An unfinished basement.

An unfinished basement.

I have more and more customers reaching out to me to soundproof their office spaces and restaurants, in addition to the classic customers looking to soundproof their music rooms and professional studios. While the latter have always understood the importance of soundproofing, more and more customers from non-traditional businesses have begun to understand how beneficial it is to have their businesses acoustically treated correctly. The foundation for this is soundproofing, or blocking sounds from entering or leaving a space.

A recent customer called from a business start-up asking about soundproofing techniques for their newly-acquired office space. They had achieved a measure of success and were rewarded with a new round of funding where they would be able to hire more people and finally find a legitimate office space to rent and grow the company. 

The problem is that once they started moving in, they realized that the space they had rented was very noisy. The activities of employees in the office’s open spaces were entering the executive offices and causing a low but perceptible noise level. Even more annoying, the executive conference room itself was previously soundproofed with padded walls, and while this was convenient in that it was already soundproofed, they weren’t thrilled by the look. Instead of reminding them of an executive suite, a few thought it looked like the inside of an insane asylum. Not good! Often such padding is more a temporary solution than a permanent one, and rarely are temporary solutions aesthetically pleasing.

I was able to both find the customer a better soundproofing solution for the conference room to maintain and improve the soundproofing in the room while enhancing the aesthetics, in addition to offering a suite of soundproofing tactics and materials to apply to the office open spaces to keep noise contained. The results were a fantastic soundproofing treatment and a boost to aesthetics, two qualities modern businesses are finding to be essential to efficiency and growth for the company.

In this article, I will discuss soundproofing measures to achieve this no matter your business, and also discuss temporary padded walls for soundproofing and how to upgrade them appropriately without a loss in effectiveness.

A Quick Refresher on Soundproofing vs. Sound Control

The difference between soundproofing and sound control seems semantic, but it’s very important as these are two different concepts. Soundproofing is when we use materials to physically block sound from moving from one area to another, and is also sometimes called sound blocking. Sound control, however, is the concept of making the sound better by removing echoes and reverberation. Although different, the combination of the two is ideal for proper acoustic treatment. You can think of soundproofing as laying your foundation, and then sound control as the house you build on it.

Finding a Better Substitute to Padded Soundproof Walls

The problem with padded soundproof walls is the aesthetic issue. As mentioned above, everyone tends to think of insane asylums when thinking of padded walls. We envision a straightjacketed patient, or inmate, in a cubic prison cell screaming and the padding covering every surface to keep the insanity contained within. Obviously this is not a happy scene and one we don’t want to replicate in high-end offices, restaurants, and spas, or music studios or even just a jam room!

Because not everyone has the time or budget to redo interior walls and ceilings, padded soundproof walls tended to be one of few options. To correct that, we’ve come up with similar products that are much more effective and aesthetically pleasing.

AlphaSorb® Barrier Acoustic Panels

St Christopher’s School using AlphaSorb® Barrier Wall Panels to reduce ambient noise in room and block sound transmission in this classroom.

St Christopher’s School using AlphaSorb® Barrier Wall Panels to reduce ambient noise in room and block sound transmission in this classroom.

AlphaSorb® Barrier Acoustic Panels are an outstanding option that combine the power of sound control with soundproofing ability. Wrapped in Guilford of Maine FR701 Acoustic Fabric, dozens of colors are available to match your specific aesthetic needs. If you are looking for a replacement to padded soundproof walls, this would be my #1 suggestion that considers the aesthetic options as well as performance. 

Note: in order to be effective in blocking sound, the entire wall must be covered with the panels. 

PrivacyShield® Soundproofing Composite Foam

PrivacyShield Soundproofing Composite Foam 2'x4' x 1-3/8" in Natural Grey

PrivacyShield® Soundproofing Composite Foam 2’x4′ x 1-3/8″ in Natural Grey

For the most economical and basic alternative to padded soundproofing for walls, PrivacyShield® Soundproofing Composite Foam is an excellent option. Available in natural white or natural gray, this is the ideal solution to quickly and cost-effectively replace padded soundproof walls if you are planning to employ white or gray walls. The foam is exceptional at blocking sound, although like the AlphaSorb® Barrier Acoustic Panels, the entirety of the walls need to be covered.

Invasive Soundproofing for Maximum Effect

The results of soundproofing are quite dramatic, which tends to mean the installation process is invasive. The above options are a great way to get some measure of soundproofing without renovating, but if you want full aesthetic control as well as maximum soundproofing, renovating your interior is necessary. That said, we’re not talking about splitting the atom here! Let’s take a look at the most effective way to soundproof walls, which also will give you a clean surface from which to design the look you want.

Soundproofing Walls

Combining the power of AudioSeal® Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV) Soundproofing Barrier, Resilient Sound Isolation Clips (RSIC-1), and Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound is all that is needed to properly soundproof your walls. To install these products, the drywall will need to be removed, the soundproofing products installed, and new drywall installed and painted.

While not “easy,” this is a powerful soundproofing treatment that with a little bit of effort will keep sounds from coming in and going out. It may just be the perfect time to update anyway!

Let’s Get Rid of those Padded Soundproof Walls for Something Nice!

No one wants to work in an office, visit a restaurant, or record music in what feels like just a padded room. The options outlined above offer the perfect range of solutions to avoid padded soundproof walls, get even better soundproofing anyway, and harness your creative potential with interior design. 

If you have any additional questions or would like personal insight in your specific product, don’t hesitate to reach out today!

To learn more about how Acoustical Solutions can solve your noise control problems, use our contact form, call one of our Acoustical Sales Consultants at (800) 782-5742, or visit us on the web at