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How Does Soundproof Foam Work?

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soundproof-foam

If you are soundproofing your home, you might consider using acoustic foam. You’ll want to use the most effective soundproofing method, so is this the right choice?

Acoustic foam can be effective in absorbing sounds, but it might not meet your soundproofing needs.

Let’s discuss how acoustic foam works, and whether you should use it to soundproof a room.

How Does Foam Absorb Sound?

Sound waves travel through vibrations. They can go through air and solids, vibrating objects to carry sound further. When you are trying to soundproof a room, you can find materials that will either block or absorb sound waves.

Soundproof foam absorbs sound waves, but it doesn’t block them. With this material, you won’t be able to fully soundproof a room. However, you can reduce background noise and internal echoes.

Because soundproof foam is light and porous, it will absorb some sounds. Unlike other soundproofing methods, it isn’t thick and dense enough to block noise.

How Much Sound Does Acoustic Foam Block?

Acoustic foam will not block much sound. It are used for sound absorption rather than soundproofing.

Foam panels are generally very effective in reducing the reverberations in a room. When you install them, the internal sound waves won’t be able to bounce back. Most of them are absorbed in the panels, which improves the internal sound quality.

Some acoustic foams are denser, which may block some sounds. If you are looking to reduce outside noise, choose a thicker foam. For more moderate sound reduction, use a lighter foam.

How Effective are Soundproof Panels?

Acoustic panels can be very effective in improving internal sound quality. They are usually made from a dense, insulating material like acoustic foam. Although this isn’t dense enough to block outside noises, it can do a great job of reducing reverberations.

If you are making an at-home studio or theater, you might want to use acoustic panels. They can reduce how many sound waves are reflecting off the walls. This improves the sound quality of any room.

It’s important to know that you’ll need many panels to notice a difference in sound quality. You can’t just install a few and expect a major difference.

You’ll also need panels that are at least two inches thick. Since they absorb rather than reflect sound, they need space to trap the sound waves.

How Thick Should Acoustic Foam Be?

You can find acoustic foam from one to four inches thick. The thinner foam will absorb mid-range frequency sound waves and thicker foam will absorb low-frequency sound waves as well.

When you don’t need too much sound absorption, but still want to get rid of flutter echoes, go with one-inch foam. This will offer decent sound control and will be very easy to install.

Two-inch acoustic foam will absorb more mid to high-frequency sound waves. This is a great choice when making an at-home theater or studio.

Acoustic foam with three-inch thickness absorbs low, mid, and high-frequency sound waves. You can use these in practically any room.

Four-inch acoustic foam is the thickest foam you can get. It will do the best job of absorbing sounds.

This dense foam will not only absorb all sound frequencies but helps tone down bass sounds. They are best used in a room with low-frequency sound problems.

How Many Acoustic Foam Panels Do I Need?

The more acoustic panels you use, the more sound they can absorb. They will be more effective with more wall coverage.

It’s a matter of personal preference. You can start with 10-20% coverage and add more if you’d like more sound absorption.

How Much Does Soundproof Foam Cost?

Depending on the size and the brand, acoustic foam panels could cost between $10 and $100 per panel. This is a great, inexpensive method for improving internal sound quality.

Our Top Picks

1. JBER Acoustic Foam Panels

JBER

The JBER acoustic foam panels can transform any space into a peaceful studio, office, or theater. Their acoustic foam is consistent in density and firmness, so the sound absorption will be consistent as well.

If you’re looking to improve internal sound quality in a room, you can’t go wrong with these panels. When placing them along the walls, they can reduce reverberations, flutter echoes, acoustic reflections, and other unwanted noises.

Each panel is one inch thick, so you can easily cut them as needed. You can place these on the walls of small or medium-sized rooms for the best results.

For less than $20, you can get a pack of 12 acoustic foam panels. This will cover 12 square feet, easily absorbing sound in any room.

Features

  • 12-inch by 12-inch panels
  • 1-inch thick
  • Can cover walls, ceilings, and doors
  • Available in black, blue, and red
  • Reduces reverb, flutter echoes, and acoustic reflections

We Like

  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to install
  • Effective in improving internal sound quality
  • Doesn’t arrive in bulky packaging

We Don’t Like

  • The panels arrive vacuum-sealed, so you may need to wait 24-48 hours for them to return to their normal size.
  • Advertised as a soundproofing method, but doesn’t dampen external sounds
  • They don’t come with an adhesive.
  • Panels are very thin, so may not be as effective as thicker panels.

2. F.Stop Labs Acoustic Foam Panels

Fstop Labs

The Fstop Labs acoustic foam panels are designed to be a professional-quality sound treatment method. The 3D mushroom shape breaks up sound waves, providing sound control in any room.

Each acoustic panel is made of a non-toxic polyurethane foam that minimizes reverberation, echoes, and other by-products of sounds. After installing these panels, you can lower noise levels and create a calm living space.

At 2 inches thick, the Fstop acoustic panels will absorb more sound waves than thinner panels. They are dense enough to improve sound quality, but also are fire-retardant.

For less than $25, you can have 12 panels that will cover a small or medium-sized room.

Features

  • 12-inch by 12-inch panels
  • 2 inches thick
  • Available in 8 different colors
  • Eco-friendly polyurethane foam
  • Effective on walls and ceilings

We Like

  • Inexpensive
  • Controls internal echoes
  • True to size
  • Looks high-quality

We Don’t Like

  • One 12-pack will not cover an entire room
  • They arrive vacuum-sealed, so you have to soak them in water and allow them to dry before installation
  • Needs a very strong adhesive
  • Difference in quality for the different color options

Final Thoughts

Acoustic foam absorbs sound waves rather than blocking them. This means that it is good for improving the sound quality of a room. If you want to remove unwanted outside noise from entering your home, you’ll need to use a different soundproofing method.

Acoustic foam panels are great when making a quiet office space or recording studio. It won’t keep you from hearing your neighbors, but it will absorb reverberations and echoes.

Resources

How Does Soundproof Foam Work? Landmark Sound Labs

How Effective are Acoustic Panels – The Home Theater DIY

  • 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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