Install an Acoustic Wall

Adding an acoustic wall does a great deal in improving the sound of your home theater and/or stereo system. Acoustic wall panels are added to the existing wall structure, and prevent sound or vibrations from traveling to other rooms. They are a must-have for musicians practicing with an amplifier at home as well. The 2 most common types are egg crate panels and standard flat acoustic panels, though the installation steps are mostly the same. The only difference is that you need a larger utility knife to cut through the egg crate textured material when trimming it to fit against the wall. The installation process is not difficult, provided you plan out the panel layout ahead of time; this will save both time and guesswork.

What You Will Need:

  • Tape measure
  • Acoustical wall panels
  • Hammer or rubber mallet
  • Wall anchor clips
  • Painter's tape
  • Hardware staple gun
  • Utility knife
  • Drop cloth
  • Work gloves
  • Construction adhesive  
  • Pencil and blank paper

Step 1 -- Measure and Sketch Plan

Measure the length and height of each wall where you will be adding the acoustical panels. This will help you determine what size panels to buy, and if you need to have any custom cut to fit with the room dimensions. Use these measurements to draw out a rough plan of where each acoustic panel will be fastened to the existing structure.

Step 2 -- Mark Panel Locations

Mark out the dimensions for each panel along the wall, and install a wall anchor clip at each installation point. Use a small amount of construction adhesive on the back of each one. Wear work gloves when using this kind of construction adhesive. It is recommended to use 4 evenly spaced clips for each acoustic panel. Before installing the panels, cover the floor of the room with a painter's drop cloth or protective sheeting, and secure it with strips of painter's tape. This will protect the floor from cut panel dust and possible adhesive drips. Trim each panel with your utility knife to fit, if needed, depending on the size of the room and whether any walls are longer than others.   

Step 3 -- Secure Panels

Metal wall clips for acoustic panels are small metal hardware pieces, about 2x4 inches on average. They have pointed barbs or teeth, that are designed to grab and clamp the back of the acoustic panel when tapped with a hammer or rubber mallet. Then the flat back of the metal clap is secured to the wall with a small amount of adhesive. This method is used for this project because it eliminates the need to spread large amounts of liquid adhesive to the back of each acoustic panel. This not only saves on the cost of gallon buckets of adhesive, it also prevents breathing in adhesive fumes from these large amounts.

Press each panel firmly to its designated wall section, and make sure each panel is straight and level, with no gaps between the wall and acoustic panels. Use your hammer or mallet to tap the panels firmly over the wall clips, to get the clips to grab the paneling and lock it in place. Check that there are no gaps anywhere between the panels and wall. If you would like extra fastening reinforcement, add a staple from your staple gun near the corner of each panel. Be careful not to drive any staples into the metal wall clips and possibly damage your staple gun.