Silence is therapeutic and cherished by most of us: night-time workers, yearning for peaceful daytime sleep, entrepreneurs working at home, or creatives uploading a podcast or recording music.
Whether the goal is activity or rest, the best soundproofing insulation will keep your home cool during summer and warm during winter, offering you tranquility and quietness.
Before insulating your home or office, you must learn everything about the best soundproof insulation to block out loud noises, including ambient sounds.
Choosing the best insulation can be overwhelming with a sea of options available.
Read on to discover more about soundproofing insulation and find the ideal option that fits your style, needs, and budget.
Furthermore, you will discover how they perform, where to use them, and how to install them.
But first, we dive into the basics.
Types of Residential Noises
Most homeowners experience hundreds of different noises every day. These range from airborne to flaking and impact noises.
We cannot escape the noise from the constant beep that complements our lives, from the honking or screeching of nearby cars to the impact of heavy machinery and construction.
But, what concerns us the most is not the type of noise but the frequency range. Our hearing range falls anywhere from 20 to 20,000 Hz, and we are most sensitive to sounds from 1000 Hz onwards. Sound insulation can enhance our comfort and general wellbeing.
Here are the three main types of noises you’re likely to encounter:
Airborne Sound: This is sound transmitted by air like speech or music. The sound waves are carried by air until they crash on a solid surface like a wall. Following the collision, the impact causes vibrations into the wall and the space beyond it. This is why you can hear conversations, dogs barking, and music playing.
Impact Sound: This is the noise produced when an object strikes another. The vibrations from the impact cause sound radiation from the adjacent vibrating surface. Examples of impact sounds are an object falling on the floor or slamming a door.
The sound travels travel through solid structures and crevices. Impact noises can be a nuisance, especially in residential places, leading to reduced performance and productivity, eardrum damage, anxiety, and stress.
Flanking Noise: This is sound that circumvents (travels over, under, or around) a sound barrier instead of the direct path. It’s the most challenging noise to control since it takes an indirect route through spaces even though the barrier provides excellent acoustic insulation.
Flanking sounds can include both airborne and impact noises. Sound waves can travel through hollow doors, ductwork and even electrical boxes.
How Sound Transmission Works
Sound travels in different wavelengths through the air. Wavelengths are measured from trough to trough and wave to wave, and each measurement represents a unique sound. The distance between the troughs and crests is a measure of sound frequency.
The closer the crests, the higher the frequency. We can hear wavelengths between 17mm and 17m.
Frequency is indicated by Hertz (Hz) and showcases the tone (frequency) of a sound. We can hear sounds between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz, but the best hearing is within 1,000 Hz and 5,000 Hz, where human speech falls. However, the frequency reduces with hearing loss and old age.
When sound waves hit an object or wall, they can be reflected, absorbed, diffused, refracted, or transmitted. To regulate sound at home, we want to block it to prevent transmission or block a fraction of the noise.
Different sound insulation materials reduce sound transmission via the barrier or absorb the waves.
When evaluating different acoustical materials for sound reduction, you’ll come across different scales measuring STC (Sound Transmission Class) and NRC (noise reduction coefficient).
STC is a measure of the sound waves that cannot penetrate through a material or wall. It tells us how well floors, windows, ceilings, and doors minimize sound transmission.
How loud we hear a sound is quantified in decibels or dB. We start hearing at 0 dB.
STC measures the decrease in dB as it is blocked or absorbed by a wall or material. So, 16 frequencies are generated within a room, and the sound is measured from within and outside. The difference is graphed and compared to an approved set of curves to give the STC rating.
A whisper-quiet home has an STC rating of 40 dB with 56 to 60 dB for living areas and bathrooms.
According to The International Building Code, ceilings, walls, and floors should have a minimum STC rating of 50 dB. Loud sounds are barely audible at this level, and speech cannot be heard across the walls. Anything between STC 55 and STC 60 would be ideal.
The STC rating depends on several factors, such as wall thickness and air space within the wall cavities. For instance, a standard wall with two sheets of ½ inch drywall on both sides with no insulation and separated by wood studs have an STC rating of 33, which provides virtually no soundproofing.
When you add fiberglass insulation, the STC rating increases to 39, which will keep off a fraction of the noises from outside. Using sound-rated insulation will enhance the STC to 45, while a 5/8″ drywall will increase the insulation to STC 49.
NRC measures the efficiency of the material in absorbing or reflecting sound. The NRC rating falls anywhere from 0 to 1. At 0, no sound is absorbed or reflected and at 1, all the sound is absorbed or reflected. NRC is based on four frequencies – 250Hz, 500Hz, 1000Hz, and 2000Hz- within the typical range of speech.
The NRC rating is listed as a percentage based on its decimal measurement. For instance, painted drywall has an NRC rating of 0.05, meaning 5% of the sound waves are absorbed while 95% are reflected. This material can be considered 95% reflective and will provide higher soundproofing, good examples being Mineral Wood Board and Fiberglass.
Typical drapes and carpeting are suitable soundproofing materials; however, most have an NRC rating of 0.35 or less. They absorb high frequencies with no effect on the middle and low frequencies.
SAA (Sound Absorption Average) rating is similar to NRC. However, instead of 4 frequencies, SAA uses 12 one-third octave bands within the range of 200Hz and 2500Hz. It is given a value between 0 and 1 and can achieve a value higher than one if the tested material is thicker than average or has large air spaces.
A higher SAA rating means the material absorbs sound better and is more effective at noise reduction.
4 Main Principles of Soundproofing
Four fundamental principles complement each other and influence sound transmission and effective soundproofing:
This occurs when mass and density is added to a structure such as a floor, wall or ceiling. Dense solid materials with a thick consistency can block sound. They lower the energy of the vibrating sound waves, ultimately reducing noise.
You can achieve this using concrete, furniture or dense finishing material such as Mass-loaded vinyl, OSB, ply, plasterboard, or drywall. This approach is practical when dealing with airborne sounds and not impact noises.
Damping compounds have a special feature to convert sound waves into heat energy; a good example is Green Glue.
To be effective, the dampening compound must be between two stiff surfaces such as plywood or drywall.
The sound waves trigger shearing forces that create friction between the rigid panels to convert sound energy to heat.
Damping compounds prevent or eliminate sound vibrations from traveling through the walls, so minimal noise is transferred to other living spaces. Using them is the most common method of handling low-frequency noises.
Further Reading: Green Glue Alternatives: What’s Your Best Choice?
This construction technique separates one side of the wall from the other or the drywall from the framing. Using isolation clips, double or staggered stud framing effectively prevents sound transfer between rooms.
Decoupling reduces the linkage between an object and finishing material like a wall and insulating product. This technique interrupts sound vibrations through the structure’s rigidity from one end to the other.
You can choose to decouple an entire space by designing “a room inside a room,” where you create a small space between the wall surfaces. To create this effect, use acoustic hangers or brackets during construction.
However, decoupling presents a setback: resonance. The walls can effectively block out higher frequencies but perform poorly when it comes to low frequencies. But, you can sort out resonance by dampening, adding a layer of drywall or mass-loaded vinyl to the wall.
Further Reading: How to To Reduce Echo in a Room: 14 Most Effective Solutions
Although absorption is essential for soundproofing, it’s not as effective as the other three principles.
Various absorbent soundproofing materials are available, such as soft furniture and acoustic foam, which come in different colors, shapes, and sizes. Instead of blocking out vibrations and sounds, these materials enhance the audio quality.
These materials are lightweight and porous to absorb sound waves. They come in different densities and thicknesses. By filling the space, they prevent reverberation and amplification of sound waves that could occur if the cavity were left empty.
Types of Soundproof Insulation
If you’re looking into soundproof insulating products, you’ll find an overwhelming variety of options. But there are only a few good quality options you need to consider.
This section looks at each type of insulation and what it can do for you.
It is a dense and porous spun fiber made from molten slag or igneous stone. Mineral wool slows the flow of heat and cold through the floors, walls, and ceiling. Moreover, it absorbs both airborne and impact noises.
The material doesn’t absorb water and is incombustible.
Mineral wool comes in two primary forms:
Multi-purpose mineral wool: This constitutes spun fibers made from molten rock. The fibers make this material rot, moisture, fire, and water-resistant. The high-density multi-directional fibers also offer excellent acoustic properties.
It has an NRC rating of 0.852 and you can use it to soundproof interior and exterior walls.
High-performance mineral wool: It has superior thermal and acoustic properties and offers lightweight insulation. With an NRC rating of 1.05 and an absorption rating of 95%, it provides superior sound reduction.
The material is lightweight with twice the density of multi-purpose mineral wool – best used in specific ceilings and interior walls to reduce echo, feedback and sound transfer. We recommend using it in high conversation rooms such as multimedia and dining areas.
Mineral wool is stiffer and denser than fiberglass and is less likely to create channels for noise transfer or slump. Moreover, it doesn’t have airborne particles that can irritate your eyes or lungs and doesn’t itch your skin with bits of glass.
It also boasts a higher R-value making it a solid choice for preventing airflow and sound transfer. Use it to insulate exterior walls, heated crawl spaces and basements, and for continuous insulation applications.
The material is spun from melted plastic reinforced with tiny shards of glass. It is porous with decent thermal properties to trap air and keep the room warm or cool, depending on the season.
Like mineral wool, it also traps and absorbs sound waves at a similar level. However, it is not dense enough to block them.
Using 3-1/2″ thick fiberglass batts in wall spaces when constructing your home can improve the STC rating from 35 to 39. So, the sound that is transmitted through drywall is significantly reduced before it travels to the next room. As the STC rating shows, the reduction is minimal, but fiberglass is good at lowering echo within a space.
Fiberglass is not rigid and tends to compress and slump with use. It also needs to be compressed to cut it, lowering its R-value and sound-absorbing capability further unless it fluffs up again.
A 2-1/2″ thick Fiberglass R8 has an NRC rating of 0.85, while a 3-1/2″ thick Fiberglass R11 has a 0.95 NRC rating. This means the denser the fiberglass, the higher the R-value and ability to absorb sound. However, on compression, the R-value and absorption ability of the product reduces.
You can use fiberglass batts to insulate interior walls, exterior walls and ceilings to reduce echo, noise transfer, and feedback within a room. Semi-rigid fiberglass is suitable for irregularly shaped floors, walls, and ceilings or between pipes and ducts.
On the other hand, rigid fiberglass panels can be used on exterior walls, floors, and ceilings to add a thermal and sound barrier. When used as moveable panels, they perform well at absorbing sound and feedback.
It is a polyurethane foam that has impressive acoustic and thermal insulation. Foam spray expands to cover the surface of the cavity before it hardens. The material is dense enough to block sound waves and vibrations.
Spray foam reduces the intensity of sound waves that penetrate a room and do the same to sounds transferred outside a room. You can use this product for new and existing fire-retardant constructions.
It is an excellent choice to block noise movement between rooms and floors rather than absorbing noise. You can find it in open and closed cell formulations. The open format is suitable for indoor use, less dense, soft, has a lower R-value, and is ideal for sound damping.
Alternatively, the closed-cell format acts as a moisture barrier and can be used as a structural reinforcer, considering it hardens when cured. The closed-cell format also muffles vibrations and sounds; however, it easily separates from wood frames, creating sound transfer zones.
We recommend using foam spray inside wall cavities and ceilings to dampen sound. It is even better to combine it with fiberglass or mineral wool to have a superior sound-absorbing barrier.
Foam spray is best used in recreation areas and multimedia rooms to deaden impact sounds and noise.
Cellulose comprises 75-85% recycled paper and 25% -15% fire retardant product. With an NRC of 0.80 and STC of 44 you can use it on walls, ceilings, and floors during or after construction. Cellulose reduces the vibration resonance within a ceiling or wall, thus damping, absorbing and deadening sound.
It is available in a loose-fill, dense or wet pack and provides sound reduction and thermal insulation. Loose-fill is blown into the wall/floor or ceiling cavities under high pressure, where it traps air and sound waves to help deaden sounds.
As for wet cellulose, it can be applied to ceilings, walls or around irregular surfaces to help reduce sounds and noise transfer and enhance R-values.
Cellulose is the best choice if you want to minimize noise transfer in interior walls. Use it in music rooms or recording studios to lessen sound transfer and improve sound quality.
Foam boards and Panels (Styrofoam)
Styrofoam is the brand name for polystyrene boards. These are rigid and come in white, blue, pink or another color, with an insulating factor of R5 for every inch.
They are mainly used in construction to help to dampen and block sound waves from moving in and out of a room.
You can find polystyrene in expanded or extruded form. The extruded form comes in either pink or blue foam boards (the colors distinguish the manufacturers) and is more robust and denser.
Polyisocyanurate (ISO) is also another form of extruded Styrofoam board. It has a high R-value making it a good noise blocker. But, it’s the most expensive compared to other products. The panels can be fitted inside drop ceiling grids to minimize sound transfer between floors and rooms.
Styrofoam products are also used in coffee cups and camp coolers, which have thermal properties that translate to sound-reducing abilities.
Extruded boards have a closed-cell format with an STC of 37. On the other hand, expanded foam boards exhibit an open-cell format with air spaces that absorb sound waves. They have a slightly greater STC at 39, jumping between 51 and 55 when used in standard partition walls.
Polystyrene boards are best for exterior walls and can be combined with fiberglass or mineral wool in interior wall spaces for fantastic sound-absorbing, decoupling, and deadening. These boards can also be hung or wrapped within recording studios to dampen sounds.
Batt insulation comes as a blanket in the form of rolls or panels. It is wide enough to cover the space between the wood studs in the floor joists, walls, or ceiling beams.
The insulation can range from one inch to several inches thick. So, you are sure to find one that fits into the space no matter how thin it is.
Batt insulation is rectangular, so you don’t need to customize it further. However, if you have to cut and resize it on certain parts, the base material will affect the insulation – soundproofing and thermal insulation.
The most popular batt insulation is fiberglass, fire-resistant or mineral wool for superior acoustics. Moreover, batt insulation can also be made from natural or synthetic fibers like cotton, or recycled clothing, which is eco-friendly.
Batt insulation traps airborne sounds better than cellulose and fiberglass but is nowhere close to fireproof as is mineral wool.
The material is ideal for use on unfinished walls, floors and ceilings, where it’s fitted between joists, beams and studs to provide insulation.
What is the Best Soundproof Insulation? Comparison
Are you’re wondering what the best insulation for soundproofing is? It depends on several factors such as the type of noise, your budget, size of the room, construction techniques, and pre or post-construction.
Check out how each insulation performs in our comparison below:
Mineral wool vs. fiberglass insulation
3.5″ thick mineral wool insulation has exhibits STC 45 and NRC 1.05. It is mildew, mold-resistant, has a higher R-value per inch thickness and is denser and more rigid.
Fiberglass 3.5″ batts have an NRC of 0.85 and STC of 39. They tend to slump and compress and are not rigid, providing limited noise absorption benefits.
Both insulating products provide good acoustic and thermal control. They are fire-resistant, although mineral wool has a higher melting point and is thus more non-combustible.
Mineral wool panels vs. fiberglass panels
2″ thick mineral wool panels range from 0.95 to 1.09 NRC and 45 to 52 STC. They offer impressive sound, echo, and reverberation absorption.
On the other hand, 2″ thick fiberglass panels have 0.50 to 0.95 NRC and STC 44. However, the ratings can vary depending on the type of insulating product. They can also be used as wall panels to reduce sound, reverberation, and echo.
Fiberglass vs. Cellulose Batts and Panels
Fiberglass panels have STC 42 and 0.50 to 0.95 NRC depending on the type of product and its specs. The panels are rigid and absorb or dampen sounds when used on walls. Fiberglass batts exhibit a lower STC rating of 39 but a higher NRC of 0.95. They tend to slump and compress, thus limiting noise absorption. You can only use them pre-construction or for renovation.
As for loose-fill cellulose, the STC is at 44 and NRC at 0.8. It is sprayed pre or post-construction and is rodent, mold and insect resistant. Moreover, cellulose is 75-85% recyclable and the least expensive insulation, especially if you are looking for a whole-house solution.
Dense pack cellulose NRC stands at 0.9, but the STC varies from 44 and 68 before or after construction. It can be used to absorb sounds, echo, and feedback.
Cellulose vs. spray foam
Cellulose has an NRC between 0.8 and 0.9 and an STC rating between 44 and 68 depending on its density. It is up to 85% recyclable and can be used during or after construction.
It is also a good sound absorber and minimizes feedback and echo.
Open-format spray foam has an NRC of 0.70 and STC of 39, while the closed format STC is 37.
Like cellulose, you can use it before or after construction to block noises and vibrations. However, it’s more expensive than cellulose.
Our Best Picks
We list the top soundproofing insulation products to help you tune out the rest of the world while regulating the temperature in your home.
Reasons to buy
- Easy to cut and use
- Rigid and durable
Reason to avoid
- Not heat or fire-resistant
The Styrofoam Extruded Insulating Foam Board is lightweight but durable thanks to the rigid and closed-cell XPS component. It is also moisture and vapor resistant, making it a worthy pick in moist environments.
Additionally, it is versatile and great for insulating rim joists, attics, arts and crafts, packaging, repairs, among other insulation tasks.
You can easily cut a Styrofoam board, so there is minimal wastage when handling small projects. Also, the installation process is painless and straightforward.
The one-inch-thick panels boast a resistance value of R-5 as proof of their exceptional insulation properties.
A styrofoam board efficiently retains and resists heat when applicable.
Reasons to buy
- Great sound absorption
- Eliminates acoustical reflections
- High density
- Fire resistant
Reasons to avoid
- Difficult to cut and install
- It leaves a yellow-orange tint on the walls
Next in line is Auralex 2MF24 Yellow Mineral Fiber Insulation, designed to deliver the best possible acoustic performance. The 48 by 24 inches panel perfectly fits partitions within joists and wall studs. The 2-inch panels come in a pack of 6 and have an NRC rating of 1 to block out 100% airborne frequencies.
Mineral fiber is dense and yields impressive sound absorption, bass trapping, and moisture absorption. It is also fire-resistant, boasting a top-level rating in fire retardancy. At 1200 burn point, it has a higher burning point than fiberglass at 650.
Reasons to buy
- Fire-retardant and antimicrobial
- Easy to use
- Good performance
Reasons to avoid
- Tricky installation
- Poor technical support
The Foam It Green 602 Foam Insulation Spray is a liquid foam insulation that seals out air and insulates a surface within seconds. This foam spray is quite economical and convenient because an inch of this green magic can cover up to 602 square feet.
You’ll find everything you need inside the 120-pound kit, including pressurized foam canisters, Tyvek suit, isocyanate-resistant gloves, ten nozzles, and three fan spray tips. You have all you need to apply the product safely and correctly.
The light green foam is the end product of mixing the yellow and blue components, and it’s an indication that you got the instructions right.
Foam It Green 602 is antimicrobial thus resistant to mold growth. Moreover, it’s a Class I E-84 fire retardant, meaning it’s not effective against a fire outbreak.
If you have hollow spaces in the walls and doors, you’ll achieve better results with a slow-rise formula. This product is precise and will form pebble-like pockets.
On the downside, it doesn’t form an even, continuous insulating layer and can be challenging to apply. Also, a difference in temperature of the surface and the product will result in areas of exclusion, reducing its insulating ability.
Reasons to buy
- Impressive acoustic treatment
- High NRC rating
- Water repellent
- Rigid boards- excellent for bass traps and acoustic panels
Reason to avoid
- Expensive shipping charges
Arguably the crème de la crème of soundproofing, the Rockwool 60 Acoustic Insulation comes in 6 panels of 48 by 24 inches. The size is sufficient for filling the crevices between wall stands and floor joists. They also come in handy when designing bass traps and acoustic panels.
The rigid 2-inch-thick Rockwool panels provide an excellent thermal barrier and fantastic sound, noise, and vibration control. You can cut and fit them into any space or frame to create movable soundproof panels. Plus, they provide good acoustic properties at 0.95 NRC and can improve a wall’s partition to STC 45.
Additionally, the panels are water, fire, rot, and moisture resistant and significantly reduce echo within a room.
If you’re looking for an insulation product to tackle mid and upper-range frequencies, this product is a solid pick. But, for low-range frequencies, the Rockwool 80 is a better choice.
Reasons to buy
- Easy to handle
- Great acoustic performance
- Resilient and minimizes heat transfer
Reasons to avoid
- Fiberglass is messy and hazardous
- Cannot effectively block out lower frequencies
The Owens Corning 703 Insulation Board is primarily designed to conserve energy for climate control, but it has more perks. It provides acoustic insulation to industrial, residential, and commercial buildings.
The board provides exceptional sound control for high-frequency tones. The NRC rating is around one starting at 300Hz, but it can work well at 250Hz. If you’re a fan of bass trapping, the dense Owens Corning 705 offers exceptional performance.
Alternatively, you could layer up the Owens Corning 703 acoustic panels to capture bass tones, but their performance is nowhere compared to that of Owens 705.
The fiberglass boards are easy to handle and work with and are great at taming unwanted echoes, eliminating early reflection points for crisp, concise sound.
When it comes to aesthetics, they feature a black, sleek fabric so they can easily blend with your décor.
Reasons to buy
- Resistant to microbial growth
- Fantastic sound absorption
- 100% recyclable
Reasons to avoid
- Hard to cut
Save the planet with the eco-friendly ATS 2-Inch Acoustical Cotton Batts insulation. Sound absorption is slightly better than fiberglass, and the batts are 100% recyclable. They are also resistant to microbial growth, making them suitable for use in LEED-certified projects.
Unlike other soundproof insulating products made with irritating chemicals, the ATS cotton batts are natural and gentle on the skin. However, this 24 by 46.5-inch panel is not fire-rated, so you might consider our other options for projects requiring fire resistance.
The Cotton batts are excellent at reducing acoustic reflections for crisp, clear sounds, plus we can bet you’ll love their pleasant scent.
Reasons to buy
- Recyclable and eco-friendly
- Exceptional sound deadening
- Easy to cut and fit inside partitions
- Fire, mold, and insect resistant
Reasons to avoid
- Absorbs moisture
- Sags and settles with use reducing the R-value
The best attribute about cellulose is that you can renew and recycle it, resulting in zero waste. So, if you are looking for an eco-friendly insulating solution, then the Acoustic Acoustimac Eco Cellulose Insulation is a solid contender.
Unlike mineral wool and fiberglass, which are rigid, these cellulose, cotton, and paper blend are easy to trim and fit around wall cavities. When using fabric fibers, you’re assured of a safe and convenient experience from the go, which is not the case with rock and glass fibers that emit dust and irritate your skin, eyes, and air passages.
The cellulose panels measure 48 by 24 inches with 4 pounds/cubic foot; therefore, these fibers won’t break off easily.
At 1.06 to 1.18 NRC, Acoustimac performs well from 500Hz to 4000Hz, although its efficacy dips towards the lower frequency range.
If you’re wondering how it performs on exposure to fire, there’s no cause for concern. These eco-cellulose insulation batts are fire, insect, and mold resistant.
Additional Ways to Soundproof Your Home
There are several other ways to soundproof your home apart from using drywall and insulation. You can choose from a variety of options, including sound blocking doors, windows, soundproof caulking, and weather stripping.
Another effective soundproofing technique is using acoustic panels, which, when applied, can improve the STC of your space by up to 7 points.
One of the easiest ways to improve your home’s acoustics is by installing acoustic panels. These soundproof panels often come attached to hardboard backers and frames. The acoustic foam within the material traps and muffles sound waves. You can hang these in different room areas to control feedback, echo, and reverberation.
Moreover, acoustic panels are pretty affordable. However, if you want good performance with a decorative feel, you may have to part with more than $20.
Using proper floor underlayment helps to reduce echo between rooms and sound transmission within floors. High-end options deaden the impact noise of dropped items and footsteps.
Install the floor underlayment when laying the carpet or designing a new floor for best results. You can use it under vinyl, carpeting, hardwood, among other flooring materials. Depending on the product you choose, this will cost anywhere from $1 to $10 per square foot.
Soundproof Doors and Windows
You can insulate your ceiling and walls with the best soundproof insulation, but you won’t enjoy a noise-free home if you neglect the doors and windows. Soundproofing doors and windows can reduce sunlight, muffle unwanted noise, and spruce up the place. It also prevents echoes and reverberations within the room.
Although all fabrics can help to dampen sound, PVC provides superior performance. It reflects sound waves instead of capturing and absorbing them. It is the main component in sound deadening curtains. If you want to soundproof your windows, consider that acoustic curtains can cost 2 to 3 times more than regular curtains.
Heavy, solid doors also reduce sound much better than the typical lightweight doors made of wood or metal. You can use caulking or high-density low expansion foam to seal all gaps to eliminate smells, sounds, and insects. Weather stripping can also achieve similar outcomes.
Instead of hanging an acoustic barrier over the walls or ceilings, you can choose to paint it on. Acoustic coating or soundproof paint is a unique water-based paint formulation designed to prevent the transfer of vibrations and sound waves.
The coating contains thermacels, ceramic microspheres, and sound-absorbing fibers. Thermals are micro vacuums filled with pigment, which helps to muffle vibrations and sounds.
An acoustic coating can be pretty thick and dense but not difficult to apply if you have a roller and a brush. You can spend anywhere from $40 to $100 on acoustic paint.
Tips for Using Insulation to Soundproof Your Home or Office
The primary purpose of using insulation material is to reduce airflow within the walls. Insulators trap air to regulate the room’s temperature depending on the season. Insulating material with a higher R-value means it’s superior at preventing airflow and sound flow within the walls.
Use mass-loaded vinyl (MLV) to provide a sound barrier. MLV has a high insulation R-value, and so it insulates the wall activities by blocking or absorbing the sounds. Use sound sealing gaskets and foams around windows, doors, or any openings around the exterior walls.
Dry vents, bathroom exhausts, HVAC, and ductwork will destroy your soundproofing goals. They create a resonating channel for sound vibrations. However, you can choose to buy duct pipes designed for noise reduction.
Where walls, ceilings, and floors meet also act as sound transfer channels outside or between the rooms. However, building techniques such as viscoelastic damping minimizes the transfer. Interior walls can have damped drywall, twin layer of drywall, or extra thick drywall. Compared to regular drywall, damped drywall is denser and provides better soundproofing.
Electrical boxes and pipes also transfer noise. It’s best to offset electrical boxes in separate wall cavities. When in the same cavity, they will transfer noise. Use acoustic caulking to seal all openings and prevent sound from penetrating the barrier.
The floor is another area you can modify for impact isolation and sound reduction. To reduce sound within an apartment, use insulation between joists, felt underlayment, or install a floating floor to dampen the sounds.
You can consider leaving a small space between the floating floor and the walls to prevent the transfer of sounds and vibrations.
Note that there are constant innovations in the market, so you must keep up to date if you’re renovating or building.
How to Install Soundproof Insulation
Now that we’ve covered the basics of sound transmission, the best soundproof materials and our top insulation products, let’s look at the installation process.
1. Clear the Room
Prepare the specific room by clearing the furniture and other equipment out of the room. Assuming you’ll be insulating an already decorated room, proceed to remove the drywall.
But, if you’re insulating a space that’s still under construction, the process will be more straightforward.
2. Measure the Surface
Measure the floor area, ceilings or walls you want to insulate. You can start by measuring the height of the wall and the vertical studs’ width and note down the number of hollow slots around the vertical studs.
Most batt insulation products have standardized widths whose measurements are an exact fit in the spaces between wooden studs.
These figures should enable you to calculate the amount of insulating product you’ll need. Now you can buy an insulation product of your choice: mineral wool, fiberglass, cotton, or cellulose.
But, before your preferred material lands on your doorstep, you’ll want to note down where the electrical wires and boxes are plus how much space they use. This will allow you to tweak the soundproof insulation before installing it.
3. Gear up
Before handling any insulation product, make sure you have all the necessary equipment;
Protective clothing: This ensures you cover your entire hands and legs from any adverse reaction from contact with the insulating material.
PPEs: Fill up on gloves, face masks, and even work goggles. Several insulating materials we have discussed can irritate the eyes, skin, and even delicate organs like the lungs. So protect yourself before you start handling the insulation product.
A staple gun: You’ll need this to fix the insulation on the wooden studs.
Utility knife: This is to chop down the insulation to the exact size and fitting of the area you want to place it like electrical boxes.
4. Cut to Size the Insulation
Gear check, insulation check – we can now proceed to cut the insulation.
It’s best to avoid unpacking the insulation if you don’t intend to use it immediately. For instance, fiberglass is irritating and can cause breathing issues as it releases fine particles when handled. That’s why we recommend you wear your protective gear before starting.
The insulation will be as wide as the wall studs in most cases. So you’ll need to cut the width and height you need. You can also cut out the pieces for the electrical boxes.
5. Install the Insulation
Well, you can get some extra hands for this step. With the help of another person, push the insulation between the studs.
Ensure it is firmly positioned and staple them in place. Remember to push in the product with its face pointing at you. This applies to insulation with a clear distinction between the front and backside.
Ensure the material covers the entire space. Finally, use the staple gun to firmly fix the paper lining to the wooden stud within every 7 inches.
6. Cover with Drywall
Now that you’ve installed your soundproof insulation inside the walls, it’s time to wrap things up. You can choose to ditch your old drywall for new panels.
Alternatively, you can enhance the room’s acoustics by installing soundproof drywall. But if you’re insulating a kitchen, opt for fire-resistant drywall. Mold or moisture-resistant drywall is suitable for a bathroom.
Apart from drywall, you can also use MLV, an excellent choice for enhancing the noise blocking properties of floors, walls, and ceilings. Simply nail it into the wall studs and link the separate pieces with tape. If you install it under the floor, you can lay the vinyl out and wait for it to set or use a sealant to keep it flat.
Further Reading: Affordable Soundproofing Materials
Last update on 2022-03-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API