Soundproofing a room is a great way to eliminate distractions. You may need to block the sounds of loud neighbors or keep the sounds in your room from disturbing others.
Using foam panels, you can easily increase the noise absorption in any room of your house. However, many people expect more from this foam than it can deliver.
If you are considering using soundproof foam to soundproof a room, you should understand how this foam works to ensure that it meets your needs.
How Does Soundproof Foam Work?
Soundproof foam can help reduce background noises and echoes by absorbing some of the sounds. Depending on the type of foam, it may not necessarily keep sound from traveling into or out of the room.
There are two main groups of soundproof foam. You can try soundproofing foam, which can help block sounds. The other option is typically referred to as acoustic foam, but may still be marketed as soundproof foam. The acoustic foam provides sound absorption, instead of real soundproofing.
Soundproofing and sound absorption are two terms that are often used when referring to noise reduction products. However, they produce different results.
With soundproofing, the material blocks sound, by preventing sound waves from traveling through the material. A soundproofing material needs to be thick and dense, to help prevent the noise from penetrating the room. This is used when you need to block exterior noises from reaching the inside of a room.
With sound absorption, the sounds are absorbed by the material, reducing background sounds and reverberation. These materials tend to be light and porous, which is necessary for absorbing sounds.
Soundproofing Foam Helps to Absorb Sounds
Most soundproofing foam absorbs the sounds instead of fully blocking the sounds. The foam is typically sold in panels of varying sizes. When ordering the foam, you may even have it cut to size based on your specific needs.
The soundproof foam panels are installed on walls to provide sound absorption. In some environments, the panels are installed in corners of the room or hung from the ceiling. For the foam to be most effective, it should cover as much surface area as possible.
As mentioned, lightweight, porous materials are typically used to improve the sound absorption and reduce reverberations in a room. Using a polyurethane foam with extruded melamine foam, the material provides the perfect texture for sound absorption.
When sound hits the wall, instead of bouncing back or traveling through the wall, some of the sounds get absorbed by the foam material. This reduces echoes and helps create a quieter environment, which is why foam is often used in music recording studios.
For additional sound absorption, the foam panels typically have a pyramid or wedge shape molded into the side, allowing the sound to hit the foam from various angles, instead of providing a flat surface for the sounds to bounce off.
Soundproofing Foam to Help Block Sounds
Along with the soundproof foam that has a light, porous texture, there are denser foams designed to block sounds. These foams are closer to true soundproofing, as the thicker material helps prevent sound from escaping or entering a room.
The thicker soundproof foam may not feature the distinct pyramid or wedge shape found on the lighter materials. They are often flat panels that work best when installed inside the wall.
When choosing soundproof foam, you should determine your reason for needing to soundproof the room. If you want to block loud sounds or keep sounds from escaping the room, you should ensure that the foam is dense and thick, instead of light and porous. If you are content with moderate noise reduction and sound absorption, the lightweight foam should suit your needs.
Last Thoughts on Using Soundproof Foam
Soundproof foam does have its uses. You can use it to help reduce unwanted noises, such as background noises from people talking outside the room. For example, if you have noisy neighbors, the foam may help keep their conversations to a lower level.
Use caution when selecting soundproof foam. If you want to fully mute your neighbor’s voices, the foam that you choose should be a thick, dense foam.
Whether you choose the thick or light foam, installing the foam panels can help prevent sounds from reverberating around the room. This reduces echoes and helps absorb some sounds from inside and outside the room.