Can My Neighbors Hear Me Play Darts?

Thud… thud…. Thud….

I love that satisfying noise of driving a dart into the dartboard, the more I play darts the more relaxing I find it. Unfortunately for us darts enthusiasts, not everyone is always so happy to hear the music of our sport.

If your dartboard is hung on a party wall or you live in a flat its likely that your neighbors can hear you playing darts. To deaden the noise consider using a stand or adding acoustic plasterboard to your room.

I wasn’t a great neighbor in my first house. It was a semi-detached house and I had my dartboard hung on the party wall.

I was more concerned with finding a nice solid wall to hang my board on than considering if the neighbors could hear it. After a few days of intense play I had a knock at the door. My neighbors had come to (nicely) ask me to stop whatever was making the noise as they could hear it in their house!

I very quickly apologised and had to begin researching what I could do to deaden the nosie. My first thought was to move the board to an external wall which didn’t ajoin any other properties but my wife was keen for me to contain the dartboard to my ‘man cave’ so this was out of the question and I needed a more imaginative way to deaden the noise.

What makes a dartboard noise be heard across walls?

Firstly, let me clarify, I’m not a soundproofing expert!

Sound travels through objects by bumping all the molecules that make up that object together. Now, in a wall, these molecules are packed closely together, and as such solid walls are generally quite good at passing sound along and through their length.

Air on the other hand has the molecules spread out far more than solids, this makes the vibration of the molecules harder and so sound travels differently and worse through air.

We therefore want to minimise the amount of solid wall out dartboard is connected to and maximise the amount of air or other insulating materials if possible.

How to Make my Dartboard quieter

Now we know the theory, lets look at some practical ways to deaden the sound and hopefully not annoy our neighbors!

Move the dartboard away from party walls

The first is fairly obvious. If you live in a house try moving your dartboard away from any party walls. This will increase the distance that the sound has to travel and weaken the noise by the time it gets to your neighbors. This alone may be enough to solve the problem.

If you live in a flat or maisonette this is going to be a little more tricky. In flats you often share most of your walls with neighbors, and to top it off the floors and ceiling are often also shared.

If you are going to try moving the board away from a party wall, an internal corridor or external wall may be your best options but you’re likely going to need to check out some of the other tips below.

Deaden the sound in your room with more furniture or sound absorbers/diffusers

Did you know that you can deaden the sound in a room by adding more furniture?

Adding furniture changes the way your floor vibrates from sound by changing its natural frequency. The furniture also provides more surfaces for sound waves to bounce off. Each time a soundwave has to bounce off a surface it loses some of its energy so the more surfaces the weaker the sound reverberation will be.

If you don’t want to put lots of big pieces of furniture in your room consider getting absorber and diffusers to position around the edge of your room, this will break up your big flat walls.

Unfortunately for us this will be beneficial for deadening the sound in your own home but if you board is still mounted on the wall you will still face issues

This video does a great job of explaining sound in rooms:

Mount your dartboard on a stand rather than a wall

A stand is a great way to reduce the noise flow around a building. A stand puts a big layer of air around your dartboard, remember we’ve already seen that air is a great sound insulator.

We then need to block the sound that travels down the stand. I’ve found that a good way to do this is to get some old carpet offcut and put an extra layer of carpet down under the stand. The carpet is great at deadening the sound and even better if there is a second layer or carpet underneath! Combined with some absorbers and diffusers around your room you shouldn’t be bothering any neighbors with this set up.

There is a big drawback to using a stand with your dartboard. When you crash in those darts into the triple 20 you’ll get some vibration down your stand which will cause your dartboard to wobble slightly. This means you might have to give your dartboard 20 seconds between throws to get back to being still.

You can mitigate some of this by putting bigger feet on your stand and making the connections as robust as possible (some sandbags on any feet to hold them in place also work a real treat) but you’ll struggle to remove all the wobble from your board.

Here’s an example dartboard stand:

Soundproof your dart room

If you’re really looking to hide the cheering and whooping we all make after striking some sweet triple 20’s (beer in hand – of course!) you might want to consider soundproofing your dart room completely.

This follows some of the general principals we’ve already looked at. When soundproofing you want to minimise the number of flat hard surfaces in a room. This is typically done with foam wall panels on a couple of your walls (doesn’t have to cover the whole wall!) or changing your drywall to an acoustic panel instead.

The advantage of an acoustic absorber over new drylining is that it’s quick and easy to install, however they can look a bit ugly depending on the style of the rest of your room, you can check out a great example on amazon here:

Acoustic Foam Panels – Sound Absorber

These acoustic foam panels can be easily mounted on your walls (or ceilings) to reduce the noise that escapes from your dart room. This is a much cheaper option to reduce noise than stripping your walls back to install acoustic drywalling.

Do I need to play darts in a sound-proof room?

The short answer is no. If you live in a property where your darts room isn’t directly next to a neighbors property you can get away with playing darts without any soundproofing. It will just be your own family you have to contend with.

However, if you do live in a flat or rented accommodation where you can’t make material changes to the walls it’ll be best to build a stand and get an extra layer of carpet down underneath, mixed with a furnished room to deaden the noise.

I hope you found this article helpful, happy throwing!