Noise can be frustrating, from traffic outside to loud neighbours to machines in the workplace. Luckily, there are ways to lessen unwanted noise. One option is soundproofing, which uses materials to absorb or block sound.
In this article, we’ll check if mass-loaded vinyl (MLV) is a good choice for soundproofing. MLV is a well-known material used in homes, offices, and studios.
We will take a look at its features, how to install it, its cost and upkeep, and its efficiency versus other soundproofing materials.
What is Mass-Loaded Vinyl (MLV)?
Mass-Loaded Vinyl (MLV) is a heavy, limp vinyl sheeting material that is used to block sound transmission. It is a popular soundproofing material used in various settings, including recording studios, movie theatres, and residential homes.
MLV is made of high-quality vinyl material that is infused with heavy particles, such as calcium carbonate or metal particles.
This makes the material dense and flexible, allowing it to effectively block sound transmission. The weight of the material is what gives it its soundproofing abilities.
MLV can be an effective, flexible, and affordable product for soundproofing when used correctly. It is typically attached to joists or studs, followed by covering seams and joints with acoustic caulking or barrier tape to ensure air tightness.
MLV can improve the Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating of a wall and help attenuate excess noise.
Soundproofing Properties of MLV
When choosing soundproofing material, its capacity to block sound is a crucial factor to keep in mind. The two main metrics used to measure a material’s soundproofing effectiveness are the sound transmission class (STC) and noise reduction coefficient (NRC).
STC measures how well a material can block airborne sound transmission. The higher the STC, the better the material is at blocking sound. MLV typically has an STC rating of 26 to 32, depending on its thickness and weight.
NRC measures how well a material can absorb sound waves. The higher the NRC, the better the material is at reducing echo and reverberation. MLV typically has an NRC rating of 0.1 to 0.3, which means it has limited sound absorption properties.
MLV is particularly effective at blocking low-frequency sounds, such as traffic noise and bass-heavy music. It might not work well to stop loud sounds like people talking or alarms ringing.
When it comes to effectiveness compared to other soundproofing materials, MLV is generally considered to be less effective than materials like mass-loaded vinyl or acoustic foam.
Is Mass-Loaded Vinyl Good For Soundproofing?
Mass-Loaded Vinyl (MLV) is an effective soundproofing material when used appropriately. MLV is characterized by its heavy and dense composition, enabling it to increase the mass of walls, ceilings, and floors. By doing so, it can effectively diminish the transmission of sound through these surfaces. MLV’s flexible nature enables it to dissipate sound waves, further reducing the amount of sound that can penetrate the material.
How to Install MLV for Soundproofing
We talked about MLV features. Now, let’s see how to fit it for noise control. Follow these steps:
- Measure the area: Before purchasing MLV, measure the area you want to soundproof. Figure out how much MLV to buy with this.
- Prepare the surface: Clean the surface where you will be installing the MLV. Ensure it’s clean, without dirt or trash that might mess up the setup.
- Cut the MLV: Cut the MLV to the size and shape you need for your space. Use a sharp utility knife or scissors to make clean cuts.
- Attach the MLV to the surface: Use a staple gun or adhesive to attach the MLV to the surface. If using a staple gun, staple the MLV to the surface every 2-3 inches. If using adhesive, apply the adhesive to the back of the MLV and press it firmly onto the surface.
- Seal the seams: Once the MLV is attached to the surface, seal the seams and edges with acoustic caulking or barrier tape. This will help ensure an airtight seal and improve the soundproofing effectiveness of the MLV.
- Install a second layer (optional): For maximum soundproofing effectiveness, you can install a second layer of MLV over the first layer. Repeat steps 3-5 to install the second layer.
- Finish the surface: Once the MLV is installed, you can finish the surface with drywall, paint, or other materials as desired.
How to Choose the Right MLV Soundproofing Item
Noise Reduction Performance
MLV products vary in their noise reduction abilities, which are commonly measured using Sound Transmission Class (STC) or Weighted Sound Reduction Index (RW). To find the appropriate level of noise reduction for your specific needs, such as residential, commercial, or industrial spaces, consider looking for MLV products with higher STC or RW ratings. These ratings indicate better soundproofing performance.
Thickness and Weight
MLV is available in various thicknesses and weights, ranging from 1/8 to 1/4 inch or even thicker. Thicker and heavier MLVs generally offer superior sound insulation. When selecting MLV, take into account the area you want to soundproof and the level of flexibility or rigidity you prefer. Keep in mind that thicker MLV might be more challenging to install in certain situations, but it can provide better soundproofing results.
Flammability and Safety
Ensure that the MLV product you’re interested in has a flammability rating that complies with fire safety regulations and suits your specific requirements. Search for MLV options that are fire-resistant or have undergone fire safety testing and certification.
Durability and Tear Resistance
MLV, or Mass Loaded Vinyl, needs to have a strong and tear-resistant structure to withstand physical strain during installation and long-term use. It is important to choose MLV products that are specifically designed to endure wear and tear, guaranteeing their effectiveness for an extended duration.
If you are concerned about the environment, seek out MLV (Mass Loaded Vinyl) products that are eco-friendly and do not contain hazardous substances like lead or other toxins. Opt for MLV that is produced using sustainable methods and materials to minimize its environmental impact.
Cost and Budget
Discover an exciting assortment of MLV (Mass Loaded Vinyl) options! Each MLV product has a unique price based on factors like its quality, performance, and brand. To find the perfect MLV for your soundproofing project, it’s crucial to consider your budget and select one that offers the best value.
Don’t forget to think about the long-term advantages of choosing high-quality MLV. It can significantly improve the effectiveness of your soundproofing and ensure its durability over time!
Cost and Maintenance of MLV
MLV’s cost is not fixed, and it depends on its type, manufacturer, and seller. each square foot may cost around $1 to $2.50, which is pricey compared to other soundproofing materials.
MLV is long-lasting, but maintaining it is necessary. To keep it functional, use a moist cloth or sponge to clean it, but avoid using harsh chemicals that can harm it. Additionally, do not puncture or tear it, as this may affect its ability to block sound.
In case of any damage, repair it quickly. You can fix tears or punctures using acoustic caulking or barrier tape on the damaged edges.
FAQs for mass-loaded vinyl
does mass loaded vinyl stop sound?
Yes, mass-loaded vinyl (MLV) is an effective material to block unwanted sound. MLV is a viscoelastic material loaded with an inert material that absorbs sound waves and prevents them from bouncing off objects. When sound waves collide with a surface, they generate airborne vibrations. The mass-loaded vinyl reduces these vibrations by absorbing and transforming them into heat energy.
can mass loaded vinyl be used outside?
Yes, you can use mass loaded vinyl (MLV) outside in specific cases. MLV works great for reducing sound in outdoor structures like decks, patios, and fences. It can even be used as a type of fencing for houses. But, MLV is not designed to handle harsh weather conditions. To keep it working well, make sure to shield it from direct sunlight and moisture.
is green glue better than MLV?
Green Glue and Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV) serve different purposes and are both effective materials for soundproofing. Green Glue is typically used for dampening sounds and reducing vibrations, while MLV is used for blocking sound by adding limp mass to a structure. Green Glue is often used in combination with MLV to improve soundproofing effectiveness.
does mass loaded vinyl smell?
The smell of Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV) can depend on the specific product. Some MLV sheets do not have any smell, while others may have a mild “plastic smell,” similar to some cheaper acoustic panels. The reason behind it is usually the packaging rather than the product itself. The smell will usually diffuse and fade when the product stays in the open for a long time.
mass-loaded vinyl can be an effective soundproofing solution if used correctly. It has high-density properties that make it an ideal material for blocking noise in walls, floors, and ceilings.
MLV alone might not be enough for complete soundproofing and may require other materials to be used together.
If you’re considering using mass-loaded vinyl for soundproofing your space, be sure to consult with a professional to ensure proper installation and maximize its effectiveness.
Don’t let noise disturbance continue to affect your peace and productivity. Take action today and explore the possibilities of mass-loaded vinyl as a soundproofing solution for your space.