Easily Soundproof a Stainless Steel Sink

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About: Of all of the things my father instilled in me the one I value the most is an insatiable desire to find solutions to problems in new and innovative ways. He was always taking something designed for specific ...

Recently my wife and I replaced the sink in our kitchen with a two bowl stainless steel sink. When we ordered it from our local plumbing shop its description said that it was soundproofed, but when we received the sink we discovered this was stretching the truth a little bit, as the “soundproofing” consisted of four thin rubber rectangles glued to the bottom of each bowl (see the second photo).

Like any good nerd, I searched the Internet for a better solution and found many, including from spray on foam, automotive undercoating, and pickup truck bed liner. All of these solutions required careful masking, followed by a generally messy application of the product - all with mixed results. I am happy to say that the product that I used requires no masking, is easy to apply and works wonderfully - if you tap the inside of our new sink all you will hear is a dull thud.

What I used is 3M Automotive Sound Reduction Mat, a self-adhesive, flexible mat that is designed to reduce road noise and vibration. It is often applied to the inside of the door panels when installing automotive stereo systems, but it also works great on stainless steel sinks. You can find the 3M or equivalent product at most automotive supply stores or from a car stereo shop. The 3M product is a semi-stiff sheet about an eighth-inch thick with a black shiny finish and a diamond pattern. It is self-adhesive, protected by a peel off backing. For me, it came two sheets to a box, which was enough to do one bowl so I purchased two boxes.

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Step 1: What You Will Need

Materials

  • One or two packages of 3M Auto Sound Reduction Mat or equivalent

Supplies and tools

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Cotton balls or cloth rag

  • Putty knife

  • Heavy duty scissors or utility knife

Step 2: Preparation

  • This process is much easier if the sink is not installed in your counter top. Ideally, it should be upside down on a solid surface at a comfortable working height.
  • Start by unrolling the sound reduction mat and lying it flat to remove its curl.
  • If your sink has existing soundproofing you will need to decide whether to remove it or apply the sound reduction mat over the top of the current material.
    • In my case, since the soundproofing consisted of four little rubber squares stuck to each bowl, removing them was the obvious choice. I was able to easily remove them using a putty knife, followed by rubbing alcohol to clean up the residual glue. However, I could imagine sticking the mat to existing sprayed on soundproofing if the spray was thin and fairly level but I have not tried this.

Step 3: Cut the Mat to Fit

The mat I purchased came two sheets to a box, which was enough to soundproof one bowl for me. Take one of the sheets (do NOT remove the backing that covers the adhesive, yet) and position it over one bowl to get an idea of its best position and how you will need to trim it to fit. If you wish, you can make a paper template and fit that to the bowl, but I just trimmed the sheet a little at a time until it fit correctly. Start with the area that goes around the drain hole and work out from there. Do this for each sheet that you will need. You can see one of my sheets trimmed to fit around the curves of the bowl in the picture.

  • When positioning the mat take into account the location of any brackets or mounts that will be used to secure the sink.

Step 4: Clean the Surface With Alcohol

Before applying the mat, clean the bottom of the sink one last time with rubbing alcohol to remove anything that might prevent the mat from adhering.

Step 5: Apply the Mat

Now you can carefully remove the protective backing and adhere the mats to their places on the bowl or bowls. I removed the backing in sections to keep the mat from accidentally sticking to somewhere I did not want it. If you have a roller, large dowel or screwdriver with a round handle you can firmly roll it over the mat to ensure that the mat is well adhered.

That is it, your newly soundproofed sink is ready for installation. Here is a comparison of the 3M mat to the factory soundproofing. Quite a difference! You can see the finished product in the opening picture.

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    25 Discussions

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    Jennissa

    2 months ago

    Very Nice. A great tip to build this project. Very well done!!

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    Rituguptascs

    10 months ago on Introduction

    A creative project but nonetheless it still got me wondering why this is even necessary in the first place? Where I'm living, we have been basically enduring the water sounds I suppose.

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    MarkSindone

    10 months ago on Introduction

    This is something interesting to think about. I think that I have some sound-proofing tape that is just lying around the storage room somewhere. Now I have this itch to start pasting it everywhere to see how I can reduce those odd sounds that go bump in the night! Haha! Thanks for the idea mate!

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    MichaelT5

    10 months ago

    peel and seal.jpg
    2 replies
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    dkassmanMichaelT5

    Reply 10 months ago

    Michael, thank you for posting this, it is nice for people to see some other options to the product I used.

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    MichaelT5dkassman

    Reply 10 months ago

    I wasn't aware of the product you used and will keep it in mind. I learned of the product at Lowe's from a Jeep site where it was used to line the inside of several speaker enclosures. Car people are often looking for lower cost alternatives to Dynamat for their vehicles and the Peel and Seal has been mentioned several times. I think the choice of product would partially be determined by the amount of area to be covered and the shape.

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    charlessenf-gm

    10 months ago

    ",,,noise and quick loss of temperature..."
    I must have known your dad as, in 1996 I rebuilt a bathroom and found the steel tub much much much cheaper than the Cast Iron alternatives. Before installing, I filled the void between the front and one tub wall with (Window & Door) expandable foam and ran rows of the foam along the underside of the remaining tubs walls (and bottom) so as to effectively 'coat' the tub's inside with insulating foam.

    The job was a bit messy, but the result was a tub that 'sounded' as sturdy as a cast iron version and held the heat better than either.

    Once the foam stuff sets up, you can trim it with a bread knife (or similar). With a Kitchen sink, however, you really can't use too thick a 'solution (save between the bowls of a double-bow sink) given the necessity of accessing the fasteners that secure it to the counter.

    Maybe some SPRAY-ON solutions?

    Design Engineering 050220 Boom Mat Spray-on Sound Deadening


    https://www.amazon.com/Design-Engineering-050220-Deadening.../B001URKV0G

    Rating: 4 - ‎182 reviews
    Reduce unwanted road noise and vibration, even in hard-to-reach places. ... Kilmat 80 mil 36 sqft Car Sound Deadening Mat, Butyl Automotive Sound Deadener, AudioNoise…. ... Design Engineering 050110 Under Carpet Lite Sound Absorption andInsulation, 24" x 70"….
    3 replies
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    dkassmancharlessenf-gm

    Reply 10 months ago

    As I said in my Instructable, my initial internet search turned up many options that used spray- or brush-on products. I decided that the need to mask off the bottom of the sink and the hassle of applying the products, plus my desire to have a tidy result, eliminated those options. This is why I went looking for another approach, which I thought I would share. There are definitely a lot of ways to solve this problem.

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    charlessenf-gmdkassman

    Reply 10 months ago

    I did not intend to disparage your completed effort at all. My apologies if I came off as depreciating your successful effort.

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    lschwartz

    Question 10 months ago on Step 5

    The last paragraph says "here is a link ...", but where is it? I have a front loading clothes washer that when it is in the spin cycle, is as loud as a freight train (no kidding). I wonder if this stuff would reduce the noise.

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    Ninzerbean

    Question 10 months ago

    What I am curious about it why you would change out an efficient one bowl sink for two smaller ones - and on top of that why you would hook the garbage disposal to the smaller one. My mom has a set up l like yours and we both hate it and think it makes no sense. Please enlighten me.

    1 answer
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    frarugi87Ninzerbean

    Answer 10 months ago

    Sometimes you just don't have any choice... Just like when me and my GF were searching for an apartment and the two-bowl sink was a must...
    FYI, one bowl for dirt dishes, one for soapy ones.

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    MarkML

    10 months ago

    Thanks! Great idea. Looking forward to trying it.

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    CrystalG3

    10 months ago

    I just happen to have a brand new SS sink sitting in my garage awaiting delivery of my new countertop. It's a large single bowl that fits a 36" cabinet. Probably need 2 of the pkgs. I was hesitatent to get SS because of the noise and quick loss of temperature, cold or hot. I currently have an enameled cast iron sink and it is extraordinarily hard to keep spots and crud off the white surface no make how often it's cleaned. Thanks so much for posting this!

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    dewey302

    10 months ago

    Great tip and relatively easy sink remedy. Thanks for posting

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    Mooch07

    10 months ago on Step 2

    I never even thought of muffling my sink. That would make it easier to watch Netflix while doing dishes.
    Do you know how well it holds up to heat? Will the adhesive break down if I pour boiling water in the sink?

    1 reply
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    Cheese QueenMooch07

    Reply 10 months ago

    This matting is used on the underside of car hoods to muffle engine noise. Its designed to withstand quite a bit of heat, far more than you would subject a kitchen sink to, unless you normally use the sink to roast small animals.

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    kz1

    10 months ago on Step 5

    Great idea!

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    jessyratfink

    11 months ago

    I need to do this! I had never considered there could be a solution to muffling the disposal a bit. :)