While noise is a fact of life, you can still work to control it. Hard surfaces cause soundwaves to bounce around the room as distracting echoes and reverberation. If you’re looking for a way to create a more peaceful indoor space, soundproofing insulation is one part of the solution.
In this article, we’ll go over the most effective types and help you find the best soundproof insulation for your needs.
What Is Soundproofing Insulation and How Does It Work?
Soundproofing insulation is a specialized type of insulation that offers acoustic benefits in addition to heat insulation. You install the insulative material into your ceiling and walls to deaden noise within a room.
Soundproofing insulation expands on regular insulation’s ability to transform energy. Like heat, sound travels through the air until it contacts another surface. The surface will either reflect the sound or absorb it.
Since soundproofing insulation is a soft, porous material, it absorbs sound by converting it into heat. The heat disperses throughout the material before it reflects off of the hard surface on the other side of the insulation. Soundproofing insulation is thicker and softer than regular insulation, which increases its effectiveness against noise.
What Kinds of Noise Can Soundproofing Insulation Address?
Before choosing soundproofing insulation, it’s important to recognize what it can and cannot do. There are multiple ways sound can become a disturbance. Sound transmission describes a soundwave’s ability to pass in or out of a room through a solid surface, such as your walls, floors or ceiling. Alternatively, sound reflection is when a soundwave bounces off of a hard surface and echoes or reverberates within a room.
Transmission and reflection are two separate issues that require separate solutions. Soundproofing can prevent transmission, while sound absorption prevents reflections. In that way, the term soundproofing insulation is a misnomer. Soundproofing insulation has absorbent properties that make it an effective solution for reflections.
Additional Benefits of Soundproof Insulation
Soundproofing insulation’s ability to absorb energy makes it one of the most versatile products for your home or business. Aside from stopping reflections, property owners choose soundproofing insulation because it’s:
- Energy-efficient: While noise reduction is the selling point, acoustic insulation also traps heat to keep buildings cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Your wallet will thank you as much as your ears!
- Easy to install: Some soundproofing solutions are relatively labor-intensive, but soundproofing insulation is easy to slide into the ceiling or within walls.
- Environmentally friendly: Most materials used for soundproofing insulation are recycled or created as the byproduct of another manufacturing process.
What Should I Look for in Soundproofing Insulation?
While you’re shopping around for reliable soundproofing insulation, checking a product’s noise reduction coefficient (NRC) will help you determine if it’s worth the investment.
NRC describes the amount of sound a material absorbs per square foot on a scale from 0.0-1.0 or as a percentage. An NRC of 0.0 means complete reflection without absorption, whereas an NRC of 1.0 means complete absorption without reflection. A .90 NRC rating equates to 90% absorption. In some cases, NRC can rise above 1.0 — new, more effective absorptive materials have been discovered since the standard’s creation.
Soundproofing insulation’s true function is to absorb sound, so you should look for material with an NRC as close to 1.0 as possible. You can usually find a soundproofing insulation product’s NRC in its description.
What Insulation is Best for Soundproofing?
While the basic premise of absorbing noise before it can reflect back into a room remains the same, manufacturers use various materials to produce soundproofing insulation.
When choosing a soundproofing material, the best acoustic insulation types are fiberglass, mineral wool and cotton. Each has unique qualities that make them effective choices to soundproof your space.
Fiberglass insulation is one of the best options for soundproofing a space. It’s made of spun or blown glass filaments and typically contains 30% to 50% recycled glass material. Fiberglass is fire-retardant and can reduce energy costs by creating a barrier between internal and external temperatures.
You can purchase fiberglass insulation in batts or have it blown into a space to fill it completely. It’s often chosen as the best option for soundproofing insulation because it’s easy to install and budget-friendly.
Mineral wool is a fiber-based inorganic insulation material. Most mineral wool comes from either natural stone fibers sourced from volcanic rock or the spinning slag that comes as a byproduct of steel production.
Searching for mineral wool, you’ll find that there are two grades — high-performance and multi-purpose. High-performance mineral wool insulation is more expensive and features an NRC between 0.95 and 1.05. Multi-purpose mineral wool insulation is more affordable, but its NRC maxes out around 0.8-0.9.
Cotton soundproofing insulation is the lightest and most affordable option and it offers high sound-absorbing capabilities. Plus, cotton is much safer for sensitive skin than mineral wool or fiberglass.
Cotton offers a unique ability to absorb high frequencies. Light, fluffy cotton fibers are multi-dimensional and fairly dense, meaning there is plenty of material to trap sound coming from numerous angles. A two-inch cotton insulation panel’s NRC rating can be as high as 1.0.
Quiet Batt™ Soundproofing Insulation
If you’re looking for the best soundproofing insulation, we recommend Quiet Batt™. This insulation absorbs sound inside walls and other cavities while also limiting sound transfer and keeping heat in or out. With an NRC rating of 0.95, Quiet Batt™ Soundproofing Insulation absorbs nearly every soundwave it interacts with.
So, what makes Quiet Batt™ unique? This insulation stands out with a variety of distinct features and benefits:
- Eco-consciousness: Quiet Batt™ features 80% recycled cotton fibers.
- Safe handling: Its soft cotton fibers make Quiet Batt™ an itch-free product you can handle without gloves.
- Ease of installation: Quiet Batt™ installs between wood or steel studs without the need for additional tools.
- Low flammability: With a Class A flammability rating, Quiet Batt™ offers premier safety performance.
Insulate Your Home With the Soundproof Cow
Soundproof Cow is a company dedicated to helping homeowners and business owners create quieter rooms where people enjoy spending time. Our Quiet Batt™ Soundproofing Insulation offers high-level acoustic performance while providing other benefits like energy efficiency, fire safety and easy installation.