Vehicle soundproofing. I am not sure if it is becoming an art form, a national pastime, a personal obsession, a search for quiet, or a combination of some, or all, of these. Whatever moves you, please read on for information about 4 of the best products on the market. Kilmat, Noico, Dynamat, Hushmat. What you find here should help you make an informed decision about what will work best for your vehicle and budget.
Sound Deadening Mat Information
Just a quick overview of the following sound deadening mats. For your information. (And to save repeating it for every product.)
- Provide good sound deadening
- Provide good sound isolation
- Reduce vibration
- Help keep temperature–either warm or cool–more consistent in the passenger cab
- Affordable–varies with product
- Easy to install–varies somewhat with product
- Butyl based
How Much Will it Cost?
Everyone’s first question. It depends is usually the first answer. On how much of the vehicle you are going to cover. On how big, or small, your vehicle is. On which product you choose. How anal you might be. But given those variables, I think you will spend somewhere between $80.00 (if only doing the floor and firewall) and $400.00 (if you are covering every possible surface). Most of the products come in 36 square foot boxes, so unless you are running a stretch limo, 5 or at most 6, boxes should do the trick. At least one product listed below will cost significantly more than $400.00 to do a complete vehicle–unless you drive a Smart Car.
Note: Being one of the more anal types, I would also have a couple of rolls of Fowong Soundproofing Anti-Vibration Tape and a tube of acoustic caulking handy. Just in case I did not get perfect fits. Then I could fill the gaps with caulking and cover it with foam tape to ensure I had no gaps. Or you can order product specific tape from each manufacturer.
If you are not interested in tearing your car apart, and having to put it all back together, you can have your soundproofing done by a shop that specializes in the operation. I have seen prices upwards of $1750.00 to have a vehicle professionally soundproofed. Quite often with material cost extra–again because of different product choices. Make sure you get a solid quote before committing to the work.
Approximate Costs Listed Below
I have listed ‘Approximate Costs’ per square foot for each product. And ‘Approximate’ is exactly what I mean. I looked at manufacturer’s web stores, retailers, online retailers, and consulted with the Tooth Fairy to try to be as accurate as possible. The prices seem to be all over the place with manufacturer’s selling for more than retailers, funky websites trying to flip the customer to something ‘just as good’, and sites selling kits, not boxes of flat pieces you can cut to fit. So please do your homework on pricing before buying.
How Much Time Will it Take?
Everyone’s second question. Especially when it is a DIY project. I think you need to allow 3 – 5 days. After all, you are going to have to get every surface in the vehicle down to bare metal, then replace all of the pieces, ensuring they do not come loose. (You are not going to stick soundproofing onto your roof without removing and replacing the liner.)
Note: Make sure you have your owners manual handy (or an online manual) to tell you how to remove and replace various vehicle parts–like seats. Just grabbing a door panel and yanking it off may not be the best idea.
What Does 80 mil Mean?
A mil is 1/1000th of an inch. Therefore 80 mil thick product is .08 of an inch thick, or 2 millimeters. Which is not very thick for the positive result you will get from installing it. Realistically, it cannot be very thick because you have to re-install all of interior panels with the soundproofing mat under it.
Although all of the manufacturers offer different thicknesses of product, 80 mil seems to be the most popular. So I am going to use that size for the following comparisons. Your own needs, and vehicle, may lead you to choose something thicker, thinner, or more installer-friendly.
Although Kilmat is not as well known as Noico or Dynamat, its popularity is growing. The manufacturer seems to be trying to thread the price needle between the higher-priced products and budget-priced products while providing competitive quality. Quite successfully, it appears.
- Least cost per square foot
- 80 mil foil and butyl mat
- 0.5 lb. per square foot
- 36 square feet per box
- Comes in 9.8″ x 15.7″ sheets–34 per box
- Kilmat 80. 1.5 times thicker than Kilmat 50
- Kilmat 50 is thinner and weighs 0.35 lb. per square foot. 50 square feet per box. Comes in 9.8″ x 15.7″ sheets–47 per box
- Good at reducing engine noise, exterior noise, vibrations, rattles
- Lower priced than competitors
- Smaller sheets are easier to work with, making peeling paper off sticky side less annoying
- Good PDF installation instructions on website
- Provide quantity calculator on website: kilmat.com (eg. Midsize SUV: 126 square feet plus 15% – 20% for the largest midsize)
The Not so Good
- A little finicky to work with
- Smaller sheets, though easier to work with, do not cover very much at one time. Also increases joins and seams needing close to perfect fit for good soundproofing
- Does not provide product in ‘kits’ such as door kit, floor kit, trunk kit, etc.–just various sized boxes of flat product
- Provide DIY videos on website that are lacking real detail
- Does not have tape available–product from one of the other brands (or generic) will do the job
- Need to buy roller separately (although one video suggested just using a pickle jar)
Although Noico butyl is not quite as pure as Dynamat, it produces a similar result for a lower price. (Slightly more expensive than Kilmat.) It is also thicker and heavier than Dynamat. It is the same thickness as Kilmat but 0.2 lb. per square foot heavier.
- Cost similar to Kilmat 80, slightly more
- 80 mil foil and butyl mat
- 0.7 lb. per square foot
- 36 square feet per box
- Comes in 29.5″ x 19.5″ sheets–9 per box
- Noico 80 c/w mill foil. Available in 5 square foot box, 10 square foot box, 18 square foot box, 36 square foot box.
- Noico 80 c/w black foil. Available in 10 square foot box, 18 square foot box, 36 square foot box.
- Noico Red 150. Available in 18 square foot box, 36 square foot box.
- Noico Red 315. Available in 9.5 square foot box, 20 square foot box.
- Noico sealing tape
Notes: Mill foil is a description of the color–shiny, like aluminum foil wrap. The black product is a little more expensive because of the color sprayed onto the foil. It is generally used where the finished product will be exposed–by someone who does not want the shiny finish. The 150 and 315 numbers attached to Noico Red give the thickness in mils. Noico Red is self-adhesive closed cell polyethylene foam–not butyl. (Do not use Noico Red as a heat shield.)
- Very good at reducing engine noise, exterior noise, vibrations, and rattles
- Lower priced than Dynamat
- More expensive than Kilmat but about 40% heavier
- Installs on virtually any surface
- Noico sealing tape available
- Provide quantity calculator on website: noico.info which is much easier to use than Kilmat’s
- Good, detailed installation instructions on PDF
The Not so Good
- Has a rubbery/butyl smell that tends to linger for a while
- Need to buy roller (sold separately) to finish properly
- Does not provide individual ‘kits’ such as door kit, floor kit, trunk kit, etc.
- Annoying instruction videos not worth the time it takes to view them
Dynamat is definitely the most well known (and probably most widely used) vehicle sound deadening mat. They do not produce an 80 mil mat, so I used their most popular product for comparison purposes.
- Highest cost per square foot in this article
- 67 mil (1.7 millimeters) thick foil and butyl mat
- 0.64 lb. per square foot
- Bulk pack: 36 square feet per box
- Comes in 18″ x 32″ sheets–9 per box
- Purest butyl product on the market
- Heat resistant
- Dynamat Xtreme. Available in ‘kit form’, bulk pack (36 square feet), mega pack (72 square feet)
- Dynamat Superlite. 30% lighter and 30% thinner for good soundproofing with less weight. Available in tri-pack (32 square feet), bulk pack (48 square feet)
- Dynaliner. Self-adhesive acoustic foam available in 3 thicknesses
- Dynapad. STC rating of 28. Almost 1/2″ thick. Can be used over Dynamat Xtreme for best sound barrier
- Numerous other products, most of them task specific, such as HoodLiner, DynaDeck, DynaBox, etc.
- DynaTape 2 mil foil finishing tape
- Excellent at reducing engine noise, exterior noise, vibrations, and rattles
- Available in separate kit form (like door kits, speaker kits) to cut down waste
- Heavier and thicker than Hushmat
- Dynamat sealing tape available
- Long and distinguished history–trusted by many for years
- Good FAQ section on website
The Not so Good
- More expensive than virtually all other products by quite a bit
- A little more difficult to install than Noico. (Rumor has it that applying a little heat, specially in rounded areas and corners, helps it adhere better.)
- Not as heavy or thick as Kilmat or Noico
- Need to buy a roller (sold separately) to finish properly
- Website is quite cute about showing off products, but short on detail–no quantity calculator or detailed installation instructions
Hushmat Ultra pricing seems to fall between Dynamat and Noico pricing. It is engineered to fit OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) specifications.
- Cost per square foot double Kilmat 80 and Noico 80, but far less than Dynamat 67
- 1.5 millimeters thick (less than 1/8″) foil and butyl mat
- 0.47 lb. per square foot
- Floor/Firewall kit: 38.7 square feet per box
- Comes in 12″ x 23″ sheets–20 per box
- 9 ‘universal’ kits from 2 square feet – 72 square feet
- Over 12,000 custom vehicle kits available–manufactured for various models, makes, ages
- Hushmat Ultra available either in bulk packages or specific kits such as speaker kits, door kits, trunk kits, etc.
- Silencer Megabond. Thermal insulating self-adhesive foam. Various thickness and lengths
- Sound deadening home products such as dishwasher kits, HVAC kits, etc.
- Various soundproofing kits for marine, RV, and recreational applications
- Quiet Tape Roll used to seal joints, keep wires tied up, etc.
- Good at reducing engine noise, exterior noise, vibrations, and rattles
- Can remove, and reposition product within 2 minutes of original install (according to manufacturer) before it becomes permanently attached
- Claims up to 15 decibel noise reduction
- Can be installed by hand although roller makes for smoother and tighter job
- Claims that cleaning with water is all that is needed
Note: Not sure I would trust the water only cleaning. Almost all metal manufacturing processes have a tendency to leave an oily residue. I would be very tempted to use a 50/50 vinegar/water mix to make sure the surface is clean and the product will adhere properly.
- Good detailed installation PDF’s on website along with good videos
- Provide ability to enter vehicle information on website when ordering
The Not so Good
- More expensive than Noico or Kilmat. (Could be because you seem to be ordering kits for most everything.)
- Not as heavy or thick as Dynamat or Noico
- Website a little short on technical details and somewhat difficult to navigate
All of these products perform the same function in your vehicle–reduce noise, heat, vibrations, and rattles. All of them are applied in an almost identical manner. All of them are fairly easy to cut and fit. In the end, your choice will come down to your comfort level with the products.
I would have to go with the Noico 80 for the following reasons:
- Thickness and Weight. Although the Hushmat is the same thickness, it weighs significantly less per square foot. And when it comes to soundproofing, mass (weight) is very important. I know it is only 0.2 lb. difference in total but as a percentage, it is huge. Anything that is 40% more should perform much better
- Performance. Should perform at least as well as the competition–if not better because of more mass.
- Cost. In many cases, you get what you pay for. In this case, you can save money and get more bang for your buck at the same time.
Even soundproofing 2 vehicle doors is a fairly serious undertaking, if you have never done anything like this before. If you decide the do the entire vehicle at one time, it becomes a major project. (Do not plan this for the weekend before you intend to drive across the country.) A few final points:
- You may want to cut the soundproofing mat off seat mounts before re-installing the seats. I saw a suggestion that the bolts may come loose when installed over the butyl. If this is your choice, give some consideration to squirting a little acoustic caulking on the mount before re-installing the seats, to keep the integrity of the soundproofing.
- Again, I would use vinegar and water to wash the metal parts before installation, and maybe degreaser, or acetone if necessary.
- Do not let the sticky butyl side of any of the products stick to itself. Not only is it difficult to separate, if you get it apart you have quite likely created a thin spot where it has been torn apart.
- Wear rubber gloves during installation, specially if you react to products such as butyl. (I will admit that I would not wear gloves. Even those thin surgical things between the product and my fingers is annoying.)
- It might be worthwhile to buy a Soundproofing Roller Kit with 3 different sizes to ensure that you can get into tight corners for better adhesion
- Consider getting a decibel meter before starting the project. Go for a drive in various types of traffic and road conditions. Keep track of the decibel level in the vehicle. Then again after your soundproofing is complete. (Note: Have someone else either drive or operate the meter. Doing both at once is like driving while on a cell phone. Stupid.)