Thanks to the recent growth in modern technology, soundproofing has slowly crept into our lives and maintains a permanent spot in them. Whether you have loud, noisy neighbors that you are trying to avoid, or you’re trying to build a home theater, you no longer have to sit and ponder what materials can block sound.
Modern soundproofing techniques have made it possible to block out or keep in almost any kind of sound, just as long as you know the basic soundproofing principles and materials.
What Is Soundproofing?
Soundproofing, or sound blocking, refers to the art of blocking sound from entering or exiting an area through the use of various sound-insulating materials. Today, soundproofing is no longer limited to theaters, cinemas, and music studios.
One can easily use this technique at home as well to enjoy a quiet and peaceful environment, as well as keep any unwanted sounds from entering or leaving the house.
What Is the Difference Between Soundproofing and Sound Absorption?
A lot of people today confuse soundproofing with sound absorption. While knowing what materials can block sound can help one in soundproofing or blocking sound inside the desired area, sound absorption works on slightly different principles.
Sound absorption (otherwise known as an acoustic treatment) focuses on absorbing the sound waves inside a room or premises. This usually involves techniques like reduction and elimination, augmentation, and even reverberation of echo. This improves the sound quality in a given space and limits it to the inside of a certain perimeter.
Soundproofing Principles for Learning What Materials Can Block Sound
Based on the physics of sound transmission and research, one must consider the four principles mentioned below for effective and productive soundproofing.
This principle revolves around the theory that materials containing thick and heavy mass can easily block sound waves. For instance, you can add MLV (mass-loaded vinyl) to your walls to block sound.
The second soundproofing principle deals with the damping compound. Damping compounds can convert sound energy into heat energy. This process can stop the sound all at once. Silicone caulk and green glue are the perfect examples of damping compounds.
This third soundproofing principle focuses on the gaps induced in particular parts of the structure of any building. It becomes more convenient to block the travel of sound waves and vibration if decoupling is used in this form. Decoupling effectively takes place during the construction process.
The final principle of soundproofing is to know what materials can block sound (absorption). This significantly reduces sound waves. Acoustic Foams and Acoustic Panels are examples of sound-absorbing materials.
While all of the mentioned principles complete and complement one another in some ways, each one has its function.
Top Ten Soundproofing Materials Worth Considering to Block Unwanted Sound
1. MLV Sound Barrier
MLV, or mass-loaded-vinyl, is a great tool that can block sound by adding mass to your room, as discussed in the first principle. For example, a space will echo, and the sound waves will bounce back and sound loud. On the other hand, if you add furniture to the same room, the echo will vanish. MLV is made up of flexible, thin synthetic material that’s practical in function.
- MLV does not require any addition of unnecessary bulk and can easily be installed onto the floors, ceilings, and walls of your room or house.
- Whichever you use MLV on, it is always handy.
- The main features of MLV are to reflect or block the sound waves.
- Due to its advanced features, it is a bit heavy on pockets compared to other sound-blocking materials.
- Unfortunately, MLV is not very effective if you want to impact noise.
- Use cases are not only limited to the walls, ceiling, and floors. You can also block the sound of constructed window plugs, air ducts, and pipes.
2. Fiber Glass
Modern, stylish, soundproof Fiberglass could be your best choice for blocking sound. Comes in the form of slabs or boards that can be installed in various places.
- Designed to eliminate any sound entering a room, as well as stop it from leaving.
- Fiberglass can improve interior acoustics.
- Fiberglass can reduce both low and high-frequency noise.
- It’s easy to cut and comes with different dimensions and thicknesses.
- You must be careful when applying fiber glasses. Wear gloves or gear, as they can irritate.
- You can use different types of fiberglass in home theaters, studios, rooms, living rooms, and anywhere else.
3. Green Glue
Green glue soundproofing compound points to the second principle, “Damping compounds.” Apply green glue onto two solid panels that are screwed together, such as plywood or drywall. The low-frequency noise can be treated productively with damping compounds. Green glue can prove itself to be your perfect choice to block sound.
- The sound vibrations are converted into heat once sound approaches the drywall layers. It makes the panels vibrate due to the green glue.
- No screws are required to apply green glue as it functions adhesively.
- Green glue can be applied single-handedly.
- It can be used on walls and ceilings in acoustic foams and panels.
4. Resilient Channels
A resilient channel is one of the best examples of the third principle, decoupling. Resilient channels can decouple the internal structure of any building if you want to block the sound. On the other hand, sound waves and vibration can be reduced further if you use resilient channels with gaskets and acoustic hangers.
Resilient channels can answer your question regarding what materials can block sound.
You can also decouple later, but you must remove the current system, which would be a mess. Resilient channel is amongst the top decoupling materials that are easy on the pocket and productive in results.
- The resilient channels diminish the direct transfer of sound waves within the structure of the floor, wall, ceilings, etc.
- The sound that passes through the structure will be interrupted by the resilient channels until it is transferred or blocked.
- It comes with holes and is easy to install while construction, although it takes quite a time to install.
- Although it requires proper planning and a professional installation process to apply to decouple otherwise, the results could be disturbing.
- Implements decoupling principle used during the construction of any building to make it soundproof.
A Plasterboard or soundproof drywall can be easily purchased from any hardware or DIY store. It is an enhanced type of drywall and comes in different dimensions and thicknesses. Due to the increased mass and density, plasterboards are used in everyday construction.
On the other hand, it could be expensive for you and require a professional installation. This will add up to more charges to your account. Also, it is heavy due to its mass, but it answers your question of what materials can block sound.
- It is designed to combine multiple gypsum board layers with steel. The primary purpose of drywall is to increase the mass and density to block sound waves.
- Plasterboard is very effective in blocking sound waves.
- You can apply these plasterboards on the walls and ceilings of any room or any building.
6. Soundproof Mats
These mats can quickly diminish the noise of specific machines that cause a lot of sound and vibration.
- Reduces the vibrations and sound coming from appliances.
- These mats are ideal for installation.
- The anti-vibration soundproof floor mats can be used under or behind machines, appliances, and devices to eliminate sound.
7. Acoustic Putty
This is another successful gadget to reduce sound waves and is used during construction. It adjusts and keeps the separation between the walls of any building.
- This method is convenient and fast to apply.
- It is used for flexible wall partitions made of steel and timber studs.
- It is insulation and fire resistant.
8. Soundproof Spray
Soundproof sprays are adequate in soundproofing floor mats to fill in the micro gaps within the mats to stop vibration and sound.
- It is simple and effective to apply.
- You can use the soundproof spray in your car boots, doors, and compartments
9. Dense Board
Dense Board or OSB (Oriented Standard Board) is a reliable, durable, and versatile board for sound blocking.
- It is made up of several opposing-oriented layers of wood fibers.
- It creates strength and hardness that blocks sound.
Mounts or acoustic hangers are sound isolation clips. Mounts provide a structure to the room that reduces sound vibration.
- Mounts are made for decoupling separation between the ceilings and walls from the joists and studs that underlay.
- The acoustic hangers can be used on ceilings, walls, and floors.
Today amongst all the hustle and bustle, schools, restaurants, businesses, and even homeowners struggle with controlling sound. Remember! You cannot make the world speak slowly, but you can surely learn what materials can block sound and allow yourself to clear away any unnerving, annoying sounds. Good luck!