While certain materials can indeed block out sound, it is important to remember that there is no perfect soundproofing material. In other words, nothing can completely block out all noise. However, there are a variety of materials that can significantly reduce the amount of noise that passes through them.
There are two main classes of materials soundproofing materials.
First, we have materials that absorb sound, and the second class is the materials that block noise.
For starters, it’s important to note that materials that absorb noise such as soundproofing paint, acoustic foam panels, acoustic wallpapers won’t prevent noise/soundwaves from bleeding out or in the room.
Materials that block sound are the best for soundproofing and are highly recommended if you need to prevent sound waves from bleeding to the next room.
While sound-blocking materials play a more vital role in soundproofing, it doesn’t mean that sound-absorbing materials are of no use.
Sound absorbing materials help eliminate echo and reverb; they play an essential role when soundproofing a drum room or acoustically treating a home theater.
To better understand what materials can block sound, it’s important to first look at more important facts regarding sound blocking vs. sound absorption.
Difference Between Soundproofing and Sound Absorption?
Soundproofing, or rather sound blocking, refers to the process of stopping sound from leeching in or outside a room.
Sound blocking materials are essentially heavy since they physically have to block sound from passing through them.
When you have a noise problem, sound blocking isn’t the only solution; sometimes, all you need is sound absorption materials.
In the case of a home theater, you mostly need sound absorption to have clear audio qualities.
Additionally, sound-absorbing materials are soft, giving them characteristics that allow sponges to soak up water.
Top 7 Materials that Can Block Sound
While you will need sound-blocking materials to help block noise/sound waves from leaking to other rooms in your home, you will also need sound-absorbing materials at the same time.
Soundproofing materials and sound-absorbing materials synchronize and complement each other to improve the acoustical properties of a room.
Even though their uses are quite different, the two products can share one overarching purpose to help achieve reduced noise and echo levels.
1. Mass Loaded Vinyl
Nothing beats the effectiveness and ease of installation of mass-loaded vinyl.
Mass loaded vinyl (MLV) is a heavy duty soundproofing material that is often used in construction projects. It is made from a PVC compound that is filled with Lead shot, metal powder or other weighty materials.
This gives the MLV its dense and heavy properties. The heaviness of the MLV makes it an effective soundproofing solution because it can block out noise from the outside world.
It’s often used in construction projects to soundproof between floors or ceilings. It can also be used to soundproof walls, doors and windows.
The dense material of MLV can block out noise effectively, making it ideal for use in homes and office buildings.
Not only is this sound barrier great for home soundproofing, but it’s also an effective automotive sound deadening material.
It helps add more mass to the area where it is installed, providing an added advantage to blocking noise.
This material is comprised of two main ingredients; calcium carbonate or barium sulphate and polyvinyl chloride.
It’s viscoelastic and returns to its original shape once stretched.
One of my most recommended mass-loaded vinyl materials is the Noise Grabber Mass Loaded Vinyl.
If you can’t get mass-loaded vinyl in your local hardware store or online, I would recommend these alternatives to MLV.
2. QuietRock Drywall Panels
QuietRock Drywall panels are soundproofing products comprised of two layers of gypsum and viscoelastic polymers.
If you’ve read my comparison guide dubbed QuietRock vs. Double Drywall, then I’m certain that you’re aware in different ways how this product is different from your regular drywall material.
According to the manufacturer, this drywall product can improve the soundproofing properties of where it’s installed by 15-20 points.
It would take up to four sheets of drywall panels to achieve the same effect as regular drywall panels.
Quietrock will save you space and make sure that you get the desired soundproofing results you deserve.
You will need resilient and hat channels to attach the drywall to the walls or the ceiling.
3. Green Glue Compound
Green glue is a viscoelastic damping compound that isolates sound without hardening.
It’s ideal for renovation projects and new construction, and it’s also one of the most popular and affordable soundproofing materials you can get on the market today.
It’s an acoustic sealant that works best when sandwiched between two layers of soundproofing materials such as drywall.
It can also work great to seal gaps and cracks on the walls. This will help dampen sound vibrations from being transmitted from one side of the wall to the other.
Green glue is also used to fill gaps and joints where the wall meets the ceiling or the floor and where two walls meet.
Additionally, it can also be used around electrical switch boxes and outlets.
Drywall is a construction material used to create walls and ceilings. It is made of panels of gypsum plaster pressed between two thick sheets of paper.
It is a very versatile material and can be used in a variety of applications, including:
- Creating walls and ceilings
- Creating art and sculpture
Creating false wallsDrywall is relatively easy to work with and can be cut, shaped, and installed relatively easily. However, it is important to note that drywall is a brittle material and can be easily damaged if not handled properly.
The product is available in a variety of thicknesses, sizes, and textures. The most common type of drywall is 1/2 inch thick, but it is also available in 3/8 inch, 5/8 inch, and even 1 inch thicknesses. Drywall panels are typically 4 feet wide and 8 feet long, but they can also be found in other sizes.
In most cases, drywall is typically white in color, but it is also available in a variety of other colors. It can be painted or wallpaper to match the decor of any room.
5. Fiberglass Batts
Fiberglass soundproofing materials are an effective way to reduce noise in your home or office. They are made of glass fibers that are woven together to create a mat-like material.
This material is then placed between two layers of fabric to create a barrier that absorbs sound. Fiberglass soundproofing materials are available in a variety of thicknesses and sizes to meet your needs.
They are available in a variety of widths and lengths to fit most standard stud cavities. They are also available in different R-values to provide different levels of insulation. R-values range from 3.0 to 4.3 per inch of thickness.
When installing fiberglass batts, it is important to use care in order to avoid damaging the material. Always wear gloves and a long-sleeved shirt when handling fiberglass batts. When cutting the batts to size, use a sharp knife or scissors and be careful not to create any jagged edges.
In order to install the batts, start by stapleing the facing (if present) to the studs. Then, fit the batt into the cavity and secure it in place with more staples. Be sure to fill any gaps around the edges of the batts with fiberglass insulation in order to prevent air and sound infiltration.
6. Solid Doors
A door is a barrier that provides access into and out of a structure. Doors are typically made of wood, metal, or glass. Solid doors are those that are made entirely of one material, without any openings or panels. Many homes have solid wood or metal front doors.
They can provide some privacy and noise reduction, but they are not as effective at insulating against heat and cold as hollow doors. Solid doors can be heavy and difficult to install, so it is important to make sure that they are properly supported.
On Materials that Block Sound
If you’re a neighbor who won’t stop playing bass music or an annoying upstairs neighbor who keeps on stomping in the dead of night, then I’d recommend you consider soundproofing your home.
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.