Is it worthwhile to soundproof my garage?
If your garage is getting old and tired, and you are considering a fairly extensive soundproofing program, you should think about investing in a new, purpose-built structure. Some of the old structures used as garages are well past their "best before" dates. You risk spending a lot of money and getting mediocre results. And you still have an old building with lipstick on it.
So, you might want to do a cost comparison of a new building versus soundproofing the old one. Soundproofing the old garage will be less expensive (there's that word again). Will it, however, be as satisfying–and useful–as the new studio?
Adding soundproofing to a new garage
Many of the recommendations above will still apply if you are building a new garage. Planning the soundproofing of a new garage allows you to use some of the best practices while keeping costs low. It is far more efficient to soundproof the building as it is being constructed rather than after it has been completed. You can, for example, order triple-glazed windows. You could also consider in-floor heating. Make certain that your builder, if you are using one, understands that soundproofing will be an important consideration during construction.
How to Soundproof a Garage :
Before beginning the project, please consult with all of your subcontractors and suppliers (concrete, electrical, window and door suppliers, roofers, and overhead door suppliers). We cannot read minds, so good sub-trades will try to be accommodating and make suggestions. Make certain that everyone understands the desired outcome. Soundproofing your garage can be a quick and inexpensive one-weekend project. Or you could take a week off to do the work and discover that it costs more than you anticipated.
An honest assessment of what you have and what you want to achieve is a must.
Why is it necessary to soundproof your garage?
Is it going to be a workshop?
Do you want a man cave?
Do you or one of your children play in a band?
When you get kicked out of the house, you need a place to sleep–and you don't even have a dog, let alone a dog house.
How much will you use the finished product?
What kind of building are you dealing with?
Are you constructing a new garage?
Is it connected to the house? And how so?
How far is it from your house or the neighbors if it is detached?
Is it a bare shell that you can tinker with?
Is the interior completed–and if so, how?
What is the cost of soundproofing a garage?
The cost of soundproofing your garage is almost always proportional to the answers to the preceding questions. Also, consider how much of the work you can or are willing to do on your own. Packing blankets can be hung on all of the walls, including the big door and the ceiling, for less than $1000.00. That will keep things quiet for the weekend warrior who does not want to bother the neighbors while tinkering with whatever hobby or interest she or he has. Or perhaps you sharpen lawnmower blades regularly. Or maybe you just want to listen to music while you're out there. (Led Zeppelin IV must be loud.) However, if you and your band want to play Led Zeppelin IV every night until 2 a.m., you could spend more than $10,000.00 to soundproof the garage. A few blankets hung on the walls are unlikely to deter your family, neighbors, or the police from showing up at your door. And I guarantee that the door will be your most difficult obstacle.
Soundproofing a Garage Door
This is the largest hole in any of your walls when it is open. You can probably get away with cheap door soundproofing if your garage is constantly used to park vehicles and only occasionally for noisy projects. Or perhaps without any soundproofing. However, if you are using it for a workshop, band practice, or a gym with loud music, you will need to be more creative. The style or type of garage door you have also influenced your options. The majority of modern garage doors are sectional overhead doors. They are typically insulated for heat retention, but noise reduction can be negligible unless the insulation is something like polyurethane open-cell spray foam. Older sectional overhead doors, as well as those hideous one-piece doors that are difficult to raise and bark your shins when opened from the outside, will not have insulation.
I've also seen swinging garage doors and sideways sliding garage doors (usually when someone converts an old barn or Quonset into a garage). On these types of doors, you can apply some of the soundproofing ideas listed below. Any type of weatherstripping and sealing will help, though some doors are far more difficult to seal than others. However, the only effective method is to place sound-absorbing blankets in front of them or to build a wall to cover the door portion of the opening.
Soundproofing Garage Walls
Unless your garage is brand new, it has probably accumulated stuff that is either attached to or hanging from the walls. Typically, both. So, whether the interior is finished with drywall (or something else) or bare studs, you'll have to detach and move things to get serious soundproofing. (Removing my workbench would necessitate extensive demolition.) The air nailer came in handy. I can, on the other hand, park a truck on it. If you can clear out the garage completely, do so. This allows for easy access to the walls, floor, and ceiling.
Soundproofing Finished Garage Walls
I've seen interior garage walls finished with everything from cardboard to vinyl and steel siding. If yours has these items, you may want to remove them and start over. As a result, I'm going to assume something relatively harmless–like drywall–for the following suggestions. If you are unsure whether the walls are properly insulated, remove a few sheets from different walls to test. Concrete or concrete block walls are also options. If this is the case, you have more soundproofing mass than a stick-frame wall and can improve things by following some of the tips below:
Sound Absorbing Blankets – Sound-absorbing blankets can be used to line the garage walls. Moving blankets–preferably with grommets on at least one side–can be used. This allows you to hang them on a rod if desired. Although they can be attached directly to the wall, soundproofing works best when there is some space between the wall and the blankets. 2′′-3′′ works best. The blankets are thick and heavy enough to absorb sound and eliminate echos. They are also a low-cost way to cover a large area. (The wall area in my 24′ x 24′ x 9′ garage is approximately 860 square feet, including the doors and windows. After overlap, each blanket covers about 36 square feet. You'll need about 24 of them to finish the job.)
They do, however, have a few drawbacks. Most packing blankets are only 6′ to 7′ tall. If you're covering from floor to ceiling, you might have to do a lot of cutting and sewing. Attaching acoustic panels to blankets in a studio or band practice room is much more difficult–especially if they are hanging 3′′ away from the wall. If the garage is to be used as a workshop, it must be cleaned regularly.
The Moondream 3 in 1 Soundproof Curtain is a true soundproof curtain. They are available in widths ranging from 57′′ to 108′′. They are more expensive than moving blankets, but you will need fewer of them due to their height. There will be no cutting or sewing. Remember that any curtain or blanket with grommets will require rods or hooks. Make certain that all rods and hooks are screwed into the wood framing. Simply discard any screws that came with the rods or hooks. These are substantial items. Use screws that penetrate the lumber at least 1 1/2′′–preferably more. Having to re-hang curtains because you trusted those little plastic things in the drywall will depress you.
Drywall and Green Glue – To make a soundproofing sandwich, add another layer of drywall with Green Glue between the old and new. If possible, use 5/8′′ drywall–nothing less than 1/2′′. Simply remove the cobwebs from the walls, apply glue to the backs of each new drywall sheet, and screw it over the existing one. Make certain that the new joints do not overlap the old joints. As needed, apply tape, drywall mud, and paint. On the new drywall, at the very least, apply a coat of primer/sealer paint. Dirt and dust do not adhere to painted surfaces in the same way that they do to unpainted drywall.