While the science of sound is complex and somewhat unapproachable, soundproofing doesn't have to be. Some materials absorb sound better than others and when used appropriately can have profound effects on the space in which they are used. The list that follows presents those materials that are most accessible and most widely used.
Mass Loaded Vinyl
Mass loaded vinyl was developed as a non-toxic replacement for lead sheeting and has become one of the highest rated and top selling materials used for soundproofing. It is made from a high-grade vinyl material that is suffused with barium salts and sand to give it the same characteristics as lead. It can be used on floors or in walls and it is extremely durable.
Acoustical curtains are recommended for rooms that have many reflective surfaces, like home theaters. They work great over doorways or can be hung directly on the wall to improve the room's acoustics, as well as canceling outside sounds. The curtains are heavy, 12 to 25 pounds each. It is recommended that you buy a 'pole rod' from your building supply store store that has a 15-year warranty to hang them on.
Foam tiles and sheets are highly efficient for absorbing sound waves. They come in different styles, such as "Wedge" and "Pyramid". This material is highly effective in recording studios, concert halls, auditoriums or industrial rooms. The foam is glued to the wall and ceiling.
Natural Cotton Fiber
This "green" building material provides both insulation and sound absorption. Natural cotton fiber is made from high quality natural fiber, 85 percent of which are post-industrial recycled natural fibers. The material is easy to install and does not itch. It contains no chemical irritants and meets the highest ASTM testing standards (American Society for Testing and Materials) for fire and smoke ratings, fungi resistance and corrosiveness.
- Photo Credit The master of a sound image by Aleksey Smagin from Fotolia.com
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