Noise is one of the major contributors to lack of concentration and sleeplessness. Research has also established that continuous noise exposure is detrimental to your health. Its management is now part of many occupational health and safety plans, meaning we should be looking into noise control if we want to maintain our sanity.
Acoustic insulation is a form of soundproofing controlling unwanted sound transmission from one area to another. The term is used about the process of making the space soundproof as it is to the materials that facilitate the process. This article explores both applications of the term simultaneously, and we shall see how acoustic insulation is critical to soundproofing, efficient methods of sound insulation, and the best materials for acoustic insulation.
The Best Soundproof Acoustic Insulation Methods
Acoustic Insulation Batts
Batt insulation covers the rolls of fiberglass (also referred to as glass wool), polyester, and mineral fiber used to prevent a thermal transfer through walls, floors, and ceilings in a building. This acoustic insultion material is stuffed between the layers of these surfaces and double up as sound control insulators.
The merged glass fibers, polyester, cotton, or other materials form thick, dense sound barriers. These can be inserted inside floor or roof framing, between wall studs, or inside hollow frame doors to manage noise levels. They enhance the acoustic performance of your floor, ceiling, or walls by absorbing sound waves and providing a dense barrier that blocks sound waves from passing through.
Consider the density and mass of the material separately. The mass has a straightforward effect on sound transmission; the thicker the barrier, the more effective it is at the insulating sound because it will be harder for sound to penetrate through it. Density impacts acoustic insulation differently, depending on the frequency of the noises. High-frequency sounds are blocked by high-density blankets, while lower-frequency sounds like bass speakers require moderate density to absorb the vibrations.
You need to consider this concerning the kind of noise you are working with to optimize your soundproofing. A density of 2.5 to 3 pounds per cubic foot of acoustic blanket is considered adequate to block both high and low-frequency sounds, but it may not offer the maximum thermal insulation possible. Striking a balance is important when embarking on such projects.
This ceramic fiber blanket has been double-needled for extra durability. It has a high heat tolerance rating of 2400˚F and is odorless because no organic binders are used in its manufacture. There is no wastage because it’s easy to cut to fit. It even comes with a CM-ceramics knife, so you don’t have to use your regular blade for the job.
Their mode of acoustic insulation is absorbing sound waves instead of blocking their transfer between rooms. They reduce the reverberation levels and, by extension, the intensity of the sound within the room. Some are mineral fibers, others are gypsum cores wrapped in vinyl or fabric, while others come as acoustic foam. You also use them differently, hanging them from walls, suspending them from the ceiling, or propping them up as barriers or partitions, depending on the design.
You can use acoustic panels to spot reduced sound by placing them exactly where they need to be for maximum effect. They are popular in recording studios, performance halls, and restaurants with partitioned booth designs. You can fashion DIY versions of these panels from egg crates or compressed straws to achieve similar results, although the efficiency will depend on the workmanship.
The small size of these panels allows versatility as you can arrange them in multiple designs to fit your room size and contours. It is great for recording studios, vocal booths, and home theaters because it enhances the sound quality in your space. YouTubers and gamers will love this acoustic insulator.
Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV)
This is one of the best DIY soundproofing options available because it is easy to use and can be applied to walls, ceilings, and doors. It has impressive sound-reducing abilities owing to its flexible nature which allows it to move in 3-dimensional space, bleeding off the intensity of the sound waves.
For the best results, they are attached to joists or studs and then covered with drywall in a way that still allows them to move with the vibrations. Visualize how a tennis ball will lose energy when thrown against a bedsheet hanging on a clothesline. The bedsheet dissipates the energy easily because it’s loose and can disperse it in all directions.
MLV will hold up against most of your regular noises ranging from trains, traffic, construction, aircraft, and people chatting.
It is non-toxic and odor-free which allows you to use it in the home, office, school, studio, or wherever soundproofing will be required. The multipurpose sound barriers come in different thicknesses and sizes and are easy to install and deploy.
Acoustic Bass Traps
These traps are a nice supplement to the rest of the acoustic insulation products mentioned in this article because they address a gap that most of them can’t. They can absorb low sound frequencies, which is important if you are to make your insulation wholesome. They dampen the vibrations and eliminate reverberations and echoes in the room, cleaning up the sound quality and preventing transmission to other rooms at the same time.
They are typically mounted in corners between the walls and ceiling but can also be mounted horizontally on the walls.
The bass trap has been primed to absorb low and mid-frequency sound waves. Replicating the sound quality of a professional studio without having to break the bank. You can enjoy your music without worrying about disturbing your neighbors. It reduces the slap-back and room impact vibration which regulates noise in and outside the room.
These sound-absorbing curtains help in regulating noise levels by their thickness and fibers that can dampen sound wave intensity. Besides sound control, they also keep out light when desired and help in room thermal insulation.
Doors and windows are usually thinner than walls and create the most opportunities for sound to escape. These drapes keep the room soundproof despite this weakness. Their soft fibers and the fact that they are suspended dissipate the sound waves, reducing their intensity.
These heavyweight curtains not only block out all the light, but they also have two layers of triple weave fabric which dampens noise two times as much as your regular curtains. They provide remarkable soundproof acoustic insulation while improving the aesthetics of the room.
Acoustic Insulation and Soundproofing
Soundproofing addresses different noises from diverse sources, and it has many residential, commercial, industrial, educational, marine, or automotive applications. The noises come in two main formats. There are airborne sounds such as talking voices, airplanes, or traffic and impact sounds such as footsteps and vibrating appliances. Each type is treated differently for optimum results, which is why we separated our acoustic insulation options.
These are high-density materials like bricks, concrete, or lead, used to separate rooms and act as sound barriers. They don’t do much to the intensity of the noise, but they keep it from penetrating the confines of the room.
These are materials like rock wool, fiberglass, polyester or polyurethane foam, and an assortment of fabrics that are applied to your walls, floors, or ceilings. They dampen the sound waves and reduce noise intensity to the extent that there is minimal transmission in and out of your space.
Combined Acoustic Insulation
This is the most common method, given that most soundproofing methods rely on composite materials and construction systems. Sound is absorbed and prevented from breaching the room using the same medium.