best soundproofing insulation

How to Choose The Best Soundproofing Insulation

The soundproofing insulation materials you use will be the determining factor of the soundproofing quality you would eventually get for your home. So, making sure to choose the best and most suitable noise reduction materials for your needs will bring you the best possible outcome.

Normally, soundproofing is confused with sound absorption, but, they are not the really same. Sound absorption is just one of the essential components of soundproofing. Multiple factors will actually play a role, but effective soundproofing originates mostly from the material that is used.

One important thing to know about soundproofing is that it’s holding back the sound rather than eliminating it. Sounds are captured from outside any given living space you are insulating with sufficient and proper soundproofing. This will also keep the sounds that originate inside and will keep your privacy.

When you are soundproofing your home, you should first evaluate the best materials to achieve the best results.

What is a Soundproofing Material?

Before going deeper into the subject, you should get familiar with the fundamentals of soundproofing materials. For example, what they are made of, how they function and how important they may actually be. To understand how soundproofing materials function, we have to first understand how sound works.

Think for the sound as a type of energy. This energy is created as a result of vibrating objects and have to eventually go somewhere. It goes away from its source, disturbing other objects and the air particles around us in the process. This energy then travels to our ears, where it vibrates and can be detected as sound in our brain.

What basically happens is that: sound begins at its source, travels through air, then eventually reaches our eardrums and stimulates our brains. If we want to stop the sound anywhere along its path, we should break the chain of events and its path.

Based on this, soundproofing will be any method of lowering sound vibration and pressure created by a  source and preventing it from reaching its receiver. Thus, soundproofing would be impossible without the use of key soundproofing materials.

Why is Insulation So Important for Soundproofing?

Cavity walls may be found in almost any living area, whether it is a single-family home or an apartment complex. It mostly consists of two solid layers on each side, with some space in between for separation. The empty area can be left as is, or insulation can be installed, which is used for soundproofing.

A typical soundproofed cavity wall, for example, consists of two brick walls with some form of insulation in the center.

Proper wall insulation is essential for soundproofing, but it also has several other functions. Good insulation traps the air that escapes from a room, thus providing better heat retention.

Such insulation ensures that space stays heated during winter and cool in the summer. It is mostly used on outside walls, however, it may also be used on interior walls.

Interior walls are not typically given the same level of care as outside walls for obvious reasons ( it’s what  makes your house look good essentially), but this changes when you are trying to soundproof your home. The walls will play a huge role in the soundproofing of a house, but proper insulation elevates things to the next level.

What is the Best Soundproofing Insulation?

High quality and proper quantity of your insulation should be put forward when it comes to soundproofing any kind of living space. It is undoubtedly the essential component of soundproofing in the home in general, therefore ignoring it will restrict a you from getting the maximum benefit.

The following are the best options for insulation to soundproof your walls or ceiling.

Mineral Wool

Mineral wool is a fiber produced from molten igneous stone or slag. It is not flammable and does not absorb water.

It’s a thick and porous substance that prevents heat and cold flow through walls, floors, and ceilings. It can also absorb both airborne and impact noises and vibrations.

best soundproofing insulation
Thermal insulation mineral rock wool installation at the new building attic ceiling

Fiberglass

Fiberglass is created by spinning molten plastic into wool and reinforcing it with tiny glass strands. It is made mostly out of waste and can be turned into products that retain air, heat and sound. Fiberglass effectively absorbs airborne sound at levels comparable to mineral wool.

Blown-In Cellulose

Blown-in cellulose insulation is composed of 75 to 85 percent recycled paper fiber and 15 to 25 percent fire retardant substance. It’s significantly easier to maintain and is less expensive to install than other materials.

Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam insulation is a plastic resin spray that creates a thermal barrier while reducing air movement. It works well for keeping the cold or heat in or out, but it is not an effective sound absorber. There is, therefore, a sound control spray foam that can be placed in post-construction walls and works effectively as a sound blocker.

This type of insulation has many benefits as it’s lightweight, resists moisture and provides an airtight seal.

Extruded Foam Board

Usually colored in blue and pink, these foam boards are mostly made of extruded polystyrene (XPS). The color represents two different manufacturers. They are broad, stiff and have an R 5 insulating value per inch of thickness.

Expanded polystyrene foam panels (EPS) offer relatively less insulating effects and are more fragile. Polyisocyanurate (ISO) panels are also available; they are providing more shielding than XPS panels, but they are quite costly in comparison.

By stacking multiple the layers, polystyrene boards can assist you in lessening sound transmission and keep sound in and out of any type of living space.

What is the Best Insulation for Soundproofing Walls and Ceiling?

There are many insulation materials available that can soundproof and thermally insulate your home. Unfortunately, most manufacturers don’t really emphasize the soundproofing properties of these materials. So, here we’ll look into a few good options that stand out from the pack.

  1. Roxul Rockwool Acoustic Mineral Wool Insulation:

best soundproofing insulationLet’s start with the soundproofing champion, Roxul’s mineral wool insulation. As a result of the success of Rockwool insulation, the firm has been completely renamed the Rockwool Group. Don’t be concerned if you come across brand name differences when exploring Rockwool items. It is still the same material used by ATS Acoustics and Acoustimac in their acoustic fabric panels.

Rockwool, as a batt insulation product, is available in 48 by 24-inch panels in many densities. This size is suitable for filling gaps between wall studs or between the ceiling and floor joists. Instead, you may use them to create acoustic or bass traps.

The panels that link to it are two inches thick, but they also come in three and four-inch thicknesses. However, if you don’t mind compromising panel density, you can obtain batts starting at 1-inch thick.

Even at that thickness, the Rockwool 40 has a noise reduction coefficient of 0.8, which means it will block 80% of airborne frequencies. Rockwool insulation absorbs high frequencies better than low frequencies, which is relatively common. Its NRC score falls to 0.07 in the 125 Hz range. The 4-inch Rockwool 80, on the other hand, has a 1.03 NRC in the same range.

 

  1. Owens Corning R-6.7 Unfaced Insulation Roll

best soundproofing insulation
Owens Corning insulation roll, is another great option. This insulating material is constructed with inorganic glass fibers.

Owens Corning insulation has an NRC of 1 on average throughout all frequency bands. It appears to perform best in the 500–2000 Hz range, while it is still more than 0.86 at 250 Hz. Its worst performance would be when exposed to 125 Hz frequencies when it has an NRC of 0.17.

While this is a classic Owens Corning material, the business has lately changed its focus to pink insulating goods under their ProPink name. However, these insulation rolls are usually only accessible through Acoustimass, their distributor, which also manufactures its own cellulose fiber-based insulating bats.

 

  1. Troystudio Acoustical Fiber Glass Insulation

best soundproofing insulationThe TroyStudio fiber glass insulation panels are up next. TroyStudio is dedicated to assisting you in achieving the highest possible acoustic quality in your house from the inside out. It’s made some of the most robust channels and, now, insulation panel I’ve seen, in addition to bass traps and sound separators.

The panels should be 16 by 12 inches, which will fit perfectly between wall studs or joists.

The manufacturer has not supplied a frequency range breakdown, but like Rockwool, these panels will block high frequencies better than low frequencies. At some point, the issue involves impact sound, which is not the area of insulation. Nonetheless, at two inches thick, the fiber glass insulation has an NRC of one, indicating that it will block 100 percent of airborne frequencies.

Since fiber glass are fire-resistant, this product has also earned a class A flame retardancy rating. It has a high fire rating, with a burn point of 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the company, it also offers better sound isolation and acoustic absorption in comparison to other comparable products.

 

  1. Morgan Ceramics Ceramic Fiber Insulation

best soundproofing insulationThe fundamental advantage of using ceramic insulation is that it is typically constructed of renewable, recyclable or recycled materials. The production method produces almost no waste. This applies to this product as well. So, if you’re looking for an ecologically friendly alternative, this insulation is a great choice.

In contrast to fiberglass or stone mineral wool insulation, this ceramic insulation will be easy to cut and fit around wall fixtures. The primary concern with cutting through glass or rock fibers is that the ensuing dust can irritate your eyes and lungs badly.

That risk is virtually non-existent with ceramic fibers. At most, you could inhale a dust bunny or two, due to the thick packing of these fibers, they are unlikely to come off readily. These blankets are 24 inches long, 12 inches wide, and 1 inch thick. They weigh roughly a pound, yet have a density of four pounds per cubic foot.

The material behaves well in frequency ranges ranging from 500 to 4000 Hz, with an NRC of 1.06–1.18. Its effectiveness, as expected, falls toward the lower end of the frequency range, with an NRC of 0.39–0.51 in the 125–200 Hz range.

And, if you’re curious about the fire resistance of ceramic insulation, you shouldn’t worry at all.  The company’s goods have Class-A fire ratings, according to their testing and fire resistance data.

Even though ceramic insulation is often used mainly as fire insulation, the material has also great soundproofing qualities too.

 

How to Properly Install the Soundproofing Insulation?

best soundproofing insulation
Rock wool and fiberglass insulation staff material for cold barrier. Tools for work with glass wool: protective goggles, glasses and mask. Warm home, economy, construction and renovation concept.

After learning about the different types of soundproofing materials and how to choose the best one, you may be wondering now how to actually install it in your home. Following are some guidelines to install soundproof insulation:

  1. Prep the Room for Insulation

If you are putting up walls for an already built and used living space, you will need to eliminate everything else from that space. If you’re only working on one wall, you might be able to transfer everything to the opposite corner of the room and protect everything with a covering.

It is important to note that work will be easier for you if you are insulating a new home, a house which is currently in construction or renovation . After you’ve cleared the working area, you can begin removing the drywall. You may be able to reach the wooden structure in the wall without removing the drywall in some cases.

  1. Measure Everything Properly

Nothing is more frustrating than buying something just to discover it is not the correct size. Before you go out and buy insulation, measure the wall that you’ll be working on.

Calculating the height of the wall, the length of the vertical studs, and the number of empty slots between the studs is one method for getting exact dimensions. The majority of batt insulation materials should fit well between vertical studs.

Keep in mind that you will need to make a list of where electrical boxes are located, cables, and how much area they take up so that you can adjust your batt insulation to match.

Using that procedure will also allow you to determine how much insulating material you need. This approach applies to any form of batt insulation, including fiberglass, cotton, mineral wool, and cellulose.

  1. Protect Yourself

Insulation handling and installation may be a dirty and sometimes dangerous process. To minimize any health issues or injuries while insulating your walls, follow these simple procedures.

First, you should completely cover your arms and legs to protect your skin in case it reacts to the ingredients you’re working with. Wear protective apparel or you can even use old clothes that you no longer need and that you don’t mind throwing away after that.

Second, you’ll need some face and hand protection. To protect your lungs, eyes, and hands, put on a face shield, mask or goggles and gloves.

  1. Customize the Insulation

Since not all walls are made equal, you may need to trim the insulation a little to fit in. There shouldn’t be much cutting necessary, but if it does, use a decent utility knife to get the job done.

Make sure you work and cut your insulation materials only when you are fully and properly protected by your protective gear.

  1. Install the Soundproofing material

So after you get through all of the steps to prepare the working space, it’s time to install the insulation material. This part may need some assistance for a more efficient and effective installation. If your insulation has a front and backside, press it with its front side facing you to avoid any mistakes after installation.

Insert the batt insulation between the studs and secure it with a staple gun to the wooden studs. Remember to move a bit the material, by twisting and rotating it to ensure that it fills the install area properly.

best soundproofing insulation

  1. Cover the Insulation Material

After you’ve installed the insulation, you’ll need to replace the drywall. At this stage, you may either use your existing drywall or purchase new ones. You may replace it with a new, especially if you’re installing a kitchen wall, and you can now use fire-resistant drywall for further fire safety.

If it’s a bathroom wall, humidity-resistant drywall is the best option to avoid mold growth. You may increase the sound-blocking characteristics of your insulation by applying a layer of Mass Loaded Vinyl over it.

All you have to do is attach it to a wall stud and tape the individual sections together. You may also use robust channels to reduce noise transmission.

Resilient channels are metal bars that divide the inner wall structure from the exterior structure and the drywall. Another alternative is to double up on the drywall to reduce sound transmission.

Final Thoughts

Getting a high-quality insulation material for your home is a no-brainer when you strive for a long lasting and effective soundproofing. It’s a physically demanding process to have everything installed and you don’t really want to do it all over again in case of an error or if you are skipping important steps of the prepping and installation work.

So, along with picking the best soundproofing insulation materials, make sure you measure carefully and follow the procedures.

Have you done any soundproofing in your home recently? If not, are you planning to do such insulation soon? Let us know in the comments below.

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