular houses and apartments. That’s the way that it has to be, otherwise the mobile home would be way too heavy to move around.
But lighter walls also let through more noise. Plus, you have no privacy whether you’re in the toilet room, snoring in the bedroom or doing something more interesting..
To prevent sound from coming in and out of your mobile home, you can use a few simple soundproofing methods that have a great track record. As far as theory is concerned, here’s the entire soundproofing philosophy summarized in two points:
1. Add density to the structure (walls, doors, windows…etc.)
2. Cover any gaps and open spaces (usually found between the door and the door frame, and between window and window frame)
There’s very little difference between soundproofing a house or an apartment and a mobile home. But some methods will be more convenient than others.
For example, it’s more convenient to use thinner materials like fiberglass or Mass Loaded Vinyl than large mineral wool boards to soundproof mobile homes. Because usually there are no joists (studs) present, and if there are, they’re not as wide apart as they are in regular walls. Also if you decide to use acoustic panels directly on the wall, it’s better to use thinner ones so that they don’t take away too much from the size of the room.
With that in mind, here’s a step-by-step guide you can follow to soundproof your mobile home. All the products that I recommend are available on Amazon, and in almost every case for a lower price than you’d find in physical retail stores. So let’s get started!
1. Soundproof the door
To soundproof the door you need to seal all the gaps and cracks in the door and the door frame. Usually the gaps are found between the door and the door frame, and under the door. These can be really small gaps, but any open spaces like that will allow sound to pass through.
To seal them, it’s best to use cheap weatherstripping tape. Tape over parts of the door frame where the gaps are when the door is closed until there are none left.
For the gap between the door and the floor, use a cheap silicon door sweep. It has a self-adhesive so there’s no installation required. Just attach it to the bottom part of the door. This is a really cheap and simple trick, and it makes a difference. You can also use the weatherstripping tape to seal the gaps between a window and a window frame.
To soundproof the actual door, I suggest that you install acoustic panels on the door. There are different types of panels, depending on the strength of the noise you’re dealing with. For strong noise, and especially noise made by vibrations (washer, dryer. engine, road noise.. etc.) fiberglass panels work best. For acoustic panel recommendations and how to install them without damaging the surface check out this article.
Another option you can use is a fiberglass blanket. This Singer fiberglass blanket is the most popular one by far for door soundproofing. Just hang it with hooks and anchors from above the door so that it covers the door completely. It works great and you can remove it easily.
2. Soundproof the windows
Same as with soundproofing a door, you should take care of any gaps you can find. Gaps between the window and window frame are very common. Use weatherstripping tape in the same way as you did for the door.
For soundproofing the actual window, many different methods are available. You can:
- hang thick noise-blocking curtains in front of the window
- install a new window panel to double its density (acrylic windows are the best for blocking noise)
- make a window plug
- install storm windows made from e-coating glass (expensive, but work great)
I covered all of these methods in more detail in a previous article. Click here to read it.
3. Soundproof the walls
Walls are a big area, so you need to make sure that you use the right material and install it properly. There are many great methods you can use:
- soundproof foam panels (install directly on the wall)
- fiberglass panels (install directly on the wall)
- Mass Loaded Vinyl (install directly on the wall or inside the wall)
Soundproof foam panels are okay for reducing echo in the room and also for absorbing airborne noise. That’s the noise of people talking, yelling, or traffic noise. But it doesn’t do anything for structure-borne noise (also known as impact noise, which is produced by vibrations). So if you’re only dealing with airborne noise, it’s an okay option. But if you want to reduce structure-borne noise as well, then I suggest you use one of the other two options.
Fiberglass panels are great for both types of noise. They’re also thinner, so they take less space away from the room. However, they’re also more expensive than foam panels, so make sure to measure your room and take the price into consideration. My advice is that you use them to soundproof the door and perhaps a smaller room or wall.
For anything bigger, I’d go with Mass Loaded Vinyl. MLV is an awesome soundproofing material that’s been used since the 1960s. Especially for soundproofing vehicles, to prevent road, engine and traffic noise from entering the cabin. So if your mobile home is in fact a motorhome, it will also work great.
You can install MLV inside the wall or directly on the wall. It doesn’t look as nice as acoustic panels, so installing it inside the wall is the best option. Your mobile home walls are made of drywall, VOG (vinyl over gypsum) or wood panels if it’s an older mobile home. You’ll have to remove the first layer of the wall to insert Mass Loaded Vinyl. You can use this video as a guide for installing MLV:
The great thing about MLV is that you can use it on all the walls, including the ceiling. You can also insert it in a hollow door to improve its soundproofing capabilities.
5. Soundproof the floor, the engine compartment, and other critical areas
To soundproof the floor in your mobile home, it’s important that you use impact noise blocking material. Mass Loaded Vinyl can be used to do this. But I recommend using FatMat Self-Adhesive Sound Deadener instead.
This product works great on regular floors and for vehicle soundproofing. It’s the best material that I’ve found for soundproofing the cabin, trunk and engine compartment in vehicles. These folks used it to soundproof their cargo van:
Notice that it doesn’t look very nice. So I wouldn’t plaster it all over the walls like that. That’s why I’m telling you to use it only on the floor and engine compartment. Once you cover the floor with the FatMat, you can cover it easily with a rug, interlocking floor tiles etc.
Check out more floor soundproofing recommendations you can use instead of FatMat or together with it in this article.
Some important tips
1. You don’t have to soundproof your entire mobile home
Unless you want to of course. But if you want to soundproof only one room, like the bedroom or the toilet room, it’s perfectly fine. Simply use these steps on that room alone. Furthermore, you can also soundproof just the door or just the window(s) first and see if that’s all you need. Even small soundproofing upgrades like that will make a difference.
2. Measure before buying
Before you order any material, measure the area that you want to soundproof. You don’t have to be super-precise, but you should have a general idea of how many square feet of Mass Loaded Vinyl or acoustic panels you’ll need to cover the area. I also suggest that you don’t buy the exact amount. Buy a little more, just to be on the safe side in case you make some mistake during the installation process. It’s pretty easy, but just like any home improvement projects, mistakes can happen. It’s better to have some extra material on hand so that you don’t stress about it.
3. If you’re dealing with impact noise…
Impact noise like road noise and engine noise requires powerful material. Foam panels don’t block impact noise. They only work for airborne noise and reducing echo in the room. Make sure that you use Mass Loaded Vinyl or fiberglass if you want to block impact noise as well.
4. Best adhesive to use
For installing acoustic panels directly on the wall, use Command Strips instead of gluing them directly on the surface. I explained exactly how to do it in this article.
For Mass Loaded Vinyl, you can use nails or screws. There are two more options. The first one is using a regular spray adhesive like 3M General Purpose Spray Adhesive. The second option is a real soundproofing adhesive like Green Glue. It’s a really effective and popular for blocking impact noise. Some experts use only green glue for soundproofing walls. It’s that strong. If you combine it with Mass Loaded Vinyl you’ll get great results.
FatMat has a sticky side, so usually there’s no need to use any extra adhesive. But if you want to make sure that it’ll stick, you can use the spray adhesive or green glue for that as well.
5. Don’t rely on cheap, homemade solutions
I’ve seen a few articles that claim you can use egg cartons to soundproof a room. The idea behind this myth is that the egg cartons are shaped in such as way that they will absorb the noise. But that’s completely false. The only thing that they can do is reduce echo in the room to a small extent.
This is not only my personal opinion. There were scientific studies performed to test this theory, and the egg cartons failed. Hard. Furthermore, egg cartons and similar paper-thin materials are a fire hazard, especially if an entire room is covered with them.
If I was soundproofing my mobile home today, this is what I’d do:
- cover the windows with noise-blocking curtains (and cover the gaps with weatherstripping tape)
- install Mass Loaded Vinyl on the walls, including the ceiling
- install fiberglass panels on the door (and cover gaps with tape and a door sweep)
- soundproof the floor with FatMat and cover it with interlocking floor tiles or a thick rug
Some of these solutions are pretty cheap. Like the weatherstripping tape, the door sweep and noise-blocking curtains. Others require a more relaxed budget, especially if you plan on soundproofing the entire mobile home.
So start with what you’re willing to afford and move from there. Also, I wouldn’t suggest that you soundproof your entire mobile home in one go. Start with one room and see if you like the methods that you picked or not. Perhaps you’ll prefer to use acoustic panels instead of Mass Loaded Vinyl the next time and things like that.
But what I can promise you is this; if you follow these 5 steps, you will have a much quieter mobile home. Not only will you be free from outside noise, but you’ll also have all the privacy you want.
You’ll also learn a valuable skill by the time you’ve finished soundproofing your first room. A skill you can use over and over again for yourself or turn into a service and make bank by helping others achieve the same results. So I hope you find these tips to be helpful, and happy soundproofing!