When it comes to the soundproofing of any source the first thing which comes to mind is to use a heavy dense material which is good enough to block the soundwaves but this is not the case with mass loaded vinyl which is also known as MLV.
Mass loaded vinyl is designed in a way that its thickness to mass ratio is very competitive to other alternatives of soundproofing and that is why earlier used lead soundproofing is now getting replaced by the MLV.
Nowadays mass loaded vinyl has become the most trusted choice for residential and commercial use for soundproofing private space, offices or to dampen noise or vibrations.
Have you tried MLV or planning to buy MLV then make sure to learn detail from this guide which has great information collected from various sources to give you an idea on what is MLV, why this is important for soundproofing and how it works?
We will also suggest you the best mass loaded vinyl and its advantage to have in your house and ultimately mass loaded vinyl alternatives. Before deep dive into MLV let’s first learn what is Mass loaded vinyl?
What is Mass loaded Vinyl?
Every person who is planning to do soundproofing will come to the notice of Mass loaded vinyl because this is the only best material which gives you the best thickness to mass ratio.
Do you know the importance of this ratio? If not then let me explain you.
Soundwaves, once it originated from any source, have two different nature in real-world, either it got pass-through the other barrier and move forward or get reflected back. Which in other word we call this as Sound Absorbing and Soundproofing?
Sound-absorbing is possible if the material is soft enough to allow soundwaves to pass through and trap in between the end layers such as soundproof blanket but soundproofing materials reflect back the soundwaves which help us to prevent pass-through of unwanted noise.
Mass loaded Vinyl is a soundproofing material as its outer surface is reflective which means it doesn’t absorb the soundwaves but block them to pass through it.
Ideally, sound blocking is very efficient if the material is dense enough, which means thick and high mass material but this is not the case with MLV.
MLV is designed in a way that it is thinner and elastic in nature and made of minerals like Barium sulfate or other dense particles and fibers are the most commonly used material.
It was first developed as a non-toxic material to an alternative of lead soundproofing materials which primary use was to soundproofing but with the more development, the adoption got increased and been used as a primary source of soundproofing material in various other products.
Is Mass Loaded Vinyl Safe?
It is always a prime concern to know is MLV safe enough to use or not and there are various reasons to ask for such as the use of barium sulfate as a primary material of MLV which is toxic in nature can harm your health?
Yes, I have read from different sources that in the case of MLV barium sulfate is insoluble in the water, therefore, it has no health-hazardous, now do you need to worry about flammability?
Honestly, yes it is designed for high temperature and it can catch fire due to plasticizers inside of it but comparing with other MLV alternatives like acoustic foam it is better to have MLV for effective soundproofing.
Use of Mass Loaded Vinyl?
MLV primary use is for the soundproofing purpose, which can be any area around your house or car or RV or any place to which you want to keep quiet from unwanted noise.
Create a temporary sound blocker
MLV can be used for a temporary purpose by hanging around the source of the noise. It is like a thin sheet which can be used by hanging on top of a pipe.
If you are dealing with a lot of machines which are making unwanted noise then you can cover that using the MLV sheet which helps you to dampen the vibration and noise.
Use in SoundProof Curtains and Blankets
The best and affordable solution to soundproof any house or room or studio is using the blankets or curtains which are also made of some acoustic dense material.
In most of the cases, MLV is being used in different materials as a mixture to strengthen the sound blocking ability of curtain or blankets.
Mainly the guy who is recording music in studio use MLV sheet on top of the ceiling or walls for an effective sound block coming from outside of the room.
Use in Car and RV
MLV is widely used in car for the better audio quality which helps to minimize the audio distortion and improve the sound quality.
It is also used to minimize the vibration in the car or RV while driving as these are of adhesive nature which is easy to stick to the ground or ceiling of the car or RV.
Ideally, people use it below the carpet for efficient covering of most area as the material easy to cut on required size using a scissor.
SoundProof A wall or ceiling.
If you are struggling with your neighbor due to the thin layer drywall then the best feasible, cheap and effective solution is to cover that wall with MLV.
MLV helps to block the soundwaves coming from the other side of the wall and minimize the noise and vibrations of the soundwaves.
In the same way, it can be used on the ceiling to overcome the soundwaves coming from the top floor of the house as its main job is to reflect back everything coming from the other side of the room.
Above are a few uses of the MLV and due to its flexibility and thin nature, you can use it at every place wherever you want to minimize the noise.
Now let discuss the advantage and disadvantage of MLV.
Advantage and Disadvantage of Mass Loaded Vinyl
When it comes to using MLV, it is obvious to discuss the reason behind the use of MLV which makes it best and why this is highly recommended in the soundproofing industries.
Almost everything we already highlighted but here I will categories all in a separate part and will discuss what advantages and disadvantages you have to use with MLV.
Advantage of MLV
Well, it is obvious to identify the advantage for the use of MLV that makes it more important and which excite you to use MLV as your soundproofing material.
Low Mass and Thin Material
It is obvious that MLV is thin in nature like a paper sheet which is easy to fold and easy to hang around any corner. While comparing with other soundproof material due to the increase in Mass they are thicker in size which makes them heavier.
But this is not the case with MLV as it is lighter in weight which makes your installation job very easier.
Flexible in nature
As I said the thickness decide the flexibility nature of any material and MLV is thinner in shape which makes its nature bit flexible or elastic. If you will go with the other soundproofing material like Drywall which is rigid in nature.
Well, it can be used only on walls or on top of the rigid surface but you can not use this to block any other things like pipes and air vents.
In the soundproofing, the way to measure the ability of any material to block the soundwaves or resistant to soundwaves is through a factor called sound transmission class (STC).
The STC of MLV is high as compared to another material and the best part with MLV is high STC with low mass and less space make this ideal for soundproofing a room or house.
STC can be varied with the thickness of the sheet few are very thin however few are a bit thick so you can choose the best based on the need.
Disadvantage of MLV
MLV is far superior to all other materials and this makes it more perfect to install on top of an existing wall or to the ceiling or any other corner to minimize noise blocking material.
It is a bit expensive in price which makes it difficult to get widely used by everyone, the average price cost per square feet is around 3-4$.
Therefore if you are with a limited budget then should opt for the Mass loaded vinyl alternative which we are going to discuss at the end of the guide.
Other than price I don’t think it has anything to worry about if you want to specialize or soundproof your house.
Let me introduce you the best Mass Loaded Vinyl and how to chose the best Mass Loaded Vinyl.
Best Mass Loaded Vinyl
There is no limited seller for MLV there are more than 1000s of sellers available on varieties of an online store but I have found the basic check you need to do prior to buy any MLV.
We have to look for the advantages such as STC score and adhesive nature and what about its thickness and durability for a long time and of course it going to cover the existing wall which means colors of the MLV also matters.
I have found one MLV by Acoustimac SoundProofing (Amazon), which claims to have an STC score of 27 and weight is around 1 lb per square foot and around 1/8 inch of thickness and excellent sound blocking properties.
It is of around 4″*12.5″ roll which will be easy to transport and can cover a wall up to 50 square feet. It is perfect for home, studios, classroom and medical any area you want.
This is not the end with one product there are more list to browse prior to buy any one product, so if willing to check best seller and product check out below link.
I hope you found the best of your budget choice but have in mind the parameters we discussed earlier. But what if you want to have MLV alternatives?
Mass Loaded Vinyl ALternatives
Well if you have gone through each one of them then probably you got the idea behind having MLV and its advantages but due to expensive in price, if it’s not fitting to your budget then probably you should try Mass loaded vinyl alternatives.
Use of SoundProof Drywall
Drywall can be used in place of MLV which has STC in between 40-50 and best fit if you are struggling with the noisy neighbor.
Drywall installation can be a bit mechanical process where first you need to hang around the resilient than to work on finishing the wall joints and later need to color on top of that.
This drywall can be further covered with MLV in case it required, that moment make sure to cut the MLV of defined size and overlap each piece with other by at least 2 inches.
To learn on how to soundproof a wall using Drywall here is the ultimate guide on how drywall is effective enough for soundproofing?
Use of SoundProof Blankets
SoundProof Blanket is another effective solution which is made of two layers where the top one is the transparent layer and the middle layer is bit dense.
It allows to pass soundwaves in and trap this and absorb 60-70% of the soundwaves which cause minimize the noise in the room.
It can be used around the door or windows to maximize sound absorption capacity, to learn more about what is SoundPorof Blanket and how it helps make sure to visit this guide.
Use of SoundProof Curtain
SoundProof curtains are the cheapest solution to absorbing the soundwaves if you are struggling with echos in the house or room.
The major source which causes noise to come in the house is through the window if you can cover that with the curtains, will have the ability to absorb the soundwaves.
How SoundProof Curtain works and collection of Best SoundProof curtain make sure to check the detailed guide.
In such a way there are the different alternatives you can use to soundproof a house without Mass loaded vinyl.
My View on MLV
MLV is an expensive way to soundproofing anything but if that much investment of price can get your objectives then it is worth to invest.
There has been a lot much research happened where it claims that if you make your working or living space free from unwanted noise you can improve the quality or productivity of work.
Mass loaded vinyl is one of the best ways to help you on this part where the only thing you have to deal with is price. So make your own choice and let know our readers your opinion about MLV.