Does Spray Foam Insulation for Sound Deadening Really Work?
You’ve heard that spray foam insulation for sound deadening can make your home quieter, but is that really true?
Whether it’s your noisy neighbors or your noisy kids, you’re just looking for a little more peace and quiet in your home. Spray foam can help, but there are a few things to consider as far as how your home is laid out and what your expectations are.
Here at RetroFoam of Michigan, we have had homeowners tell us they noticed a reduction in road noise in their home as soon as the project was finished. This sound reduction is a great added benefit of foam insulation, but every case is going to be different.
As the Professor of Foam on our YouTube series Foam University, I take educating homeowners very seriously. So, let’s talk about what causes sound transmissions in your home, the difference between soundproofing and sound deadening, and whether sound deadening spray foam works.
Let’s get started.
What Causes Sound Transmission in the Home?
It’s important to know exactly what causes sound transfer in a home from room to room and floor to floor before you can come up with a plan to fix it.
Well, there’s a lot to consider, but let’s keep it simple for a minute.
What you really want to consider is the building material in your home. There are drywall and studs, so those solid materials can transfer sound through them. The sound reverberates from room to room, floor to floor through those materials. Any place in your home where there is a solid connection, like the drywall and studs, then the sound can move through those.
Another culprit in your home is if there is any ductwork or plumbing inside your walls, which almost every home has, then those things can also transmit sound.
Think about your ductwork. If you have a heat register going from one bedroom to the furnace and to another room, then those two rooms now have a direct connection for sound through that duct.
So, keep in mind if your registers are connected, which they usually are, then that is another easy route for sound to go from one room to another.
Plumbing is a whole other sound beast in your home. We’ve had homeowners call in and complain because when they turn their water on, they can hear the pipes flex, move, creak, and make all kinds of weird noises.
Those weird, loud noises will transmit throughout the wall wherever the pipe is. Where the pipe starts and where it ends is where that noise will be, so the bathroom, kitchen, and throughout the home.
Finally, what’s not in your walls is also contributing to the sound in your home.
If there is no insulation in your walls, there’s no buffering between rooms, around the pipes, or the ductwork. There’s nothing to physically stop sound from getting through to the other side, so a lack of building material, whether it’s insulation or an actual soundproofing material can cause the sound transfer.
Next up, you’re going to need to know the difference between soundproofing and sound deadening for your home.
Soundproofing vs Sound Deadening
When you talk about soundproofing a room, it means that the room will be impervious to sound.
Sound dampening doesn’t have that same ability. For example, if you insulate your walls with injection foam it can help reduce sound transmission up to 80 percent in some cases. It won’t completely cut out the sound, but it can reduce it.
If you’re looking to soundproof a room in your home or maybe the whole house, then you’ll need acoustic sound panels, noise and isolation foams, sound barrier materials, and noise absorbers to get you started.
Does Sound Deadening Spray Foam Work?
Now, when we look at open cell as a sound deadening spray foam, yes it can help with sound deadening.
The thing about sound dampening spray foam insulation, in this case, is that it’s not really designed for that. The sound dampening quality of spray foam insulation is actually just an added benefit of the material.
The thicker, softer material of open cell spray foam reduces sound waves, but there’s no guarantee on how much. Now we did say it could be up to 80 percent, but that amount is not guaranteed it’s just a secondary benefit.
Spray foam will create an air seal that helps reduce that transfer of noise I mentioned before, but it can’t cut it out completely. Think about if you yell into a pillow. That sound gets muffled and depending on the density of the pillow factors into how loud your yell sounds. Foam works the same way.
It all comes down to your expectations as well.
If you’re looking to cut noise out completely, 100 percent, for a music room or recording studio, then spray foam alone isn’t going to do that. You’ll need to also get materials that are designed specifically for soundproofing.
Creating a Quieter Home with Foam Insulation
As long as you’re not looking to hear a pin drop in your home, foam insulation can definitely help cut down on the noise from the neighbor’s dog barking, trucks driving by, or can even be used to cut down on sound going from room to room.
It shouldn’t be the only reason you choose foam for your home though, as the results can vary from home to home depending on the factors we mentioned above.
Foam insulation in your home can make it more energy-efficient, comfortable, and is most cases quieter. If you’d like to learn more about some other added benefits of foam insulation, check out the Learning Center on our website.
If videos are more your thing, check out Foam University on our YouTube channel.
About Eric Garcia
Eric brings his knowledge and training in building science, training in spray and injection foams from the manufacturers, more than 8 years installing foam insulation, as well as selling and managing in the foam insulation industry. He is also BPI and Dale Carnegie certified and has taken several building science courses including air sealing and building envelope. Eric’s responsibilities include overseeing and giving support to all of the branches of the RetroFoam of Michigan company, office, estimates, and installs. He is also the Professor of Foam on our educational YouTube series Foam University. Even when Eric is off he is usually still “working” or thinking about work, but when he can get away he enjoys camping, hiking, hunting, and woodwork.