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I'm trying to figure out the best, least intrusive way of sound proofing the walls of a bathroom. The bathroom shares a wall with my bedroom, and my 3 yea old's bedroom. The main problem is the sound of water running (plus every bump on the counter and everything) echos loud and clear through the wall into my sons room. I found sound deadening drywall and it seems like a good choice. Another option is adding another layer fo drywall with something like Green Glue between them. But all the walls and ceilings in the house are textured. So replacing just one or two walls in a room is just not possible.

This is the layout of the two rooms. I've added red box around the wall with the most noise.
house layout

Is there anything else I'm missing here that I could do to dampen the noise short of tearing the bathroom apart?

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4 Answers

up vote 13 down vote accepted

I wouldn't tear the bathroom wall apart... I'd tear the bedroom wall apart. What you are experiencing is the noise traveling through mechanical connections to the wall (screwed to studs) and the noise from the water passing through thin copper pipe (probably the Type M pipe rather than the thicker Type L).

The only effective way I know of is to insulate that wall with Roxul Safe and Sound. It's an insulation designed for noise.... and noise only. It doesn't burn. To go the added mile, use resilient channels before hanging the drywall. The demo is probably a DIY, the installation of the Roxul is DIY, and the drywall.... call someone. For a few hundred bucks the repair will disappear.

Edit: Blown in insulation will not work... blown in is for warmth, not sound. It's the sound transfer you're trying to conquer. We once built a house and insulated the walls with thermal insulation, thinking just like you are. It didn't work. We had the type L pipe, all the plumbing was fastened with cushioned fasteners. We thought we had it knocked. Turned out, it was a waste of money.

If you truly want to fix it, just take down the drywall and do it the right way with the Roxul. Going into a wet wall from the bathroom side is a suicide mission. Building an offset wall will create a door opening that's 10"... with a door that has a 5" jamb. Then there's the carpet... or other flooring surface. It sounds like a difficult job, but it's probably only one weekend.

Otherwise, just buy your son some foam ear plugs at Costco and call it a day.

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As much as I would love to tear that room apart to solve the issue 100%, I spent many hours painting that room would be a real shame to tear it all down. Bathroom still seems easier. Also I have the assistance of a ex-carpenter who's done drywall. It's all to be DIY. –  Tim Meers Feb 21 '12 at 2:42
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@TimMeers, the paint in the bedroom is nothing compared to the bathtub, toilet, sink, plumbing lines, and other things you'd need to work with on the bathroom side. The bedroom side is the correct one. –  BMitch Feb 21 '12 at 11:56
    
Are there any other possible options that don't include ripping apart an entire bedroom? Maybe some type of blow in insulation or foam? But I'm beginning to see the light of doing the bedroom rather than the bath. –  Tim Meers Feb 21 '12 at 21:55
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@TimMeers, blown in insulation won't work. The sound in the bathroom vibrates the drywall on the bathroom wall, which is connected directly to the studs, which is connected directly to the drywall in the bedroom. You have to break that connection to stop the sound transfer, which is what the resilient channel does. We use that for common walls in multi-unit structures. –  BMitch Feb 22 '12 at 0:30
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That's your wet wall...all the plumbing is in there connected to the wall and floor (at least in the case of the tub). Ideally, you'd take down the sheetrock in the bedroom, then install a new row of studs that are not connected to the existing wall.

While you are in there, see if you can better isolate the plumbing from the studs using rubber washers and mounts. Consider wrapping the pipes in insulation as well.

You'll end up with studs 16oc in the bathroom, and then on the bedroom side you'll have the same, but staggerd 8" from the original ones. Then, fill the void with sound deadening insulation. To finish, ideally hang the Sheetrock using sound deadening channels.

In the end, though, you still have physical connections with the floor and ceiling so sound might still get in.

Maybe the simplest solution is to swap bedrooms with your son.

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Funny you say the simplest solution is to swap bedrooms. He sleeps more in there than his room! But the layout of the bedroom does not work and closet is not big enough for two people. –  Tim Meers Feb 21 '12 at 21:41
    
It looks like there's yet another bedroom below the bottom one in your blueprint? A thought: take out that wall, and move the closets there. That'll give most rooms a much bigger closet and will only sacrifice maybe a foot and a half of space. Might be easier to do that that redo the bathroom wall (then again, I LOVE tearing down walls...) –  DA01 Feb 21 '12 at 21:45
    
Their is another bedroom in the image. But I'm pretty sure my 8yo, will not enjoy me tearing down his wall to share the bedroom with his 3yo brother. Though I sure could use a 20x12 bedroom!! –  Tim Meers Feb 22 '12 at 2:36
    
@tim, I meant remove the wall to replace it with closets. There'd still be two rooms, but you'll be moving the closets. Hard to say if that's the best option without seeing the entire house floorplan, though. –  DA01 Feb 22 '12 at 2:47
    
Not likely, timmeers.net/large/5870 –  Tim Meers Feb 22 '12 at 2:54
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If you really want to avoid taking down the bedroom wall, then hang some acoustical panels on the wall (found from suppliers of home theater systems). You could also hang a large tapestry or carpet like material on the wall. But el katz has the correct answer with the resilient channel and insulation designed for sound proofing.

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I hope this isn't too far off the beaten path, but have you tried something far less involved, like putting a white-noise generator (like a fountain, or one of those radios that can play the sound of a brook or crashing waves) in your son's room?

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This won't help with sudden noises unfortunately. Thought I do play music for him at night. –  Tim Meers Feb 23 '12 at 21:55
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