How Does Soundproof Insulation Work?

Lead Image for How Does Soundproof Insulation Work?

You may not need soundproof insulation if you live in a small rural town, but in a busy metropolitan area, noise pollution can be a major nuisance. When building a house in any environment, you should know about this type of insulation before you decide to use it in building your home. Read on to learn more about soundproof insulation and how this material works.

Understanding Sound

You can think of sound as moving energy, somewhat like the ripples created by an object tossed into a pond. These ripples spread outward from the object that created them. The same thing happens with sound. The energy created in an explosion or two objects coming together creates these energy waves that spread out from the source of the energy. When these sound waves come in contact with a human eardrum, they create sound.

Soundproof Noise Reduction

The way soundproofing reduces or eliminates sound—or noise—is that a material that is used for soundproofing, interrupts the flow of sound waves, stopping or reducing them before they can strike an eardrum.

Soundproofing Insulation Material

What kind of material can you use to deaden or reduce sound? Most soundproof insulation is made from materials such as vinyl nitrile foam that made into various forms that have tiny air cells in it when it is manufactured. Airwaves striking these cells are dissipated by transforming their energy into small amounts of heat.

Soundproofing Options

Soundproofing can be achieved in a number of ways. You can soundproof a wall, preventing sound—or noise—to travel through the wall and subsequently through the air on the far side of the wall. By installing the soundproofing material in the wall, you can stop the sound waves from traveling through the wall.

Soundproofing Metal Sound Conductors

By using the right materials and techniques, you can soundproof equipment or objects that create or conduct sound waves. One example is a hot water pipe that pops or pings from expansion or contraction. By wrapping insulation around the pipe can reduce—or eliminate—the popping noise waves that would otherwise pass through the pipe. Especially plastic vent pipes and waste pipes that transmit sound waves to other areas of the house. Sounds such as running water, or toilets in which water is flushed, are notorious for creating or transmitting sounds. The same is true of holes in walls that allow sound to travel through air spaces. The noise that travels through these air spaces can be stopped by packing insulating materials in these holes.

Air Leaks

Sounds radiating through the air can often pass into an adjoining room by traveling under doors installed between rooms. It can even pass through the air in heating vents. Noise conducted through these airways can be reduced or deadened by placing insulation in the air spaces between rooms in your home.


Sound transmitted by floors and ceiling can be reduced or deadened by installing sound-absorbing materials, such as tiles, and carpeting. Avoiding the use of harder materials can also help reduce the transmission of sound