Q: They say there are no stupid questions, so here goes. My wife is an early riser and tends to shower long before my alarm goes off. Unfortunately, the plumbing for the shower is located inside a wall shared with the master bedroom, and it wakes me every time.
By any chance is there a foam insulation product that I could blow through one or more small holes in the wall to help reduce the noise the shower makes in the morning?
My wife really doesn’t want me to tear the wall apart, but I’m at my wits’ end. Can you save my marriage?
A: While it’s true there are no stupid questions, this one is a bit out of the ordinary. Can we save your marriage? Probably not. We repair houses, not relationships. You’ll have to get in touch with Dr. Phil for that kind of help.
But we would like to suggest an immediate and inexpensive solution to your problem — earplugs. You can even find them in a hardware store.
If you want to go the home-repair route, try the following suggestions. It’ll take some work, but you can lessen the sound of her morning trips to the shower room.
We applaud your search for an easy fix, but we’re not aware of a product that a do-it-yourselfer can inject into a wall to cut down on noise. There are products that can be blown in, but that requires a professional with expensive equipment. For a job this small, bite the bullet and remove a little drywall.
There is no easy way to soundproof the bathroom. The best you can reasonably hope for is to cut down on the noise. That means tearing into the wall. This may upset your wife, but the extra sleep may be worth it. That’s a call only you can make.
By your description the problem is with the plumbing — that means vibrating pipes. Fix the vibrations to lessen the sound.
The tub and shower valve is located in the wall separating the bath and your bedroom. To get at the pipes you’ll need to remove the wallboard from the bedroom side of the wall. Don’t even think about trying to fix the problem from inside the shower.
A small drywall saw will do the trick to remove the wallboard. Cut out only enough drywall to expose the pipes. The cutout should measure about 18 inches wide and 5 feet to 6 feet tall.
Once the pipes are exposed, give them a shake. If they move, secure them. The easiest way to do this is to glue a block of wood with construction adhesive to the back of the shower wall and screw the pipes to it using pipe clamps.
Once the pipes are firmly in place, put some rubber or foam pipe insulators around each pipe (the hot and cold supplies and the shower supply). This is a good time to caulk any place the pipe penetrates the wall into the shower.
The next step is to fill the cavity with batt insulation.
Finally, repair the wall. This job shouldn’t take more than a few hours. If you play your cards right and your wife is out for the day, you should be left with only an unpainted wall when she returns. A possible bargaining chip would be a fresh paint job in the bedroom.
If this is the road you take, be warned, though. The sound will be reduced, not eliminated. Frankly, if it were us, we’d just pick up a box of earplugs.