MLV is a good option for soundproofing, It reduces noise by 7 to 12 dB but this is not the only option for soundproofing, and that’s why mass-loaded vinyl alternatives exist.
Why I am saying this because some people don’t like MLV because of its smell, its heavyweight, its high price, and some people do not like MLV because of its color also. So we came here with some of the best mass-loaded vinyl alternatives.
But before we go over it, let’s know what is mass-loaded vinyl and how does it work.
What is mass loaded vinyl
Mass-loaded vinyl is the sound barrier or sound blocker. It creates a barrier in the transmission of sound waves and effectively reducing airborne noise.
In simple words, you can say that MLV is the vinyl sheet loaded with mass such as calcium silicate or barium sulfate.
It is also referred to as a limp mass barrier actually, there are so many trade names available in the market for this material but all are made up of PVC material, loaded with calcium silicate or barium sulfate.
Calcium silicate or barium sulfate makes the MLV denser and you all know that the denser materials are able to block the noise effectively and Vinyl provides strength and stability.
Vinyl is a naturally rigid product so an additive known as a plasticizer is added to give it flexibility. That’s why you can use MLV even in complicated places very easily such as pipe, duct, tank and so many.
How does MLV work
As we saw MLV is the vinyl sheet loaded with mass such as barium sulfate, which is a high mass material.
And as you already know that mass is one of the very important principles of soundproofing for blocking out sound.
Sound waves are nothing but vibrations. It requires some material medium to travel, whether it may be air (gas), or solid material, or liquid. Therefore if sound waves pass through something, they need to make it vibrate.
And you know very well that, the heavier the structure the less it will vibrate and fewer vibrations mean more sound will block or reflect. This is how MLV works.
It helps to reduce the noise by 7 to 12 dB but it all depends on the STC rating of MLV, 2lb per square foot MLV has an STC rating of 32, see the image below.
So if you too are anxious with your noisy neighbors and do not want to use MLV, then this article is only for you.
So here we are describing the best mass-loaded vinyl alternatives.
List Of 7 Best Mass Loaded Vinyl Alternatives
Below are the lists of the best mass loaded vinyl alternatives, which you can use for soundproofing,
1. Rubber Mat
A rubber mat is made from natural rubber or recycled rubber. It is denser by nature that’s why it is a good sound blocker. The heavier, denser, and thicker rubber mat works effectively for blocking out noise.
Actually, rubber is a versatile product like MLV. It is not only a good sound blocker but also a good impact noise reducer also. It is very flexible, and also a good electrical insulator as well as it also resists many corrosive substances.
A rubber mat is a very popular alternative for MLV. It is commonly used in commercial gyms, recording studios, playgrounds, workshops, basketball courts, museums, etc. It has a good IIC rating which indicates that it effectively reduces structure-borne noise.
Its installation is also the same as MLV. You can hang it over the stud or joist as like MLV or you can also be installed it over the existing drywall with an air stapler. You can install it on the floors, walls, ceilings, or any location where safety and comfort are required.
2. MuteX Soundproof Material
It is one of the similar alternatives to MLV. A muteX has two-phase, one is Carbon-weave which acts as a sound absorber and another one is Polymute which acts as a sound blocker, and due to this two-phase of MuteX, it works better.
MuteX helps you in reducing noise, but it will not completely block the sound. It has a 32 STC rating. Mutex works great when it is used inside the wall or ceiling or floor.
As you installed MLV, just like that you can install MuteX. Yes, you can staple, glued, nailed, or screwed it easily as like MLV, but always remember one thing and that is the carbon-weave side should always towards the source of the sound.
Is MuteX fire resistant?
Yes, Mutex is fire-resistant and It meets flame test MFVSS 302 and has a class “C” burn rating.
Can I paint over the MuteX?
Yes, you can paint over the MuteX but the company does not recommend it because painting may change the sound deadening and observing capabilities.
3. Sound Mat 3 Plus
The sound mat is very similar to a mutex but only the difference is that mutex has two layers in which one work as a blocker and the other work as an absorber.
But in the Sound mat, there are three layers in which one is worked as an absorber and the other two are worked as a sound blocker.
That’s why the sound mat is very effective for reducing noise than a mutex. It does not only help to reduce air-borne noise but also structure-borne noise.
The sound mat is made of three layers of which one layer is made of closed-cell foam and the other two layers are made of MLV. In which the closed-cell foam layer is sandwiched in between the two layers of MLV so that you get the better sound reduction.
4. Floor Underlayment
Actually, the name of this product indicates its use. Yes, you are right this product is used underneath the laminate floor. But you can also use this product for reducing noise through walls, ceilings, doors, and windows like MLV.
This product is good for reducing impact sound and moisture control. It is also an anti-microbial to inhibit mold and mildew growth,
let’s understand what an impact sound is.
Impact sound is the structure-borne sound, when an object hits another object then a sound generates and this sound is called impact sound and footstep is a good example of this impact sound.
It has a good impact insulation class (IIC) rating of 71 and a sound transmission class (STC) rating of 66. IIC & STC rating stands between 0 to 100, the larger number means more reduction in sound.
5. Soundproof Drywall
Yes, soundproof drywall is another and very effective alternative for MLV. Soundproof drywall comes in two layers and both these layers are affixed with the viscoelastic sound-absorbing polymer.
So due to the thickness of the drywall and the soundproof compound, it has a high STC rating and you all know that the more STC rating, the more soundproofing you will get.
Here in this method you can use a layer of soundproof drywall instead of MLV and make your wall, door, ceiling, window, or anything you want to be soundproof.
If there is any small gap in between the drywall then you have to fix them on priority with the help of sealant.
As well as if there are any small holes or voids available in the drywall then you have to repair them first for better results otherwise a small hole will make our system failure.
6. Rock Wool Insulation
Rock wool insulation is commonly used in residential construction. It is water repellent, fire-resistant, and very easy to install. It better helps to reduce noise than others.
This product is usually called stone wool or mineral wool insulation, which is made up of different minerals like stone and rocks. Its main ingredients are basalt rock, slag, coke, and recycled stone wool waste.
Rock wool is very denser, heavier, and thicker. If it’s compressed, it just bounces back to its original shape. It has greater dimensional stability and lowers thermal drift.
It has an NRC rating of 0.9. Actually, the NRC rating stands between 0 to 1, Larger number means more sound reduction. Here we attached a safe use instruction sheet of rock wool for your better knowledge.
You can use this insulation inside the wall as MLV is used or you can make the acoustic panel by using this insulation and you can hang it to your walls for soundproofing. You can also fit this acoustic panel to your windows to make your window soundproof.
7. Acoustic Soundproofing Insulation Tiles
Basically, these are the acoustic absorption panels that come in tile design. It is made up of polyester fabric. It helps to mitigate the sound, not completely block the sound but it is better than acoustic foam panels.
It has an NRC rating of 0.92 which is really good. It absorbs the sound and mitigates the intensity of the sound level by reducing echo.
Of note, if you want less reduction in noise then you can go with this (acoustic tile) product but if you want to reduce more noise then go with an acoustic panel whose thickness at least 2 inches because thicker, denser, and heavier materials are better for soundproofing, instead of the acoustic tile pattern.
Installation of acoustic tile is very simple, you can stick it to your walls with the help of velcro, 3M double-sided tape, or adhesive spray (3M super 77 adhesive sprays).
Apply adhesive spray or double-sided tape to the back of each acoustic tile and adhere it to the desired location, now you have done.
So these all are the mass-loaded vinyl alternatives, you can use one of these alternatives instead of MLV.