Soundproof Wallpaper – Does It Work?

Soundproof wallpaper

I have previously written about seemingly authoritative sources providing incorrect information on the Internet. This article about soundproof wallpaper is another example.

It is difficult for an average person to distinguish between correct and incorrect information, especially if the source sounds authoritative. Please keep this in mind when you're interested in what you read anywhere, specifically on the Internet.


Interesting research based on acoustic analysis of moth wings may lead to the design of more efficient sound-absorbing products.  It is described in this article.  Unfortunately, the seemingly authoritative source completely misrepresented the potential application of the research, as highlighted by the title of the article: 

Soundproof wallpaper inspired by moth wings may finally quiet those noisy neighbors.

This research cannot lead to better sound-blocking products.  It strictly deals with sound absorption.  There is a fundamental difference between sound blocking and sound absorption, as described in my other blog article

The problem with sound absorption is that for it to be effective at low frequencies, the sound-absorbing material must be very bulky, taking up space. For example, to absorb sound at 64 Hz, the sound-absorbing panels must be at least 50 cm (2 feet) thick.  This thickness is often not feasible for installation in a smaller room.  However, this "wallpaper" will not effectively block sound or soundproof.

If the research described in the article leads to a successful product, it will be a sound absorber. This absorber could be as thin as 5 cm (2 inches) instead of 50 cm thick.  Still not a wallpaper thickness, but much more practical.

Soundproof wallpaper

And on a related topic, does soundproof wallpaper exist? The answer is yes; it is being advertised, for example. Many people look for soundproof wallpaper as a cheap way to do soundproofing. Does it work? It depends on your situation.

Notice that the manufacturer’s website does not provide quantitative noise reduction values.  A lack of information from manufacturers almost always means that they are hiding something.  However, if the results are good, they will gladly share them.

The benefit of installing soundproof wallpaper depends on your existing wall.  In some situations, the benefit is minimal; in others, it could be good. Do not rely on incomplete or misleading information from product manufacturers. Consult a building acoustics expert before spending money on expensive and possibly ineffective soundproof wallpaper.

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About the Author Ivan Koval

The author is the publisher of the Soundproofing.Expert website. He is a soundproofing and building acoustics consultant working in Toronto and GTA, Ontario, Canada. Telephone (416) 471-2130

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