Soundproofing insulation is a special type of insulation product, designed to be an acoustic barrier. The insulation barrier absorbs sound and can greatly reduce noise leakage from one room to another.
The result of installing soundproofing will be a peaceful and private home for all to enjoy. Soundproofing insulation is typically made of mineral wool (also known as rockwool), fiberglass, and sometimes cotton or cellulose materials.
In the application of soundproofing a room, we highly recommend using the rigid panel style mineral wool/rockwool products.
These insulation products are usually sold in the form of rigid panels or softer batts. They are sized for use within residential interior walls, floors, and ceilings. However the insulation is not thermally efficient, and thus is unsuitable for use in exterior walls or attics.
Typical Insulation Sizes
Soundproofing insulation panels can be purchased for wood or steel stud walls and ceilings.
- Wood Stud Panels: 15.25” x 47” x 2” or 3” Thick
- Steel Stud Panels: 16.25” x 48” x 2” or 3” Thick
Mineral wool and fiberglass soundproofing insulation can be purchased in packages of multiple panels. They are manufactured with good tolerances, and fits snugly in between wall studs and ceiling joists. They will fit into the cavities with a friction press fit, ensuring there is no air gap for sound to leak into adjoining rooms. The insulation panels are 2”-3” thick and are rigid enough to be easily cut to shape around electrical outlets and studs. You can use a drywall saw to precisely cut out the notches to make each panel fit into place. Wall and ceilings can be finished off with standard or soundproof grade drywall, no vapor barriers are required.
Comparing the Top Products – Acoustic Performance
|Mineral Wool – High Performance|
|Safe'N'Sound by Roxul||Varies||1.05||0.52||1.18||1.07||1.05||2.5 lb/ft^3|
|Mineral Wool – Multi Purpose|
|Roxul Acoustic Fire Batts (AFB)||$36||0.95||0.28||1.09||1.09||1.07||2.5 lb/ft^3|
|Roxul Rockboard 60 (2")||$52||0.95||0.32||1.06||1.02||1.04||6.0 lb/ft^3|
|Roxul Rockboard 80 (2")||$72||1.00||0.43||0.90||0.97||1.00||8.0 lb/ft^3|
|Fiberglass – Multi Purpose|
|ATS Acoustics Rigid Fiberglass (2")||$64||1.00||0.29||1.11||1.13||1.03||3.0 lb/ft^3|
|Owens Corning 703 (1")||$127 (12)||0.70||0.11||0.68||0.90||0.96||3.0 lb/ft^3|
|Owens Corning 703 (2")||$67||1.00||0.17||1.14||1.07||0.98||3.0 lb/ft^3|
|Owens Corning 705 (1")||$163 (12)||0.65||0.02||0.63||0.85||0.95||6.0 lb/ft^3|
|Owens Corning 705 (2")||$119 (12)||0.95||0.16||1.02||1.01||0.99||6.0 lb/ft^3|
|Applegate Cotton Batts||Varies||1.05||0.27||1.17||1.15||1.06||2.5 lb/ft^3|
High Performance Mineral Wool
The Roxul Safe’N’Sound product has some of the best low and high frequency ratings, and is very cost effective. It is designed specifically for soundproofing, and thus should be used only on interior ceilings, floor, and walls. All of the Roxul mineral wool products are made from natural stone fibers, making them fire, water, and moisture resistant. The major downside is that for some reason it is VERY difficult to find online or in stores. The good news is the other Roxul products are almost as good, and much easier to find in stock.
Multi Purpose Mineral Wool
The Rockboard 60 and 80 mineral wool products are more of a multi-purpose insulation. While they have slightly lower sound absorbing performance, they have improved thermal insulating capabilities. These products could be used on the inside to soundproof exterior walls on top of standard thermal insulation.
Roxul Rockboard 60
Roxul Rockboard 80
Rockboard 60 is better at absorbing high frequency sound, while the 80 is better at low frequencies. AFB is a low cost, soft and flexible insulation product, best suited for framed, or covered panels.
Fiberglass has similar sound absorbing performance as mineral wool in the same thickness, but at a higher price. Fiberglass is a good alternative to the mineral wool if you need thermal insulation on top of the soundproofing.
ATS Rigid Fiberglass
Owens Corning 703
Owens Corning 703 FRK
Cotton soundproofing is very affordable and provides very good sound absorption performance. The cotton is soft like a batt, and needs the support of a frame or covering. Cotton is a good choice for small projects like building your own acoustic panels.
Difference Between Soundproofing and Sound Absorption
Continue on to: Soundproofing a Room