Many people think that using egg cartons to soundproof their walls is a viable option. Even I used to believe those kinds of soundproofing myths. However, the fact is that egg cartons can only get you so far. Today, I thought I’d explain exactly what egg cartons can do for you, and how you can put them up.
Most often, when people are considering soundproofing their walls with egg cartons and egg trays, they’re talking about the ones made from recycled paper. However, they can also be made of foam or plastic. Still, neither of those materials have the acoustic properties of dense paper fibers.
In my opinion, the only reason people thought of using egg cartons for soundproofing is that the pattern of an egg crate is similar to some acoustic foam products. So, let’s start this article off by comparing acoustic foam and egg cartons.
Soundproofing Properties of Egg Cartons and Acoustic Foam
Acoustic Foam Products
Acoustic foam products are typically made of open-cell polyurethane foam. When you attach them to your walls, the sounds will have to hit the foam on their way to the wall. Since the foam is soft and dense, it will reduce the sound energy before it reaches the hard wall. However, it will do little or nothing to block the noise from coming into your room.
Essentially, while acoustic foam might not be the best thing to soundproof your room, it will improve the acoustic quality inside of it. Also, most acoustic foam products will certainly look better on your walls than a bunch of egg crates. After all, they can come in many shapes, sizes, and even colors. But, when it comes to shape, one of the most recognizable acoustic foam patterns is the egg crate-shaped one.
In summary, foam products are:
- Soft – which makes it harder for sound to bounce off of them.
- Dense – which makes sound waves bounce around inside of the foam until it loses energy.
- Thick – having an inch or two of the material on the wall is great for soundproofing, as it adds mass. The thicker the better!
However, the shape itself isn’t really what makes acoustic foam effective. There are plenty of foam products which work and don’t have that kind of pyramid shape. And while egg crates do have that shape, they don’t share the other properties of foam products. They’re not soft, thick, or dense – which are all things you’d want your acoustic materials to be.
Egg Carton Crates
In my article on cheap soundproofing methods, I mentioned how you might use egg cartons. Since egg cartons are made of densely-packed paper fibers, they might be able to improve the acoustic quality inside of a room. Still, it’s far from a perfect solution.
Compared to acoustic foam, egg cartons are:
- Not flexible or soft – the cartons are supposed to keep eggs from breaking. So, while they aren’t typically hard, they’re also not soft enough to absorb sound effectively.
- Dense (which is a good thing, though not that effective without the added thickness)
- Very thin – egg cartons are only about 40–70 mils (thousandths of an inch) thick. That’s definitely not enough to make them effective acoustic materials.
While egg cartons might be fairly easily accessible, and even a tiny bit effective, they’re definitely a hassle to install on your walls, or anywhere else. See, while acoustic foam at least has the flat back, which you can spray with adhesive, egg cartons have a pattern on both sides. However, there’s still a way for you to attach them to walls.
How to Stick Egg Cartons to Your Wall
If you’re set on making use of the egg cartons and trays you’ve stocked up, I can offer some advice on how to go about it.
If you want to put egg cartons all over your walls, there are several things you might use: super glue, an industrial spray adhesive, duct tape, nails, or thumbtacks.
But first, you ought to make sure that the egg cartons you’re using are clean. Remove any eggshells and dirt. Also, depending on whether you’re using foam or paper cartons, clean or throw out the ones with egg residue on them. This will obviously be easier to do with foam egg cartons, as you’d be able to wash them a bit.
Paper ones are impossible to clean, and they’d retain the nasty smell, too. So, it’s best to just throw dirty paper cartons out altogether. Once you’ve done that, you can simply attach them to the wall using one of the methods I’ve mentioned.
How to Make Egg Cartons More Effective at Soundproofing
If you want egg cartons to be more effective acoustic materials, you’re going to have to put in some extra work. Try to make up for some of the drawbacks of using egg cartons to soundproof your wall in other ways:
- Add soft materials between the cartons and the walls, or over the cartons. Get your hands on some old blankets and put them up on the wall attaching egg cartons over them. Otherwise, put up curtain railings and have curtains cover the egg cartons on the wall.
- Choose one side of the egg crate and fill it with scraps of paper or fabric. Use glue, starch, or wallpaper paste to keep the scraps inside of the egg crates. This will increase the density and thickness as well as provide a relatively flat side for you to attach to the wall.
- Combine the egg cartons with other more effective solutions. For example, if you’re looking to keep the sound of music from exiting the room, the most effective thing is to lower the volume. On the other hand, if you’re looking to keep noise out, try to keep the room as airtight as possible. Check the doors and windows for air gaps and plug them with an acoustic sealant.
Most of these suggestions would work just fine without egg cartons being thrown into the mix. In fact, there are even more soundproofing alternatives for you to try.
Egg Cartons Soundproofing Alternatives
Having established that neither egg cartons nor acoustic foam will prevent noise from entering your room, let’s talk about some soundproofing methods that will.
Doors and Windows
As I have mentioned, the first thing that you’ll need to do is to check your doors and windows. If you can feel a draft even when the door or window is closed, you may have gaps between the door or window frame and the wall. If that’s the case, acoustic sealant will be your best friend. And, while you’ve got the caulking gun in hand, check the corners of the room as well.
Once you’ve plugged all of the holes, you might also use a draft stopper on both doors and windows. In addition, weatherstripping tape is also a great tool to have for window and door soundproofing. If you’re interested, you can read more about door sweeps and check out my favorite ones. But, if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, you can also DIY a draft stopper.
Of course, no window soundproofing advice would be complete without the recommendation of soundproof curtains. You can install curtain railings above a window or a door, and all along your walls, in fact. And, if you can’t afford soundproof curtains, you could use other dense and thick materials.
Aside from lining the walls with soundproof curtains or blankets, you may also put up MLV. Mass-Loaded Vinyl and similar rubber materials have a very high density and mass, which will help you soundproof a room.
However, if you’re looking for easier and cheaper ways to soundproof a wall, you may try the following:
- Cover as much of the wall’s surface with bulky pieces of furniture, like bookshelves or wardrobes. They’ll prevent sounds from reaching the walls.
- Add soft materials everywhere in the form of soft furniture or blankets. Those will absorb the sounds and prevent them from bouncing.
- Add textiles to empty walls, whether they’re paintings, quilts or blankets. You could also try foam wallpapers.
Ceilings and Floors
Soundproofing ceilings, in particular, is harder than dealing with walls. Still, there aren’t many things you can do, other than using decorative elements or nailing textiles to the ceiling. Certainly, egg cartons will do you no good. And ceilings should be at the bottom of the list of things you should focus on, anyway.
Soundproofing a floor is sure to be easier, and help you stay cool with the neighbors, too. You can just throw carpets everywhere, and even use MLV or rubber under them. In addition, you can also use foam carpet underlays.
So, Should You Use Egg Cartons for Soundproofing?
At the end of the day, you’d be much better off finding other uses for any extra egg cartons. For example, there are plenty of arts and crafts ideas online for turning egg cartons into building blocks, plant pots, or rice shakers. However, when we’re talking about soundproofing, there are so many other options available to you, even when you’re working with a tight budget.
Why, even rearranging the furniture or layering regular blankets on your walls might be more effective. Even if you reinforce egg cartons by stuffing them with paper or fabric, the results won’t be great. Moreover, egg cartons will definitely not look attractive on your walls.
So, take my advice and steer clear of using egg cartons as soundproofing materials. After all, there are so many better alternatives to choose from!