It’s common for garages to be used for more than their typical car storage design. For example, we’ve all seen someone who uses their garage as a gym, a makeshift bedroom or band practice space. Alternative uses like these often lead to the need for soundproofing to keep the neighbours happy and to give you peace and quiet in return.
But where do you start? Do you need to look at professional acoustic treatment, special insulation or install foam panels?
Whether you’re trying to keep sound in or block it out – here’s our guide to garage soundproofing to answer all your questions.
Top reasons for soundproofing your garage
Band – Whether it’s your teenager’s garage band or your own jam space, you’ll have much happier neighbours with a sound proof garage (and the soundproofing acoustics will pay dividends on your music experience).
Studio – If you’re using your garage as a workspace or bedroom, you’ll likely want to block out the street noise and neighbours to enjoy some peace and quiet.
Home theatre – If your garage has become a home theatre, you’ll find much more enjoyment in it if you can block out the street noise (or if you want to blast your speakers without complaints).
Gym – Avoid waking the neighbourhood at 5 am by dropping weights or sprinting on the treadmill. Keep your workouts to yourself with a sound proof garage.
Mechanical work – Want to tinker on your car project outside of hours without bothering your neighbours? You’ll likely need to soundproof the garage.
Shift work – If you come and go at strange hours of the night, soundproofing your garage is one of the best ways to stop you from disturbing the rest of the house when you drive in (second only to ensuring you have a quiet opening garage door).
How to soundproof your garage door
The garage door is one of the most critical features of your garage when it comes to soundproofing. As the main opening, it is the key area that lets sound and acoustic waves in and out. So before looking at soundproofing insulation and materials for your walls, think about your garage door and how you can turn it into a sound barrier instead of a significant sound leak.
Ways to deal with garage doors for soundproofing include:
1. Consider your garage’s purpose and whether your garage door needs to be operational. For example, if you use the garage as a makeshift bedroom or semi-permanent band space with drums or a keyboard set up inside, optimum soundproofing could be done by sealing the doors and windows shut. This is obviously not an option, however, if your garage needs to remain functional and you want to be able to open and close the door every day.
2. Choose the right garage door. Garage doors that swing open (tilt garage door) usually have fewer gaps for noise to travel through than sliding or rolling garage doors. You can also get insulated garage doors that provide additional soundproofing benefits.
3. Use a door seal. Invest in a good door seal or sweep for your garage door to ensure there are no small gaps when it’s closed.
4. Hang an acoustic blanket over the door. Acoustic blankets can be used throughout the entire room to cover spaces where sound gets through, particularly over the garage door. Additionally, sound bounces off hard surfaces, so if you have a steel or timber garage door, hanging something over it, like fabric, materials, or a curtain, will help reduce and absorb sound waves.
How to soundproof your garage walls
Sound travels as vibrations, so the thicker the mass the sound has to travel through, the less sound can get through. This makes the walls of your garage a crucial part of the soundproofing checklist.
1. Add insulation. Garage walls are not traditionally insulated in Australia, as they are designed to house cars that don’t require it. If you are building or renovating your garage, add insulation materials inside the walls. This will increase your soundproofing levels dramatically.
2. If you can’t access the inside of the walls, look at soundproofing layers to add to the walls, like peel-and-stick boards, foam panels or acoustic blankets.
How to soundproof your garage ceiling
Sound bounces and echos in empty spaces, so if you have wide-open ceilings in your garage, you’ll need to address the ceiling to achieve adequate soundproofing.
1. If you have a high or pitched ceiling, consider lowering the ceiling if your budget allows. Cutting off any open space overhead is one of the best ways to soundproof and make the room quiet.
2. If you have overhead storage in your ceiling that is not used, fill it with items like storage boxes to add more layers and stop the sound waves.
3. If the ceiling impacts your soundproofing significantly, and you can’t afford the renovation budget to lower it, consider hanging up acoustic blankets or sheets to do the same job.
How to soundproof your garage floor
Sound waves bounce off hard surfaces, while softer surfaces absorb more sound. So, if you’re trying to make any space a quiet or soundproof area, you’ll always need something soft on the floor. This is tricky if the garage is still going to be housing a car, but even an old carpet can do the trick.
Flooring options to consider include:
1. Rubber mats
2. Old carpet
How to soundproof your garage windows
Garage windows are another hard surface that sound waves bounce off, and are usually only a thin glass layer that sound travels through easily, making your window treatments imperative soundproofing materials. Newspaper on the windows may look tacky (and it’s not a method we recommend for aesthetics), but the idea behind putting materials over the windows comes back to soundproofing basics. Much nicer soundproofing options include:
2. Blinds and shutters
3. Acoustic sheets hung from curtain rods
4. Foam panels (though we only recommend sticking these on if you don’t want to use the window for natural light and are looking for a more permanent solution)
Furnishing for soundproofing
A final tip to help with your garage soundproofing is to fill the room with furniture or items that can help absorb noise. An empty room echoes and leaves a lot of space for sound waves to bounce and reverberate, impeding any soundproofing you are doing. Furniture will absorb sound, so if you’re setting up your garage as a makeshift bedroom or home theatre, include an extra bookcase or chest of drawers to help reduce the noise.
There is nothing more unfriendly to acoustics than a big empty space. If you’re a heavy metal band, consider setting up the drums and bass guitar near a lounge chair, or if you’re using power tools on your work bench, don’t do it in an empty garage.
Keeping soundproofing simple
Before you run out and hire an acoustic specialist, try the basic soundproofing tips we’ve provided before shelling out thousands of dollars. You might be amazed at the difference adding some foam panels to the walls and some rugs on the floors can make.
Your garage door is the next simplest area to address – far more manageable than lowering the ceiling and pulling down walls to add insulation material. Replacing your garage door, adding insulation panels, and replacing the seals is something our Steel Line team are experts in.
If you want to know more about the best garage door for you and what options can help you get the best soundproofing, give us a call – 1300 767 900.