Insulations are the ways to eliminate or reduce the noise while doing soundproofing of the house but what type of insulation is best for soundproofing?
I have been searching for the same while doing soundproofing of my house and suddenly stumbled upon a few of the collections. Which I listed in this guide.
Insulations are the ability of any material to reduce the noise by absorbing and converting it into heat and in this list, there are few insulation materials that are very famous.
Acoustic foam and Mineral wool, if you are new to this then I must recommend reading on what are they and how they help in reducing the noise.
Never completely rely on any defined material or approach as the noise could be generated due to many reasons such as airborne noise due to whispering, TV, etc, or structure-borne noise due to objects impact or footsteps.
Learn the major difference between Airborne and Structure borne noise.
So if your plan is to soundproof home using insulation material try to cover almost all noise possible areas such as a wall, ceiling, window, door, etc.
According to the U.S Department of Energy, approx 50% of energy consumption in the house is due to heating or cooling and soundproof insulation can also help you to make your house not only noise-free but energy efficient.
So let me give you an idea of what types of insulation are best for soundproofing and energy efficiency in the house.
What Type of Insulation is Best For Soundproofing
When it comes to insulation, it is available in varieties of material and with different purposes, so it all up to you which one you love to choose based on the need and budget.
In general, insulation is classified into the below types based on the materials they have been using.
- Fiberglass insulation.
- Mineral wool insulation
- Cellulose insulation
- Spray Foam Insulation
The major focus area to use this insulation is in the empty space of the studs you have been using in your wall partitioning or in the vacant space of the joist on the ceiling or the attic.
Out of these, the most common and best effective soundproof insulation materials are Batt or Roll, Blow-In and Foam Spray types of insulation. Why and how is described in the guide.
The selection of the insulation could be based on the objective of preventing heat transfer or blocking the noise. So let first understand what should be the selection criteria.
Sound Transmission Class (STC)
STC is a number assigned to any material which depicts the ability of any material to block the sound waves means how much strong insulation it has.
The higher the STC of any material then the chances of that material to block the noise will be higher.
If you have an example of a wall with size 2*4″ with 1/2″ of the drywall on both sides will have an STC of 34, however, to become of strong insulation barries it should have STC score of 50+.
Noise Reduction coefficient (NRC)
Higher STC ensures a strong barrier for the noise from inside or outside but sometimes for proper soundproofing you will need a better sound-absorbing material which reduces the echos generating within the house.
Hence NRC is the ability of any material to absorb the noise or minimize noise reflection and amplification.
A wall with normal paint coated has an NRC score of 0.05 which means the wall has the ability to absorb only 5% and reflect 95% of the noise.
Hence make sure the selection of the material should be perfect with both STC and NRC or should be a combination of both.
Make sure insulation material should have a high noise reduction coefficient (NRC) and Sound transmission class (STC) both.
R-Value of Insulation
R stands for the resistance of the heat and sound waves which means higher the R-Value less will be the flow of the heat and sound through the wall, floor, ceiling, etc.
It maintains the heat inside and outside with less transmission.
If you are good with these three important factors then let me explain in brief about the various insulation materials in brief.
Fiber Glass Insulation
Fiberglass is commonly used thermal insulation made of fine reinforced plastic using glass fibers.
Fiberglass is more sort of sound-absorbing material as its main property is to dissipate heat energy due to porous material and well efficient if your objective is to maintain the heat in and out.
But if your focus is to block noise then only this could not be the best choice, you will need a noise-blocking material along with fiberglass insulation material.
Mineral Wool Insulation
It is also known as Fiber, mineral cotton, mineral fiber. It is fire-resistant and does not absorb water.
Mineral wool is structured in the form of a mat of fibers that prevent the movement of the air which ensures the cold or heat within the room. This is quite effective for both airborne and structure born noise.
Cellulose insulation is plant fiber which is used in the wall cavity between studs and cavity in between the joist of the ceiling.
They are draughtproof and noise-free and could be the best solution to dampen or absorb the noise coming from the other side.
They are made of loose filled fibers which increase the thermal performance as it traps air means noise too and its ability to fill every small air pocket improves the noise insulation efficiency of the wall.
Spray Foam Insulation
Spray foam insulation is made of the two chemical products isocyanate and Poylol rasin, when using this material all together it reacts and expands up to 30-60 times.
This means every single cavity will be filled and will be easy to fit even at a very small space with any defined shape and cause of that it produces high thermal insulation.
It is an alternative of the traditional building insulation like fiberglass and this can not be done as DIY, you will need professional.
If you are familiar with all types of insulation and willing to explore more in detail what is the best insulation for a soundproof wall, window, door, ceiling, etc then keep reading.
How to create Insulation for the house?
We are familiar that the use of the above-listed insulation materials will be not applicable everywhere but we can find some material that has insulation property and can be used to that particular place.
To reduce noise and improve the insulation of the house we need to focus on the below areas which detailed on steps and use of insulations.
Best Insulation for the Existing wall
If you are planning to insulate the existing wall which has already installed drywall then, unfortunately, you will need a professional to do insulation for you.
In this list, the best insulation type material would be the
- Spray Foam insulation
- Blow-In Cellulose insulation
A small hole will be drilled to the cavity of the stud all the blow-in cellulose will be injected into the cavity of the studs behind the drywall.
Loose-fill Cellulose which has an STC score of 44 and NRC of 0.8 and high R-value of 3.6 to 4.0.
It is highly resistant to heat and able to maintain the heat within the room and more energy consumption.
You can also go with the Spray foam insulation as it gives more packaging to every small corner where you won’t have access post-construction or to the existing wall.
Due to tight bonding among the foam cause not only thermal balance but strong noise insulation.
Here is the most recommended Spray foam insulation you can use for wall soundproofing.
- Quickly Seals Out Air & Insulates
- 17 Free Extras with Orders Over $250
- Light Green Foam Reduces Waste
Last updated on 2021-10-15/Affiliate Links/ Images from Amazon
But if you are at the pre-construction of the building wall then you can also use the Mineral wool Batt (3.5″) which has an STC score of 45 and NRC of 1.05.
It could be easily fixed in the cavity of the studs using DIY and will not have that trouble.
You can use a multipurpose Rockwool Acoustic Mineral wool insulation material to achieve both reduce energy consumption and noise soundproofing goal.
- Mineral Wool Insulation in 8lbs per unit density.
- Great as Acoustic insulation or as a soundproofing material
- Cost effective and Very High NRC Rating, better than Owens...
Last updated on 2021-10-18/Affiliate Links/ Images from Amazon
This type of insulation is efficient enough to block the unwanted noise coming from the other side of the wall.
If you have a budget to scale it to the next level then I recommend going with the decoupling method of the insulation.
But how to create a decoupling zone for wall insulation?
There you can use drywall to create another layer of the wall, but I recommend using the soundproof drywall.
Use the resilient channel to connect one drywall with the existing wall so you will have a decoupling zone in between two walls.
Now fill the cavity using the sound dampening material like Green Glue (By Noiseproof) or insulation material like bat insulation.
Using the above strategy you will have full command on both heat transfer and noise coming from the other side of the wall and obviously best soundproofing using the insulation material.
If you think this is worth trying to use then feel free to check on the Amazon.
Best insulation for the exterior of the wall.
When it comes to exterior wall insulation in my most favorite list two best options.
- Acoustic foam panels
- Mass loaded Vinyl
Acoustic foam panels are best to fit if willing to use in the studio as it is available in varieties of shapes and sizes and able to eliminate low to high-frequency noise..
Here I explained all in detail with types of acoustic foams and how each one is effective for the defined noise problem. Acoustic foams are easy to stick on top of the wall using adhesive glue.
Their job is to absorb the soundwaves and reduce the reflection of the noise. However, this will look awkward if you use on the other area of the house hence the other alternative is Mass loaded Vinyl.
MLV is well known for its thickness to mass ratio as its thinner and effective enough to block the noise. Hence you can cut this in a defined shape and can stick to the existing wall.
It looks decorative and widely used at commercial or residential places to block the noise, here is a detailed guide on what is MLV and how it could be the best insulation for noise.
But willing to check the best Acoustic foam material then must check the recommended best acoustic foams this is could be the perfect solution to absorb the noise and reduce echos.
If willing to increase the mass of the existing wall using a thin material that is quite effective in noise-blocking then I must recommend using MLV by Second Skin.
Wall is the major area to focus on blocking any unwanted noise, the weak wall with small holes and cracks won’t long last to fight against the noise, hence must learn step by step on how to soundproof a wall.
Best insulation for the ceiling
Ceiling causes most of the structure-borne noise due to the footsteps or the use of the heavy machine by the person living above your apartment.
Hence to make better insulation of the ceiling you can use cellulose but it is an old material used for the attic insulation but this could be the DIY solution if you are willing to try now.
Hence the next better insulation would be fiberglass insulation which is extremely fine glasses and can be installed as DIY and will be inexpensive.
But the best solution will be to use the Foam insulation which is in the liquid form offer a great barrier for the air and the noise.
It has the ability to expand 30-60 times its volume which means create an airtight solution.
Foam insulation always needs a professional guy to install in the right way as it is not possible to do a DIY solution and if running out of budget then I would recommend using Bat insulation.
The other area on the ceiling you can try by creating the decoupling zone as we did for the wall and try to trap the noise as much as possible.
You can cover the ceiling with acoustic ceiling tiles and increase the mass for the existing ceiling.
- For use in a standard 15/16" Suspended T-Bar Ceiling Grid....
- Made from extremely thin, lightweight 0.013" thick rigid...
- Each case contains 12 individual ceiling tiles, sized 2 ft...
Last updated on 2021-10-12/Affiliate Links/ Images from Amazon
Do remember Ceiling is not easy to replace hence either you have to fill it with foam or batt insulation or increase mass using the ceiling tiles and additional layer of drywall or coverall with MLV else you won’t counter the noise coming from the ceiling.
Best Insulation for Window
The Window is another major area that might have an issue with leakage around the fixing of the window and its frame and if it has space left to pass the air then obviously noise.
You must use the soundproof curtain which helps to absorb all the unwanted noise passing through the window and minimize most of its transmission energy and reduces echos.
If willing to buy one then must go with NICETOWN Microfiber Noise-reducing Thermal insulated curtain.
- READY MADE: Set includes 2 BLACKOUT PANELS of 42" wide x 84"...
- SERVE WELL: Curtains impede 85%-99% light and UV rays(Dark...
- ENERGY SMART: Triple weave blackout fabric balances room...
Last updated on 2021-10-12/Affiliate Links/ Images from Amazon
The window might need weatherstripping to fill the air gap in between the glass and the window frame and you might increase the insulation using the double glazing of the existing window.
I am not suggesting you replace the existing window but yes using soundproof curtain and filling all around gap you can create the best noise proofing window rest you can learn from the exclusive 9 tips on soundproofing window.
Best Insulation for the Door
The door is the major area in the room after the wall which covers large space and due to the weak door, it could be a weak source of insulation. To increase the door soundproofing.
We can use insulation material like door curtain or soundproof blanket both are well effective and could be temporary solutions in case you need for a short period of time. But the curtain could be a long-run solution.
Another major area that required attention is the space left below the door and the ground which can be covered using the door sweep materials and make sure to cover the door frame gaps or cracks using the acoustic sealant and your door will be very much insulated.
Learn here some tips on how to soundproof a door and make it best for the insulation of the house.
Acoustic Sealant for stong insulation
An acoustic sealant is different from the regular coak due to its tight sealing of the hole and blocking the unwanted noise.
We are familiar with the small holes or cracks around the corner of the door or wall or windows. To make them soundproof acoustic caulk would be the best insulation material for soundproofing.
It has a permanent flexible nature which reduces the chances of crack and adhesive in nature to create a strong barrier for noise.
No matter you are doing what for the insulation you will definitely need acoustic sealant because to fill the small gaps or holes will be only possible using the acoustic sealant.
Here is the best acoustic sealant guide on how it can help you to improve the soundproof insulation and collection of the best sealant.
Wrap Up on What type of insulation is best for SoundProofing
We have covered almost all major area and the use of insulation material will totally depend on either you are using it in pre-construction or post-construction.
If you have a budget and try to go for Celllulos and Spray foam insulation due to their dual effective results in both heat and noise blocking.
There are different other ways to improve the insulation such as applying the acoustic paint which might improve the 3-7 STC score and use floor insulation to eliminate the echos.
Let me know which insulation you are planning to use in the comment box and why?