There can be a lot of confusion out there about which materials are able to actually be used for soundproofing. While you can certainly purchase soundproofing foam, this can extend outside of many peoples’ budgets. A common question you might here is “can you soundproof with cardboard?”
So, can you soundproof with cardboard?
Corrugated cardboard can be used for soundproofing due to its ability to dampen sound movement and reflect some of the sounds. Depending on the location, corrugated cardboard can be anywhere from mildly to highly effective when soundproofing.
Whether you’re soundproofing a room, a car, a studio, or a small space, it’s incredibly easy to do it with just a little cardboard.
One of the great things about cardboard is it’s so readily available that practically anyone can start their soundproofing journey. Let’s dive deeper into how you can soundproof with cardboard.
How to Soundproof with Cardboard
Being able to soundproof a space where you need the necessary peace and quiet can be extremely important if you’re in a noisy environment.
It may be the case that you need quiet for recording a song or an audiobook. It could even be the case that you simply need a little calmness at the end of your day so you can decompress and rejuvenate yourself.
Thankfully, soundproofing with cardboard is extremely easy and only takes a little bit of handy work to get it done. Once you get started in the process of using cardboard for soundproofing, you might just find yourself on a roll and continue doing it in many different areas.
It’s important to realize that sound travels in a wave and the only way to properly disrupt and stop that wave is with materials that are able to absorb or reflect that wave.
It’s been shown that cardboard is highly effective at this, especially corrugated cardboard.
There are several types of corrugated cardboard that have to do with the fluting (a set of grooves) of the cardboard’s interior.
There’s A-fluting, B-fluting, C-fluting, and E-fluting, with the A-flute cardboard having the largest interior grooves inside the cardboard and E-flute cardboard having the smallest grooves.
By far the most effective corrugated cardboard type to use is E-fluting cardboard as it’s been shown to dampen noise more effectively than any of the other types of cardboard. On top of that, studies have shown that E-fluting corrugated cardboard is 40% more effective as a soundproofing material as drywall!
If you’re looking for high-quality, affordable E-flute cardboard, check out Aviditi A Flute Single Face Corrugated Roll (link to read reviews on Amazon). This cardboard is incredibly effective at soundproofing and comes at an extremely affordable cost. With this roll, you’ll be able to soundproof a lot of places.
Once you’ve chosen your type of cardboard, you want to start making your soundproofing panels, which will require a knife, some glue, tape, and something to secure them to the wall or another surface.
If you use cardboard rolls, gluing the cardboard to a wood panel and hanging it up is a quick and easy solution.
From here, all you need to do is cut your cardboard, glue it to a wood or another cardboard panel if you’re using a roll, and hang it up on the wall. The bigger the panel, the better.
You don’t need to cover an entire wall to get the positive effects. Just make sure you place several panels in the area so there’s a better chance of reducing the travel of sound.
One tip that I’ve found useful is to layer the cardboard you attach to the panel.
From my experience, this further dampens the sound waves and results in an incrementally quieter room. Don’t take my word for it though! Try it out yourself.
And that’s it! You’ll have effectively soundproofed an area that you needed a bit of quiet in.
Soundproofing with cardboard is very easy and only requires an afternoon of work once you have all of the materials. And not only is this easy to do, but it’s far less expensive than alternative methods of soundproofing areas.
Does Cardboard Reflect or Absorb Sound?
Blocking out sound from an area that we need a little quiet can be incredibly important for some people, especially when you’re recording audio.
However, not everyone’s able to afford the expensive materials such as soundproofing foam and the like. That’s why cardboard is such a great alternative because it’s extremely effective when dealing with sound.
Cardboard has the ability to reflect sound rather effectively, which is why it’s so commonly used when soundproofing.
Since cardboard can have a relatively smooth surface compared to other materials, it’s known to reflect sound. However, some sound does pass through it, which is why it’s not a 100% solution to soundproofing.
One way to improve the reflective quality of cardboard soundproofing panels is to attach a highly reflective surface on the back of the panel.
By simply gluing either aluminum or tin foil to the back of your soundproofing panel, you can help your panels reflect more sound waves.
That means the sound happening inside your room will be well contained, but also sound from the outside will be better kept out.
One of the common misconceptions with cardboard is that it’s able to absorb sound.
Unfortunately, it’s not entirely able to do such a thing, but it is able to slow it down by dampening its movement. This really depends on the type of cardboard you’re using, which is why it’s so important to choose the right type.
Cardboard is a rather porous material that has a lot of space in between one part of the material to another.
With this quality, it’s highly effective at reducing the transfer of sound and all kinds of noises.
By using a type of corrugated cardboard such as E-flute cardboard, you’ll be well on your way to reducing the sound wherever you are. This is especially true if you add multiple layers of cardboard.
Materials That Can Block and Absorb Sound
There are specific materials that are extremely effective at blocking and absorbing sound.
While cardboard is a great alternative if you have some lying around and you’re on a budget, investing in some high-quality materials can truly make a world of difference when soundproofing.
Highly porous materials that are soft and pliable are the most effective at blocking and absorbing sound.
If you’ve ever seen an audio recording studio, you probably saw panels scattered on the walls covered in foam. Well, foam is one of the best materials you can use to soundproof an area, which is why they’re commonly used in these environments.
Apart from using foam to soundproof, certain other fabrics are also quite effective, including polyester.
As a matter of fact, many noise reducing curtains are made out of 100% dense polyester due to its ability to block and absorb sound so effectively.
If you have a room or some open space that you want to soundproof and it has a window, noise reducing curtains made out of polyester may be your best option.
Popular Soundproofing Solutions
Cardboard is a great material to use for soundproofing, but there are more options out there especially if your budget isn’t as limited.
Investing in high-quality materials to soundproof your room or general area is an investment well worth making if you’re in dire need of silence
Mybecca Acoustic Eggcrate Studio Panels Soundproofing Wall Tiles (12-Pack)
Porous foam is incredibly useful as a material for soundproofing rooms, which is why it’s easy to suggest the Mybecca Acoustic Eggcrate Studio Panels Soundproofing Wall Tiles (link to read reviews on Amazon). These are exactly what you should be using if you decide to venture away from using cardboard.
The great part about these foam egg-crate panels by Mybecca, apart from being an effective soundproofing product, is they’re very affordable. Without breaking the budget, you’ll have a better sound-insulated space that cardboard can’t match.
On top of that, it comes in a variety of colors that’ll match any room, studio, or general space you install them into.
If you are interested to get to know more about acoustic foam, checkout my article on the best soundproofing foam panels available today.
Nicetown 3 Pass Microfiber Noise Reducing Blackout Curtains (2-Pack)
If you’re soundproofing a room that has a window leading out into the noisy world, you’re going to want to get yourself some good noise reducing curtains. Well, the Nicetown 3 Pass Microfiber Noise Reducing Blackout Curtains (link to read reviews on Amazon) is easily one of the best choices you can make.
These noise-reducing, blackout curtains by Nicetown are very popular and there’s a good reason for this: they’re effective and affordable.
They’re also made out of 100% polyester, which is a material known for having the ability to block and absorb sound. There’s no question these curtains will keep the noise out.
As a matter of fact, I have them installed in my bedroom because they’re so good at removing most of the noise from outside as well as any light trying to find its way in.
If you want to know more about soundproofing curtains, and if they are really effective, checkout my article about soundproofing curtains.
2 thoughts on “Can You Soundproof with Cardboard? (Effectiveness)”
I’m soundproofing a large closet and I want to use cardboard as a bit of extra sound padding. I found your article extremely concise and informative. You posted a link to the Aviditi Fluting as an affordable source of E-fluted cardboard, but that is listed as A-fluted and, having not realized that until it arrived, it is obviously not the two ply with compact filling that I see in pictures of E-fluted cardbaord. Just wanted to see if you think that proper E-fluted sheets would be more effective than the Aviditi. I have found a comparable amount for around $80 which is a drop in the bucket for better sound quality. Again, loved the article. Wanted to get your thoughts.
Thank you for this article, we are a community music group on an almost zero budget we share space in a 35,000 sq ft warehouse. We are living in a multideprovational area and have challenging mentL health conditions, music and or gardening are our life lines.
With this document we can make a way forward, and eliminate waste too.