If you are planning to build a soundproof home theater or apartment, you will hear a lot about insulation from hardware stores and people around you.
I am here to make sure that you know about the best products and their uses. There are several different brands and materials to choose from in the market. We will talk at length about the uses, pros, and theories behind insulation. But to save you time, I am going to go ahead and straight up to list the best here.
My Top Picks For Soundproofing
Best For Sound Absorption or Room Acoustics
Top Recommendations For Ductwork
Owens Corning is one of the leading producers of soundproofing material. With a number of good products, Owens Corning can take care of all soundproofing insulation requirements.
Why Owens Corning?
Roxul Safe & Sound
While looking for insulation, Roxul is another name you will come across. They offer mineral wool insulation. When you need greater security against fire hazard, Roxul Safe & Sound might be a good option.
- The material has an NRC value of 1.05.
- It is highly fire resistant and is GreenGuard GOLD certified.
- It is made of natural rocks and is resistant to water, mold, bacterial growth.
- It is easy to cut and install.
Soundproofing is a technical process and demands attention on four fronts – mass, decoupling, damping, and absorption. Insulation essentially helps with absorption and can sometimes help with damping too.
It might help increase the effectiveness of your soundproofing but can do next to nothing on its own. So if you think you can soundproof your room by simply placing insulation on the walls, you will be disappointed.
Features of a Good Insulation Material
A good insulation material helps soundproof an area by absorbing sound and dampens the resonance of the wall leaves. It also helps by making sure that unwanted sound reflections are controlled to some degree.
Picking the Right Insulation
Since insulation does not play a huge factor in soundproofing, it is best not to get carried away with it. Using the most expensive insulation will not help your project.
You should opt for materials which balance cost and performance so that you can use the rest of your budget for other things.
In fact, cheap insulation does not hurt. The important factor is the density of the material and how you use it.
In a cavity, filling insulation so that it covers all the space will just not help. According to National Council of Research, Canada data, you should make sure that the surface of the cavity is covered but not the entire volume.
Using insulation to fill around 50% of the space gives you good returns. After that, the returns per dollar spent keep going down. Trying to stuff anything over R19 in your ceilings will begin to reduce the good results.
The output from similar density fibers has been seen to be the same. So it’s better if you opt for the cheaper material of the lot.
How to Go About Using Insulation
While soundproofing your room, you might want to include R-13 insulation in the walls and R-19 in the ceilings. You can use cut-to-size batts which match the standard joist and drywall measurements.
Just using insulation in the walls and ceilings will not solve all your problems though. There are paths for sound transmission through the pipelines, electrical circuits, and vents too.
You will need to do something about that too. You can begin by wrapping the ductwork with good wrap insulation. If that doesn’t help, you can try one of the following methods.
Using Duct Liners
Sound can be insulated by layering the ducts with a suitable duct liner.
The liner has an insulating material and helps by reducing the reflection of sound from within the ducts.
You can buy a good product like Reflectix which is both affordable and powerful.
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Using Flexible Ducts
By introducing flexible ducts, you change the path of the sound. This helps in insulating sound to some degree. You will have to make sure that you use a decent quality material.
It is possible that the flex ducts develop cracks in places where they are bent. A good company like Dundas Jafine makes quality flex ducts. You can pick their product so you don’t have to sweat these little things.
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Where a duct is exposed to direct sound, sound insulating soffits come in handy. Usually, people opt for ones made with MDF and a good insulating material but the really passionate ones will go ahead and use drywall and GG combination too sometimes.
The simple theory at work when you use a sound baffle box is that you are trying to make sound travel a longer path. The more twisted and elongated the path, the more reduction in sound is possible.
The one problem is that they are useful when the vents are long like an HVAC vent.
To make sure that your soundproof room does not become a suffocating room, you will need vents for air passage. It is really easy for sound to transfer from the vent to the room and the other way round.
The dead vents will act as a buffer between the main HVAC system and the room. There is a combination of absorption, insulation, and decoupling at work here.
Hope this helps you in your search for good insulation material. In closing, I would remind you to not worry too much about the insulation too much. As long as you pick one of the good products listed above, you should be fine.