6

I need to close an opening and I am not sure the best way to do it.

The goals are

  • Low cost
  • Good sound insulation
  • Easy to take apart with minimal damage to the existing walls.

It doesn't have to look perfect

this is the opening, note the curved top

edit: my original thought was to attach drywall panel to each side of the opening (bout 7 inch apart) and to screw them to the preexisting frame without using additional studs. To remove, unscrew the screws, fill with mud and paint again. what do you think of this solution?

edit: task mostly done. I probably need to paint it or hide it behind a curtain. but is is up and block sounds pretty well. I used the two plywood system of the selected answer without weather striping.

I have also cut the plywood to smaller pieces for easier handling enter image description here

  • "It doesn't have to look perfect" and "It doesn't have to look good" are, in my opinion, two different things. You've said the former, but your own solution and most of the answers seem to be the latter. Can you clarify? – AndyT Aug 16 '17 at 11:05
  • How temporary? What does "not look good" mean? If it looks like a construction site is that ok? Or just a bad DIY plaster job? Do you intend to paint it? Does it need an openable door (for fire egress, etc?) – J... Aug 16 '17 at 11:41
  • 1
    Its temporary because we done own the place and want to return it in the same state as we got it. Its OK to cover the changes with some mud and paint, but it needs to look unchanged in the post rent inspection. – yigal Aug 16 '17 at 16:02
  • Also, its needs to have very good noise insulation, but visually, it just need to be good enough. – yigal Aug 16 '17 at 16:08
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    I have to ask: why? – GManNickG Aug 16 '17 at 22:06
24

I would take two sheets of plywood or similar material, cut slightly larger than the opening, place one on either side, and use a few big bolts & nuts driven through to pull the panels towards each other. The tension from the bolts will hold the contraption in place; some weatherstripping or the like on the edges will create a better seal and protect your walls. You can fill the inside cavity with fiberglass insulation and paint the wood the same color as your walls.

  • Exactly what I would suggest. Perhaps a little tape or fabric on the edges of the boards to minimize damage to wall paint might be a good idea. – JimmyJames Aug 16 '17 at 15:01
  • I might suggest a manufactured/"particle board" material rather than plywood, since the latter seems likely to warp under the tension or changes in humidity etc. – R.. Aug 16 '17 at 15:45
  • I am starting to lean towards this solution. which plywood should I pick for maximum noise insulation? – yigal Aug 16 '17 at 16:13
  • @yigal I would take R's suggestion and go with the thickest MDF or OSB you're comfortable with. The keys to sound insulation are creating an air-tight seal and putting as much mass in the way as possible; a thick tape or strip of rubber on the edges will help with the first part (like a gasket); putting soundproofing insulation in the cavity will help with the second. You could back the boards with mass-loaded vinyl, too, but that stuff's not cheap. – Robert Nubel Aug 16 '17 at 18:51
  • which bolt should i use? carriage bolt or hex bolt? Also, the preexisting wall is kinda thick - 7.5 inch, adding 1.5 inch for the two panels and some extra for the nut means that i need 10 inch bolts. The only ones that I found are 1/2 inch thick and costs $2.3 each at home depot. - I need about 20. where do I get thinner, less expensive bolts? – yigal Aug 17 '17 at 16:41
14

One solution that might look reasonable is to get a bookshelf (IKEA Billy are cheap) larger than the opening and stand it against the opening. For better sound insulation I'd combine this with Robert's answer: put a sheet of ply on the other side of the opening and bolt it to the back of the bookshelf or screw bookshelf and ply to some intervening 2x4 + shim. The cavity can be filled with loose sound-insulating material.

11

For a clean, elegant appearance I would build a framed wall that fits inside that arched opening with 1/2" gap at sides and top. I'd sheath it with plywood or paneling to suit, and I'd insulate it with fiberglass.

Alternatively, sandwich 2" rigid foam between paneling using appropriate construction adhesive and weight it until the glue sets.

I'd then stand it in the opening and gently stuff 1" foam rope caulk into the gap--one bead from each room. Chances are, that alone will secure the temporary wall enough that you don't have to use screws or adhesives at all.

If you find that it's not secure enough, a couple shims set in silicone caulk on each side of the opening, and inside the rope beads, will hold it firmly and invisibly until you need to remove it.

3

Your solution sounds fine to me. For sound insulation, you need mass - so if you have some spare bricks or concrete blocks:

  • put in one sheet of drywall
  • stack the bricks/blocks in the void (you don't need to fill it completely and you don't need it to form a strong wall)
  • attach the other sheet of drywall.

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