As many of us continue working from home, it’s increasingly important to create a quiet and productive home environment. Some challenges, such as dealing with loud and inconsiderate neighbours are out of our control. One thing we can do to prevent noise is to soundproof our home. The estimated cost can be steep, as research shows that the average cost of a moderate home renovation for a 4-room HDB flat in Singapore is around S$50,750. And getting professional help to apply sound insulation materials on ceilings and walls to reduce sound transmission can cost anywhere between S$113 m² to S$248 per m². These renovation costs can easily stack up unless you’re planning to sign up for a home renovation loan. If you’re looking for affordable ways to soundproof your home in Singapore, here are 6 budget-friendly options.
Installing a soundproof window is the most expensive recommendation on our list but it is also the most valuable investment if you are serious about shutting out external noise. Window replacement costs start at S$2,400 per panel with professional help for installation. There is a wide selection of soundproof windows available in the market and many of these products can block out everyday noise such as traffic or construction. Some soundproof windows also come with shatterproof toughness, which is great for security and durability in case of strong wind or heavy rain.
Soundproof Door Strip
Instead of spending an excessive amount of money replacing your doors, an affordable alternative is to install sound dampening door strips. These door strips can be easily found online between S$3.69 to S$10 per piece that is nearly one meter long. Soundproof door strips usually come in rubber or foam material and can be customised to a specific length with scissors or penknives. Depending on the quality and material used, such seals can achieve acoustic attenuation of up to 40dB, which is equivalent to the noise level of a library.
Close the Air Gaps
Look out for holes or cracks between your floors and walls, they could be the culprits that are allowing noise to seep through. Since sound waves bounce, they’re likely to pick the path of least resistance and travel through these air gaps. Sometimes these gaps can be so obscure that you may not even notice them.
A simple DIY solution is to fill up these gaps with sealant or gap fillers. Some fillers have an expanding formula that turns into foam once they are injected into the gaps; effectively sealing up holes and cracks within the walls even when you cannot see them. These fillers range from S$12.50 to S$27 and with a bit of effort, you can pretty much handle this task on your own, hence saving the cost of hiring help or engaging a professional contractor.
You’ll usually see soundproof walls in studios where walls are mounted with a layer of thick padding that feels like rubber or compact foam. Soundproof wall panels are great at blocking out mid to high-frequency sound waves and they are also effective for absorbing sounds within the room to prevent echoes. What’s interesting about these panels is that they come in different patterns and colours to let you customise your wall. If you’re handy, try mounting them yourself with spray glue or a double-sided tape to prevent damaging your walls. Alternatively, you can always engage professional help to relieve you of this task, but that will come with a bigger price tag.
Where to buy wall panels in Singapore
|Wall Panel Type||Where to Buy||Cost of Wall Panel|
|Soundproofing acoustic foam Wedge sheets||Lazada||S$18.20 for 2 pieces per 100 cm x 100 cm panel|
|2.5 cm thick pyramid wedges acoustic foam panels||Shopee||S$16.26 for 10pieces of 30 cm by 30 cm panel|
|1 cm thick hexagon acoustic padding||Amazon||S$94.03 for 12 pieces of 35.5 cm x 33 cm panel|
Carpet and Rugs
Noise and sound can bounce off walls and hard floors to create echoes, especially if the room is mainly open space with minimal furniture. A simple trick to counter this problem is to invest in rugs or carpets to dampen the sound. You won’t need an expensive Persian rug to help with sound insulation, budget-friendly carpets and rugs from Ikea or iRugs may serve the purpose too.
Here’s a tip to select a carpet that’s good for soundproofing: Choose one with multiple frays and fuzzy tops because they are best at absorbing sound.
Fabrics are great for sound absorption, especially those that are thick and weighty. Curtains can help reduce noise and reverberations in the room. Installing a soundproof curtain has the added function of improving the aesthetics of the room as well as blocking external light. However don’t assume that any curtain will do the trick, the fabric needs to be dense, which is why many soundproof curtains in the market are crafted with a triple-weave fabric. Pure suede and polyester are also good materials for soundproofing purposes. To help cover the costs associated with home renovation, consider applying for a home renovation loan. Another great way to save on costs is by using a cashback or shopping rewards credit card.