Your Guide to Different Types of Soundproof Insulation
Soundproof insulation makes a valuable contribution to any new soundproofing project. After all, you can build the best soundproofing techniques from the inside out. We cannot see soundproof insulation, but it forms the ideal foundation for a soundproof space.
Noise is a part of our daily lives, but that doesn’t mean that it is a good thing. In fact, according to the CDC, constant exposure to noise can lead to depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, heart disease, and even hearing loss. We can create a more peaceful home by just paying attention to the type of insulation that we put in our walls.
What is Soundproof Insulation?
A quick review of basics first. Insulation is a building material that creates a barrier to transmission of something from one place to another. In most cases in buildings, insulation prevents the transfer of heat. Soundproof insulation prevents the transmission of sound from one area to another. It does this by absorbing sound that strikes it so that disrupts the path of the noise.
Factors to Consider in Insulation
Insulation is an integral part of building a wall. Soundproofing is one important consideration when deciding on the best insulation for your home. But, there are other elements that can also help you choose the best overall insulation for your home.
- R-Value – The R-value in insulation measures the material’s resistance to the flow of heat. The higher the R-value, the more the particular insulation resists the transfer of heat and the better it is at insulating your home.
- NRC – The NRC value stands for Noise Reduction Coefficient. This number is most important in sound proof insulation. This number measures the insulation’s ability to absorb sound on a scale from 0.0-1.0.
- Fire Resistance – The fire resistance of insulation is that product’s ability to withstand fire for a certain period of time. Insulations made from mineral wool or fiberglass have natural fire-resistant properties.
- Allergens – Certain people have sensitivities to various products. It is important to understand what your triggers are before you install certain insulation products.
- Eco Choice – If you are an eco-conscious person, a sustainable and clean source of insulation would work best for you. Fiberglass, cellulose, cotton, and mineral wool score the highest when comparing sustainability, longevity, cost, and quality.
- Installation – Insulation comes in various forms such as bats, blankets, spray, and foam. Consider the difficulty level of installation if this is a DIY project.
- Budget – Types of insulation have different costs. In general, the higher the R-value, the more expensive the insulation.
- STC – Another important measure for soundproof insulation is the STC rating. This measures the amount of sound that the insulation blocks. The higher the STC, the more noise the material blocks.
Materials Used for Soundproof Insulation
There are various types of soundproofing insulation. The materials of these products differ, but these are the best sound insulation products on the market today.
Mineral Wool Insulation
Mineral wood insulation is made from natural stone or slag, a waste product from steel. Natural stone or slag is heated to a high temperature and spun into fibers that resemble wool. Manufacturers strengthen it with resins and oils.
- This insulation uses around 90% recycled products.
- It has a high R-value and is fire-resistant.
- It is one of the more expensive insulations and is around 10% more expensive than standard fiberglass insulation.
- It is one of the best soundproof insulations as it has a NRC between .95-1.05.
- Mineral wool insulation has one of the highest STC ratings of 45.
Fiberglass insulation is made from spun fibers of heated glass mixed with plastic to make it pliable. This is a popular and cost-effective insulation and comes in batts, rolls, and loose-fill.
- This is energy-efficient insulation with a good R-value based on the thickness of the insulation.
- It is made from 30% recycled products.
- This insulation is problematic for some people’s allergies.
- This insulation has a middle-range STC of 39 on average.
- Fiberglass insulation absorbs sound well and has a high NRC rating of .9-.95.
Fabricators create cotton insulation from cellulose fibers from denim jeans and other clothing. They bind the material in batts that are easy to install between stud boards.
- Cotton insulation has a medium-range R-value score.
- It is made from recycled products and is biodegradable.
- It does not have any natural fire resistance, but it is treated with boric acid to increase its fire resistance.
- Cotton insulation is more expensive than fiberglass insulation.
- It has a high STC rating of 51 and NRC of 1.15.
Cellulose insulation is made from shredded paper products like newspaper, cardboard, and other recycled paper products. Fire-retardant materials like boric acid are added to this insulation to make it fire-resistant.
- It is made from around 85% recycled products.
- It is cost-effective insulation.
- It has a good R-value above fiberglass insulation.
- Cellulose insulation has an STC rating of 39 and an NRC of .80 and above.
Foam insulation comes in many forms from spray foam to rigid boards. They are created from various types of plastics. There are both closed cellular forms and open cellular forms. The open cellular types of insulation have better noise absorption qualities. Spray foam is versatile and easy to use. It fits in awkward areas and closed off places better than batts or rolls of insulation.
- This material is not fire-resistant, but it is treated with fire-retardants.
- Spray foam has an STC rating of 39 and an NRC rating of .70.
A Buying Guide for Soundproof Insulation
We have gathered some of the most effective sound proofing insulation brands. Consider the material type, cost, and effectiveness of the product to decide which is right for you.
Many consider Rockwool the gold standard when it comes to mineral wool insulation. This is a stone wool insulation for use in interior partitions between wood or steel studs. It is fire-resistant and has excellent sound absorption qualities. Rockwool Safe’n’Sound has an STC rating between 45-52 depending on the kind of studs you use it with. The 3” to 6” insulations have a 1.05 and 1.15 NTC.
QuietBatt 30 Soundproofing Insulation
QuietBatt is a high density cotton insulation. It has fire-resistant properties and is rated Class A. It contains 80% recycled materials. This cotton insulation is easy to cut and install. QuietBatt has an NRC rating of .95.
Owens Corning Pink Next Gen Sound Attenuation Batts (SAB)
This Owens Corning fiberglass insulation comes in lightweight and easy-to-use sections. You can use these in interior wall cavities. It is available in 8-foot sections of 2 ½ to 3 ½ inch thicknesses. It is rated up to 2 hours for fire-resistance. It has STC ratings between 39-52 depending on the thickness of the types of studs you use with it.
Sanctuary® Blow-In or Spray-Applied Insulation
This is a good option if you are looking for an eco-conscious choice that still absorbs sound. Sanctuary cellulose insulation claims a 60% reduction in sound power. This is also a good option if you need insulation to fit into tiny crevices. It uses 88% recycled material. It is treated with fire-resistant material. Cellulose insulation has an STC rating of 39.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
Is thicker insulation better for creating soundproof insulation?
Thicker insulation increases the R-value (energy efficiency) and it increases its sound absorption levels. So, the thicker the soundproof insulation, the less noise it will allow to pass through.
What is the best sound deadening insulation?
The best soundproof insulation remains mineral wool insulation. This is also one of the most expensive types of insulation.
Does soundproof insulation work?
Yes, soundproof insulation does create a more soundproof area. Yet, soundproof insulation will not work as well on its own as it will in combination with other products. These include soundproof drywall, acoustic caulk, and options like acoustic panels. The best way to create a soundproof room is to layer many soundproof products.
What is the least expensive insulation for soundproofing?
One of the most cost-effective options for soundproof insulation is fiberglass. This is the most popular and one of the least expensive types of insulation with the best soundproof qualities.
Soundproof insulation is not one of the most glamorous of building elements, but it is vital in creating a soundproof space. The great news is that there are so many good options for soundproof insulation. Consider the scope, budget, and needs of your project in order to choose the right one for you.