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I Hate Hearing Through the Wall! - Sound Blocking

Soundproofing and Sound Absorption: What's the Difference?

Sound is like water. It doesn't have a shape or form, but molds itself to its surroundings. And like water, sound can be absorbed by some materials and contained by others. Click here to learn more sound basics.

Soundproofing products trap sound. They contain the sound within a space, making it impossible for the sound to move to other parts of the building. They also stop unwanted sound from entering the room. Click here to learn more sound absorption basics.

On the other hand, sound absorption products soak up sound. They absorb sound waves and prevent them from bouncing off the walls. They improve the quality of the sound within the area.

How Do I Know which Type of Soundproofing I Need?

Here's an easy 2-step process to determine which you need:

Step 1: Identify WHAT noise you hear.

Is it someone's voice? It is the TV? Is it the traffic outside your window?

Step 2: Identify WHERE the noise is coming from.

Is the noise coming from inside the same space as you, or is it coming from a separate room? For instance, is it the voice of someone on the phone in the office across the hall? Are the echoes in the room bothering you? If there's a construction element, such as a wall, that separates you from the noise, then it's not in the same space as you.

Sound absorption products help control the noise that's in the same space as you and improve the sound quality of that space.

Soundproofing products stop sound from entering or exiting your space.

How Do Soundproofing Products Block Sound?

Sound blockers stop sound transmission from one space to another. If you hear your neighbors through the ceiling, your dog barking through the wall, or the disco downstairs, you need sound blocking products.

Rigid materials are the most effective sound conductors. The cause of most sound blocking problems is the material separating you from the noise is too rigid to trap sound vibrations.

Tin-can telephones are the perfect example of how sound is conducted. If the string connecting the cans is slack, the telephones won't work. The sound energy can't pass through because there is no rigid medium. But once the string is pulled tightly, the sound travels easily between the cans.

This same idea is behind your problem surface: the sound waves are transmitting from one side to the other, resulting in unwanted noise.

So how do you block sound? Stop sound waves.

What's STC?

To be able to compare the performance of different soundproofing products, we rate them by how much sound they can block. This rating is called STC, which stands for Sound Transmission Class. Click here to learn more about STC.

Generally, the higher the STC rating, the better the product is at blocking sounds.

Recommended Soundproofing Products

Below is a listing of our popular soundproofing products. For more information, click on the product name.

Sound Isolation

Surprisingly, the most effective way to block sound completely is to build two surfaces that do not physically touch. If the surfaces aren't pressed against one another, sound waves have no medium to pass through and are trapped. However, this is a costly solution because it requires two studs per wall and two separate floors.

The best alternative to building two separate surfaces is installing the isoTRAX™ Soundproofing System.

isoTRAX™ reduces the number of contact points between drywall and wall studs. The contact points that remain are coated with two layers of sound blocking material.

Instead of conducting sound vibrations, like the string of a tin-can telephone, your wall studs are sealed to stop the vibrations that cause unwanted noise.

isoTRAX™ Soundproofing System

Features & Benefits:

Noise Reduction Performance - The Sound Transmission Class (STC) ranges from 52 - 61 when applied to 16 inch on center, 2x4 wood stud walls.

Ease of Installation - isoTRAX™ requires a basic understanding of common construction techniques. This product was engineered for the do it yourselfer and contractor alike.

Affordable - One package covers up to 64 SqFt. Total installed cost is lower than comparable soundproofing systems. Everything you need to soundproof your environment is included and delivered to your door.

Sound Blocking - Another way to block sound is to install a dense material within your rigid medium to trap the majority of sound waves. Pure cement works the best, but you probably won't want to re-do your entire area in concrete.
The next best solution is mass-loaded vinyl (MLV). Sheets of this heavy black polymer, installed behind drywall or under flooring, block vibrations and reduce the sound energy that travels through your medium.

Quiet Barrier® Soundproofing Material

Features & Benefits

Dual soundproofing function -The mass of Quiet Barrier® blocks sound while its flexible nature dampens sound energy, giving improved acoustic performance over competitive rigid products.

Value - Pound for pound, Quiet Barrier® products have better noise reduction characteristics then steel and other building materials.

Low Profile - Valuable square footage is maximized. Quiet Barrier® MD is only 1/8 inch thick and Quiet Barrier® HD is 1/4 inch thick saving space and money.

Variety - Quiet Barrier® soundproofing products are available in a variety of lengths and widths. Also, some Quiet Barrier® products are available with a "peel and stick" pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA). Custom shapes and sizes available upon request.

In-stock - We stock all advertised sizes and configurations of Quiet Barrier® in large quantities. Most products are shipped the same day they are ordered and arrive at your project in three business days.

Proven History - Over 1.5 Million square feet of Quiet Barrier® soundproofing products have been installed in projects nationwide.

Quiet Barrier® Soundproofing Composites

Features & Benefits

Triple soundproofing function- The mass of Quiet Barrier® blocks sound while its flexible nature dampens sound energy. The Acoustic foam acts as a decoupler, structurally isolating the heavy barrier layer from the construction assembly, ultimately increasing the sound blocking performance.

Low Profile -Quiet Barrier® soundproofing composites range in thickness from 9/16 inch to 1 ¼ inch saving valuable square footage.

Variety - Quiet Barrier® soundproofing composites are available in a variety weights and thicknesses. Quiet Barrier® soundproofing composites are available with an optional "peel and stick" pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA).

In-stock - We stock all advertised sizes and configurations of Quiet Barrier® soundproofing composites. Most products are shipped the same day they are ordered and arrive at your project in three business days.

Proven History - Over 1 Million square feet of Quiet Barrier® soundproofing composites are installed in projects nationwide.

Quiet Barrier® Specialty Composites

Features & Benefits

Triple Soundproofing Function - The mass of Quiet Barrier® layer blocks sound while its flexible nature dampens sound energy. The thicker of the two layers of Acoustic foam acts as a sound absorber, decreasing ambient reflected noise. The thinner layer of acoustic foam acts as a decoupler, structurally isolating the heavy barrier layer from the construction assembly, ultimately decreasing vibration and increasing the sound blocking performance.

Heat Resistant - Quiet Barrier® Specialty Composites have a fiber-reinforced Mylar® facing that not only reflects high frequencies, but also reflects heat back toward the source. This product is our best performing sound blocking material in exposed locations with above average temperatures.

Durable - The Mylar® facing provides a cleanable, tear-resistant surface for applications that may come in contact with oils or grease. Once punctured, the embedded fibers will prevent additional tearing or damage. The acoustic foam and barrier layers are thermally bonded, providing a much stronger, longer-lasting bond over traditional adhesives.

Quiet Batt® Soundproofing Insulation

Features & Benefits

Excellent Sound Absorption Performance -Quiet Batt® absorbs sound within wall and ceiling cavities, reducing the sound transfer from one space to the next. Quiet Batt® has the highest NRC obtainable of 1.00.

Keep it Green - Quiet Batt® is manufactured with 80% recycled natural cotton fibers.

Easy to Install - Quiet Batt® is friction fit between 16 inch and 24 inch on center studs and does not require any special tools to install. Quiet Batt® can be used between wood or steel studs.

Easy to Handle - Quiet Batt® is itch free and does not contain formaldehyde or other harmful chemicals.

Energy Savings - Quiet Batt® helps keep your house warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

Impact Barrier® Flooring Underlayments

Features & Benefits:

Dual soundproofing function - Impact Barrier® Flooring Underlayments significantly reduce noise from impact, such as foot fall, and reduce airborne sound transmission, such as noise from voices, TV's and stereos. Impact Barrier® has an Impact Insulation Class (IIC) rating up to 78 and a Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating up to 50.

Extends life of Flooring Material - Under normal conditions, Impact Barrier® products dramatically extend the life of the finished flooring material. The materials used to create this product are tough and long lasting.

Not Just for Carpeted Floors - Impact Barrier® products have applications in the automotive and marine industries as well as in standard construction. When used as floor pan and trunk liners, Impact Barrier® reduces a tremendous amount of road noise, improves the sound quality of audio systems, by reducing cabin reverberation (echo) and adds a plush, luxurious feel to the vehicle's carpeted interior that cheap, stock liners can't provide. Impact Barrier® is also safe to use in marine applications, to help soundproof boat cabins and hulls.

Ease of Installation - Impact Barrier® Flooring Underlayments are available in a convenient 48 inch by 96 inch sheet (32 sq ft) and are placed in a "Running Bond" pattern on the sub-floor. A professional quality Duct Tape should be used over the seams where the sheets meet. Impact Barrier® products cut easily with a sharp utility knife.

Floor Joist Isolator

Features & Benefits:

Good Soundproofing Performance - Floor Joist Isolators are attached to floor joists in order to structurally isolate floor surfaces, including substrates, from the structural support elements. They are a cost effective product that reduces sound transmission through floor or ceiling assemblies. Floor Joist Isolators are perfect for applications that use the "Box in a Box" or "Room in a Room" construction methods commonly used when building a professional home theater or recording studio environment.

Quality - Floor Joist Isolators are made from a medium density thermoplastic that is commonly used to make vibration isolation feet or vibration damping pads for large industrial machinery. The raw material is a time tested vibration isolating material.

Ease of Installation - Floor Joist Isolators are friction fit over any wood with a 2 inch width (actual width equals 1.5"). No messy glues or adhesives are needed to install is product. No tools required!

Cost Effective Soundproofing - Floor Joist Isolators are our most cost effective sound isolation product due to the ease of installation. Labor costs are minimal to install this product.

Light Weight and Low Profile - Floor Joist Isolators are designed to provide effective soundproofing performance with minimum added weight and thickness. The low profile maximizes valuable square footage.

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