Without a doubt, mass loaded vinyl is absolutely one of the best soundproofing materials available. The challenge is that it can be hard to find and may be costly when used on large-sized soundproofing projects.
The good news is that there are several lower cost and effective materials available for soundproofing projects for ceilings, floors, walls and more. You may choose to use mass loaded vinyl for part of a project and other materials for the remainder.
Alternatives to Mass Loaded Vinyl
Rhino Acoustic Absorption Panel
An Alternative to Mass loaded Vinyl That’s Better at Soundproofing Walls
Here is a professional grade Acoustic Absorption Panel from Rhino. They measure 12″ x 12″ x 0.4″ and come six to a package. These superior noise proofing panels cover up to 6 sq. ft. of wall space and install easily using 3M Double-Sided Tape. At 230kg/m3 they are some of the densest sound-absorbing panels that can be found in the marketplace. They will work very well for soundproofing family rooms, home theatres, nurseries, offices, workspaces, music studios, and more.
These panels excellent noise reduction comes from the fact they are made using a dense blend of 100% polyester fibers. They feature a superior lab-tested NRC of .95. This puts them in a noise-reducing class that’s above many grades of mass loaded vinyl. That also makes them suitable for both home and commercial applications as a highly effective noise absorption material. They are not only effective at deadening sound waves but these panels have an exceptional echo and reverb absorption capability too.
Fstop Grey Acoustic Soundproofing Tiles
Wall and Ceiling Mass Loaded Vinyl Alternative
Here is one of the least expensive ways to provide strong soundproofing characteristics to any interior wall. These grey acoustic soundproofing tiles from Fstop Labs measure 12″ x 12″ x 0.4″ and come in packs of 12. They are easy to cut and install too That means even larger size rooms can have added soundproofing installed in them in less than a few hours. It’s a soundproofing material that can be placed over entire walls or used to spot treat areas where excessive noise penetrates through into a room.
They are made using 100% eco-friendly polyester fiber. This also helps to keep them lightweight and impact resistant. That’s also what gives them their outstanding NRC rating of 0.9 which is comparable to some grades of mass loaded vinyl. It’s a soundproofing material that works by removing both reverberations and sound reflections. They are acoustic absorption panels that won’t interfere with the looks of any room they are installed in either.
MP Global Products QW100B1LT Laminate Flooring Underlayment
Great Mass Loaded Vinyl Alternative for Floors
MP Global Products has come up with a very easy to apply laminate or engineered wood flooring underlayment that will help soundproof any room. It comes in generous size rolls that measure 3′ x 33’4″. This product not only acts as a nice soundproofing underlayment but it’s also compression resistant and provides a good moisture barrier. It’s any echo-friendly product too that has no ingredients in it that will impact indoor air quality.
The recycled fibers that MP Global Products Soundproofing Underlayment is made from help it to do a good job of absorbing sounds. It has an NRC rating of around .40. This is a very respectful noise absorption rating when this underlayment is combined with the natural soundproofing properties of laminate or engineered wood floors that are placed over it. It’s a heat resistant product that’s also approved for use over in-floor radiant heat systems. Those who install it will also like the fact that it naturally lays down flat with no ripples or waves.
For more information on floor underlayment please see our article Best Soundproof Underlayment.
Armstrong 2’x2’ Acoustic Ceiling Tiles
Don’t Forget to Soundproof the Ceiling
Here is one of the highest-rated suspended acoustic ceiling tiles you will find. It makes an excellent alternative to mass loaded vinyl when it comes to soundproofing ceilings. It’s easy to drop into place on any standard 15/16″ suspended ceiling grid. There are 16 – 2’x2’ pieces of Armstrong Acoustic Ceiling Tiles per box so it won’t break the bank when you go to use them either. That’s up to 64 sq. ft. of coverage per box. Typical uses for them are for home basement and office ceilings and commercial offices, corridors, and retail spaces.
These panels are made up of mineral fibers that include 56% recycled content. These closely compressed fibers are what give these acoustic ceiling panels their very respectable .50 NTC and 33 STC ratings. They are specifically designed to sufficiently minimize noise from traveling between rooms. As a bonus, they are fire-resistant and perfect for use in high humidity areas. This is due to their excellent mold and mildew resistance. They are also suitable for both home and commercial use.
Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound
Liquid Alternative Multipurpose Soundproofing Coating
This glue is a popular noise proofing compound that’s even more versatile in its number uses than mass loaded vinyl. That’s because it can be used to soundproof any place that a thin caulk style applicator tip or brush can reach. It’s called Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound and it comes in tubes or a convenient 5-gallon bucket size for larger soundproofing projects. That will give any user enough coverage to soundproof 385 square feet.
Unlike the other mass vinyl alternatives that we discussed here; this one comes in the form of an extremely viscous liquid. It goes on wet and dries in a few hours and leaves no odor behind. This soundproofing product is formulated to reduce both impact and airborne noises. It can be applied over almost any type of surface and once dry it deadens up to 90% of the sounds that come into contact with it.
Car Sound Deadener Heat Insulation Mat
Car Soundproofing Mass loaded Vinyl Alternative
Many people use mass-loaded vinyl to help soundproof their vehicles. That way they can better enjoy the music that they play while driving and can hear better while their car speakerphones are on. This Car Sound Deadener Mat works the same way when it comes to soundproofing any vehicle. This soundproofing mat comes in a 9.8×15.7 ” roll and covers approximately 50 square feet. That’s enough material for most people to soundproof more than one car.
This matting is made using a butyl and fiberglass sound deadening material that comes with a strong attached adhesive. Keep in mind the matting has a logo printed all over. This matting can be used on trunks, under mats, in door frames, and even in the engine area because of its high heat resistance. Not only does it adhere well to surfaces thanks to its strong adhesive backing but it’s also very easy to cut and form to fit.
Nicetown Energy Smart & Noise Reducing Thermal Insulated Drapes
A Cheap and Easy to Install Mass Loaded Vinyl Alternative
One simple way to add an extra layer of soundproof material to a wall or ceiling is by adding blackout drapes. Ones such as these curtains from Nicetown, which are thick and have an extra lining, are an inexpensive way to help reduce sound in any room. You may be thinking well “I don’t’ have big windows or any windows at all in the room that I am trying to soundproof. That should not be a concern at all. When properly attached to a wall or ceiling, decorative blackout curtains will not only help deaden the sound coming into a room but they can complement the looks of that room too. As a bonus, they can also be installed so they can be drawn over doorways to help stop the light and sound that often comes through them.
They come in a wide selection of colors and sizes to help make this task easier for you too. These super-soft curtains from Nicetown are made using a triple-weave polyester fabric for thickness. They come with added grommets at the top for decorative and easy hanging purposes. Nicetown’s drapes have an STC rating of around 13 to 15. That means when they are covering standard drywall, they will help stop the audible sound that’s coming from nearby rooms.
QuietRock, Soundproof Drywall
Instead of adding a material to your wall, you can also use more soundproof building materials to begin with. Using QuietRock in place of drywall will decrease the level of sound that permeates the wall.
QuietRock is multi-layered. It has gypsum layers like normal sheetrock but it also has a viscoelastic polymer layer specifically designed to reduce sound transmission.
Keep in mind that sound will find its way through holes or thinner areas of the wall that you may not be aware of.
If the drywall or QuietRock doesn’t go all the way to the floor (which is a common building feature), sound may go underneath the walls. Sound can go through electrical outlet openings, air vents or holes made for cable TV, to name a few places.
Sometimes you can cut out a lot of sound just by attacking the weak points in your wall without having to do drastic re-covering projects.
Why is Mass Loaded Vinyl So Popular?
Mass loaded vinyl is so popular because of its noise stopping ability, thinness, and flexibility. It is also a versatile product that can be used on ceilings, floors, ductwork, and walls. Those characteristics are criteria for selecting alternatives.
Some even use it for soundproofing automobile interiors. That created a need to suggest mass loaded vinyl alternatives for use in these different areas too. The products I have featured here will provide you with mass loaded vinyl alternatives that will cover your soundproofing needs in a large variety of areas around your home and elsewhere.
Noise Ratings Explained
To compare the noise-reducing products found here that are suggested as an alternative to mass loaded vinyl, it’s important to explain the different soundproofing ratings that are associated with them. Here are explanations of the soundproofing rates that will be used in this article:
Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC)
This noise deadening rating is based on a particular material’s ability to absorb sound waves. This is reflected by a number ranging from 0 to 1 with ‘0’ being the least effective sound-absorbing material rating and ‘1’ being the highest. So, a material that has an NRC rating of .71 absorbs approximately 71% of the sound waves that come into contact with it.
Sound Transmission Class (STC)
The Sound Transmission Class (STC) is a numerical score of an “assembly” that rates the assembly’s attenuation (reduction) of sound. An assembly is not a single material but all the components that make it up, like all the pieces and materials in a wall, door, ceiling or floor. The higher the STC number the better an assembly is at stopping sound from passing through it.
For comparison’s sake, a standard home drywall wall has an STC rating of around 34. Muffled conversations can still be heard coming through the wall. By adding a layer of soundproofing material, it will increase a wall’s STC rating to over 50 in most cases. No longer will you be able to hear conversations that are taking place on the other side of the wall.
The Bottom Line: Don’t Be Afraid to Look For and Use Mass Loaded Vinyl Alternatives
The products that we have shown you here are just a small sample of the many mass loaded vinyl alternatives that are out there. Some are even easier to use than mass loaded vinyl for certain types of soundproofing situations. Others are much less expensive alternatives to mass loaded vinyl that perform almost as well. So there is never any reason for you to stop your quest for a more soundproof area just because mass loaded vinyl is out of your budget range or not available at the time.