Practice in the garage is as much a tradition of rock bands as complaining neighbors who are unhappy with the noise. Gibson, the company who makes guitars used by many music greats and amateurs alike, knows something about tradition. They point out that some of the greatest bands, including Sonic Youth, R.E.M. and The Ramones, got their start in the garage. In fact, Garage Rock is a music genre in and of itself.
The same Garage Rock that cranked in the 1960s is still a popular way for musicians and bands to get the practice they need today. If you are a budding musician, you have probably already discovered that appreciation for your talents is slow to come. Family members and neighbors alike are probably more interested in watching TV or sleeping than listening to your renditions of the best of Kiss and Aerosmith. An article by Explain That Stuff advises that no matter how great the music sounds, if it occurs at the wrong place and time, it becomes noise.
Not only can the conditions in the garage allow sound to escape, it can actually intensify it. The sounds that people hear inside your house or at your neighbors’ may sound even louder than it would if they were standing beside you. Soundproofing your garage may be the only way to reduce the impact of the sound and keep everybody happy. These are some tips to help show you how.
Get insulated garage doors
Unless your home is very new, the garage doors probably aren’t insulated. Only with the concerns of energy consumption and sustainable living have energy‑saving products been introduced to the market. If you have an older garage door, you probably already know it due to the extreme temperatures inside. It will be well worth the investment to buy insulated garage doors. Not only will this go a long way towards soundproofing, it will help keep you more comfortable during practice sessions.
A steel garage door with insulation between the inner and outer layers will keep sound in and keep severe cold out. Since the doors are one of the most vulnerable points for both, getting rid of old wood garage doors is one of the most important things you will do to soundproof the garage. There are many styles of garage doors on the market today, including those with and without insulation. When shopping, pay close attention to the specifics of the garage door to get the maximum benefits possible.
Soundproof the walls
Simply put, sound travels through thin walls. The higher the decibels of sound that are produced, the more sound will carry outside. Since garages are built to house vehicles, they typically are lacking in insulation and often have no more than a sheet of drywall inside that is ½ inch thick.
The first step in soundproofing the walls is to add a thicker layer of drywall. Choose one that is a minimum of 5⁄8” thick. In addition to this, you will need to add materials to absorb, break, and block the sound. Loose fill or batting insulation will help absorb the sound. Maintain a resilient channel between the dry wall and the studs to block sound. If you want to block nearly all sound, building a room inside the garage is the most effective method. To do this, a false wall is created just inside of the existing wall.
Look at the floors and ceilings as well
It is easy to overlook the floors and ceilings when soundproofing. After all, what could be sounder than a concrete floor? The problem is that it isn’t just a matter of whether sound waves can travel through a material. You have to look at which materials conduct sound and both the floor and ceiling are probable targets.
Taking care of the floor is probably the easier of these two tasks. Placing a few throw rugs randomly on the floor should provide a quick fix. Another option is to apply a rubber coating to the floor that won’t interfere as much with the acoustics. If you choose the latter, you may want to consider having the coating professionally installed. This is especially true for older floors that have some damage to them. Coating the floor without repairing the concrete could result in more severe problems with the floor.
There are two options for deadening the sound through the ceiling as well. One is to install a drop ceiling. Although this method is very effective at blocking sound and it improves acoustics, it can be expensive and it might not be the best choice if you have a roll-up garage door. Keep this in mind when you are considering purchasing a new garage door.
The second option is to purchase sound-blocking tiles to distribute randomly across the ceiling. Keep in mind that these tiles absorb up to 70% of the sound waves that hit them. That means the more coverage you have, the more effective they will be.
A few final thoughts
Soundproofing your garage requires a significant input of time and money. Still, it provides a solution for many would-be garage rockers who need time to practice without the hassle. If you have good carpentry skills, you may be able to do the renovation and save some money. Otherwise, look for a contractor with experience in creating soundproof garages or rooms to get professional quality results you and the neighbors will appreciate.
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