Last updated: April 12, 2021 at 7:42 am
If you think of soundproofing… a shed isn’t usually what would spring to mind. It’s a weak structure and usually small, therefore garages and attics are much more common.
However, if neither of these are available to you and you require a soundproofed space, then a shed can still work. Especially if you plan on using machinery like an air compressor or a chop saw.
Reasons to Soundproof Your Shed
The most logical reason is that someone needs to do something noisy in there. You may like to play music louder than your spouse or your neighbours would appreciate. You may work shifts and like to use power tools to do DIY very early in the morning or late at night. Or, and this is most critical, you have a child that is learning to play a musical instrument!
Also, with more people working from home nowadays, sheds are becoming the new office. To concentrate properly, a soundproof shed could be just a thing to escape a noisy house.
Decide What Materials to Use
Choosing which materials to use is the first critical step in achieving a soundproof shed.
For the walls and ceiling, you might be tempted to save money and try thick blankets or polystyrene. This will work to an extent but if you’re going to all this trouble it’s better to do it right. For the best results, you can buy acoustic foam tiles. These are used in recording studios so they block sound extremely well. These are expensive though, so if your budget doesn’t stretch to it ordinary shed insulation is the best choice.
Nail it to your walls and roof and then wall it in. You’re best using drywall for the walls and something lighter like plywood for the roof. The reason for this is to add an extra soundproof layer and also stop dust inhalation.
For floor soundproofing you can use a thick carpet or rubber floor tiles. Rubber tiles are easier to keep clean than carpet and will last longer.
Make sure your shed it sturdy enough to handle the weight load of extra window thickness!
Invest in a rubber seal around the door to prevent noise from escaping through the gap below. You can also nail insulation to the back of the door and then cover it in plastic. If you’d rather not add insulation, a heavy curtain hanging over the door will absorb a lot of noise too. Acoustic tiles are also another option depending on the size of the door.
Before buying any materials, measure the shed! You’ll likely lose at least a couple of inches on all sides by the time you’re done. If this makes your shed too small for a drum kit or workbench (for example) it becomes a useless space. Make sure it will still be big enough before you start investing money.
Now you know what you need to do step one is sealing up all gaps with acoustic sealant. You can use regular caulking if you wish but if you’re going to all this effort you should do it right. Go over every inch of the shed with a fine-toothed comb and seal up every single hole. Pay close attention to the areas around the window and door. This is a vital part of the soundproofing process.
5 Easy Steps to Soundproof a Shed
Step #1: Start With the Floor
The floor should be the first task to tackle. If you haven’t already done so, check for holes and make sure to seal them up. Sheds are often built perched on support joists, so sound can easily escape.
For the floor you have two main options: carpet or rubber mats.
If you’d like a carpet a lot of shops sell offcuts very cheap. Depending on what you plan to use the shed for, I wouldn’t advise spending a fortune on a high quality carpet.
If you’d prefer a rubber, you can buy interlocking mats relatively cheaply for easy fitting. However, if you’re looking to save money you can check auction sites if any leisure centres/schools are selling old gym mats. You may have to cut them to size but they’ll stop noise escaping.
Step #2: Walls and Ceiling
Use tacks or nails to attach the insulation and then screw acoustic plasterboard over the walls and plyboard over the ceiling. It needs to be secure but don’t go mad with the screws. Each screw added is an extra hole sound can escape through. You can even plaster over the screws to stifle any noise escaping that way.
There are many sound absorbing materials that can be used alongside plasterboard. For example, acoustic foam is fantastic for sound absorption, cheap and easy to install. Foam is particularly popular in smaller rooms like recording studios, so is a great fit for sheds.
Mineral wool can also be used behind plasterboard or plywood to add extra insulation. It’s also well known to be waterproof and fire-resistant, so also a fantastic choice for shed walls.
Step #3: Door Is Often Overlooked
Doors are very often overlooked when soundproofing, but a lot of sound can get in and escape from doors.
Fit a good, tight, rubber seal around the door frame first. Once this is done you can explore hanging a soundproof curtain over the door or possibly use acoustic tiles attached. It’s a small area so it is more affordable than doing the whole shed.
Also, look to buy a door sweep. These are long strips (usually plaster or rubber) which closes the gap between the floor and the bottom of the door. Especially handy to keep spiders out.
Step #4: Windows
Soundproofing the windows are up next. You can buy special plastic sheets at DIY shops that you can stick onto your windows to increase their effectiveness. You can also swap the glass for acrylic which does not transmit as much sound.
For best results, you can buy acoustic glass which is three panes sandwiched together. If you’ve gone all-in everywhere else, don’t let the windows let you down.
If budget isn’t an issue (and your shed is sturdy) look at double or even triple glazing depending on your needs. Round off the windows with soundproof curtains to add an extra barrier.
Step #5: Check Everything Over
To properly soundproof a shed, it’s best to spend some time looking over your work. Make sure everything is tight, sealed and filled in to prevent any sound escaping (or entering).
If your chosen activity is dependent on electricity, you will have left a gap for your sockets and light fixtures. Don’t forget to seal these thoroughly once you’re finished installation.
Rounding Off Your Soundproof Shed
Sheds aren’t the easiest thing to soundproof because of their already leaky and holey nature. If you’ve followed these steps carefully and taken your time you should now have a well soundproofed shed.
All that’s left is to head out there to enjoy it or send your budding musician out there while you enjoy the peace and quiet of your home.