Discover The Truth About Soundproof Paint and Wallpaper For Homes

Room without soundproof

If you do a search for a phrase like “effectiveness of soundproof paint and wallpaper”, you’ll see that almost all the results have a question in them, similar to the one above. Virtually all the headlines ask, “Does it actually work?”

Your answer to these questions could either be “Yes” or “No”, depending on what you expect it (them) to do for your room. We’ll explore these answers in more detail below.

You may be tempted to try soundproof paint and wallpaper as your first solutions to a noise problem because they’re relatively easy to apply. We’ll see if that’s a wise decision or not.

Understanding Soundproof Paint and Wallpaper

So, what exactly are soundproof paint and soundproof wallpaper? What makes them different from “regular” paint and wallpaper? Even though they’re applied in basically the same location – a wall – they’re quite different in construction, so let’s look at each separately.

What Is Soundproof Paint?

Soundproof paint contains tiny particles usually called ceramic spheres (or microspheres) and sound-absorbing fillers, thermacels, that are vacuum-sealed and contain soft pigment (paint).

These are spread evenly throughout a coat of paint increasing its insulating, noise-reducing, and echo-preventing qualities.

What Is Soundproof Wallpaper?

Soundproof wallpaper is made of several layers, one of which is probably acoustic foam. Acoustic foam helps cancel echoes, but it doesn’t actually soundproof a room; that is, it can’t keep noises from traveling through a wall.

So, this product would better be called “sound-managing wallpaper”.

Effectiveness of Soundproof Paint and Wallpaper

Soundproof paint does actually soundproof a room – to a point. It will handle the midrange frequencies, such as those produced by normal conversation, reducing them by as much as 30%. Note that 30% is a far cry from 100% and that midrange doesn’t include high and low frequencies.

That said, if overhearing normal conversation is your main noise problem, soundproofing paint could be all you need. Even a 30% noise reduction may be enough so that you can no longer understand the person in the next room – and they won’t be able to understand you.

Since, as we mentioned above, soundproof wallpaper only helps manage echoes, you’ll almost certainly want to pair this soundproofing “solution” with another more effective one like a layer of mass loaded vinyl.

We think you’ll want to do something similar with soundproofing paint too. By themselves these paints and wallpapers just aren’t going to be enough to solve your noise problem.

You will need additional insulation, acoustic tiles or panels, and other more effective solutions to really put the kibosh on those unwanted noises.

Consider soundproof paint or wallpaper the icing on the cake by adding them to another solution after that project is done.

Factors That Affect the Performance of Soundproof Paint and Wallpaper

Even icing on a cake isn’t that good if the cake itself is a flop. If the room you’re working with is very large, has walls with little or no texture or absorption properties, or the noise problem is mostly outside that midrange, adding soundproof paint or wallpaper will have virtually zero effect.

In addition, painting or papering an extremely large room is going to cost quite a lot (depending on the exact product you choose). For your money, acoustic panels would probably be a much better choice.

If the current wall construction doesn’t lend itself to soundproofing, you may end up doing a full-scale remodel to achieve the level of noise reduction you want. Compared to that, paint and wallpaper are insignificant changes.

And if your main problem is the neighbor’s baby crying in the apartment next door, soundproof paint or wallpaper simply aren’t going to have any effect on a sound in that range and of that volume.

Realistic Expectations for Soundproof Paint & Wallpaper Use

We’ve hinted at this earlier, but it bears repeating. Soundproof paint and “soundproof” wallpaper won’t be the answer to all your noise pollution woes. Consider them as additional options on top of a more substantial soundproofing solution.

What paint and wallpaper guard the most against is echoes within a room. Neither one does a great job in preventing noises creeping (or barging) into your living room or home office or theater.

Soundproof wallpaper pros and cons

What they can add is a nice decorative touch, if you choose a color of paint or pattern of wallpaper that complements the other features of your room. Most experts who comment on paint and wallpaper for soundproofing will mention these benefits and then go on to tell you which of their products – acoustic tiles, insulation, etc. – you should buy instead.

As you can tell, we don’t recommend soundproof paint or wallpaper as your main solution to your noise issues. Instead, depending on your exact situation, we suggest one or more of the following.

Acoustic Panels

You can attach acoustic panels to the wall (or ceiling) of your room to handle echoes more effectively than paint. These aren’t designed to keep sounds out either, but if reflected sounds are your main problem, look to panels before paint.

Mass Loaded Vinyl and Insulation

Mass loaded vinyl (MLV) and insulation are designed to keep sounds from passing through your walls. Installing them is the work of a professional, so you’ll want to hire one to do the job properly.

Architectural Modification

This is the nice way of saying ripping out your walls and starting over. It also includes options such as adding a new, “double” wall or upgrading to soundproof windows. All of these options can be quite expensive, so you have to have the budget to handle them.

Final Thoughts

Since soundproof paint and wallpaper shouldn’t be the first options to consider in soundproofing a room, we recommend that you explore other solutions like acoustic tiles, insulation, and MLV first.

When you do, we’re sure you’ll find a solution that will stand up to and tackle your noise problem so you can live a more peaceful life in your home or office.

Author

  • Vernon Morgan

    Hi there! I'm Vernon, the ‘Serene Specialist." I started this site to document my efforts in making my home a tranquil environment. Through tireless research and countless soundproofing projects, I found that peace I craved. I hope I can help you achieve the same

    Morgan Vernon
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