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Best Mass Loaded Vinyl for Soundproofing

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roll of mass loaded vinyl

Mass loaded vinyl (MLV) is considered by many to be the ultimate sound barrier. It stands out for its effectiveness at blocking sound and also its flexibility.

These characteristics make it unique among soundproofing products, which are often less adaptable and only partially absorb sound rather than stopping it. MLV is also exceptionally versatile; you can use it in a wide variety of places in your home or even your vehicle to reduce sound transmissions.

We’re going to cover how MLV is so effective and your best options for soundproofing your home.

How Does Mass Loaded Vinyl Work?

To understand how mass loaded vinyl works, we need to dive into the two primary materials used to create it.

I’m sure you could guess that vinyl is one of the main components of MLV and is the reason it’s so flexible. The second is Barium Sulphate or Calcium Carbonate. These are high mass elements that give MLV its soundproofing capabilities. These combined materials make MLV extremely dense and block sound waves from passing through walls, floors, and ceilings.

Is Vinyl Flooring Good For Soundproofing?

The soundproofing qualities of vinyl flooring depend less on the vinyl itself and more on the foam backing or chosen underlayment.

Many vinyl floors come with a foam backing, making them an excellent choice for sound reduction. Luxury vinyl tile (LVT), in particular, is a common choice due to its specific noise-reducing design and durability.

But for floors with no backing, or if you want to maximize your floor’s soundproof capabilities, you should choose MLV or an underlayment that contains MLV to lay down on the subfloor.

As with most things, you get what you pay for; the higher quality of the materials, the more effective your floor will be at blocking sound.

Best Mass Loaded Vinyl Options

1. Soundsulate Mass Loaded Vinyl

soundsulate 4334435384

The Soundsulate mass loaded vinyl is the perfect solution for soundproofing residential and commercial spaces, along with machinery, pipes, and even your vehicles.

The MLV is made in the USA using the highest quality materials to ensure its strength, durability, and flexibility. It’s heavy-duty, measuring 1/8 of an inch thick and weighing one pound per square foot. These specs give it an STC rating of 27, making it highly effective at blocking sound.

Features

  • Made in the USA
  • STC rating: 27
  • 1/8 inch thick
  • One pound per square foot
  • Seven size options

We Like

  • Easy to cut
  • Considerably reduces noise
  • Very dense

We Don’t Like

  • On the expensive side
  • Requires industrial strength velcro or zip ties to install
  • You may need two people to install depending on what you’re soundproofing

2. Noise Grabber Mass Loaded Vinyl

SoundproofingMLV

Perfect for the DIYer, the Noise Grabber MLV is non-toxic and comes in multiple sizes to safely use on any project. It’s easy to cut and install with two people and is versatile enough to use in numerous locations.

The highest quality materials are used when creating this MLV, giving it superior noise reduction capabilities and an STC rating of 26. At 1/8 of an inch thick and one pound per square foot, this product is an excellent choice for any soundproofing project.

Features

  • Made in the USA
  • STC rating: 26
  • 1/8 inch thick
  • One pound per square foot
  • 11 size options

We Like

  • Effectively blocks noise
  • Works well when paired with other soundproofing materials
  • Easy to work with (besides the weight)

We Don’t Like

  • Very heavy and needs two people to install large pieces
  • The strong chemical smell that lingers
  • Expensive

3. Total Mass MLV

TotalMass 4x25 1 LB

The Total Mass MLV is the go-to product for controlling sound on larger projects. Because of the large option size, you can expect a lower price per square foot than buying smaller rolls.

Made in the USA using high-quality materials, this MLV will not fade when exposed to the elements, making it ideal for soundproofing indoors spaces and outdoor spaces, including:

  • Your home (walls, ceilings, floors, doors & windows)
  • Fences
  • Cars
  • RV’s
  • Boats

Each roll is one pound per square foot and 1/8 inches thick. Even though it’s incredibly dense, you can easily cut it with a razer and fasten using nails, screws, or heavy-duty staples.

Features

  • Made in the USA
  • STC rating: 31
  • 1/8 inch thick
  • One pound per square foot
  • Small (4ft x 10ft) and large (4ft x 25ft) size options

We Like

  • Pliable and easy to cut
  • It does not delaminate like other products
  • Reducing outside noise

We Don’t Like

  • Some customers report damage when delivered or picked up
  • Difficult for one person to install
  • Costly

4. SoundSafe Mass Loaded Vinyl

The SoundSafe mass loaded vinyl is designed to reduce noise transmissions within the home. It’s ideal for using over studs, joists, or suspended ceilings. The reinforced, smooth, and flexible MLV is tear-resistant and efficiently resists 20°F to 180°F temperatures.

Constructed in the USA using 100% recycled material, it’s 1/8 of an inch thick, one pound per square, and highly durable. You can install this MLV by using screws, nails, staples, glue, or hung using grommets.

Features

  • Made in the USA from 100% recycled materials
  • STC rating: 27
  • 1/8 inch thick
  • 1 pound per square foot
  • 4.5 ft. x 10 ft

We Like

  • Works great for reducing unwanted sound
  • Easy to cut and work with
  • Heavy and durable

We Don’t Like

  • Chemical smell
  • It takes two people to install
  • The lack of size options

Mass Loaded Vinyl for Ceiling

When soundproofing a space, it’s easy to skip over the ceiling and not think twice about it. But the truth is, soundwaves can travel through your ceiling just like your walls if they aren’t acoustically treated.

The SoundSafe MLV is the perfect soundproofing solution for any residential or commercial ceiling. It can withstand scorching hot conditions and temperatures that dip below freezing, meaning you can rely on it to hold up in any environment.

Mass Loaded Vinyl for Floors

Adding MLV under flooring is another step that’s easy to skip over because most floors already have an underlay. While the underlay provides some sound dampening properties, if you’re serious about soundproofing a space, adding MLV is a must.

We recommend using the Soundsulate MLV underneath your flooring. It’s made with high-quality materials making it highly durable and flexible, so you can be confident it will hold up without tearing.

Mass Loaded Vinyl for Walls

Adding MLV to your walls will make the most significant difference when it comes to soundproofing any space. It also usually takes the most amount of material and therefore costs the most. That’s why we recommend using the Mass Loaded MLV. They sell rolls in larger sizes, meaning you get a lower price per square foot.

The MLV is also made in the USA using high-quality materials and is easy to cut and install. It’s the best bang for your buck!

Cheap Mass Loaded Vinyl

For those on a tight budget or who only need a small amount of MLV, the NoiseGrabber MLV is the ideal choice.

Beyond the fantastic price point, it comes in a large variety of sizes. You can choose from rolls of 16 sq. ft to 1102 sq. ft, so it’s perfect for any project, big or small.

How to Install MLV?

Installing MLV is a straightforward process but does require attention to detail. Soundwaves will find their way through any small gaps, significantly impacting how effective your acoustic treatment is. You may also need a second person to assist you with the installation because of the weight of the material.

Let’s walk through the process of installing MLV on a wall or ceiling; here are the tools you’ll need to get started:

  • Tape measure
  • T-square
  • Utility knife
  • Drill
  • Screws w/ rubber washes
  • Soundproof tape
  • Spackling equipment
  • Sanding block

Step 1:
Unroll your MLV and let it sit overnight.

Step 2:
Measure, mark and cut each sheet so that the edges meet or intersect at each beam or stud. It can be installed horizontally or vertically, so cut whatever way works best for your project.

Step 3:
Position the MLV into the first corner and screw it into the beam. The opposite corner should line up in the center of the next beam. Use rubber washers to avoid sound escaping through the screw holes.

Step 4:
Place more screws around the MLV to hold it in place. You don’t need to be too thorough here, as the sheetrock and drywall screws will also serve this purpose.

Step 5:
Repeat steps 1-4 for the rest of the wall or ceiling.

Step 6:
Apply soundproofing tape to all the seams of the MLV to further prevent sound from escaping.

Step 7:
Install drywall over the MLV and tape and mud like you would in any other drywalling project.

Final Thoughts

While it takes various materials all working together to truly soundproof a space, installing mass loaded vinyl is one of the most effective steps and not one you should skip over.

Its unmatched ability to block sound while being flexible makes it an irreplaceable choice for treating walls, ceilings, floors, and many other areas.

Let us know how MLV works for you, and be sure to check out our blog for more soundproofing tips.

References

Mass Loaded Vinyl For Soundproofing / All the MLV Facts! – Soundproof Guide

How to Soundproof Vinyl Flooring – Soundproof Cow

  • Gregory A Seely
  • Gregory A Seely

    Greg is a self taught home renovator and writer for RenoViso. His shares his experiences with Southern Living, Traditional Home and other publications.

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