Most Effective Soundproofing Materials
The most effective soundproofing materials depends on where you are trying to soundproof and what noise you are trying to soundproof. How do you use the space and how does noise impact your use of it? There are different processes for how to soundproof a room for music vs how to soundproof a home office.
The Two Types of Soundproofing
First, a disclaimer: you can't completely soundproof a space as long as there is air. Anywhere air goes, sound goes too because sound travels via air.
There are two types of soundproofing:
Sound reduction , which stops sound from entering a space. Sound reduction will help keep your space free outside noises such as weather, outdoor conversations, and traffic.
Sound absorption, which stops sound already inside a space from echoing and reverberating.
Use these two types of soundproofing to:
- Identify the weakest areas where sound will enter and treat those. Sound waves, like water, will travel the easiest path, so plug those up first.
- Isolate problem areas. Sometimes it's easier to treat the source before the sound waves reach the space you want to soundproof.
Best Soundproofing Material
Neighbors, barking dogs, cars – stop it before it reaches your ears. Adding these soundproofing materials or soundproofing products to your home or office will reduce the sound that breaks through easy entry points like windows, doors, and even walls.
Soundproofing Spray Foam
Definition: Foam sprayed from a can that can be added as insulation to walls for insulation.
Best for: Existing walls, floors (between levels)
Mass Loaded Vinyl Sound Barrier
Definition: Heavy, versatile material that reduces noise wherever it is placed.
Best for: Hollow doors, between walls, floors, and ceilings, around pipes.
Definition: Like regular caulk, acoustic caulk seals gaps in windows, walls, and doors and blocks air. Acoustic caulk has added noise blocking properties to stop sound vibrations.
Best for: Cracks in window frames, doors, walls, ceilings.
Acoustic Window Inserts
Definition: Soundproof window inserts that fit onto existing windows to air seal. Made from high-grade acrylic to both reduce and absorb sound.
Best for: Single-pane windows, historic windows. They work on double-pane windows, but you will get less noise reduction.
Definition: Decorative sound absorbing wall panels (yes, decorative, why should you settle for plain?) absorb noise within a space in an aesthetically pleasing way. They come prefabricated or available to customize with your own art.
Best for: Rooms where noise echoes – large, flat surfaces like walls with no windows.
Definition: Soundproof underlayment is a rubber mat that you can place underneath other flooring materials to decrease sound transmission between levels. It can also eliminate noise from footsteps.
Best for: Creaking floors, upper levels.
Acoustic Floor Tiles
Definition: Acoustic floor tiles absorb sound during impact and from nearby sources.
Best for: Echoing room.
Comparing Most Effective Soundproofing Materials
Once you know where you are adding the soundproofing materials and what products you want, how can you compare which brand is the best? The best soundproofing material manufacturers will back up their product with a phone call discussing which types of noise it blocks or absorbs.
Many products also list their STC rating. STC, or Sound Transmission Class Rating, is a system that rates how well an assembly of building materials reduces or absorbs sound. The higher a product's STC rating, the better it is at soundproofing. See this STC rating chart for relative noise levels. It's a great way to compare products across brands and types.
The prices below are average for that type of window and may include installation costs. For example, the double-pane window cost is taken from Remodeling and is based on a 3×5 window. We tried to find windows that would have comparative STC ratings.
Watch Effective Soundproofing Materials in Action
Visit our YouTube channel for more tips on the best soundproofing material and how to most effectively block noise.
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Indow inserts were easy to measure, order and install. They've provided great insulation for old single-pane and stained glass windows in an antique home. We can significantly feel how much better the home holds heat.
I ordered two Indow inserts for my home. They are doing a great job, entirely happy with them and the ordering process.
I can't say enough good things about this product and company. Our house is 101 years old and the sidelites next to our front door are single pane ancient wavy glass which means when it gets very cold (Chicago temps) we can have an inch of frost covering the INSIDE of our windows. I was desperately searching for a solution so our front vestibule was not so cold and a friend recommended Indow. The process could not have been simpler and the temperature difference it has made is off the charts.
I have several historic single pane gridwork mullion windows. They're beautiful but have almost no thermal protection. Indows proved to be the perfect solution to preserve these windows while getting the thermal comfort we need. They were easy to install and work perfectly!
Amazingly easy to install even the safety chain holders. I. Noticed an immediate sound level difference and the room atmosphere became more solid feeling and pleasant. They also gave an insulating feature to the window drafts are non existent! The house is 50ft off a State highway that is heavily traveled in warmer months I'm confident the indows will handle it. I'm very pleased!
We ordered the acoustic inserts to help with road noise, and we've been sleeping so much better with them!
We used the windows inserts in our skylight. They are great! They the horrible drafts and noise out and were cost efficient. My only comment would be to provide better measurement and installation instructions for skylights specifically. It took us a lot of guessing and research to measure and install because skylight directions were not provided and the windows install guide doesn't always apply to skylights. Other than that though great product and I would buy again!
Our home was built in the late 1800s and we have spent a lot of money over the last 20+years restoring it.We did not want to replace the windows with modern windows because of the cost and originality. But the single pane windows come with a price also. the main reason we purchased the Indow window inserts is because of the condensation on the inside of the windows.We would literally have a take a towel and wipe them down every morning in the winter. There would be a puddle on the sill,and wood and water dont get along to well. SO we looked into the best solution to our problem and found Indow. Was reluctant to spend that much money but am super glad we did!! They have been installed now for over two months and our condensation problem has been virtually eliminated.!!! AND our furnace does not run as much as it did before. Over all it was money well spent!! The process was a little scary at first but they have a simple formula. And our contact person,Reed was awesome. Answered any questions i had and was always available.
Used to block interior side of a garden window in the the kitchen. Without insert, cold air literally poured into the kitchen making a winter jacket almost mandatory when preparing meals or washing dishes
Highly recommend! The team (Brian) took time to help me figure out the best solution. They were made and delivered faster than expected. It was very rewarding to install them because I could feel the cold air get squeezed out as they went flush against the single pane of glass. Solid quality and great fit.
My inserts fit beautifully into my 125 year old windows - many of which were 5 feet tall. Easy to unwrap and install. Great product and even better service! I liked the process of measuring the windows with a laser measuring tool which was easy to use and precise. The product came in good condition after shipping across country and was well marked. The customer support was excellent.
Received our Indow Windows and can tell they are blocking a lot of the noise we could hear. Right now the weather is mild, but hoping to notice a big difference when the summer heats up. Our house is in a historic district and we cannot change our windows. They are very drafty and thin glass. We only ordered two, but we are in the process of ordering for four more. Love that we don’t need to drill holes or anything and they just pop right in.
Every thing arrived in perfect condition, thanks to the very secure packaging. Windows fit as expected, although quite tight. After installation we noticed that the cold drafts were gone and the room felt a lot warmer. We are very satisfied with the product and the result.
Great customer service! Super satisfied with our windows.
Indow service and product is good. Reduced outside noise considerably.