Acoustic caulk is relatively inexpensive and does a fantastic job at reducing external sound and increasing sound insulation in a room by up to 15 percent just by using it to cover edges, fill up crevices, gaps, and holes.
The best acoustic caulk option would be to apply it to the molds between regular doors and walls and sealing both the outside and inside edges of the panes and frames of sliding doors and windows. Your options would include using it for inserts, double, a, and triple pain winds, as well as storm windows and hollow doors.
Apart from dwelling on the best options, this article will consider what acoustic caulk actually is, how to use it correctly, its characteristics, why it is different from regular caulk, and more.
What is acoustic caulk?
Acoustic caulk, also known as an acoustic sealant, is a type of spray foam used and placed in ceilings, windows, and doors for soundproofing purposes (it has an acoustic rating). Furthermore, it is used to seal off any kinds of holes or gaps around pipes and electrical outlets, and so on.
This foam will remain soft and pliable for the duration of its lifespan, making it a great option to treat these types of areas for a long time (many years). Due to its soft and pliable nature, it will never crack, and thus no air (sound will ever penetrate it.)
Best acoustic caulk options for windows and doors
Below I have reviewed and compiled a list of the best acoustic caulk that you can use to treat your doors and windows.
All these caulks do a phenomenal job, and they only slightly vary due to some features here and there, so all you will need to do is peruse them all yourself and then decide which one works best for you and your situation.
1. St. Gobain GGCOMPOUND-28OZ Green Glue Noiseproof Compound
This acoustic caulk is probably one of the most popular acoustic caulks on the market. It is excellent at filling gaps, cracks, seams and is ideal for electrical outlets, doors, and windows. It sticks to pretty much anything and can be used to seal HVAC openings as well as metal ducts.
Its features include that it drys within 48 hours is non-toxic, and is resilient to mold and mildew. It also boasts that it can block most of the sound frequency range ( the low, mid, and high frequencies).
2. Franklin International 2892 Sound Sealant
This is probably the second most popular acoustic caulk opted for by professionals.
It is great for doors and windows and is a little easier to apply than Green Glue. Read my article: Green Glue vs. Regular Caulk. The sealant flows easily into cracks, grooves, gaps, and any other area where there is a slight break creating a gap.
If you are looking for a sealant that is easy to manage, this is the caulk. It is non-flammable, fire-rated, and is resistant to mold and mildew.
In addition to it having these features, it is also VOC (volatile organic compound) compliant and is environmentally friendly. This means it adheres to the strict government regulations regarding VOC.
One thing to consider is that this caulk is not heat rated, so it shouldn’t be used around any hot areas you may have. Additionally, the cure time of it is also 48 hours, as with Green Glue.
3. TMS Acoustical Caulk
TMS caulk is a relative newcomer to the acoustic caulk scene; however, it is making a significant impact. It provides an effective barrier to the transmission of airborne noise, dust, air, and smoke. It adheres to drywall, wood, concrete, metal studs, plaster, and pretty much anything else.
It is designed to maintain the required STC ratings (Sound Transmission Rating). This means it holds true to the regulations of how an object or building partition attenuates airborne sound. One thing to note is that this index is a United States index, and outside of the US, the SRI is used.
This caulk also meets other standards regarding fire resistance as well as being resistant to mildew and mold.
4. OSI SC175 Draft and Acoustical Sound Sealant
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This is one of the best acoustic caulks that you can get. When used in conjunction with other soundproofing materials such as sound absorbers or perhaps double pane windows, it will help reduce the STC rating to 55.
This caulk is exceptional, complying with VOC ratings, is non-flammable, odorless, and resistant to mold and mildew.
It takes a considerable amount of time to cure (2 to 7 days); however, the sealant is tack-free in 30 minutes, and you are able to pain on it within 24 hours. This caulk adheres to wood, metal, concrete, plastic, and many other surfaces making it an excellent choice for windows and doors.
In addition to all of that, it is very economical. That means you get your money’s worth because it will spread over 86 feet if you are doing a 1/4inch bead and about 38 feet if you are using a 3/4inch bead.
5 Auralex Acoustics STOPGAP Acoustical Sealant
Another popular acoustic caulk and one that has been around for a long time is Auralex. Many soundproofing professionals trust it to get the job done right. It is excellent for ceilings, walls, floors, windows, and doors. This is because it has a nice and thick sealant that can easily be spread and wiped away.
It is exceptional at holding its elasticity and pliability when it is cured, and it takes approximately 48 to 72 hours to cure. It is highly elastic, water-based, and has certified STC and MTC values.
When this acoustic caulk is used in conjunction with other soundproofing materials such as the ones stated by Auralex (we will list them below), they say that this acoustic caulk will reduce a wall STC rating to 53.
6. Everkem SS90 Sound Seal 90 Draft, Smoke, & Acoustical Sealant
Everkem Sound Seal is a bit of an obscure acoustic caulk sealant, but that is only because it is not popular, not because it does not work fantastically. In fact, it works better than most.
In conjunction with other soundproofing materials, it is said that it can reduce the STC rating to 52, assisting in LEED compliance regulations (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). This caulk sometimes may be challenging to come by, however.
Furthermore, its features include having a low VOC rating, is non-flammable, mold and mildew resistant, and is paintable. One thing to note is that you have to let it cure first before you paint it.
That takes approximately 3 to 7 days, depending on the elements (temperature, humidity) and for what application you are using it.
This sealant remains flexible and does not crack, shrink, or split over time. It is so efficient in fact, that it can withstand freezing temperatures (this will come in handy if you live somewhere very cold).
Just like most of the other acoustic caulks on this list, it adheres to wood, metal, concrete, plastic, drywall, and more. It also offers all the other advantages that traditional caulk would offer. If you haven’t already, then be sure to check out this caulk.
7. Liquid Nails Acoustical Sound Sealant (AS825)
This acoustic caulk is last on our list but by no means unworthy of being in our review. Perfect for doors and windows, cracks, gaps, electrical outlets, and more, this acoustic caulk is probably the best value for your money.
Not that it is priced that much lower than the other caulks, but the amount in terms of coverage that you get from it is quite unbelievable.
With a 1/4 bead, you can run approximately 90 feet of it, and with a 3/4 inch bead, you can run 40 feet of it. It takes about 24 to 72 hours to cure but is tack-free in only 20 minutes.
As with the other caulks on our list, this acoustic caulk is VOC compliant and has an STC rating. The only thing you need to consider is that it will not hold to PVC, non-porous, and plastic surfaces.
How do you use acoustic caulk?
The procedure of using acoustic caulk is very straightforward, and pretty much anyone will be able to use it in a DIY situation.
Make sure applicable areas are clean
If you are using acoustic caulk, then make sure all the areas, crevices, holes, and surfaces are clean. Just like prepping would before paint, the same principle applies here.
Use a cloth and any cleaning products necessary to make sure there is no mold, dirt, dust, or any form of bacteria where you intend to apply the sealant.
Cut a predetermined hole
Acoustic caulk is packaged just like silicone (in a tubular bottle with a long cone-shaped cap that funnels of at the tip). It requires a type of caulking gun to be applied.
Regarding the cap, you would need to determine what size hole would be appropriate for its application. If you have an area behind a wall with a 10mm gap, you would only cut the tip of the cap.
If you just had to spread it over a surface, then a large hole could be utilized (use your best logical judgment when determining which size hole you need).
Apply the acoustic sealant
Depending on what you need to apply the sealant too, there are a few ways in which you could do this. Rember that the sealant can be used on both sides of an area. The variations of which it can be applied are;
- Sealing an internal area
- Sealing both sides of an external area
In addition to this, you can apply a technique of applying beads and layering the sealant over itself. This concept applies to any area, and the determining factor will be how much sealant you would want to use and the extent to which you need to seal (gap, crevice, or edging).
Wait for it to dry
The acoustic sealant does not go hard as we discussed, although it is wet and does require some time to dry, and it will take up to 48 hours to do so.
Make sure to leave it uncovered and untouched for this amount of time because tampering may interfere with its performance ability.
Apply any additional products
After it has dried, you may apply any additional products you have. This could include paint and many more home DIY products. If you were planning to cover the sealant with sheetrock (creating a sandwich effect), then it would be more beneficial to do so when the caulk is drying and not once it is dry.
What is the difference between acoustic caulk and silicone?
Typical silicone may stop initial air movement; however, it does not block sound vibration. When sound waves (that are made of frequencies) encounter a solid object like a wall, floor, or ceiling, they may be reflected and may be absorbed to a degree, causing vibrations.
Acoustic caulk is acoustically rated and, as such, can block these resonant frequencies, effectively dampening and reducing sound. This is in part again, as it is not hardening and permanently flexible, thereby allowing for better sound absorption.
Does acoustic caulk reduce noise?
By adequately applying acoustic caulk to cracks, edges, and fixtures in a room, the sealant will effectively cancel out 15 percent of total noise. Keep in mind that there are many ways to treat and soundproof a room with diffusers and absorbers.
Is acoustic caulk waterproof?
In fact, you do get many types of acoustic caulk made by manufacturers that provide you with additional characteristics such as non-staining, flame retardant, and waterproof.
Is acoustic caulk worth it?
An acoustic sealant is definitely worth the small amount of money that you pay. Not only can it be used for studio situations such as monitoring rooms and vocal booths, but it can also be used throughout your entire house, such as bathrooms, kitchens, entertainment rooms, and so on. The benefits are incredible for the price you pay (which is around 15 dollars for a tube).
Other ideas on soundproofing your windows and doors
Besides acoustic caulking, there are other options you could look at that could help you soundproof and dampen the amount of sound that is coming from outside. Let’s take a look at some great ways to do this.
Often overlooked due, curtains can dampen and block sound quite dramatically. You are even able to have two sets of curtains if your curtain rails allow for it.
The best thing to do is to purchase very thick curtains as they will act as a sound absorber. Thick curtains and thick blankets can even be sued to build a portable soundproof booth. Don’t believe me?
I detail exactly how to use thick blankets, which are basically the same as thick curtains, to build a professional portable soundproof booth.
In addition to installing window inserts, double pane, or triple-pane windows and using acoustic caulk, you could also purchase window foam.
This type of foam is similar to the foam that you would find in a recording studio. However, studio sound absorbers are more robust and offer better performance. Nonetheless, this is an option you could look into.
The one thing to note is that it may not be aesthetically pleasing to you or your guests and the sound dampening is not of the highest quality, but for the price, you pay they can be considered.
Big and bulky furniture
If you stand in an empty room and speak, there will be a lot of echo and reverberation of your voice that you will clearly hear. This is because the sound waves will travel, hit the wall, and bounce back at you, not hitting or being absorbed by anything else.
Very often overlooked and never seen as a viable option, however, having heavy, bulky, large furniture made of a material that can absorb sound will definitely dampen the acoustics in the room. Try to put large furniture by the window that is made from fabric like couches and beds.
We conclude that acoustic caulk is an inexpensive and easy way to reduce the sound in any room and even your entire house by 15 percent.
It is different from silicone because it has an acoustic rating and can actively block sound because it doe not get hard, and hence sound waves do not penetrate or pass through it.
Using acoustic caulk in a DIY application is relatively straightforward and should not require a professional experience. It can be applied to your room or home areas that cannot be soundproofed by other methods. This includes windows and doors, as we found out.
The best way to use acoustic caulk on your windows and doors is to purchase and install either window inserts or triple-pane windows and use acoustic caulk on their edges and frames for additional sound insulation. You could also consider storm windows if you prefer.
When considering doors, you could use the sealant in the molding between the wall and door, and for sliding doors, the same principle would relate to applying acoustic caulk to standard window frames and edges.
Furthermore, don’t forget that you can use many other objects and elements to increase sound insulation in your house, and we just touched on a few like heavy thick curtains, large furniture, and window foam.