What is Soundproof Insulation?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Soundproof insulation is insulation which is designed to muffle or deaden sound to reduce noise pollution. It can be used to keep sound from escaping a room, and to keep sounds from entering a room, allowing people to be noisy without upsetting neighbors, and making the inside of a structure peaceful, no matter what is going on outside. There are a number of different styles of soundproof insulation which can be applied both before and after a room has been built, and construction companies which specialize in soundproofing are happy to soundproof for people who do not want to do it themselves.

Soundproof room.
Soundproof room.

The goal of soundproof insulation is to create density which traps the sound waves so that they cannot pass through. Soundproofing can be done either during or after construction. Filler insulations can be used while a wall is being constructed to reduce the transmission of sound, and some construction companies offer special framing techniques so that sound will not be transmitted through the joists and joins in the wall, although this can add to the expense of a structure considerably.

Acoustic foam for soundproofing.
Acoustic foam for soundproofing.

It is also possible to use soundproofing materials which are designed to be applied to the outside of the wall after a structure has been built. Padded baffles can be attached to a wall to muffle sound, as can foam with a peel and stick backing. For cheap soundproofing, some people staple egg crates to a wall. Existing walls can also be soundproofed by punching holes into the wall and blowing insulation in before re-sealing the hole.

A roll of mineral wool insulation, which can be used for sound proofing.
A roll of mineral wool insulation, which can be used for sound proofing.

People who want noise reduction should be aware that the walls are only the starting point. The ceiling may also need to be insulated, and sound can also pass through windows and doors. Soundproof windows and frames are available, along with soundproof doors, for people who want to significantly reduce the noise level in a room or structure.

Soundproofing foam panels may be used in recording studios.
Soundproofing foam panels may be used in recording studios.

Soundproofing can make a huge difference in comfort level, especially in the home, where external noises can be extremely irritating. In addition to muffling sound, the extra insulation also reduces home energy costs, because the insulation traps heat or cool air, reducing the amount of heating and cooling required to maintain a comfortable temperature in a home.

Acoustic insulation can be used to soundproof a floor.
Acoustic insulation can be used to soundproof a floor.

Renters who want to install soundproof insulation should consult their landlords. Some landlords may agree to pay for in-wall insulation, or to split the cost with renters who are frustrated by outside noises. If baffles and insulation material are going to be attached to the walls, a landlord will probably request that the soundproof insulation be removed and the walls restored to their prior condition when the tenants leave the structure.

Soundproof insulation could prevent a situation in which someone is kept up by a loud neighbor.
Soundproof insulation could prevent a situation in which someone is kept up by a loud neighbor.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

franklong

Thanks for posting this article. It's very useful content for me.

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