There are different types of acoustic insulation used for soundproofing. The best kind is the one that can insulate sound the most.

Though insulation also works in heat control, it is an effective means to contain sound. But before you can tell which is excellent for your soundproofing, it is more important to lay down your specific requirements.

Type of Insulation

Sound and noise are two different things, and sometimes it’s hard to tell one from the other. But here is one fact: Sound becomes noise when it is already annoying.

Hence, the birth of soundproofing.

Why Is Insulation So Important for Soundproofing

Soundproofing works when you want to isolate noise. The two types of noise that we want to “lock in” are impact noise and airborne noise.

Impacted noise is produced through a direct impact. It needs an object to be able to travel to its recipient.

Rattling, vibrating, or humming sound from your appliances, footsteps, musical instruments playing, door banging, and many more are examples of impacted noise.

Road noise, neighbor shouting, people’s conversations, revving cars, or animal sounds are examples of airborne noise.

To control sound transmission from one source to another, a material is required to envelop the sound, absorb its vibration, so when it reaches your ears, it would be less irritating. This is how insulation works.

What is the difference between soundproofing and sound absorption?

Soundproofing and sound absorption are two different methods. The “proof” in soundproofing could mean resistance against sound. In other words, it explains the process of blocking sound waves traveling from one source to another.

On the other hand, sound absorption is the application of using materials to “soak” sound. If we go deeper, you will learn that they differ in meaning but have the same concept: controlling noise.

Sound absorbent materials are used to soak sound by lessening the vibrating and echo effect in a space. These materials have to be soft to absorb sound.

Examples of these are acoustic foam panels, acoustic baffles, acoustic curtains, acoustic blankets, and any material with a soft cushion.

In contrast, soundproofing materials are denser, more solid, and heavy-having the characteristic of blocking or reflecting sound, keeping it from traveling to another space.

Pro tip: Batt insulation is sometimes called blanket insulation. The difference is that the first refers to pre-cut dimensions while the latter in long rolls.

Types of Insulation for Soundproofing

Batt Insulation

It is a type of insulation used on an interior wall, attic, ceiling, and floor. The R-value of batt insulation is measured per inch. For example, an inch of batt insulation carries around 2.9 to 3.8.

Batt Insulation

Since the area where batt insulation is applied covers an immense size. Batt insulation is an excellent material for homes in controlling heat and cold, lowering energy bills in the long run.

Though the main focus of batt insulation is for thermal purposes, it is also suitable for soundproofing. Padding hollow walls, floors, and ceilings with batt insulation make a lot of difference in energy and dampening sound.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass is an insulation material composed of extremely fine glass formed in batts or rolls. They serve the same purpose of insulating energy within the home.

Fiberglass

Their R-value depends on how large and thick you apply in the compartments (walls, ceilings, attics, and floors). Its R-value plays around 2.2 to 2.7 per inch. If it works on heat energy, it will also work on sound.

Another variety of fiberglass comes in loose fills, which are being blown on the area when installing.

Foam Spray Insulation

This is the type of insulation that, when blown, expands, covering the designated areas, including the cracks, thereby protecting the space from leaks, bug infestation, and trapping heat and sound.

Foam spray insulation

Spray foam comes in two types: open-cell insulation and closed-cell insulation. The closed-cell is more solid and intact, leaving no space for air pockets to form, while the open-cell type is the suitable material for sound insulation.

The open cells allow for sound intrusion and are trapped within the acoustic foam, filtered when it goes out.

Adding foam spray insulation on hollow doors, hard wall partitions, ceilings, and wooden floors is an effective way to get rid of both impacted and airborne noise from adjoining rooms.

Spray foam comprises two chemical products, isocyanate, and polyol resin, that expand up to 60 times their volume after spraying.

Blown insulation

This type of insulation applies to existing walls, making the fills more effective when they cover even the crevices and cracks, offering a seal-tight wall. However, the challenge in blown insulation is that unseen obstruction passes through the walls, like pipes, leaving spots as hollow.

Aside from its insulating power, the blown insulation fill helps reduce the sound from indoors and outdoors.

Blown insulation is made of tiny materials, sometimes cellulose insulation or fiberglass.

Insulation board

Insulation boards are thermal boards with varying thickness and R-value.

Insulation-board

The polyurethane foam board insulation is an excellent soundproofing material to use within walls as an alternative to standard fiberglass batt insulation because of its higher R-value per inch.

Foam board insulation comes in three different types:

  • EPS or expanded polystyrene—With an R-value of 4 per inch, this material protects fragile items in transit. Also, the most affordable and the most common type.
  • Extruded polystyrene—Denser and has a notch higher R-value per inch.
  • Polyiso—The most expensive but the most effective and highest R-value to have, with 6 per inch. Polyisocyanurate is the perfect underlayment sheathing used in attics.

Installing polyiso insulation boards can be cut using a blade or knife and attached to drywall with acoustical caulk. These insulation panels are both effective in regulating the temperature inside and reducing unwanted noise.

PRO tip: Your walls should have studs with 2 x 4 thickness to support the wall and be spaced 16 to 24 inches apart for insulation materials to fit conveniently.

Comparison table of soundproof insulation

Type of InsulationSoundproof Rating (R-Value) (per inch of thickness)
Fiberglass (batts)2.9–3.8
Fiberglass (loose)2.2–2.7
Foam spray (closed cell)6–7
Foam spray (open cell)3.6–3.9
Blown insulation (cellulose)3.1–3.8
Insulation board4–6

Pro tip: “R” in R-value stands for “resistance.” This is the measurement of heat flow based on the given thickness of the insulation material.

The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness of the material. But NRC and STC ratings focus more on the soundproofing efficiency of a given material.


Best Soundproof Insulation Reviews


Best soundproof insulation for walls

1. BXI Sound Absorber

Better than acoustic rubber matting, the BXI sound absorber is made of polyester fiber. Variants include foam and wood and are excellent sound diffusers.

BXI-Sound-Absorber

Each panel can be trimmed effortlessly and hung. It has an NRC rating of 0.87, which is great in absorbing sound and reducing echo and reverb effects.


2. Soundproof Acoustic Foam Panels

The most affordable, easiest to install, and most effective sound absorption features that come in 48 per pack, SoundProof can be your best buy for soundproofing insulation for walls.

Acoustic-Foam

SoundProof works best in rooms intended for vocal and music enhancement. The foams are designed to reduce the amplification sound waves but dissipate sound energy into heat energy, converting the sound quality in any room.


Best Soundproof Insulation for Ceiling

1. Duct Insulation

With an R-value of 4.7, the Johns Manville duct insulation is a fiberglass material and an effective soundproofing ceiling or attic insulation material.

Duct-Insulation

This material is also used to crawl the space and install the shiny side of the fiberglass facing out to serve as a heat shield.


2. ATS Acoustic Panel

With a superior NRC rating of 1.0, the ATS acoustic panel can be used as a suspended ceiling using screws to attach to the drywall. It is an effective soundproofing method to remove unwanted echo and reverberation in the room.

ATS-Acoustics

It is made of sturdy material inside, a wooden frame, for easy installation. It has a beveled edging for protection against dents, furniture quality, and handcrafted that add character to your home’s aesthetics. It perfectly complements acoustic rooms like studios and auditoriums.


Best Soundproof Insulation for Floor

1. Mohawk Home Dual Surface Felt

Pads work great on any surface, wood or tiles; don’t scratch or leave a mark on floors. They are made of felt material but machine washable and available in two thickness sizes of ¼” and ⅜” for maximum comfort on feet and soundproofing.

Mohawk-Home-Dual-Surface-Felt

Combined with your carpet, this underfoot cushion offers lasting protection for your expensive rugs and carpets. No worries about harmful chemical emissions as the material are made of eco-friendly, highly sustainable materials.


2. Gorilla Mats

If you are looking for soundproof gym flooring or acoustic rubber matting, the Gorilla mats can be your best choice in soundproof insulation for floors.

Gorilla-Mats-Premium

Made of non-slip and unique circle pattern surface, these high-density large mats are shock and sound absorbent and work on any floor. What’s more, they don’t emit odor and are non-toxic.


Best Soundproof Insulation for Door

1. Trim-Lok D-shaped Rubber Seal

This adhesive-back door seal provides excellent protection against heat, cold, dust, vibration, and noise. If it has an extensive lock grip, it means it is effective in soundproofing against airborne noise.

Trim-Lok-X105BT

Use Trim-Lok weatherstripping for various applications on doors and windows, as it is made of durable rubber in a variety of thicknesses. The D-shaped seal is similar to rubber seals found on refrigerators or cars.


2. Suptikes Door Draft Stopper

Suptikes door stopper stops light, heat, wind, dust, cold, and airborne sound coming from the exterior of your house. It has a self-adhesive backing for easy installation and tight grip, which can be used for all doors.

Suptikes-Door

The sleek design comes in grey, white, or brown (rustic varnish) that complements the door design and color. Its tight gripping seal leaves no gaps in between the floor and door. It doesn’t damage the door surface but is efficient in blocking heat and reducing sound.


Best soundproof insulation for windows

1. Nicetown Blackout Curtains

It comes in a silver grommet. The Nicetown blackout curtain is just what you need to perfectly seal the sound within the room.

NICETOWN-Blackout

Aside from blocking the light and heat if you have transparent windows, the fabric is made of polyester material for excellent soundproofing and thermal insulation, making it an energy-efficient product.


‎2. Kayleinster Window Sound Insulator

Used for window sealing, the ‎Kayleinster weatherstripping is highly durable and protects windows and wardrobes against collision damage.

Window-Draft-Stopper

It can also be used on door bottoms but is perfect for window sealing if you want reinforced soundproofing insulation as it seals the gap on any window sill and window edge.

The foam seal strip material is just what you need to reduce noise coming from the outside and enhance the room’s sound quality.


Can you soundproof an existing wall with insulation?

Yes, you can. Even if the main focus of wall insulation is for thermal control, you can reinforce these insulations by ensuring that no weak points or gaps can form into air pockets, opening a chance for moisture and passage of sound waves. Use an acoustic sealant to fill the gaps.

How effective is expanding foam at acting as a sound barrier in a cavity compared with mineral wool?

Expanding insulation foam serves as a heat barrier than sound. Though it can reduce sound, open and closed-cell spray foams are more used for thermal insulation.

On the other hand, Mineral wool is composed of raw materials in stone or silica, heated until molten. Its specific purpose is for sound attenuation.

Should I use foam insulation or fiberglass insulation?

Fiberglass insulation, when poorly installed, can leave gaps and spaces for air and sound to escape.

In contrast, foam spray insulation doesn’t leave a chance for fissures, crevices, and small cracks for air pockets to form and can envelop even the internal barrier structure within the wall, such as pipes, wires, and electrical receptacles.

Conclusion

We have to admit that the number of choices in the market for soundproofing is overwhelming. Whether your budget is tight and lax, your personal decision will matter in the end.

Since it is tough to make a sound decision, better lay down your plan for what you specifically need.

What would be the ideal soundproofing for your needs?

  • You can have fiberglass or spray foam insulation in between walls. Mass loaded vinyl is also recommended for added soundproofing.
  • Foam boards, egg tray foams, acoustic panels for exterior walls will serve as sound enhancers. These types of materials are used in audio rooms and are perfect acoustic treatments.
  • Soundproof felt rugs are perfect for acoustic floor treatment.
  • Weatherstripping, door sweeps, acoustic curtains, and heavy blankets can be used for doors and windows.
  • For the ceiling, you can add stylish soundproof panels with similar functions as acoustic foams.

There is no end to what you can do or buy. With this guide, we hope you can find what you’re looking for when it comes to soundproofing your home.

Robert Castelao

Robert is an electronic engineer with more than five years of experience with a solid affinity for helping people reduce noise. He writes about these silent home appliances and easy soundproofing measures to help everyone avoid the negative effect of extended exposure to high noise levels.

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