Does Cardboard Absorb Sound?

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If you are tired of hearing every little noise that echoes through your house, then chances are you need to soundproof your walls. Now we understand that the prospect of soundproofing your home can seem a little daunting – not only is the process exhausting to complete, but it can also be time-consuming and expensive.

But did you know that you can also soundproof your home using a variety of inexpensive and obtainable materials? 

Piece of cardboard

There are many materials that can be used to ensure the effective soundproofing of your home, but arguably the most obtainable is a material that we probably encounter every day – and it’s called cardboard.

Now you may be wondering how cardboard can be used to soundproof your home, but we have got all of your questions covered. 

Down below we have gathered some useful information concerning cardboard and its ability to soundproof your home. Here you will find everything you need to know about the versatile material and how it can be used to your advantage. 

Does cardboard absorb sound? 

Although cardboard can be used to soundproof your home to great effect, the material cannot absorb sound.

Instead, corrugated cardboard is capable of reducing the transfer of noise in your home, while also reducing the possibility of sound echoing through a single space. 

There are several varieties of corrugated cardboard in circulation, however, only two corrugated formats are considered capable of reducing sound transfer.

These formats are called C-fluting and E-fluting, which refers to the pattern of the corrugation between the two sheets of cardboard. 

C-fluting is considered the more common variety of the two and is primarily distinguished by its distinctive corrugated pattern, which looks similar to large rolling waves. E-fluting is harder to obtain and features a more zig-zag-like pattern between the two cardboard sheets. 

Studies have shown that corrugated cardboard is 40% more effective at dampening sound than your standard drywall panels.

These studies also helped to confirm that E-fluting cardboard is more capable of sound transfer reduction. Although C-fluting cardboard is still effective in its own right. 

Does cardboard reflect sound?

When using cardboard to soundproof your walls, you need to consider if it has the ability to reflect sound as well as reduce it. Corrugated cardboard is often designed with a smooth surface, which does have the ability to reflect certain sound waves. 

However, this does not mean that cardboard can be used to reflect all soundwaves, as some are capable of passing right through the material.

Cardboard sheet

If you intend to use cardboard to soundproof your home, then you may need to apply other methods to ensure it reflects as much sound as possible. 

This can be done by taking panels of corrugated cardboard and lining them on one side with a smoother material – such as aluminium foil. By doing this you will allow the cardboard to reflect more sound waves, as well as 95% of radio waves. 

The only negative that can come from this, is that the foil-lined cardboard could interfere with electronic reception, which could affect devices such as mobile phones. 

How To Dampen Sound With Cardboard

Cardboard has been used to soundproof rooms for decades, with teachers, engineers and mechanics often favoring the cheap and obtainable material.

Although cardboard does not have a long shelf life and may fall victim to natural wear and tear, it is still an effective method to control rattlings and vibrations. 

To create your own cardboard acoustic panels, you will need to purchase either corrugated cardboard plates or cardboard boxes. You will also need a box-cutting knife, tape, glue and velcro to keep the cardboard panels in place. 

Take your corrugated cardboard and cut the boxes to the dimensions you need using the box-cutter. Once you have done this, you can begin layering the pieces of cardboard together until you have created a thick acoustic panel. 

As we previously discussed, you can also then add tin foil to one side of the panel to ensure sound reflection.

However, this is not necessary and can cause other issues in your home. When you have the panels you need, you can attach them to the walls of your room using velcro or wire. 

Things To Remember

  • Cardboard is a versatile material, but it is also highly flammable. If you are soundproofing a room that you intend to use as a music studio, you need to keep the cardboard panels away from any equipment that could produce intense heat. 
  • Cardboard is a crafty material and this means you can easily disguise the panels in your room using paint or coloured paper. 
  • Cardboard panels can begin to fall apart over periods of time, and this means that you may have to replace them to ensure the quality of soundproofing in your room.