Noisy sinks can be a distraction at best and a nightmare at worst. If you happen to be in another part of the house and someone runs the sink, it can be quite startling, especially in the middle of the night. The noise is worse if you’re running hot water because the expansion and contraction of the pipes can get quite loud.
Another source of noise is banging your plates, pots, and pans as you clean them. It can be absolute torture if your roommate wakes up to do the dishes after a wild night of partying, and your hangover certainly won’t thank you for it. Luckily, there’s a simple solution. Just insulate the bottom of the sink. The insulation absorbs the majority of the unwanted sound.
The traditional form of under-sink insulation is vinyl. To install it, you’d have to inspect the underside of the sink carefully and get rid of any debris. You can scrub it with soap and warm water, dry it completely, and then treat it with a solvent to get rid of any grime or other deposits. Once that is done, you can apply a layer of vinyl, securing it with adhesive.
Vinyl insulation is effective and long-lasting, especially when it’s well applied. It’s a popular option for sound-proofing metallic sinks, and it helps insulate the sink against heat and cold as well. This can be helpful because stainless steel is a good conductor of heat so that it can affect temperatures in the rest of the kitchen or bathroom, especially during extreme weather.
However, vinyl is an expensive insulating material, and applying it can be quite labor-intensive. To have it done properly, you might need to call in a plumber, which will cost you time, energy, money, and probably a few hours off work as you ‘supervise’. There’s an easier option that you can implement on your own: insulating foam.
Polyurethane foam comes in a handy quick-drying can, and it’s available in any hardware store. You can apply it in minutes, and it will mute any annoying sink sounds until you can find a more long-lasting solution. Using spray foam is simple so that anyone can do it. And while it’s not the professional choice, it will do the job.
Get yourself some goggles, gloves, and dust masks. You can use disposable gloves and masks, but be sure to get high-quality safety goggles. You should also wear old house clothes. You’re likely to make a mess of yourself, and these are not stains that can easily come off.
Start by opening the cabinet beneath your sink, if you have one. Empty the cabinet completely to give you easy access. If it hasn’t been cleaned in a while, wash the cabinet with warm soapy water, using a brush to get rid of any stubborn residue.
Rinse the cabinet with clean water and wipe it dry with an absorbent rag. You can leave the doors open for half an hour or so, to get rid of any moisture. This will prevent the cabinet from acquiring that damp, musty smell. Once the cabinet is clean and dry, clean the underside of the sink. Start with water and soap, finish off with cleaning solvent.
Get some old newspapers, crumple them up, and wrap them around the pipes and hoses. Hold the paper in place with masking tape, making sure none of the pipes is exposed. Be especially careful to seal off and wrap any rubber hoses, since they can be damaged and perforated by the spray foam. If you have a garbage disposal, wrap it up as well.
Read the directions on your spray can, just as a precaution. Shake the can to prime the foam, then position yourself beneath the sink, ensuring there’s a lot of light. If you need to, use a freestanding flashlight or portable electric lamp. Start spraying from the back of the sink using even motion to get a uniform layer.
Make sure you spray the sides of the sink, and if it’s a double sink, insulate the section in between the sinks. Give the spray an hour to dry and cure, preferably with the cabinet doors open so that it can air-dry. If necessary, wedge the doors open with a doorstop or by placing a heavy object to hold the doors in place.
Once everything is dry, remove the newspapers and discard them. Spray foam should make your sinks much quieter, but if they’re still louder than you’d like, there might be a deeper problem. Get in touch with a plumber, and they can inspect the piping and give you a more sustainable solution.