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

Soundproof Paints and Spray

Paints and spray chemicals are also used as soundproofing agents.

Soundproof paints aren’t the usual paint. They are denser and thicker with little chunks on it that absorb sound.

acousti-coat-sound-deadening-paint

This material is most effective against medium-frequency sounds like speech. They’re usually used when soundproofing doors and walls.

Soundproof Paints and Spray

Soundproof Window Kits

A soundproof window kit is one of the cheapest soundproofing solutions you can find.

Most kits are usually made of sponge or foam which are both very good ideas for noise-absorbing materials.

frost king shrink window kit

Others like the ones from Frost King are made up of crystal clear plastic sheets that can shrink tight using a hairdryer.

Even without experience, you can easily install them on your windows or on other areas.
Mikkel Holm, Founder of TheDIYClub.com

Soundproof Window Kits

Sound Channels

Resilient sound channels help in soundproofing your walls and ceilings. Sound channels would capture vibration making sure it doesn’t pass through.

auralex resilient channel gauge metal

These materials are made up of metal and are usually installed during the construction phase of the building. However, if you’re planning on installing them, make sure to hire some professionals to help.

This would require you to strip the drywall of your home and replace it with a new one.

Sound Channels

Soundproof Foam Panels

If you’ve been to recording studios, you’ve probably seen a lot of them already. The reason is, these panels help improve audio quality inside a room.

techdesk acoustic foam panels

Acoustic foams are good sound absorbers and good at reducing echo. You can install them on walls, doors, ceiling, or even on windows.

Because of this, they’re not really ideal if your intent is to soundproofing. They’re more useful in music and recording studios.
Mikkel Holm, Founder of TheDIYClub.com

Soundproof Foam Panels

Soundproof Fiberglass

If foam panels reduce echo, fiberglass panels have outstanding absorption capability. Most studios use both.

bqlzr fiberglass acoustic home studio soundproof sound absorbing panel tiles

Fiberglass panels are cost more than foam panels. But for a good reason — they are cooler to look at and excellent at blocking low-frequency noises.

When it comes to installation, you would probably need some adhesive or depends on the design of the panel, you can hang them on picture hanger.

Soundproof Fiberglass

Soundproof Wallpapers

Acoustic wallpapers are simply wallpapers made of foam instead of paper.

Most soundproof wallpapers are shaped like brick walls or 3d object for aesthetics though they’re actually soft to the touch.

art3d white brick wallpaper

When it comes to soundproofing, these wallpapers can only deal with low, background ambient noises like muffled voices. Specifically, they can dampen mid-frequency sounds.

They may not be able to block out loud noises, but they can surely protect you from 80% of the sound coming from your neighbor’s entertainment system as those kinds of sounds belong to midrange frequencies.
Mikkel Holm, Founder of TheDIYClub.com

Soundproof Wallpapers

Acoustic Insulation

Acoustic insulation is one of the most effective soundproofing solutions you can use.

If you’re familiar with insulation, you must’ve known already that insulation materials help keep the house warm or cold on appropriate seasons. The materials inside trap the hot air that passes through.

owens corning fiberglass board insulation material

Since insulation materials are put on the space between the two solid layers of your walls, it would require construction. It’s better if you hire a professional to do this for you.

There are different types of insulation materials. But the most useful in soundproofing is batt insulation materials followed by foam spray materials.
Mikkel Holm, Founder of TheDIYClub.com

Acoustic Insulation

Floor Underlayment

You can think of floor underlayment as insulation but on the floor. This is one of the most effective ways to soundproof a floor.

These materials are usually made of rubber, foam, or cork. They’re applied before the final flooring just above the subflooring.

quietwalk plus underlayment

To install them, you would need glue or nails. Don’t mind the damages from the nails as most underlayments heal around the puncture areas.

Like the ones above, this soundproof material requires construction on the floor. You would need to check first with your contract and owner if you’re renting.

Mikkel Holm, Founder of TheDIYClub.com

Floor Underlayment

Soundproof Floor Mats

If you’re not that serious in soundproofing your floors, you can simply use soundproof floor mats.

ergocell rubber horse stall mat interlocking floor tiles

The cheapest ones you can find are puzzle foam mats. These are the mats with letters and numbers you’re children are playing.

Of course, there are mats designed for soundproofing that are mostly made with high-density rubber. What this does is provide you not only with soundproofing but also vibration and temperature insulation.

Soundproof Floor Mats

Soundproof Drywall

Out of everything on this list, installing a soundproof drywall might be the most expensive yet the most effective.

This drywall is specifically designed with solid STC (Sound Transmission Class) in mind. STC represents how good a building space reduces sound.

quietrock 545 drywall

The high-density materials being used block off louder noises even when fixtures are installed on the wall.

Since we’re talking about installing new drywall, you would seriously need a professional to help you with it. And if you’re thinking of buying one, you might want to buy green glue and batt insulation materials to go with the drywall.

Mikkel Holm, Founder of TheDIYClub.com

Soundproof Drywall

Furniture and other solid objects

Lastly, why spend if you already have solid objects like furniture in your house?

Moving your furniture and placing them on the wall has a soundproofing effect to an extent. As sound travels through the space, the sound waves would hit the solid objects and the waves would lose their power and energy.

Simply arrange your furniture on the sound path to have the noises bound off and die down.

The best thing about this solution is that depending on the type of object, you might be able to effectively block out loud noises without spending a single dime!

Mikkel Holm, Founder of TheDIYClub.com

Wrapping things up…

As you can see, there are lots of soundproofing materials available that you can use. If you’re tight on budget, try combining some of the cheaper materials like weatherstripping, foams, paints, and wallpapers.

But if you’re good and would like to invest in soundproofing your apartment, better use the ones that require construction. They may be more expensive, but they’re also more effective.

Mikkel Holm, Founder of TheDIYClub.com