Operating out of a noise-free office has become increasingly popular but comes with challenges. As a result, people are seeking cheap soundproofing solutions for walls and other parts of their office spaces.
In this article, we’ll explore 10 of the best and cheapest way to soundproof an office.
From using curtains to installing acoustic foam panels, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to make your office a quieter and more productive space.
Moreover, this article delves into the most affordable ways to create a calm, noise-free environment in your home office.
Table of Contents
Importance of soundproofing an office
Soundproofing an office is crucial as excessive noise can harm employee health and productivity.
Unwanted sound can cost the business employee happiness, health, and productivity [workdesign.com].
Shared office spaces are particularly vulnerable to noise pollution, which can reduce employee productivity and cause stress.
Studies have shown that noise in the office can significantly impact employee productivity and performance.
Employees working in noisy environments are more likely to experience distractions, leading to reduced concentration and increased stress levels.
However, soundproofing your office can provide several benefits, including reducing distractions and improving employee productivity and comfort.
By reducing noise levels, acoustic panels can create a healthier and quieter work environment for employees and clients.
In addition, an open-plan office with more quiet rooms yields better results regarding perceived distractions, environmental satisfaction, collaboration, and stress [sciencedirect.com].
Therefore, the following inexpensive soundproofing ideas can significantly impact the business by creating a more productive and stress-free work environment for employees.
Soundproofing An Office Vs. a Home Office
The differences between soundproofing a home office and office space at work are significant.
Home offices generally have fewer people present, meaning the noise levels will be smaller but more concentrated. The limited resources and budgets make it difficult for homeowners to soundproof all office areas simultaneously.
On the other hand, an office workplace will have high levels of background noise due to several sources, such as co-workers, machines, telephones, etc. So soundproofing solutions must be tailored to fit the specific conditions of the environment to be successful.
Solutions such as dampening walls with heavy material or hanging curtains can compete with large noise forces on a much larger scale than those usually found in a home office environment.
Additionally, businesses must include acoustic panel systems and other methods to absorb ambient noise pollution for optimal sound reduction results.
10 Cheapest Way to Soundproof an Office
Soundproofing an office is a good investment as it can improve worker focus and satisfaction, increasing productivity.
Any organization that wants to improve productivity, efficiency, and customer interactions should invest in office soundproofing.
Offices that face a variety of noise pollution, from co-worker chatter to external sources like construction sites or traffic noise, can particularly benefit from soundproofing solutions.
Let’s discuss how to soundproof an office without investing much money.
Related: Best 5 Anti Slamming Door Hinges
1. Sound Deadening and Sound Blocking
Before embarking on soundproofing your home office, it’s crucial to understand the distinction between sound deadening and sound blocking.
Sound deadening involves using materials and techniques that absorb sound waves and prevent them from echoing within the room. It is most effective at reducing airborne noise, such as conversations or music.
On the other hand, sound blocking refers to preventing noise from entering or exiting a space.
This creates a barrier between the noise source and the recipient. Sound blocking is especially effective against structure-borne noise, such as footsteps or machinery operating.
Sound deadening is best if the primary noise source is from conversations or music, as it will absorb the sound waves and prevent them from echoing within the room.
On the other hand, if the noise source is structure-borne sound, such as footsteps or operational machinery, then sound blocking is better.
As sound blocking creates a barrier between the noisy source and recipient, it can reduce noise transfer much more effectively in this case.
Considering both solutions to effectively reduce noise levels in offices is essential.
2. Sealing Doors for Soundproofing
Your workspace’s door is likely a significant source of noise intrusion. One of the cheapest way to soundproof an office is by using weatherstripping tape to seal all gaps and cracks around and underneath the door.
Weatherstripping tape is easy to apply and can significantly reduce the noise that seeps into your office.
If you’re dealing with a hollow-core door, consider replacing it with a solid-core option. Unlike their hollow counterparts, solid-core doors are better at blocking noise due to their denser construction.
Although this option might require a slightly more significant investment, it can significantly improve the overall soundproofing of your home office.
Steps to Seal Doors:
- Measure the gaps around the door frame and select a weatherstripping tape that fits the space.
- Peel away the tape’s backing and apply it to any gaps or cracks between the door and frame, pressing down firmly to secure it.
- Check for any air gaps between the bottom of your door and the flooring. If you find any, apply additional strips of weatherstripping underneath until all gaps and cracks are sealed.
- Once you’ve successfully sealed all gaps, test your work by closing your door and checking for any remaining noise leaks.
3. Applying Acoustic Panels for Wall Soundproofing
Acoustic panels are a popular choice for individuals seeking an affordable solution for wall soundproofing.
Typically made of dense foam, these panels can be directly applied to the walls to absorb sound waves and reduce the noise that bounces off the walls.
Acoustic foam panels come in various sizes and colors, allowing you to customize them based on your preferences and the aesthetics of your office space.
They can be temporarily placed on the wall, making them ideal for renters or those who prefer non-permanent cheapest way to soundproof an office.
Buying Guide of Acoustic Panels:
When selecting acoustic panels for soundproofing an office, several factors must be considered.
- The first is the Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) rating, which indicates the panel’s effectiveness in absorbing sound. The ATS Acoustic Panels have an excellent 1.0 NRC rating, making them a great choice for reducing noise in an office environment.
- The Bubos Art Acoustic Panels have a stylish design, making them a good choice for those who want to add some aesthetic appeal to their office space.
- Finally, Auralex Acoustics Studiofoam Wedgies are the best choice for recording studios but may be overkill for an office setting.
Overall, it is essential to choose acoustic panels that suit the specific needs of the intended space, whether it be an office, conference room, or restaurant.
Installation Process of Acoustic Panels:
Installing acoustic panels is relatively straightforward.
- First, the wall should be measured and marked to ensure the panels fit correctly. Then, the adhesive backing of the panels should be peeled off and applied to the marked area.
- If necessary, screws can also be used to secure them in place. Care should be taken not to damage any existing fixtures or wiring when installing acoustic panels.
- Once the acoustic panels are installed, it is essential to ensure they are adequately secured. If they are not, noises may still be able to travel through the gaps and crevices.
- It is also wise to use some sealant or adhesive along the edges of the panels to ensure a tight fit.
- Additionally, caulk can be used around any holes or cracks in the wall where noise may escape.
Once installed, acoustic panels can significantly reduce noise levels and improve the overall sound quality of a space. Additionally, they can create a more comfortable atmosphere for work or leisure activities in an office setting.
4. Optimizing Floor Surfaces to Minimize Noise
The floor of your home office can also contribute to unwanted noise.
Consider using plush rugs, carpeting, or ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) foam flooring to reduce this noise. These materials absorb sound and add a touch of comfort and style to your office space.
Consider using sound-absorbing underlayment for a more intensive and permanent solution when renovating your floors.
Underlayment materials are typically foamy and challenging for sound waves to pass through, making them an excellent choice for cheapest way to soundproof an office.
Best Sound Absorbing Materials for Office Floors:
Regarding office flooring, acoustic properties are crucial for noise reduction and creating a comfortable work environment.
Some of the best sound-absorbing materials for office floors are carpet, cork, wood plastic composite (WPC), rubber, and vinyl tile.
In addition to selecting a suitable flooring material, acoustic underlayment can enhance sound insulation.
Hard surface flooring can be rated by its impact insulation class (IIC) and noise reduction coefficient (NRC), which measure the ability to reduce impact and absorb noise, respectively.
The best sound-absorbing office flooring options include:
- Laminate with attached padding.
- Vinyl with textile/foam backing.
- Hardwood with added underlayment.
- Fitness flooring made of rubber material.
Choosing the suitable sound-absorbing flooring material depends on various factors, including the type of office, foot traffic, and sanitation standards.
- Carpet Tiles: Carpet tiles are an ideal sound-absorbing material for office floors. They are easy to install and come in various colors and textures. Not only do they reduce noise levels, but they also provide cushioning for feet and chairs.
- Acoustic Foam: Acoustic foam is another popular sound-absorbing material for office floors. It is made from a porous foam material that traps sound waves, reducing overall noise levels in the room.
- Rubber Flooring: Rubber flooring is another great option for noise absorption. It is durable and provides excellent insulation from both airborne and impact sounds. Additionally, it comes in various colors and textures to fit any decor style.
5. Utilizing Double-Layering Techniques for Office Soundproofing
Adding layers of building materials is a more labor-intensive but highly effective method for soundproofing a room.
The principle behind this method is simple – the heavier the barrier between you and the noise source, the better the soundproofing will be.
Installing a second layer of drywall is one way to add layers to your office space.
A noise-proofing compound like green glue between these layers can enhance their soundproofing effectiveness.
Although this method might require a bit more effort and investment, it can significantly reduce the amount of noise entering your office, making it well worth the effort.
Steps to Double-Layering Building Materials:
- Measure the area of the office needing soundproofing.
- Purchase the necessary materials for double-layering, such as additional drywall and noise-proofing compound like green glue.
- Cut the drywall to fit the walls and ceiling of your office space.
- Line the walls and ceiling with the drywall pieces, using special screws to penetrate both layers while eliminating gaps between them.
- Apply a thin layer of noise-proofing compound between each piece of drywall to ensure maximum effectiveness in absorbing sound waves.
- Finally, seal all seams and joints between wall pieces with special tape designed for soundproofing purposes, ensuring a snug connection between each surface piece to limit any possible escape routes for sound waves trying to enter your office space again.
6. Soundproofing Curtains to Block Noise
Another soundproofing technique that is gaining popularity is installing soundproof curtains.
Soundproof curtains are made from thick, heavy fabrics and come in various colors and patterns. These curtains can be hung around the perimeter of a room to further reduce unwanted noise from outside sources.
The thick fabric helps to absorb and block out any intrusive sound waves, creating an airtight seal around your office space.
Furthermore, installing noise-damping curtains can add an attractive touch to your office’s design without sacrificing soundproofing properties.
Moreover, soundproof curtains are easy to install and are relatively inexpensive compared to other soundproofing techniques, such as double-layering drywall.
7. Using a White Noise Machine to Drown Out Background Noise
If you’ve tried all the above methods but still find that background noise disrupts your concentration, a white noise machine might be your solution.
White noise machines produce a constant, soothing sound that can mask the irritating noise in your office.
White noise machines benefit individuals who find the constant hum of machinery or the chatter of people relaxing. They can easily be integrated into any office setup, significantly improving your focus and productivity.
Best White Noise Machines:
White noise machines have become essential for peaceful sleep, and several options are available.
[According to cnet.com, the Homedics Sound Spa is the best overall white noise machine, with its affordable price and unique features. It offers six soothing sounds, including white noise, and has an auto-off timer.
Another great option is the LectroFan, which is portable and provides ten fan sounds and ten white noise variations.
For those wanting additional sound options, nytimes.com recommends the Sound of Sleep Sound Plus Sleep SE offers 64 sound options, including white noise, fan, and nature sounds.
CNN Underscored tested 12 top-rated white noise machines and found that the Sound+Sleep Mini is the best overall option, with 48 different sounds, including white and pink noise, fireplace, crickets, and crowds.
However, the Hatch Restore is a more expensive but crisp alternative to the Sound+Sleep Mini. When selecting a white noise machine, it is essential to consider factors such as functionality, special features, range of noises, and price.
It is also advisable to consult a doctor before purchasing a white noise machine to ensure it meets specific needs.
8. Considering External Soundproofing Solutions
If all else fails and the noise in your home office is still unbearable, consider moving your workspace elsewhere.
If you have the luxury of space and the weather allows, setting up your office outdoors could provide you with the peace you need.
Another option would be to move your office to another quieter room in the house. This could be a temporary solution while you work on more permanent soundproofing measures for your designated office space.
9. Filling Cracks and Gaps for Better Soundproofing
Filling cracks and gaps in your office walls, doors, and windows can significantly reduce the amount of noise that enters your office. This is particularly important if you’re dealing with older buildings that might have developed cracks over time.
For small cracks and gaps, a simple solution is to use caulk. Choose a caulk specifically designed for acoustic performance for the best results.
It might be worth hiring a professional to ensure the job is done correctly for larger cracks or gaps.
Finding Out Cracks and Gaps in the Office:
One of the best ways to find out if there are any cracks and gaps in your office is to inspect the walls, doors, and windows.
Look for any visible cracks or gaps that might let in outside noise. You can also use your hands to feel around for any drafts or air coming through.
If you notice any suspicious areas, it is worth further investigating by using a flashlight to see if there are any small cracks.
Additionally, you can use a sound meter to determine where the noise is coming from and identify potential problem areas.
The sound meter can detect noise levels in various environments, such as offices, factories, classrooms, and homes. It can also determine if specific noise sources are too loud or need to be reduced.
The device can help you identify problem areas so that you can take steps to reduce the noise and improve the overall acoustic environment.
10. Implementing Soundproofing for Air Vents
Air vents are often overlooked during soundproofing projects but can be a significant noise source.
Consider soundproofing if your office has air vents connected to noisy areas.
One way to soundproof air vents is by creating a labyrinth or a sound maze inside the vent. This can significantly reduce the sound that passes through the air vent without obstructing airflow.
However, if privacy is a concern, consider covering the air vent completely and using other means of ventilation.
Cheapest Way to Soundproof an Office Alternatives
In addition to soundproofing, there are several other ways to minimize noise in an office.
One option is to use noise-canceling headphones or earplugs, which can help block out distracting background noise.
Another solution is to create a designated quiet area in the office where employees can work without interruption from their colleagues.
Additionally, it’s crucial to establish clear guidelines and etiquette around noise levels in the office so that everyone knows what is expected of them.
Finally, consider scheduling breaks throughout the day so employees can take a few minutes away from their desks and relax in a quiet environment.
These solutions can effectively create a more peaceful and productive work environment. However, it’s important to remember that soundproofing is still the most reliable way to reduce noise in an office.
Soundproofing materials such as acoustic foam, sealants, and insulation can effectively block out distracting noises from other building parts and create a more focused workspace.
Conclusion of Cheapest Way to Soundproof an Office
Creating a quiet, distraction-free workspace in your home doesn’t have to be a costly endeavor.
By understanding your office’s specific needs and implementing these cheap soundproofing for walls strategies, you can significantly reduce the amount of noise that enters your workspace and increase your productivity.
While these methods are effective, they might not eliminate all noise.
Therefore, combining these techniques with other noise management strategies, such as noise-canceling headphones or white noise machines, can provide the best results.
FAQs about Cheapest Way to Soundproof an Office
Q1: How can I soundproof my office without a door?
Ans: You can soundproof your office without a door by using acoustic foam, sealants, and insulation to block out any noise from outside. Additionally, you can create a designated quiet area in the office. Finally, establish clear guidelines and etiquette around noise levels to ensure everyone knows the expectations.
Q2: How do I reduce background noise in the office?
Ans: Background noise in an office can be reduced by installing acoustic foam, sealants, and insulation to block out any noise from outside. Additionally, creating a designated quiet area and establishing clear guidelines and etiquette around noise levels can help reduce background noise. Finally, scheduling breaks throughout the day can give employees time away from their desks to relax in a quiet environment.
Q3: What background noise is best for the office?
Ans: White noise is the best background noise for an office as it masks other distracting noises like conversations or traffic. White noise is a combination of frequencies that create a consistent sound, making it easier for people to focus and concentrate on their work. It also helps mask any sudden spikes in sound due to office equipment or people talking.
Q4: Does white noise help soundproof?
Ans: Yes, white noise can help soundproof an office. White noise is a combination of frequencies that create a consistent sound, making it easier to reduce the impact of distracting noises like conversations or traffic. This can help limit the amount of outside noise that enters the office and improve focus and concentration.
Q5: Is it OK to listen to white noise all day?
Ans: Listening to white noise all day is generally safe, as long as the volume is not too loud and you take regular breaks. White noise can help mask distracting noises and improve focus but can also be overstimulating if listened to for too long. Therefore, taking regular breaks throughout the day is essential to rest your ears and reduce any potential discomfort or fatigue.
Q6: How do I make my office cubicle soundproof?
Ans: To soundproof an office cubicle, you can fill the core of the cubicle with sound-absorbing materials, such as foam or mineral wool, and add sound-absorbing materials to the walls and other hard surfaces. Alternatively, you can use soundproof blankets, temporary barriers, acoustic panels, hanging sound baffles, or partitions.
Q7: How to soundproof a room from outside noise?
Ans: To soundproof a room from outside noise, you can start by sealing any gaps or cracks in the walls and windows. You can also add acoustic foam to absorb sound waves or use soundproof curtains to reduce the noise entering the room. Additionally, you can install insulation in the walls and ceiling to further reduce noise transmission.
Q8: What is the cheap soundproofing material?
Ans: Some of the most affordable soundproofing materials include acoustic foam, mineral wool insulation, mass-loaded vinyl, and soundproof blankets. Acoustic foam is an excellent option for absorbing sound waves and reducing noise transmission. Mineral wool insulation helps to block sound from entering the room, while mass-loaded vinyl can cover walls and ceilings to reduce noise from outside. Soundproof blankets are also relatively inexpensive and can be hung on walls or windows to reduce outside noise.
Q9: How do you soundproof an existing office?
Ans: To Soundproof an existing office involves ripping off the existing drywall, filling the walls with fiberglass insulation, and adding sound-absorbing drywall and some Green Glue. For metal ducts, insulation and resilient channel can prevent sound transmission through floors and ceilings, while sealing around the jamb and adding gaskets and a door sweep can help soundproof a door. A well-sealed solid-core wood door with an STC rating above 20 is the most effective option.
Q10: What is the best way to soundproof a home office?
Ans: One of the best ways to soundproof a home office is to install acoustic panels on one or more walls. Other effective methods include adding rugs, upholstered furniture, soundproof curtains, and replacing old windows. Additionally, sealing wall holes and soundproofing air vents can help reduce noise.