Does denim insulation soundproofing really work?
Denim is not only a fashion item; it can be used on the walls and ceilings to create an acoustically neutral room surface.
Most fabrics will absorb sound, but denim may also reflect certain sounds at the same time.
One study found that when applied in a thin layer on wood panels, denim was more effective in absorbing sound than the control sample without any fabric applied.
This seems counterintuitive because denim is primarily known for its acoustic properties instead of being reflective like glass or metal.
The key here is that there was enough weight applied to define both a linear and non-linear elastic behavior, which altered the transmission loss characteristics of the material.
What is Denim Insulation?
Denim insulation is made using recycled denim and cotton products.
These products include post-industrial denim, like your blue jeans and other cotton products.
The manufacturers get the raw materials from second-hand stores, retailers, and individuals who no longer want their denim products.
Other sources include industrial cotton scraps and castoffs from manufacturers and mills.
All the above materials are taken through a shredder after all buttons, zippers, and non-cotton parts are removed.
Once shredded into small pieces, the denim is separated and blended into fibers before it’s treated to make it heat, pests, mildew resistant.
Finally, the treated fibers are processed into soundproofing rolls.
The first denim insulation product was made in the 1980s, and this soundproofing can be found in the market to date.
Is Denim Insulation Good For Sound Absorption?
Yes, denim insulation is an excellent choice if you are looking for good sound-absorbing material.
Denim has a high Noise Absorption Coefficient and will block both high and low-frequency noises from your living space.
Whether you are looking to quiet the traffic noise or block radio, microwave, and washing machine noises from your bedroom, denim insulation is a great choice.
With an STC rating of 52, this is a superior sound suppression material that is sure to deliver the results you are looking for.
How Effective Is Denim Insulation?
Denim insulation has a few physical properties that give it an edge over other popular soundproofing options such as fiberglass.
For example, 3.5-inch denim insulation has an STC rating of 52 for sounds in the 1000hz range, while the rating for fiberglass doesn’t go beyond 39. (Source)
Thanks to its multi-dimensional microstructure, denim is more effective in isolating and absorbing sound waves. Other outstanding features include:
Demin is also a low-density material, so it does an excellent job of reducing thermal conductivity. This makes it ideal for home insulation.
Denim is rated A as far as fire resistance is concerned. This is the highest rating, and it means that the insulation can withstand exposure to severe fire coming from outside the building.
Denim insulation is also Eco-friendly. Over 80% of it’s made using recycled materials.
It’s also good for the skin, and you don’t need gloves when installing it.
Easy to install
Denim insulation comes in rolls that you can easily install in areas that need soundproofing. Cutting the insulation to fit in smaller spaces is easy, not to mention that you can squeeze it to fit in those odd-shaped corners.
Cotton is a friendly material, especially for people with allergies. The insulation is non-allergic and is less likely to trigger sensitive people in your home.
Even better, the insulation doesn’t come with irritants. Only borax is used to treat the insulation to attract mold and pests once installed.
The material is also LEEDS-approved.
Who Makes Denim Insulation?
UltraTouch is the leading manufacturer of denim insulation. While the manufacturer has stopped its production, you can still buy denim insulation on Amazon, Homedepot, and other leading online stores.
UltraTouch has a wide range of other outstanding soundproofing materials. Search their products online, and you will see what the company has to offer.
If you don’t find the UltraTouch denim insulation, you can also go for the Frost King multi-purpose cotton insulation. It comes with the same benefits and is perfect for soundproofing pipes and other tight spots in your home.
How to Install Denim Insulation
The Denim installation process is similar to that of fiberglass or stone wool. It involves compressing the insulation rolls to fit into the spaces that you want to soundproof.
Squeeze the insulation to fit between the studs on your walls.
The material should fit well within the frame.
For a construction without studs and an elaborate framing, use nails and staples to secure the top and sides of each batt. The goal is to securely hold it in position.
Don’t leave gaps between denim insulation rolls, as these will let sound into your space.
Since the soundproofing rolls are compressed, you need to give them time to rebound.
Give the rolls a shake after opening the package and allow a few hours for them to get to their original thickness.
Please note that rolls will take longer to rebound when the humidity is high.
Denim insulation rolls are perforated, so it’s easy to separate them into 48-inch-tall pieces.
Push these smaller pieces into the floor, wall, or ceiling that need insulation.
For those odd-shaped cavities, you can cut the cotton mats into much smaller spaces using a utility knife.
Be careful not to destroy the structure and add a semi-impermeable plastic sheet vapor barrier where necessary.
As highlighted above, denim insulation isn’t readily available.
Fortunately, there is a wide range of other soundproofing materials that perform well, if not better.
These materials include:
Fiberglass sound insulation is a highly effective soundproofing material with a 0.90 noise reduction coefficient (NRC).
The material can block a wide range of airborne noises, preventing them from getting into your space.
Just like Denin insulation, fiberglass offers outstanding fire resistance.
However, the paper put on some fiberglass insulation is flammable.
Amazon offers various fiberglass soundproofing materials, so you are sure to find one to match the surface where you want to install it.
The installation process is also straightforward, so you can easily DIY.
Acoustic foam is another effective soundproofing material. It’s also quite versatile and comes in different colors.
This form of soundproofing is mostly used in recording studios, home theater acoustic treatment, and drum practice rooms.
It’s not as great in blocking outside noise but will make it dissipate much faster after getting into your space.
It enhances the sound quality in a room.
Of all the leading soundproofing materials, acoustic foam is the most affordable.
It’s a perfect choice if you are on a tight budget.
Made from industrial slag and ballast.
They are melted together and spun into fiber strands and compressed into dense mats.
Mineral wool has an R-rating of up to 3.3 per inch.
This is slightly higher than fiberglass.
However, mineral wool is only available in unfaced batts, so it’s not as versatile.
Other outstanding features characteristic of mineral wool insulation include:
- High density leading to outstanding soundproofing abilities
- Hydrophobic- resistance to fungi, bacteria growth, and corrosion
- Fire resistance
Denim insulation soundproofing comes with outstanding qualities.
The product is dense, efficient, and non-allergic.
This type of soundproofing is also good for the environment. The only downside is that it’s not as readily available.
If you are looking for denim soundproofing, you can search for UltraTouch and Frost King brands.
UltraTouch no longer makes denim soundproofing material, but some stores still have it in stock.
If you cannot find denim insulation, we have also provided a list of other outstanding soundproofing options.
Go through the list above and see which material will deliver the results that you want.
Meet Mike O’Connor, (a DIY enthusiast), living in Cincinnati, a city ranked as the noisiest in the USA.
As a work from home dad, I have a first hand experience of how noise can truly affect your well being.
Soundproofing isn’t something that should be taken as a hobby, it should be a skill that every homeowner should be equipped with.
Most of the work documented on this blog comes from purely first hand experience, and the products recommended work as indicated.