The Best Soundproof Materials Available and Where to Use Them

Nowadays, you’ll find lots of different soundproofing materials available on the market.

Some are really good and are very good investments. And some will make you regret you didn’t check for something else.

Some can be readily ordered online. While some are harder to get a hand on and require special orders.

But we know this task could be daunting for most people, that is why we’ve compiled the best soundproofing materials that are available in the market right now in this article.

Mikkel Holm, Founder of TheDIYClub.com

Let’s get into it! 😀

What is a soundproofing material?

But before we proceed to the specific materials, let’s get a general knowledge of what soundproofing materials are.

Understanding the basics will help you make better decisions.

Mikkel Holm, Founder of TheDIYClub.com

The main principle is that sound travels through a medium in the form of sound waves. Usually, it’s through the air but they can also travel via solid objects as in impact sound.

The goal of soundproofing materials is to stop, trap, or block the sound waves while traveling thereby reducing the sound it emits.

Learning the kinds of materials and when to use one and which ones are better can make or break a renovation or a project you’re about to make.

Generally, materials are categorized into two classes: sound-absorbing and sound-proofing.

Sound Proofing vs. Sound Absorbing Materials

A typical misconception is that sound-absorbing materials work the same way as sound-proofing materials.

This couldn’t be more wrong!

The fundamental difference between sound-absorbing materials and sound-proofing materials is how they treat sound brought to them.

Mikkel Holm, Founder of TheDIYClub.com

Sound absorbing materials bounce the sounds across the rooms to improve acoustics by reducing reverberations of soundwaves through the materials. These materials don’t necessarily prevent sounds to go in or out of enclosed rooms.

Soundproofing materials, in a sense, block the entry or exit of soundwaves. They are often installed inside the walls during construction. These materials are usually heavy and dense.

To achieve the best soundproofing, it’s best to combine these two.

What are the types of soundproofing materials?

Here are the different types of soundproofing materials:

  • Acoustic foams or studio foams – best installed in music studios and small home theaters typically installed in walls as panels.
  • Sound insulation – usually made of fiberglass and rock and mineral wool. It takes up airspace that can transmit sound resulting in lesser noises.
  • Acoustic panels/boards – also known as ATS. They work the same way as to sound insulation materials but are more visually appealing. They come in different patterns, colors, and fabrics making them excellent aesthetic installations at home.
  • Soundproof fabrics – dampens the sound waves across spaces due to thicker fabrics.
  • Acoustic coatings – use their dense mass to act as a sound barrier. Mass loaded vinyl (MLV) is a popular type of material under this category typically used in soundproofing machines like car engines and appliances.
  • Floor underlayment – cork, polymers, and felt are the usual materials under this category. They’re installed by decoupling the floor and subfloor to mitigate vibrations to reduce noise transmission.
  • Architectural soundproofing – includes anything in the typical structure of buildings. These include soundproof walls, soundproof window glass, and soundproof doors.

What are the best soundproof materials available?

Soundproof materials come at different sizes, colors, functions, and prices. Make sure to examine each one and see which ones are right for your needs and budget.

Green Glue and other noise-proofing compounds

Green Glue compound is what its name suggests, a glue that you can apply like regular glue. It’s a thicker and denser adhesive that converts sound into heat.

green glue noiseproofing compound pack

No need to be alarmed. The heat produced is only minute and not even enough to light a match.

A sealant variant is also available. They are usually used in filling in holes or small spaces where sound vibrations can pass through.

Green Glue and other noise-proofing compounds

Acoustic Caulks or Sealants

Acoustic caulks are usually mistaken with Green Glue and other sealants.

But the main difference is that acoustic caulks maintain its flexibility as opposed to the other compounds which harden over time.

They are applied in joints of fixtures like door frames, around the sockets, and many more. They’re also more effective if applied liberally as they absorb sound vibrations that may pass through the areas you don’t expect.

If air can pass through a crack or space, chances are sounds can, too! Applying caulks on these areas will allow its dense mixture to absorb the sound vibrations.

Mikkel Holm, Founder of TheDIYClub.com

Acoustic Caulks or Sealants

Soundproof Blankets

Soundproof blankets, sometimes called moving blankets, are usual items when you walk inside a recording studio.

They are usually made with mineral wool, cotton, or multi-layered polyester making this type of blanket thicker than the regular ones.

audimute sound absorption sheet dampening blanket

A soundproof blanket is one of the most portable and easy to apply soundproofing solutions. You can literally use them anywhere in the house.

When companies learned about moving blankets being used for soundproofing, they started designing ones for studio use. These blankets are more expensive and denser than moving blankets.

Soundproof Blankets

Soundproof Curtains

Soundproof curtains look exactly like ordinary curtains. They also come in different colors but they are thicker.

eclipse Bradley thermal insulation darkening curtains

They are made of heavyweight plush fabrics, usually made of polyester, velvet, or satin. The soft, porous, and fluffy surface of these fabrics help dampen noise by absorbing the energy of the soundwaves.

Since they’re curtains, they’re commonly used to cover windows. Though in reality, you can use them anywhere in your home as long as there are curtain rods to hang them on.

Mikkel Holm, Founder of TheDIYClub.com

Soundproof Curtains

Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV)

Mass Loaded Vinyl or MLV is one of the most common go-to soundproofing material usually installed in cars and machines like appliances.

fatmat self-adhesive sound deadener bulk pack with install kit

Most of the variants are aluminum in color and about an inch thick. This material absorbs vibrations and noises and great against foot traffic noise.

They also come with an adhesive side which makes installing them easy even all by yourself. If there’s no adhesive side, you can use a nail or screw to fix them on the surface.

Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV)

Weatherstripping

Weatherstrippings are common supplemental insulations that focus on preventing rain and wind from getting in on your windows and doors.

srhome self-adhesive-weatherstrip

They are usually installed at the edge of windows and door frames to prevent airborne sound from coming in through the hinges and open gaps on the frames.

These materials are commonly made up of plastic, felt, and foam which are used in dampening sound waves.

Weatherstripping

Door Seals and Sweeps

Basically, it’s what the name suggests. A product that is commonly used to fill the gaps under and at the side of the door.

It’s typically installed under the door wherever there is a gap. Some come with adhesive others that are installed with external adhesive.

Just like other dampening materials, density and mass are big considerations. There is a wide variety of door seals and sweeps with different levels of density and mass.

Different variants of door seals and sweeps are draft stoppers and rubber door seals.

Door Seals and Sweeps