There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to fall asleep, only to find that unwanted noise is pouring into your bedroom. Whatever your specific situation may be, if you’re dealing with noises that you don’t want to hear, you may be wondering how to soundproof your space.
There are numerous soundproofing materials on the market, and while they can be highly effective, they can also be quite costly. If you are looking to soundproof a room but you’re on a budget, you may be wondering if there’s an affordable way to block out distracting noise.
Many homeowners take a do-it-yourself approach to soundproofing by using items that they already have around the house, and they often use egg cartons. However, before you stock up on empty egg cartons, it’s a good idea to investigate whether or not they are actually an effective soundproofing material.
Below, we provide an overview of soundproofing with egg cartons, including why many people believe that this material can function as a noise canceling medium and its effectiveness.
Types of Noise
It’s important to have a basic understanding about the different types of noise. There are two primary types of noise, and understanding how each one works will allow you to determine which sound your trying to block out and whether or not egg cartons will help you achieve your goal.
The first type of noise is airborne. As indicated by the name, airborne noise refers to soundwaves that travel through the air.
When something makes a sound – someone speaking, a TV broadcasting a show, a radio playing a song, etc. – the sound is transmitted through the air until they come into contact with a solid surface. Once the soundwaves hit a solid surface, they are dispersed, and the sound is transferred to the surrounding area.
The second type of sound is structure-borne sound. That is, noise that’s transmitted through structures. This type of noise occurs as a result of an object making contact with a structure.
That contact creates soundwaves, and the soundwaves are transferred through the structure into the surrounding space. Examples of structure-borne noise include the sound of footsteps walking on the floor above you and being heard through the ceiling or a ball being bounced against a wall and the sound being transferred through the wall and into the adjacent room.
Using Egg Cartons for Soundproofing
Many people believe that egg cartons, the containers that your eggs come in when you purchase them from the grocery store, are an effective way to block out unwanted noise.
Given their round appearance, which mimics the shape of acoustic foam tiles – a material that is specifically made for soundproofing – it’s understandable why egg cartons are believed to be an effective soundproofing medium.
The question is, however, just because they resemble acoustic foam, does that mean that egg cartons are actually viable soundproofing material?
In short, the answer is “kind of?" We know that sounds vague, so let’s further explain.
Egg Carton Shape
Since egg cartons have a round shape, it’s natural to think that they would be able to deflect sound. When placed against a surface, soundwaves could get trapped inside the round bottom of the individual spaces on the carton, thus preventing the sound waves from bouncing off of a solid surface, which would prevent the transmission of sound.
The Soundproofing Capabilities of Egg Cartons
Though it might seem like egg cartons would capture sound waves and prevent them from colliding with a surface, thereby preventing the transmission of noise, in reality, they do not.
Firstly, egg cartons are made out of thin materials that possess little if any sound absorbing qualities. Therefore, egg carton cannot be considered an effective soundproofing material; at least not in the capacity that many people think they can be used for. That is, they are not as effective at absorbing sound as acoustic foam.
The Soundproofing Capabilities of Acoustic Foam
While acoustic foam isn’t technically a soundproofing material, especially when compared to other mediums, such as mass loaded vinyl, sound deadening fabric, and other similar materials. However, acoustic foam does offer sound absorbing qualities.
Firstly, acoustic foam is a dense; much denser than egg cartons. As such, soundwaves can bounce inside the pockets that are formed in the foam until they lose a lot of their energy, thereby reducing noise level.
Secondly, acoustic foam is much thicker than egg cartons, so they add mass to the surface they are applied to. In terms of soundproofing, mass is important, as it helps to prevent the transmission of soundwaves.
Thirdly, because acoustic foam is soft, it’s a lot harder for soundwaves to bounce off of the material. Egg cartons, on the other hand, aren’t flexible, which is a good thing for eggs, as this quality prevents them eggs from rolling into one another and breaking; however, it isn’t good for soundproofing, as soundwaves can easily bounce off of the material and go flying into the surrounding space until they collide with another object.
Given the qualities of acoustic foam, it’s a much more effective soundproofing material than egg cartons. As mentioned, however, acoustic foam isn’t as effective as other mediums, as soundwaves can still bounce around it.
With that said, it does serve as an excellent material for preventing echoes, which is why it is so often used in recording studios, movie theaters, concert halls, and other areas where echoes can be distracting.
Egg Cartons for Soundproofing
Though egg cartons may not be as successful at absorbing sound as acoustic foam, they can provide a small hint of soundproofing. With that said, if you’re looking for an affordable way to reduce very minimal amounts of noise, egg cartons may be able to provide you the results you are looking for
It's important to stress that you should not expect to experience significant or even moderate sound reduction.
If you want to give egg cartons a try, you are probably wondering how to apply them to the surface you’re looking to prevent noise from transmitting through. Here, is a general overview that you can use to secure egg cartons to our walls.
- Gather a collection of empty egg cartons. You can use either foam or cardboard; however, if you want to reduce your carbon footprint, you should opt for cardboard. With that said, cardboard cartons are virtually impossible to clean. In no case should you use plastic egg cartons, as they do not possess any soundproofing qualities whatsoever.
- Make sure that the egg cartons you’re using are clean. Often, eggs can crack inside the carton, leaving behind a smear of raw egg. It’s no secret that raw egg can be hazardous to your health. As such, it’s important to inspect each egg crate and toss those that have any egg or shells inside of them. If you’re using foam cartons, however, and there’s only a slight amount of egg, you may be able to wipe them out.
- Attach the egg cartons to the wall using adhesive, nails, staples, or pushpins to secure them in place. Make sure to cover the entire surface of the wall that you want to prevent sound from passing through.
To improve the soundproofing capabilities of egg cartons, install pieces of fabric or foam inside the openings of the carton before hanging them on the walls. Doing so will help to improve the density of the cartons and enhance their ability to absorb sound.
While egg cartons are not as effective at soundproofing as acoustic foam, they can reduce the transfer of soundwaves to a minor degree.