Sound proofing a garage

Hello.

Not sure where to post, feel free to move.

I have a garage, single skin breeze block with normal bricks on the outside for show. Have recently insulated and plaster boarded it, but the window and big door let’s sound through. The big door is insulated and will be boarded to a degree, but has to remain a working door for building use licensing reasons.

So, how best to sound proof it? I don’t like the idea of curtains even though they’d be the easiest thing to put up. Was thinking a curtain for the windows (3x2 feet) and then maybe foam on the doors?

Not sure if foam just where I want to block the sound will work , or if I need to put panels in other areas also. No soft furnishings in the space, happy to put a sofa in if that’ll help.

I just want it to work well enough to not annoy the neighbours. I’m not worried about studio quality sound or anything.

I can post pictures of the space.

Cheers.

1 Like

I remember once looking at a studio where System of a Down was recording at (yeah, I liked 'em like 20 years ago). I noticed a large amount of area rugs being used. On the floor, and I believe some were on the walls. They do suck up a lot of sound. So, for the window/garage door. Maybe hanging some sort of rug from WalMart or elsewhere in front of or covering the window/garage door might help.

This is also great for making a dead-sounding studio.

Another thing that could be done is to purchase some 4 x 8 sheets of plywood, and mount carpet or cheap towels to the face of the board where you’ll be playing, and placing them around the room or mount them on posts so you could move them around.

AND!!! A lot of times you’ll see these on Craigslist. Office space dividers. Nearly every office has them. They’re just foam panels mounted in metal. Offices close and go out of business, and have to get rid of them. They’re pretty good at blocking sound. You might have to manipulate them a bit.

The best thing you can do is talk to your neighbors and maybe have set times where you’ll be making a racket, so they know when you’ll be doing it. Communication is important.

1 Like

An acoustic expert friend told me re my garage studio that the first thing to do is to make sure all doors and windows are well sealed with weather stripping. No drafts of air should be getting in or out anywhere. Extra attention paid to the large and probably very resonant membrane-like garage door: stiffen and dampen it with an extra layer and fasten it firmly to the top, bottom and sides with openable bolts, or some other mechanism, so the door can still be opened at times. When closed the door should be locked firmly in place with no gaps at the edges and another layer of dampening material over the whole thing.

1 Like

I did this on a large scale at my old house. We actually built a room within the existing structure that was freestanding and decoupled from the exterior walls. Worked really well but a huge project.

Wall density and airtightness are definitely helpful. Things like foam and curtains mostly tame high and some mid-frequency sounds inside the space. Check out green glue if you can add drywall to the interior of the space, and maybe build some “plugs” out of plywood and denim insulation to go over any windows? Also for caulking look for “acoustic” specific if possible. I found a lot of great info at the John Sayers forum btw.

Depends on what’s going on inside the garage? Live drums? No way to save your neighbors from that noise in a garage without doing something with the door. Even if the garage had no windows or big door it would still bleed out. Again this would be the case for instruments with a lot of volume like drums.

To do it right the room has to be decoupled from the rest of the structure with air gap between old garage structure and the newly built interior walls. There are quite a few YouTube videos that give a you an overview of the process. Placing dense rugs and other materials inside will only have an impact on the acoustics inside and do little for minimizing the leakage to the outside.

There’s also a huge amount of info on gearslutz related to soundproofing and acoustics.

Cheers all.

All I have in there making noise are some speakers, I can turn them down and do but at some point i want to turn them up. Not crazy levels I’m not a yob.

The garage is double skin brick with 65mm insulation then 24mm plasterboard. The walls don’t leak anything, the doors do.

I think I’m going to add plywood to the doors on top of the insulation then if needs be add some foam. They are secured and don’t vibrate.

If that fails I’ll look at adding sound blankets.

Getting a solid core fire door that closes hard against a lip that’s lined with rubbery insulation, ideally along the bottom too will do the job really well. It’s more expensive than bolting some ply on but I’d bet way more effective. There’s loads of plans online and a half decent chippy will get it all nice and tight. Plus it’s a better door.
The walls are probably the strongest link in the chain, don’t worry about them.
You could make, or have made, a heavy cover to go over the window with seals all around. I’ve seen solutions where bolt type fixtures are fitted around the window so you can put long wing nut type screws in making it easy to take off if you want daylight.
The roof and specifically where the roof meets the walls is likely to be your next concern, in most countries there are regs that require airflow - these are sensible things but airflow is not good here. I wouldn’t advocate anything that permanently violates regs but perhaps a chippy could come up with something that you could fit to airtight the room when you need to make noise?
If there’s a slope roof with a roof cavity then lots and lots of fairly heavy insulation is cheap and good, pack all gaps v carefully.
Before you get going it’s worth setting a track playing pretty loud in there and coming outside to see if you can spot any leaky areas?
Good luck!

1 Like

The ceiling has 35cm of insulation, and then a big loft space. That’s solid. I did a walk around last night, the doors are the issue.

New doors it is.

You mention not being worried about studio quality sound, does that mean you’d be satisfied with very bad sound so long as the neighbours don’t hear?

The main way to sound proof a space like that is to build a floating room in the garage. But I would be more concerned about having a space where you have major problems at certain frequencies. For my money, I’d focus on treatment not soundproofing. It makes no sense to me to invest in keeping the sound in and then discovering the space is unusable because I can’t hear frequency X.