Soundproofing Walls and Ceilings

Soundproofing Walls and Ceilings

Sound Advice

MLV is a flexible barrier material designed to block AIRBORNE sound. Made in a liquid state, with minerals added to gain density, this heavy mass-loaded product weighs 1 pound per square foot. Ideal for protecting room B from room A's noise.


The weight of the material is what makes the product work for you. Cut the pieces into smaller, more manageable sizes as you install. For maximum effect, treat both sides of a common wall with the product. Use two different thickness es of drywall and layer this material in between. Also note that standard insulation stuffed between joists in a wall does little to block sound transmission. Structural noise transmission through the studs is common. Ask about using RC channels or RSIC clips and Hattrack to lower structural noise transmission.


Start with the obvious and easy fixes, and proceed through your list, attacking each noise leak separately.

Take the obvious steps to seal off all cracks, crevices, and paths where sound could escape from. Every little crack will offer sound an escape route. Unless you are thorough in sealing off the entire room, you will not be successful with your soundproofing project.

You need to create an airtight seal, so noise will not pass through. Just as water would pass through a crack, so do sounds! Sometimes this can be difficult to accomplish, depending on the number of vents, electrical plugs, windows, doors, and other breaks in the wall. Doors and windows are often overlooked. Make sure that doors and windows fit their frames snuggly and that they form a tight seal.

The quality of the soundproofing depends a great deal on the artisanship and attention to detail of the builder. There must be no loose studs, and the sill plates must really hug the floor. The wallboard must be well fitted and all potential cracks must be caulked. (Caulk should be flexible, not rigid, and should not crack when the building settles.) Do not put holes in sound walls for outlets or pipes-- use surface mount electrical fittings and caulk around any wires that pierce the gypsum.

Sound can travel through any medium-- in fact it passes through solids better than through air. Sound intensity is reduced in the transition from one material to another, as from the air to a wall and back. The amount of reduction (called the transmission loss) is related to the density of the wall-- as long as it doesn't move in response to the sound.

All walls are somewhat flexible. Any motion caused by sound striking one side of the wall will result in sound radiated by the other side, an effect called coupling. If the sound hits a resonant frequency, the wall will boom like a drum. Most isolation techniques are really ways to reduce coupling and prevent resonances.

Airborne Noise and Soundproofing Floors

Airborne noise, like any other, must be treated at the source. For multi-level buildings, MLV (mass loaded vinyl) can be used as an underlayment. Just lay the barrier down in lengths. Use a flexible caulk to seal the seams between the rolls and around the perimeter. The MLV can be covered with carpet pad and carpet. It can be laid directly under the new flooring or between sheets of plywood, or under various types of tile. It will help reduce noise transmission from above and below the treated floor.

This has been a popular and effective noise solution for many years!


When installed in a wall, MLV more than doubles the STC rating. For instance, a standard hollow sheetrock wall, with 1/2" Gypsum board on metal studs has a STC rating of about 23 (ordinary conversation through it can be understood). Adding the MLV brings the STC rating up to about 50. This is a great improvement!

You can make an amazing contribution to reducing noise leakage in or out of your building by caulking all cracks and holes, no matter how small or indirect with our flexible acoustical caulk.

Install the vinyl in strips across the wall, be sure to go from edge to edge, covering the entire surface. Use a commercial staple gun to keep the vinyl in place during the installation. Screws and wall anchors may also be used if the vinyl is too heavy for the staples (depending on the length of the strips).

Be sure to caulk the seams of the Sound Barrier with our acoustical caulk before proceeding to the next step! Each strip must have the seams sealed.

Very small gaps will greatly compromise the quality of the soundproofing, since sound can easily travel through the minute spaces. Pay attention to detail and don't cut corners!

Next, cover the layer of MLV with a second layer of gypsum, preferably 5/8” thick. Finish as usual.

If you have structural noise as well, we recommend using resilient channels (RC-2 on ceilings, RC-1 on walls). This involves an extra step of putting the channels up on top of the sound barrier prior to the sheetrock. Ask us for instructions if you are considering this approach. We don’t use Resilient Channels on floors.

MLV can be best be described as a "loaded”, heavy, (1 Lb per Sq. Ft!), vinyl underlay. For quieting floors, this heavy layer can be placed under the carpet and padding for optimum impact and noise control.


Our GREEN GLUE also helps dampen noise between walls and has been very effective in the field. Please call for more data on this product.


We suggest that you employ a licensed, bonded contractor to install these products since it may be hazardous to attempt installation without proper protective clothing, equipment or training. Call us if you'd like help finding an installer.

We are not liable for the results of improper installation or poor workmanship. We are an informational site and will provide manufacturer's recommended installation instructions to the best of our ability. We are not general contractors but we are product distributors for the major acoustical product manufacturers.

Please obtain appropriate building permits and have a professional perform the installation of these products for you. We can give you general guidance, however, you shouldn't rely solely on the information on this website since there are too many variables that may complicate the project or pose a hazard.

Thank you for visiting our site and for doing business with us! Let us know if there's anything we can do to improve our service, or if there are any products that are not listed on our site that may be of interest to you.