If you’re trying to soundproof your home or workspace, soundproof paint might seem like the ideal option. It’s affordable, doesn’t take up space and it could be just what you need to add a bit of life to those bland walls of yours.
But is it all that great? I’ve worked with soundproof paint in the past, used it in for my bedroom and I’ve had mixed results. First of all, the difference between soundproof paint and regular paint is its density or thickness. The thicker the paint is, the more sound it can trap because it acts like a barrier.
A single coat of soundproof paint can eliminate 2 – 4 decibels, so with a triple layer application you can easily cut out 6 -12 decibels. But it will not be resistant to anything over and above 60 dB.
But that doesn’t tell you much about whether you should use it for your own project or not. Please, keep reading to get the most important information before buying the paint and turning your room into a messy home improvement project.
Does soundproof paint work?
Soundproof paint is made of vinyl acrylic, which is also known as Latex. The latex material is used specifically for its sound and thermal insulation properties. These paints have what are called “polymer bonds” which when combined with sound fillers and ceramic microspheres, can effectively absorb sound waves.
This paint is different from regular paint because of its relative thickness, as in the density of the liquid. Regular paints are less concentrated as compared to acoustic paints. Even the thickest of the standard paints will layer down to just 0.2 cm which doesn’t help at all with blocking sound. It is the condensed nature of the soundproof paint that allows it to function as a sound-absorbing and in part sound-blocking material.
If you are thinking to just apply multiple layers of regular paint, I am gonna stop you right there!
In summary, soundproof paints are a heavy liquid-based mixture. Applying this coat of silence can block mid-frequency sounds which may travel from outside the room to the inside or vice versa. Further, it can also reduce the echo caused by sounds bouncing off the walls in the interior of the room. As a bonus, it also provides thermal insulation.
Soundproof Paint Effectiveness Factors
If you are a bit perplexed whether soundproof paint will work for you or not then these precise answers will help:
Before coming to this question there are few basic details about sound waves and frequency that one should be familiar with. Below is a table of the possible range of sound and also an explanation of what it sounds similar to in day-to-day life situations.
|Level of sound (Decibels)||What it sounds like?|
|0||Limit of hearing|
|20||A whisper at a distance of 2 meters|
|30||“Pin-drop silence” library|
|40||Quiet household room|
|70||Busy traffic, neighbors TV at acceptable levels|
|80||Vacuum Cleaner, crying baby|
|90||Shouted conversation or barking dogs in the vicinity|
|120||Passing ambulance siren|
|150||Fireworks at 1 meter|
|190||Loudest possible sound|
There are two approaches to explain the effectiveness of soundproof paint, the first one being in terms of decibels, frequencies, and wavelengths, and the other being its applicability in various scenarios.
Starting with the first approach, a layer of the soundproof paint can cut down around 30% of the low or mid-frequency waves that is at range of 500 Hz to 2000 Hz, which lies somewhere between a whisper and a normal conversation. Further, a single coat can eliminate 2 – 4 decibels, so with a triple layer application you can easily cut out 6 -12 decibels. Speaking of the volume of sound, it will not be resistant to anything over and above 60 dB.
This means that soundproof paint can be an effective answer in the following situations:
- For light sleepers who feel disturbed by faint background noises coming from the neighborhood at night.
- For infants who can wake-up easily by the slightest of screech or snore.
- For the neighbor who has upheld complaints against you for constant late-night conversations.
- For the classrooms to avoid too much disturbance from outside.
If your problem falls in any of the above-listed categories then you can rest assured that a few coats of this magic paint will resolve all your problems and give you a restful night.
Furthermore, here’s a list of scenarios for which this product will be futile:
- Sounds of barking dogs
- Crying baby
- Construction worksite activities
- Vibrations from heavy movement or machinery (upstairs usage of a drilling machine)
If you have had enough of your neighbors’ new German shepherd, or if you want to party all night you will have to look for other options besides just applying soundproof paint.
Ultimately, there can’t be a simple and straightforward yes or no answer to this question since it depends on what noise problem you are looking to solve.
Benefits of Soundproof Paint
If you are looking to eliminate just background noise and echo then it is more beneficial to opt for acoustic paint solutions instead of exhaustive soundproofing projects which include the use of foam panels, curtains, or blankets. It will save you a lot of time, money and space.
Procedure: How to use soundproof paint?
The process of applying soundproof paints requires a bit of experience with painting. Or you can just follow the steps and give it a try. Follow the below given step-by-step procedure:
1. Prepare the equipment
Before beginning make sure that you have the following things:
- Acoustic paint in enough quantity or soundproof paint additive and regular paint
- Paint roller or sprayer
- Painters Tape
- Paint Tray
- Safety wear like a mask, cap
- Green Glue
Since the spray is dense in volume it is more suitable to use paint sprayers or aerosol cans instead of paint rollers for more effective application. Use the tape to secure the area that does not require spraying and the newspaper to cover other surfaces from droplets of paint. Use the green glue to seal any holes in the wall before applying the paint.
2. Layer one
After taping the surfaces it’s time for the first layer. Use the paint roller or paint sprayer of your choice, with sufficient quantities to cover the area with a thick layer of the paint. Let the paint dry for a minimum of 32 hours between each coat.
3. Two more layers
Repeat Step 2 to do at least two more layers (you can add more as required). Remember, one layer won’t be as effective as three layers hence it’s necessary to add extra layers to the surface. The more the merrier!
4. Smoothen the surface
Once all the layers of the paint have dried completely, you may notice that it has a coarse finish. If required you can add a layer of regular paint to smoothen the surface.
Buyer’s Guide For Soundproof Acoustic Paint
Following are the points which you need to consider when buying paint that is marketed as “soundproof”:
1. Density of Paint
As we know that the magic of the paint lies in its thickness and volume, hence when you are out there to buy it, ensure that you check the density of the liquid. The thicker the paint, the more effective it will be to soundproof your desired area.
2. Area of coverage
To determine the amount of paint required you need to have an approximate and reliable estimate of the dimensions of the area you wish to paint. As a rule of thumb, to coat an area of 100 sq ft one time, you will need around 1 gallon of paint.
One of the most important factors to keep in mind is your budget. To save money you can change the amount of area which needs coating, paint the area yourself instead of hiring professionals or opt for more affordable paints. Here are two effective and affordable paints available on Amazon: Acoustic Coat, Soundgaurd Soundproof paint.
4. Decor plan
It may not be as important as other points previously mentioned, but you should choose the right kind of shade or hue to go with your interiors.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use soundproof paint to dampen my ceiling?
If you’re trying to block a lot of impact sounds or vibrations from movements above the ceiling then acoustic paint won’t help. Irrespective of how thick or dense the paint is. But for airborne sounds such as normal conversations it can be of use.
Is it an alternative for a soundproofing project?
There are a lot more effective soundproofing methods used by experts for providing completely sound insulated areas. Using acoustic paints is one method that is used for preventing airborne noise of lower decibel levels. But for more serious sound problems rockwool batts, soundproof panels, mass loaded vinyl and soundproof drywall are more effective options.
I play musical instruments, can I apply acoustic paints to soundproof walls?
Playing musical instruments can generate around 120 dB sound volume, which lies somewhere between a chainsaw and a jackhammer. Soundproof acoustic paint cannot stop such loud noises from coming through.
What else can I do to make my room soundproof?
As said earlier, using acoustic paints is just one of the various techniques used for soundproofing, it is not a complete solution in itself. But to increase its effectiveness without an entire soundproofing project, you can combine it with methods like:
- Using heavy furniture like closets and sofas as barriers by placing them between the wall and the area you wish to soundproof.
- Using heavier, sound deadening curtains to obstruct sounds that are passing through the windows.
- Covering all gaps on doors and windows with foam tape and door sweep (on the bottom of the door).
Is soundproof paint toxic?
No, the paint is not hazardous in any way. It is eco-friendly and safe for usage. But as a precaution wear a face mask while spraying and applying the paint.
Can I use a darker shade of regular paint to soundproof my room?
This is an absolute myth. The shade and color of the paint has nothing to do with its soundproofing qualities. A darker shade will not provide a better result.
What is a soundproof paint additive? Can I add it to any regular paint?
A soundproof paint additive is a compound which can be added to regular paint to transform it into an acoustic paint. It can be mixed with most of the standard paints available. You can use this proven additive if you already have regular paint available: ThermaCels – Insulating Paint Additive.