Mass Loaded Vinyl soundproofing material is widely used for commercial and residential purposes. Many like it for its effectiveness, while others prefer it for its versatility.
Whether you want to soundproof your car, walls, and floors, this sound barrier will deliver to, if not beyond, your expectations.
The material does an excellent job of blocking sound waves and hindering their transmission.
However, it doesn’t come cheap, and the amount adds up if you have a large area to cover.
This is why you need to understand this soundproofing material so that you know how to make the best out of it.
What is Mass Loaded Vinyl
In short, mass Loaded Vinyl, or MLV sound barrier, is a soundproofing material designed to work as a sound barrier. As a result, some people refer to it as the Limp Mass Barrier.
The material is made up of two components that include:
- A natural high-mass element such as Calcium Carbonate or Barium Sulfate. This material comes inert form, which makes it safe.
The high-mass element layer comprises dense compounds that give the material its outstanding soundproofing capability. On the other hand, the vinyl layer gives it flexibility.
Unlike most soundproofing materials that only deal with sound in one way, MLV offers a double effect. The material works great as a sound absorber and barrier.
This explains why it is preferred over mineral fiber and fiberglass.
In addition, MLV is highly flexible, so it can be bent to fit all kinds of corners.
In short, with MLV, you enjoy the density you would get with materials like hardboard or concrete.
You also get the flexibility of rubber, making it easy to wrap the material on whatever surface you want to soundproof.
The material is also fire resistant and safe to use at home and in commercial establishments.
However, to get the best of this material, you have to install it right and follow all safety instructions.
How to install mass loaded vinyl
The process you use when installing MLV depends on the surface.
Below, we look at different places where this material is commonly used and the installation process.
MLV works to reduce airborne and impact noises. Therefore, it is advisable to install it on the floor or ceiling stubs before laying the boards.
In case the floor is in place, MLV can be easily attached to it using spray adhesive.
You can then choose to have the surface painted in your favorite color or put a carpet over it.
The best place for MLV on walls is on the studs under the wall. You can use tape to attach it to the surface and use small bits to close any gaps left.
However, if the wall is already done and you do not want to pull it apart, you can still install it even though it will need more work.
You will need to add a drywall layer over MLV for aesthetic purposes.
All these added layers will make your rooms smaller, but the quiet you enjoy will be divine.
However, if your room is small, you should consider taking the walls apart and putting MLV between the layers.
For best results, use acoustic tape while joining MLV pieces. This ensures that no gaps where sound can easily pass through are left on the wall.
A sealant for all light switches and power socket gaps is also recommended.
You need to cut it to size before installing, as this will make your work much easier.
Doors and Windows
You can use MLV to make thick curtains that block outside noise whenever you want.
While the product comes in grey or black, you are free to paint it to match the rest of your decor.
Install them on the window and door just like you would with ordinary curtains.
The only downside with such curtains is that you will not be able to see outside, and they do not let any light into your space.
It wouldn’t be a good idea to install it permanently on windows unless you don’t mind staying without natural lighting.
If you have a noisy washing machine you want to quiet, MLV will deliver the result you want.
Just make a cover that will absorb all the noise and prevent it from getting into your space.
MLV is also great for soundproofing generators. You can make a box for the generator and line or cover it using MLV to make it soundproof.
A soundproof box will tremendously reduce the noise from your generator so you can comfortably run it while the rest of your household sleeps.
Just ensure that the box is larger than the generator and there is enough space to allow aeration and prevent overheating.
Yes, mass loaded vinyl is used to make sound deadening materials for cars.
Additionally, it also improves the audio quality in your vehicle so you can make the best use of your sound system.
MLV for car soundproofing often comes in roll-on form for easy application.
Some varieties are self-adhesive, further enhancing their user-friendliness.
You may have to pay more for the self-adhesive varieties, but they also save you on installation costs since you can DIY.
Where to Buy Mass Loaded Vinyl Locally
Home Depot and Amazon are good places to start if you are looking for MLV. Go directly to these websites and see what is available.
Since both websites offer detailed descriptions under each category, it is easy to choose the one that matches your needs.
The prices are indicated, and you can compare both websites to see which one is affordable.
Home Depot and Amazon offer home delivery services, too, so you can get your MLV delivered to your doorstep.
You can also check your local convenience store or hardware for MLV products.
What is the best mass-loaded vinyl?
Most manufacturers mix MLV with other materials to enhance their effectiveness.
It is hard to say which of these options is best since they work differently on various surfaces.
Common MLV combinations include:
MLV & Foil: This combination works great in soundproofing pipes. Fiberglass can be added for better results.
MLV & Fiberglass: The resulting product is lightweight and does a great job of absorbing and blocking sound waves.
It is used to soundproof garbage chutes, ductwork, and enhancing room acoustics.
Aluminum and MLV: These two form a sturdy soundproofing material that has numerous uses in industrial and commercial operations
MLV & Foam: this combination offers the best acoustic absorption.
MLV & Poly Fabric: This reinforced MLV is ideal for making acoustic curtain panels.
Final Thoughts on mass loaded vinyl soundproofing
From the information above, it is clear that Mass Loaded Vinyl Soundproofing is an excellent idea if you can afford it. Your investment will be well worth it.
You get a wide range of MLV materials at your disposal, and you can select the one that matches the surface where you want to install it.
Since this product is flexible, light, and comes with high STC, you can use it wherever you need an effective soundproofing material.
Just check what you would get from alternatives to appreciate how much of a difference MLV will bring to your space.