Are you looking for a quiet and noise-free home? You can be perpetually tired of constant traffic or noisy neighbors as most of us. Are you setting up a music or podcast recording studio at home? You may also be welcoming a newborn in your home and want to ensure they can sleep in the quietest of atmosphere possible.
If your concern ticks any of the above boxes, what you are looking for is proper soundproofing insulation. Read on to explore the various benefits and best soundproofing insulation currently available to keep the outside noise at bay, giving you back your peace.
Does Insulation Help with Soundproofing?
Most of the homes and buildings we live in have cavity walls, meaning they come with two separate layers and an empty space in between. Although the cavity is supposed to act as a soundproofing layer, that is not the case always. This is due to the extreme thinness of the two wall layers, which hardly prevents any sound from passing.
Also, the empty space in between allows sound waves to pass through easily, as sound travels easily through air.
In order to prevent this, insulation is the only way out. Insulation closes the empty space between the two cavity walls in such a way that sound is unable to pass through it, thereby creating an effective acoustic barrier. It guarantees the protection of privacy that every home deserves, but rarely gets.
Which Insulation Is Best for Soundproofing?
When it comes to soundproofing insulation, there are a diverse range of options for you to choose from.
These products act as a sound barrier, preventing the transmission of sound in between rooms of your house as well as the interiors and exteriors.
These acoustic insulations are available in a variety of sizes and choice of materials such as cotton, mineral wool, fiberglass etc, depending upon your needs and requirement.
A few important aspects need to be kept in mind when choosing the best insulation for soundproofing. Aspects like whether you want an interior or exterior insulant, the frequency of sounds to be blocked/absorbed and the requirement for thermal insulation are some of the key factors determining the type of soundproofing insulation you must opt for.
Now, without further ado, let’s delve into the different types of insulation:
Types of Insulation
Having gone through all three types of insulation, we’re sure it is clearly evident to you that the blown insulation method is highly ineffective. It is mostly applicable for attics, where soundproofing is of hardly any use.
However, foam spray insulation is better in that regard, although it is on the costlier side and cannot be afforded by all and sundry. This leaves us with the most popular and common choice among all homeowners – batt insulation.
5 Best Soundproofing Insulation Materials
1. Multi-purpose Mineral Wool
As the name suggests, multi-purpose mineral wool can be used to provide both thermal as well as acoustic insulation for your home.
Its usual measurements are 24inch x 48inch x 2inch with 4 inches in thickness, which is about similar to the width of the wooden studs in your wall.
The Noise Reduction Coefficient of Multi-purpose Mineral Wool ranges from 0.8 to 1.1, according to the thickness of the panels.
With fire resistant and hydrophobic properties, they are ideal to be used in the interiors for soundproofing walls as well as in the exterior for thermal insulation.
High-frequency sounds such as car horns, children’s voice and whistling can be easily absorbed by Rockboard 60 whereas Rockboard 80 is more effective in absorbing sounds of lower frequency bass sounds such as drum base, distant thunder and church bell, which are heard as vibrations.
2. Fiberglass Soundproofing
With sound absorption features similar to Mineral Wool, Fiberglass differs from mineral wool in the sense that it is an artificial material and is more expensive than mineral wool.
One of the most popular Fiberglass soundproofing products is the Owens Corning 703. Covered neatly with fabric, it can be easily put up on walls for effective soundproofing.
Owens Corning 703 ideally works best with high-frequency sound absorption. This is why it is mostly preferred to be used for paneling home theatre and studios.
With a standard measurement of 24inch x 48inch x 2 inches, it has an impressive NRC of 1.0, starting from 300 kHz.
3. Cotton Soundproofing
If you are looking forward to building your own soundproofing panels, cotton soundproofing might be good for you.
Because of the uber soft nature of cotton, the cotton soundproofing sheets need to be fitted in a frame before they can be installed.
They are really cheap and cost-effective. Moreover, they are made of materials which are eco-friendly and non-toxic in nature, with similar soundproofing qualities as their costlier counterparts, fiberglass and mineral wool.
4. High Performance Mineral Wool
This is another Mineral Wool soundproofing product but with higher quality acoustic insulation. It is mostly installed on the inside of walls, ceilings, and floors.
As it lacks a thermal insulation feature, it is not suitable for external wall application, unlike Rockboard products.
The Roxul Safe’N Sound is the best example in this category. With exceptional acoustic dampening properties, this stone wool insulation product is lightweight and can be easily cut to be fitted in residential walls and steel stud constructions.
Owing to its non-combustible property, it is fire-resistant in nature and does not promote growth of fungi and mildew, or corrosion. It is also water and moisture resistant and has superior sound absorbing qualities.
5. Owens Corning FRK
Another Fiberglass soundproofing insulation product, this is a very popular and sought-after product for acoustic absorption. The rigid FRK or Foil Reinforced Kraft base aids in creating bass traps. This foil facing reflects some of the mid to high range frequencies, whereas allowing the low range frequencies to easily pass through.
It comes in the standard measurement of 24inch x 48inch x 2 inches and in a case of 6 panels.
Keep in mind a few important points such as wearing long-sleeved and loose-fitting clothing along with gloves while installation as they can cause respiratory, skin and eye irritation otherwise. You must also avoid breathing in the fiberglass dust as a precautionary measure.
All of those above mentioned products and materials are quite effective in soundproofing and acoustic insulation.
We highly recommend going for panel format of mineral wool and rockwool products for soundproofing a room. These insulation products are usually available as rigid panels and softer batts in the stores.
Coming to their installation process, they are purchased in packages of six panels. You can precisely cut out the insulation panels to fit them into the cavities as well as around the electrical outlets and studs using a drywall saw. These panels are a smooth and easy fit inside the cavities. This ensures there is no empty space for leakage of sound to the adjoining rooms.
Once you have successfully soundproofed your rooms using these five soundproofing insulation products, you will notice a significant reduction in the impact of outside noise as well as the impact of noise through floors and ceilings. You can opt for floor underlayment in order to further soundproof the floors.