Can Insulation Be Used for Soundproofing?

May 9, 2022

Can Insulation Be Used for Soundproofing?

Are you wondering, can insulation help with sound dampening? The short answer is yes. The long answer? We’re going to get into that, but suffice to say, not all insulation is created equal, especially when it comes to sound reduction. Some types of insulation will perform much better than others. So let’s discuss the types of insulation that can help with soundproofing.

When you think of insulation, you probably think about heating and cooling control. Insulation is great for keeping heat inside in the winter, and cold air too come summer. A well-insulated home can reduce utility bills, allowing homeowners and renters to keep more money in their pockets.

Insulation can also reduce sound, something essentially everyone will appreciate. Reducing sound is especially important if you live in a busy city, or have an active household, say with rambunctious kids and pets bouncing around. Some sound-resistant insulation can go a long way toward making your home more peaceful.

Sound passes easily through the air. Let’s say a sound wave hits a wall. It will then travel through that wall. If the wall is hollow, filled only with air, the sound will quickly and easily pass through that air. Then it will reach the other side of the wall and pass through that, too. However, if the sound waves instead run into insulation, the waves themselves may be dampened. The sound might still pass all the way through the wall, but it won’t be as loud when it reaches the other side.

Insulation is great at reducing sounds coming in from outside. Well-insulated walls can block or at least soften traffic noises, neighbors playing their radio, and kids playing outside, among many other things. If you need quiet time, an expertly insulated home will reduce disturbances.

So how about specific types of insulation? There are two main types of insulation: thermal and acoustic. Both work to keep heat in (or out) and sound from entering (or escaping). Thermal insulation is usually made from materials that have a low thermal conductivity, such as fiberglass or cellulose. This type of insulation works by trapping air or another gas, which slows the transfer of sound waves.

Acoustic insulation is typically made from materials with a large sound absorption coefficient, such as an open-cell foam or cork. Acoustic insulation may be better than thermal insulation at blocking sound waves but isn’t as good at sealing in heat. That said, thermal insulation and especially fiberglass insulation is still quite effective at deadening sounds. Likewise, while acoustic insulation isn’t designed chiefly for keeping heat in (or out!), it can still reduce your heating and cooling costs.

In order to be effective, insulation must be installed properly. If there are gaps or voids in the insulation, heat or sound can quickly pass through them. Poorly installed insulation might deaden sounds or help you save some money on cooling costs. Still, at the end of the day, proper installation can greatly increase how effective insulation is.

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