SilentHomeHub is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Using Mass Loaded Vinyl for Soundproofing: The Best Sound/Noise/Acoustic Barrier?

Mass Loaded Vinyl

Are the sounds coming from your neighbors’ houses bothering you? Or maybe it’s the other way around. You’re bothering your neighbor with all the loud sounds from your house!

When this happens, there’s usually this weird tension between you and your neighbors. Luckily, you can avoid this with the simple purchase of Mass Loaded Vinyl.

Today, we’ll run you through the basics of this class A sound treatment for your home and any noise space using mass-loaded vinyl. Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

An Introduction to MLV: What Is Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV)?

Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV), also known as “limp mass barrier” has been the number 1 go-to material for soundproofing.

It’s the best soundproof product you can find, that’s easy to use even for a first-timer, and more!

This is why it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that many customers are happy with coming across MLV in their search, and has become their number one choice for DIY soundproofing material and acoustics.

Its soundproofing performance has been tried and tested for years, and mass-loaded vinyl does a great job overall.

Regardless of the brand names and companies out there, they all have one goal: Noise reduction and to have effective sound barriers. No question about it!

What Makes MLV So Effective and Popular?

Unknown to many, one major reason why mass-loaded vinyl is an effective soundproofing solution is that it both absorbs and restricts sound!

It absorbs any sound coming through it, and makes sure it doesn’t get transmitted to the other end.

Whereas other soundproofing materials either blocks sound waves effectively or are a sound absorber solution. But never the two!

Just by adding mass, you’ll be surprised how effective this material is to control noise level problems. You can even double down and add two layers to make it more effective!

So if you’re looking for an effective way to help reduce noise transmission coming in or out of your home, the introduction of a mass-loaded vinyl sound barrier will be perfect!

Another reason is that it’s a great cost-effective solution. For an affordable price, you already have all you need to deal with any noise level problem you have at home.

How to Install Mass Loaded Vinyl for Soundproofing as a Sound/Noise/Acoustic Barrier

Have you ever wondered how to install an MLV sound barrier in different portions of your home and which space? It’s easy!

Whether you plan to install MLV on various surfaces like your walls and ceilings, the steps are all the same! Just find the MLV with the perfect NRC rating and STC rating for you.

Allow us to take you through the three easy steps to help you achieve total noise control at home.

Step 1: Measure

Measure the wall where you want to install the MLV. Make sure to take note of the height, length, width, among others.

You can base the dimensions on your existing panels, which are more or less the same as the size you want.

Step 2: Cut

Using the measurement you got, cut the MLV using a sharp razor blade or scissors. MLV is relatively easy to cut and a sharp blade does the trick!

Don’t ever use a dull knife or blade, or you’ll risk getting an uneven cut on your vinyl barrier.

If you’re having a hard time with the cutting, you can have your vinyl soundproofing material cut at your local hardware store.

Step 3: Position

Position the MLV to the desired area, and fasten it. You can hammer studs in place. As an alternative, you can even use a pneumatic cap stapler!

You may even use sound caulking and seal the studs with barrier tape, as well as any gaps or seams.

Viola. You’re all done! But before you head straight to plastering MLV all over your home, we’ve got some tips and suggestions to help you out.

Tips on Installing Mass Loaded Vinyl

Tip #1: Installing Mass Loaded Vinyl on Walls

Always take into consideration the presence of all the electrical outlets on the wall where you plan to install MLV.

Keep them exposed, and make sure the MLV wraps around the electrical outlets perfectly.

As an extra layer of sound proofing, you can even use some sound caulking and seal it with barrier tape on the edges and seams of your wall.

Also worth mentioning is that you’d want to look for an MLV sound barrier that has a high Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating and Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) rating that can effectively reduce the noise in your room.

This will be ideal, especially if you’re planning on setting up an MLV sound barrier for a recording studio!

Tip #2: Installing Mass Loaded Vinyl on Ceilings

Consider how high ceilings are, you’ll need to have someone to help you out. In general, installing MLV sound barriers is pretty easy and can be a one-man job.

But when it comes to reaching for your roof, having the company of your friend to assist you in positioning the MLV sound barriers is vital.

Also, you’d want to be mindful of your lights on the ceilings. Similar to electrical outlets, you’d want to consider them, making sure you don’t cover them with your vinyl soundproofing product.

Tip #3: Installing Mass Loaded Vinyl on Floors

Installing MLV sound barriers on floors for your soundproofing needs can be easy or hard, depending on the approach you take.

If you’re in the middle of constructing your home, we highly suggest placing the MLV first BEFORE your floor under-layer.

You can also sandwich your plumbing pipes with MLV sound barriers for better results! It can help reduce sounds coming from your pipes, ensure optimal soundproofing performance, and makes sure no sound waves come through.

But if you don’t want to do any drastic construction, you can install MLV right underneath your carpet. It’s just as effective at soundproofing, without being too costly or time-consuming!

There’s still less noise transmission at the end of the day!

Tip #4: Installing Mass Loaded Vinyl on Fences

Installing MLV on fences can get tricky, because of the gaps that naturally occur on fences.

Once the MLV sound barrier is installed, you’ll notice a significant improvement in terms of sound control, but not necessarily 100%.

Lesser sound waves may travel, but you may still hear some sound energy coming through, because of the gaps. To ensure optimal soundproofing performance, using thick tape will be a vehicle for your success.

Sound waves won’t be able to penetrate through the gap thanks to the tape, and you’ll have better noise reduction for your fence.

Frequently Asked Questions About MLV Soundproofing

How Do You Cut Mass Loaded Vinyl?

MLV is made of very flexible material. It’s not like wood where you need a saw to cut it, but it isn’t like paper where using a scissor is enough.

Because MLV is made of flexible material, cutting it won’t be a difficult task. You can use a simple sharp knife or cutter to do the job!

You don’t need any fancy tools or equipment, unlike what some people might think.

Can You Hang Mass Loaded Vinyl?

Yes, you can hang MLV!

And this is what people generally do when they want to soundproof their wall. They hang MLV directly on the wall and secure the corners with nails or studs.

But if you don’t want to install them permanently on your wall, you can hang them as if they were curtains. You can do this for your doors or windows!

Can You Paint on Mass Loaded Vinyl?

If you want your sound barrier to match your personality and your wall, you can paint the product over with a color of your choice. MLV is paint-friendly, so no problem!

In general, we recommend using a latex paint product for the job. It produces the best and seamless results. It won’t look like it’s been painted over!

But if you’re okay with its usual gray, black, and even transparent color, you wouldn’t have to worry about painting over your MLV.

This is especially true if you don’t want to expose your MLV on the surface. Like placing it under the drywall or beneath the floorboards.

What Is Mass Loaded Vinyl Made Of?

What exactly is MLV made of? This effective soundproofing product is probably made of fancy and advanced stuff, right?

Well, not necessarily! For such an effective noise reduction solution, you’d think it was made of something fancy. But it isn’t!

Instead, MLV materials are made of two very simple elements: calcium carbonate and polyvinyl-chloride. And viola, effective sound barriers for your wall, ceiling, and more!

Is Mass Loaded Vinyl Heavy?

MLV materials are hardly heavy, which makes them a great product to use for sound proofing. You can even do a DIY MLV soundproofing project in your own home.

It’s so lightweight, you don’t have to worry about getting your arms tired after installing them. You can bend them in each direction you want, without it breaking or cracking!

However, do note that the weight of MLVs may vary depending on their Noise Reduction Coefficient and Sound Transmission Class rating.

Conclusion

When you think of soundproofing your home, your first thought doesn’t necessarily go to doing a DIY project. Soundproofing sound like a serious activity left in the hands of experts!

But with the help of mass-loaded vinyl (MLV) materials, you can take soundproofing into your own hands. What’s more is, mass-loaded vinyl is highly accessible because of its price and ease of use. Your search for a cost-effective solution is over!

It’s the perfect DIY soundproofing material to block noise/sound! It has an impressive soundproofing performance, you can expect noise reduction and better sound control than other sound barriers!

We hope you enjoyed all the information about mass-loaded vinyl soundproofing!

About the Author

andrea_adams

Andrea has always been bombarded by the hustle and bustle outside her home. Living in the city doesn’t get any quieter. The never ending noise from construction, traffic, and dogs barking on the streets day in and day out drove Andrea to a breaking point.

For 3 years, Andrea committed herself to studying DIY hacks, performing soundproofing experiments, and installing noise-free solutions. Now, she lives a quiet life free of the stress from noisy environments.

She hopes to share this knowledge so that others don’t have to endure the noise reigning in their ears and live a peaceful, stress-free life.