You probably already know the difference between soundproofing and sound absorbing… But, do you know the difference between those two and sound DEADENING?
Many people are still very unfamiliar with sound deadening or dampening. If you drive, the term might ring a bell, since drivers usually know about these things.
We use the best sound deadening for cars to prevent rattles, vibrations and other dissipation of noise. In most cases, it refers to cars which is why drivers are often familiar with the term.
But even if you know the definition, do you know what are the best sound deadening materials? Their use isn’t limited to automotive since you can use them in your house, garage and pretty much any area you want.
As you can guess, most materials are dense and massive. However, there are different options and solutions you can choose from depending on the room you want to work on. Is it your basement, bedroom, or your car?
Sound deadening for Home or automotive?
Before you start looking at the different dampening materials, you should know the difference between those, for your home and your vehicle.
In essence, they have the same purpose; to stop vibrations and rattling. However, it’s a more common practice to use sound absorbing rather than dampening materials in your house. Sound dampening, or deadening, is more commonly used in vehicles.
Cars have many metals parts that tend to rattle and vibrate as you drive. That noise can be quite annoying especially if you’re driving long-distance.
This is where sound deadening materials come into play as they block and absorb the sound of metal parts rattling around in your car.
However, some materials you can use both in your house and in your car but it all depends on the type of noise you’re dealing with.
Since there are effectively two types of sound isolation, we tried to include the best of both worlds. Continue reading to learn all about these materials, what they are for, and how to apply them.
Best sound deadening for cars: Top 5 materials
Here are the best sound dampening and deadening materials you can find, and links to where you can buy them. These are tested, proven and well reviewed.
1: Mass loaded vinyl
Mass Loaded Vynl (MLV) is among the best and most popular options. It’s commonly used on cars, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use it at home as well.
It’s a bit on a pricey side, especially when compared with many other options on the market. However, it’s probably also the most effective way to dampen the sounds within your car or living area, so it might be worth the investment.
Mass Loaded Vinyl makes for a great barrier that deadens the sounds, vibration, and heat. These are the specifications that make it as popular among drivers.
The material is flexible and easy to work with. It’s also permanently adhesive and aluminum-coated which makes it quite resistant to heat.
Installation of mass loaded vinyl on your car shouldn’t be a problem for you, but if you’re insecure about the process, you can always have a professional do it. In most cases, the material isn’t visible, so it doesn’t ruin the aesthetics of your vehicle.
Mass loaded vinyl is considered an automotive sound deadener because it’s as great at reducing car noises. It reduces the noises from the outside but enhances those within the car.
Still, reducing car noise isn’t all that MLV is good at. The great thing about it is that you can use it to soundproof appliances and machinery at home.
Wherever you’re using it, make sure to be patient and precise. Working with large pieces might be a bit tricky so take your time in order to achieve the best results.
The material should be applied smoothly and wrinkle-free in order to work correctly.
2: Soundproof floor underlay
If you need a sound deadening material to use at home, soundproof floor underlay is a must consider.
This underlayment is usually made of vinyl, foam, felt, or rubber. The most common choice is felt, and that’s the one that’s easiest to find in stores. The recycled fibers in the underlayment will make every room more audible. The sound becomes clearer, and almost all noise and vibration is eliminated.
Whatever material you go for, make sure it’s thick and dense because only those are actually effective.
This type of method is usually used to reduce transmissions of laminate, hardwood and engineered floor. It goes between flooring and subflooring and is quite easy to install.
All you have to do is simply lay it over your subflooring allowing it to work as a sound-reducing cushion. It’s not meant to be used on walls or ceilings, but other similar materials can help you with those areas.
3: Soundproofing spray
Soundproofing spray is a very unconventional option that’s also not the most effective. It still does a fair job, but you should look at it as a short-term solution only.
The material is a liquid version of those mass loaded vinyl sheets we talked above earlier. It’s mostly recommended as a spot treatment on different vehicles. You can also use it to spray the gaps and spots in between MLV mats.
Some people also use the spray to dampen the noise of certain machinery. Another plus, in this case, is the fact that the material is fire-resistant and efficient in preventing rust.
If you opt for this method, make sure to get more than just one bottle. A few layers of the spray are far more efficient than a single coat.
Essentially, it’s great for hard-to-reach areas and little gaps and cracks in between more massive materials.
4: Soundproof paint
Soundproof coating or sound deadening paint may be another product you didn’t know about. It’s not as commonly used which is why most people never even heard of it.
People call it a soundproof coating, but the truth is, it does very little in terms of actual soundproofing. Many people are misinformed.
It’s a bit better when it comes to sound deadening, so you should consider it if you want to soundproof the walls of your home.
The paint may reduce the vibration to a certain extent as it’s one of the best short-term solutions. The material does a great job of reducing the noise and converting it into low-grade heat.
It’s easy to use as it comes in packaging of 1 gallon. All you need is a brush, spray or roller and a little bit of time.
The paint is easy to clean and is usually non-toxic, but this may vary depending on the manufacturer. It also doesn’t chip or crack so you can use it to dampen the vibrations and ringing on different metal structures.
However, it’s only ever going to show results when dealing with mid-frequency sounds. Keep this in mind if you’re looking for a way to deal with heavy vibrations and loud noises in which case you can still combine the pain with something a bit more heavy-duty.
Sound deadening mats are mostly used in vehicles. You could use them in a house, but many other materials would probably work better for that.
It’s meant to prevent or reduce the noise coming from the outside of your car. These sounds can be very annoying especially if your drive often and far away. A simple deadening mat like Noico, Dynamat, or Hushmat can soften some of those sounds by reducing the vibration.
These might look a bit complicated to apply, but they’re actually not. All you need is a bit of time and patience, and you’ll be fine. It’s important to follow instructions the mats came with.
Keep in mind that you should only cover the interior metal parts of your vehicle. These are the pieces that ruffle and vibrate, so it’s where you want the deadening material.
You’ll maybe have to remove upholstery in some places, so make sure to take a picture before you do that. It’s going to serve you as a reference later when reassembling everything.
It’s also vital that there are no gaps or uncovered areas as these can undo pretty much everything else you’ve done.
If you’ve never done anything like this and you’re feeling nervous about it, you can consult a professional who can do this in a short period.
FAQ: Best automotive sound deadening material
Where can I use sound deadening materials?
As we said, these materials are mostly used in vehicles. Cars, trucks and other vehicles often have a problem with vibration that makes driving a nightmare due to weird noises.
However, you can use a material of your choice pretty much anywhere from industrial rooms, pumps, cabinets, generators, appliances, machinery, etc.
All these can suffer from different rattles and vibrations so why would you treat them with a specific material. It’s up to you to choose which one would work the best for the problem you’re dealing with.
Places like industrial rooms usually have a lot of machinery. Most factories use some sort of sound deadening mats on their floors; otherwise, the place would be much louder than it already is.
More so, there are materials that are made especially for cars, and we call them automotive sound deadening materials. They reduce the noise, vibrations, and heat while improving stereo sound quality.
You can read here how to create and install diy under hood insulation which helps to reduce engine noise as well as stop your hood from overheating.
Is it the same as soundproofing?
It’s a common misconception to talk about soundproofing and dampening as the same thing. Soundproofing is by far the most effective way of blocking and reducing the noise from outside which is something that sound deadening materials aren’t so good at.
However, if you’re looking for a way to improve the acoustics of your room or car, that’s when sound dampening comes in.
Simply enough, sound deadening materials deaden the sound. They cannot block it out completely, so if you were to use such material for soundproofing, you probably wouldn’t be happy with the results.
We use deadening products to reduce the vibration and sound transmissions, while soundproofing products are those that block out loud noises.
How important is the thickness of the material?
Thickness is among the most important factors you should think about before you get into the project. Thicker materials are better at deadening the sound than thinner ones.
This is important to remember when you’re coating your car, certain machinery or an appliance. If it’s loud, you probably want more than just a single layer of paint. Those cases require mats, panels or at least multilayer of spray or paint.
What size should I get?
Different materials come in different shapes, forms and sizes. It’s up to you to decide on what would work the best for the area you’re insulating.
Is it a large area?
If so, you want to consider more massive pieces of material so that you save yourself some time on installation. If the area is small, you should also get small pieces or at least be ready to cut the large ones yourself.
Most mats come as rolls so you can cut out pieces you want, but there are also certain products that come already pre-cut.
In most cases, it depends on your needs and preferences so think about the area you’re trying to cover and what would work the best for it.
How to choose the right material?
Are you covering your living area or your vehicle? This is the first answer you need in order to proceed with selecting one of the materials we spoke about.
It’s obvious that you won’t use paint to treat the floor or wall of a large industrial room. On the other hand, you probably won’t use mass loaded vinyl to cover a specific household appliance.
The size of the area should help you come up with the best solution. If it’s large, you’ll need a lot of material, so it’s logical to go for MLV or some kind of underlayment. If it’s a small area or just a little gap, you can do well with paint or spray.
Another thing you should ask yourself is how noisy is the surface you’re treating. You’ll need a thick material to deal with loud sounds, while a thinner alternative can deaden most of the low noises.
Essentially, nobody can really tell that one thing is better than the other because it all depends on your personal preferences and needs.