Soundproofing a bathroom is one of the unique things you will be doing to your home.
We know that bathrooms are echoey, but we have little knowledge of why.
Soundproofing an echoey bathroom means we will eliminate those reverberating sounds coming from inside the bathroom.
Knowing how to reduce echo in a bathroom means the freedom to use your loud blow-dry, flush the toilet, or even sing in the shower without causing much trouble to the rest of the people at home.
PRO TIP: The echo in the bathroom makes us believe that our singing voice is better than we imagined. Where in fact, what we hear is just an echo of our voice.
Table of contents
- Why aren’t Bathrooms Soundproof?
- Why Should You Soundproof Your Bathroom?
- What Methods Can Help Reduce Noise in the Bathroom?
- Soundproofing Your Bathroom During Remodeling
Why aren’t Bathrooms Soundproof?
Perhaps, the more appropriate question could be, “why are bathrooms echoey?”.
Bathrooms are not soundproof because they send too much echo. Or they can be soundproof if you want to remove the echo effect.
Bathrooms are built with rigid walls made of concrete and tiles. Glass and other hard materials are also found in a bathroom structure. These materials do not absorb sound but repel it, bouncing back where it came from—thus, sound only bounces back.
It would be best if you considered soundproofing the bathroom to eliminate or reduce the echo.
Bathroom floors are not really a problem because they are dense and well-sealed. But walls and the hard implements inside the bathroom like ceramic tile, walls, ceramic sink, bathtub, toilet, and glass panes are all receivers of the impact sound.
When someone drops something, it will easily be heard. It is also easy to know if the shower is on. Or when someone sings, the voice only bounces back and forth, producing the echo effect—because the glass and tiles are not sound absorbers.
However, you can soundproof your bathroom using inexpensive materials. You can place sound-dampening solutions to mitigate the impact of bathroom noise.
PRO TIP: The bathroom is a smaller room with many hard walls that will make your voice bounce. That’s why it is rich in echo compared to a large room where the sound waves from our voices have a hard time going back to our ears.
Can bathrooms be soundproof? Yes, you can achieve peace and privacy inside and outside the bathroom.
It would be best if you were strategic in doing so.
Check the following bathroom parts to start with your soundproofing.
Begin with the door before soundproofing other parts. Since the door has edges where sound can pass through, sound-dampening materials will make a difference in sound transmission.
- Add mass to the bathroom door—Most bathroom pocket doors are made of light materials with a hollow core. When there is space between the panels, there is enough room for the sound to bounce and send vibrations. The core is the perfect place to add mass to thin door panels!
- Add medium-density fiberboard
- Add mass-loaded vinyl
- Attach acoustic fiberglass
- Place a soundproof curtain (Be sure this doesn’t get wet and is far from the shower)
2. Use weather stripping—Weather stripping foam or vinyl can be placed around the door frame or jamb to seal the sound.
3. Install a door sweep—A door sweep not only blocks airborne noise but also prevents heat or cold and dust from coming in and out of the bathroom.
It is unlikely to have acoustic insulation for bathroom walls, making it easy for noise to be heard or sound to travel. Adding soundproof drywall insulation will help absorb the sound within the bathroom.
- Seal up any cracks in your bathroom wall—The slightest hint of crack on the wall is a passage of air and sound. Add soundproofing sealant to cover the gap and slits to ensure dampen the sound.
- Add more drywall—Just like the hollow door, adding mass to drywall will make it denser and thicker to prevent the sound from passing through. Adding MLVs between drywalls and Green glue as the sealant will give you a soundproof wall.
Most bathroom floors are sealed with tiles. So there isn’t much room for the sound to travel. However, the hardness and material of ceramic tiles will make a loud noise for impact noise. Meaning that walking, stomping, or dropping anything on it will attenuate the sound.
The simplest way to soundproof the bathroom floor is to add paddings such as carpet, rug, or thick mats that will serve as sound-deadening materials and make the floor noiseless!
Flushing is annoying toilet noise, especially if you have siblings using the same toilet every day. The frequent dump of the metal parts inside the tank is irritating, while the slosh of water when flushing is a whirlwind in disguise.
Also, the constant bumping of the toilet lid against the tank and the seat will really create a loud sound when you flip it off and on after every flush.
Try getting a noise-canceling toilet lid cover to dampen the sound after using the toilet. This will serve as additional padding and as a shock absorber between the lid and the tank.
Soundproof your toilet tank by lining the lid with adhesive foam tape. This will create a tighter cover, and a quieter tank as the foam will muffle the sound of the water movement inside the tank when it refills or when it is flushing.
- Soundproof the toilet seat—A noisy toilet seat is due to the plastic material of the lid. Get a toilet seat cover that has gel pads on it or a rubber or fabric cover. Any material that can dampen sound is effective for the lid to reduce sound when it hits the toilet seat and tank.
- Add padding—Bring silence to your bathroom with fabric, acoustic foam panel, or rubber padding that effectively dampens the sound from porcelain to porcelain. No more echoing effect if the toilet tank is covered with a sound-deadening pad.
- Check the plumbing—Noisy water movement means there are restrictions somewhere in the pipes, creating a gurgling sound, especially when the tank is filling up. Check screws and connections and tighten them to prevent gurgling noise.
Bathrooms have towel tracks or grab bars that can serve as places for hanging towels.
Try rearranging the furniture and placing towels as sound dampeners before the noise within the bathroom reaches the hardware. This technique will surely muffle the sound of water, tank, flush, and lids.
A white noise device is also an effective solution for controlling the sound in the bathroom. You don’t need to worry about installing this excellent device. Just play it on, and you will send a calming and soothing sound that will muffle unwanted noise in the bathroom.
White noise also helps bathroom users achieve optimum comfort in their comfort rooms.
Sealing the air vent or exhaust fan is not a healthy option. The reason why the vent is there is to allow air to pass through and release heat. The air vent is also a portal of noise coming in and out to the outdoor air.
- Making the air vent soundproof is to add acoustic foam on the inside cover to allow air passage still but muffle any sound.
- Use soundproof curtains or acoustic panels to cover the vent.
What causes noisy pipes?
- Water hammer—the water pressure brought by the sudden and automatic opening and closing of valves.
- Ticking sound from copper pipes—the contraction of the copper material against hot water. When the pipes expand, they tend to hit adjacent pipes and eventually creak once cooled and contracted.
- Loose pipes—knocking noise from water pressure can be heard. Strap them or cover them with a pipe with soundproofing material.
How to Soundproof Bathroom Pipes
- Wrap them with soundproofing material to muffle the sound and protect the pipe from freezing.
- If there is no way to wrap the pipes because they aren’t reachable, go to the nearest wall you think they are situated and insulate that wall to reduce the noise coming from the pipes.
Fill the wall cavity with soundproofing insulation foam spray until you’re sure you have crawled and covered the space.
Are you planning to remodel your bathroom? You will have the privilege of choosing the best soundproofing solutions from a wide variety of options.
Check these out and include them in your prep list:
1. Follow the STC Ratings
Depending on the level of noise that you need to block in your bathroom, check for the STC rating of the drywall and insulation materials like MLVs before putting up the barriers.
Check with your building engineer the recommended STC so that when it is already there, you won’t waste labor and money if, in the end, the assemblies aren’t soundproof as expected.
2. Build a Water Closet
To do this, find the small openings that you think can be passages of sound.
- Door frame—install a door sweep.
- Gaps in the door frame—add caulking or acoustical sealant
- Door—hang a soundproof blanket and cover it
- Floor—add rugs or carpets to cover the tiles
- Ceiling—seal the vent with an acoustic blanket or acoustic foam
- Use thick fabric or rubber slippers
3. Add Mass
Mass-loaded vinyl and acoustic foam panels are perfect for adding density to the drywalls.
4. Add Acoustical Caulk Between Layers
Even if you have loaded insulation materials between walls, make sure each layer has a good soundproofing caulk. Use Green Glue for the most effective output.
Add plenty of insulation to ceilings, walls, and floors
Acoustic ceiling tiles are widely available in the market. These are effective soundproofing materials you can hang on the bathroom ceiling for added sound absorbers.
5. Use Solid Core Doors
Getting a solid core door is better than a hollow core that needs insulation.
6. Wrap Ducts and Pipes
As explained earlier, pipes expand and contract depending on the level of heat they receive, causing them to produce sound when water pressure affects them.
Wrapping them with a soundproofing cover will help reduce the noise from water against pipe or pipe vs. pipe collision.
Pro tip: There is a slight difference between soundproofing and sound dampening. The former makes the material impenetrable to sound while the latter makes the material “absorb” sound. Thus, reducing sound transmission by a certain percentage.
Soundproofing is a diverse subject, and bathroom soundproofing is just one of the techniques people use when they think their bathrooms aren’t good enough for their homes for many reasons.
So, if you want peace and comfort in your own bathroom, follow the tips we gave here and hopefully help you achieve a quieter space while you shower and, at the same time, serve as no bother to others.
A soundproof bathroom is a peaceful home.
Robert is an electronic engineer with more than five years of experience with a solid affinity for helping people reduce noise. He writes about these silent home appliances and easy soundproofing measures to help everyone avoid the negative effect of extended exposure to high noise levels.