Soundproofing is the process of adding materials to a room to block out noise from the outside. There are many different ways to soundproof a room, but one of the most effective and easy ways is to use mass-loaded vinyl.
Because it is a heavy material and can be applied directly to walls. But is it the best solution for your needs?
According to the report of the International Organization for Standardization, Mass-loaded vinyl can reduce noise transmission by up to 80%. So it is clear that using mass-loaded vinyl is the most effective way to soundproof a room or structure.
Because mass-loaded vinyl is a very effective sound barrier, it is often used in construction and remodeling projects. It is also used in acoustical treatments for both residential and commercial applications.
That’s why you need to completely read this article. Because in this article, I have shared how you can use mass-loaded vinyl for soundproofing. Also, I have covered mass-loaded vinyl alternatives.
So, let’s get started.
What Is Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV)?
Mass-loaded vinyl is a form of soundproofing material that is composed of two layers of vinyl with a mass-loaded center. These three layers work together to form an effective sound barrier. However, it doesn’t block out all noise completely.
Instead of this, it reflects sound waves and also absorbs some, which makes it ideal for use in rooms where you want to reduce echo and outside noise. That’s why it is popular to use in recording studios and home theaters where sound quality is important.
However, it’s useful in other settings like offices and bedrooms. In these cases, it can help increase privacy and reduce distractions. It can also be helpful in reducing noise from outside, like traffic or construction.
All you need is a little bit of creativity to find the right application for mass-loaded vinyl in your life. But when it comes to the installation you should start with a small area. This is because it can be challenging to work with, and it’s best to get a feel for it before tackling a larger project.
How Does Mass Loaded Vinyl Work?
The key to understanding how mass-loaded vinyl works is in the physics of sound waves. Sound is a type of energy that travels through the air in the form of waves. These waves are created by vibrating objects, like your vocal cords or a guitar string.
The waves created by these vibrating objects are then amplified by surrounding objects, like your skull or the soundboard of a guitar. Finally, these amplified sound waves reach your ear, where they are converted into electrical signals that your brain can interpret as sound.
Now, let’s apply this knowledge to mass-loaded vinyl. When sound waves hit a mass-loaded vinyl barrier, some of the energy from the waves is reflected back. The remaining energy is absorbed by the vinyl.
This absorption of sound energy reduces the overall volume of the noise that is able to pass through the barrier. In other words, it helps to reduce the amount of noise that you hear.
In addition to reflecting and absorbing sound, mass-loaded vinyl also has a high weight. This weight helps to further reduce the noise that is able to pass through the barrier.
The combination of these three factors – reflection, absorption, and weight – makes mass-loaded vinyl an effective soundproofing material.
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 temperatures and it can catch fire due to plasticizers inside of it but compare with other MLV alternatives like acoustic foam it is better to have MLV for effective soundproofing.
Where You Can Use Mass Loaded Vinyl?
Mass-loaded vinyl can absorb the noise and reduce the echo. That’s why it can be used in many places where there is a need for soundproofing. Here are some of them:
- Temporary Noise Blocker: If you need to reduce the noise for a short period of time, then using mass-loaded vinyl can be a good idea. You can put it up on the windows and doors to reduce the outside noise.
- In Soundproof Curtains & Blankets: You can use mass-loaded vinyl as a material for your curtains or blankets. It will help to block the noise and create a more comfortable environment in your home.
- In Car & RV: MLV can be used to line the engine compartment, trunk, or interior panels to reduce road noise and engine noise. Because of its thinness, it can also be used to line doors and windows to create a better seal and reduce outside noise.
- Home Theater & Recording Studio: If you want to have a private theater experience or a recording studio at home, mass-loaded vinyl can be used to soundproof the room. Because it can block the noise from outside, it will give you a more immersive experience.
- Soundproof Wall & Ceiling: Both home and commercial buildings can take advantage of mass-loaded vinyl’s sound-deadening properties by installing it on the walls or ceiling. This will help to reduce the overall noise level in the room and make it more comfortable to stay in.
Advantages and Disadvantages 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 categorize 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 of 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 compared with other soundproof materials 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 decides the flexible nature of any material and MLV is thinner in shape which makes its nature a 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 soundproofing, the way to measure the ability of any material to block the soundwaves or be resistant to soundwaves is through a factor called sound transmission class (STC).
The STC of MLV is high as compared to other materials and the best part with MLV is high STC with low mass and less space making 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 perfect to install on top of an existing wall or on the ceiling or on 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 foot 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 to the best Mass Loaded Vinyl and how to choose 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 online stores but I have found the basic check you need to do prior to buying 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 of course it going to cover the existing wall which means the colors of the MLV also matter.
I have found one MLV by Trademark Soundproofing, 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 homes, studios, classrooms, and medical any area you want.
This is not the end with one product there are more lists to browse prior to buying any one product, so if willing to check best sellers and products check out the below link.
Mass Loaded Vinyl -MLV (Amazon)
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 its expensive price, if it’s not fitting to your budget then probably you should try Mass loaded vinyl alternatives.
1. Soundproof Drywall
Drywall can be used in place of MLV which has STC between 40-50 and best fit if you are struggling with a 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 is required, at that moment makes sure to cut the MLV of defined size and overlap each piece with the other by at least 2 inches.
To learn how to soundproof a wall using Drywall here is the ultimate guide on how drywall is effective enough for soundproofing?
2. Soundproof Blankets
SoundProof Blanket is another effective solution that is made of two layers where the top one is the transparent layer and the middle layer is a bit dense.
It allows the passing of soundwaves in and traps this and absorbs 60-70% of the soundwaves which cause minimizes 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.
3. Use of Soundproof Curtain
SoundProof curtains are the cheapest solution to absorbing the soundwaves if you are struggling with echoes 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 different alternatives you can use to soundproof a house without Mass loaded vinyl.
Wrap Up On Mass Loaded Vinyl
MLV is an expensive way to soundproof anything but if that much investment of price can get your objectives then it is worth investing.
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.
FAQ: Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV) For Soundproofing
There are many questions from people regarding mass-loaded vinyl for soundproofing. Here I am answering some important questions.
Q1. How does mass-loaded vinyl compare to other soundproofing materials?
Ans: There are a variety of soundproofing materials available on the market, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Mass-loaded vinyl is one of the most popular options because it is relatively inexpensive and easy to install. Other materials, such as soundproofing foam or absorbent panels, can be more effective at reducing noise, but they are also more expensive and can be difficult to install.
Q2. How much does mass-loaded vinyl cost?
Ans: MLV usually costs between $1 and $2 per square foot. But, the price can vary depending on the manufacturer and the thickness of the material.
Q3. How effective is mass-loaded vinyl at soundproofing?
Ans: Mass-loaded vinyl is an effective soundproofing material that can be used in a variety of applications. It is often used to soundproof walls, ceilings, and floors. It can also be used to soundproof cars, trucks, and other vehicles.