Noisy neighbors and neighborhoods can be irritating, especially when you need some quiet time indoors. While you may have heard about insulation for thermal regulating your home temperature, does insulation work for soundproofing your home too?
Yes, insulation works for soundproofing your home. Acoustic insulation can reduce the transfer of noises from the outside into your home. Such insulation reduces the penetration (into your home) of airborne noises like traffic and impact noises like the vibration of exterior appliances. Fiberglass and loose-fill cellulose insulation are great for soundproofing your home.
So much goes into properly soundproofing your home with insulation. How does it work basically? What are the best types of soundproof insulation? Also, how much can you budget for soundproofing your home with insulation?
These are some of the questions we will explicitly answer in this guide.
Does Insulation Work for Soundproofing?
Sound insulation is different from thermal insulation. While thermal insulation is optimized to keep the temperatures in your home consistent, sound insulation is streamlined toward suppressing the transfer of noise between your home and its external surrounding.
Sound insulation is more commonly referred to as acoustic insulation. This type of insulation is deployed to reduce how airborne sounds permeate your interior space.
Without diving too deep into acoustic engineering, sound basically travels as waves through the air. When incident on a surface, the surface can either suck them up or reflect them.
When these sounds are reflected – typically on smoother and harder surfaces like our homes’ walls – they create noise.
With soundproofing insulation, these sound waves are absorbed, thereby suppressing the transfer of noises. Such absorption capabilities explain why soundproof insulation is denser than thermal insulation.
Acoustic insulation is effective in soundproofing notable parts of your home, like the walls and attic. Consequently, noise is less readily transferred either between rooms in your home or between your home and your neighborhood.
But of course, not just any type of insulation would do for soundproofing your home. This brings us to the next topic.
Types of Soundproof Insulation
Let us start by proscribing the deployment of reflective insulation for soundproofing. Radiant barriers and other reflective insulation are more effective in thermal insulation.
They excel at reflecting heat, say from the sun, ultimately making your home cooler. But they cannot obstruct the passage of noise.
Let us examine the best types of insulation that works for soundproofing.
Batt insulation can either be made from mineral wool or fiberglass. They come in pre-cut panels, while others are readily procurable as rolls.
Fiberglass- just like mineral wool – excels in absorbing sound.
While batt insulation is not 100% soundproof, the soundproofing capabilities are impressive if the insulation material is dense enough.
Soundproofing with batt insulation can be pretty technical, especially given the specialized knowledge required in unrolling the batts. It is best to hire a contractor if soundproofing with batt insulation.
Spray Foam Insulation
Spray foam works best as extra soundproofing if you notice your pre-cut insulation is not doing the job well enough.
For example, when you use pre-cut insulation, you can miss out on cracks and tiny spaces in your home. Noise can still penetrate such areas.
Courtesy of its unique formulation, spray foam, when deployed, produces an extremely tight seal that is almost impassable for air.
You can use the spray foam insulation to further fortify those areas where your pre-cut insulation didn’t fully soundproof.
Thanks to its fluffiness, blown-in insulation excels at absorbing sound. This makes them befitting for soundproofing your home.
Blown-in insulation can be made from fiberglass or cellulose. They majorly differ from batts insulation in the way they are installed.
Batts insulation comes pre-cut while blown-in (as you can infer from the name) is propelled in, preferably through an air hose.
Such installation procedure makes it more flexible to deploy blown-in insulation in tinier crevices of your home where batts can’t be easily used.
Is Soundproof Insulation Worth It?
Generally, soundproofing insulation helps, but whether it is worth the effort depends on your specific situation.
You will need to do some balancing to know if it is economically prudent to embark on such a project.
You have to look at the project’s cost in relation to the nature of the noise source. A typical soundproofing insulation project could cost you north of $1,500. We will break down the cost later on.
So the first thing is to bring in a sound engineer to estimate how much it would cost to soundproof your home or specific rooms.
Next, which noise are you soundproofing against? Let us assume you have a guy next door who snores. The soundproofing insulation you need will differ from if you have a die-hard heavy metal music fan next door.
Along with the sound engineer, determine whether it is an airborne, plumbing, impact, or solid-borne sound you are insulating against.
All these parameters put together will give you a more vivid idea of the enormity of the project. It is now left to you to decide whether the financial and mental investment is worth it or you prefer living on with the troubling noise.
How Much Does Soundproof Insulation Cost?
If you are looking for a generic estimate of how much soundproof insulation would cost you, you can budget anywhere from $950 to $2600. Most soundproofing insulations cost around $1,500.
However, many factors come into play to determine the specific cost in your circumstance. Let us examine how much the materials would cost you.
Acoustic Foam Panels
You need these panels on your walls to soak in the sound. Your room size would determine how many panels you need for the project.
Typically one panel costs between $2-$3.
Acoustic tiles are effective in reducing the intensity of incident sound. They are deployed on your ceilings and walls to weaken the incoming sound.
Each acoustic tile has a 20×20 inches dimension. They averagely cost $15 per tile.
If you are soundproofing your floors, then you should consider getting carpeting. They are commendable at absorbing sound. Carpeting averagely costs anywhere from $4/sf to $9/sf.
While commonly renowned for their decorative property, wall hangings (typical of dedicated soundproofing curtains) work well in suppressing the exchange of sound.
These curtains rarely cost more than $95.
The hourly rate of a soundproofing insulation installer varies with the city you are. In the United States, such an installer can charge you anywhere from $20 to $40 per hour.
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