When it comes to soundproofing, many people will choose either an acoustic foam or a soundproofing panel. But sometimes, you see people use sponge-like wall coverings but how good are they for soundproofing?
Physics says that materials with more mass block noise better than those with less mass. Since sponge is light and porous, it cannot prevent noises from passing through it. It can only reduce echoes in a room. So, the sponge is a bad soundproofing material.
Some other factors make sponges unideal for soundproofing. Fortunately, there are alternatives that you can opt for if you want a quiet, peaceful room. You can read my article on the Best Cheap Soundproofing Materials.
Can Sponge Be Used For Soundproofing? Why Not?
Sound is traveling in the form of a wave. Surfaces can either reflect off it or absorb it. If your soundproofing material is porous and lightweight, it will not be able to block soundwaves from passing through.
Here is a simple analogy that helps explain why sponge cannot soundproof an area:
Imagine yourself building a water tank to hold liquid. Of course, you would use a solid, poreless material, right?
But if you use foam, it would allow the water to spill until none is left inside.
The situation above may seem ridiculous. However, it clearly explains the simple physics behind sponges and why you should not use if to soundproof a room.
Acoustical materials created with soft and light things such as sponges can only absorb some of the soundwaves. On the other hand, airtight, dense, and heavy materials can completely block noises from passing through.
Apart from a sponge, there are other materials that you can use to reduce noises:
- Fabric-wrapped acoustical panels
- CFAB Cellulose or Echo Eliminator
- Stretch wall system
All the aforementioned soundproofing products have one thing in common. That is the fact that they are made out of light and non-compact materials, thus giving soundwaves a passage where they can leak through.
Similar to light, soundwaves can pass through even the tiniest holes and gaps. When you install soundproofing sponges, they can reduce these noises by removing echoes and background sounds.
But this soundproofing material works by absorbing those sounds rather than blocking them. In addition, sponges can control the reverberation and vibration that sounds make.
For that reason, your attempts will be futile if you try to soundproof a room using a soundproofing sponge completely. Fortunately, there are some alternatives to this acoustic material that does the noise blocking job perfectly.
So, can sponge be used for soundproofing? No, but it might be helpful in limiting some vibrations and other sources of noise.
Effective Soundproofing Alternatives to Sponge
Silence is a form of relaxation for many people. Such is the reason why most individuals try to use different materials to block or even reduce unwanted sounds from entering their premises.
However, reducing decibels can be a daunting task. But different soundproofing products fit every budget, need, and style.
1. Installing soundproofing drywall
Drywall panels have a layer of firm mineral gypsum. It sits between a few layers of paper.
But the papers themselves are a good sound conductor. For this reason, creators add other framing adaptations.
That includes making extra thick walls and adding insulation to their cavities. On the other hand, makers also install sound dampening sheets behind the drywall to make it more effective.
2. Using triple-glazed windows
Triple-glazed windows are excellent when it comes to blocking noises. Between each layer of glass is a type of gas called argon, helping the windows insulate a room by minimizing heat transfer through the glasses.
Apart from that, triple-glazed windows are airtight. As a result, they can block soundwaves and echoes from passing through.
3. Using heavy doors
Light doors cannot prevent unwanted noises from passing through. Hollow doors do not have enough mass to act as soundproofing materials, so they should not be your choice if you want a quiet home.
Instead, choose a heavy door that can cut down sound transmission. A sandwiched door filled with sand in the middle and a solid wooden door is a perfect choice.
Why You Should Soundproof Your Home
When we are in the comfort of our home, we would no doubt want to have a quiet relaxation time. However, that is not possible when you can hear all the buzzing noises coming from the street outside.
If you ever wonder why you can hear such noises despite having all your doors and windows shut, the reason is that sound waves and vibrations travel and pass through the air and even walls.
Various noise frequencies can get in and out of your home, making you suffer from unwanted and annoying sounds. Fortunately, you can obstruct these noises through sound-deadening.
Improves the quality of sound
Not only can soundproofing absorb unwanted noises, but it can also enhance the quality of sound by reducing bass and removing echoes.
In addition, you can consider soundproofing as a cost-friendly heat-reduction material.
The reason is that it can handle both mid-range and high frequencies simultaneously. As a result, it makes sound better when you install it in the corners of your room.
However, it is essential to note that there should be enough space between soundproofing panels to obtain their best results.
Improves your home’s aesthetics
Many people prefer to install soundproofing materials in their home theater, music studio, or work areas.
This way, they can focus on what they are doing without background noises bothering them. But apart from this function, soundproofing materials can also enhance the aesthetics of a room.
Sound-deadening materials are available in different textures, forms, and colors. For this reason, you will be able to choose a design that can blend with the interior design of your home.
For instance, if you want to add a touch of elegance or sophistication, you can replace your door with a heavy wooden door that can help block noises.
Soundproofing: The Disadvantages
Soundproofing is not effective when installed incorrectly
Soundproofing materials should be airtight. But when they are not placed correctly or when there is too much gap for air and soundwaves to pass through, soundproofing will become ineffective.
In addition, they will not be able to absorb much noise, causing soundwaves to bounce and reflect between walls until they reach your ears.
Most of the time, many people will only follow the basic instructions that online guides and tutorials provide. However, such might not be enough. That said, it would be helpful if you are going to hire a professional.
Doing such will ensure that your soundproofing material will work perfectly.
Some soundproofing materials are combustible
Another downside of soundproofing products is that they have combustible materials. Several materials used for soundproofing mainly have polyurethane, which has a high smoke level when caught on fire.
For this reason, it might not be ideal to install them in places where you need to start flames.
None of us would ever want to rest in our living room or sleep in our bedroom with so much external noise pollution disturbing us. However, a sponge does not work as a good soundproofing material.
But other materials can absorb these noises to make your home quieter. Some of them even work as excellent insulation panels, so they have two purposes when you install them.
That said, you should always opt for acoustic materials that are compact and heavy to ensure that they will not let soundwaves pass through.
- Marco Ritzo, How To Soundproof: Acoustic Foam Does Not Block Sound, Acoustical Solutions, https://acousticalsolutions.com/how-to-soundproof-acoustic-foam-does-not-block-sound/ Accessed May 25, 2021.
- Ted W, Soundproofing vs Sound Absorbing – What’s the Difference?, Acoustical Surfaces, https://www.acousticalsurfaces.com/blog/soundproofing/soundproofing-vs-sound-absorbing#:~:text=If%20you%20used%20sponges%20as,air-tight%20materials%20will%20block/ Accessed May 25, 2021.
- Tom Scalisi, The Best Soundproofing Materials for Muffling Noise, Bob Vila, https://www.bobvila.com/articles/best-soundproofing-material/ Accessed May 25, 2021.
- Lee Wallender, Does Soundproof Drywall Really Work?, The Spruce, https://www.thespruce.com/does-soundproof-drywall-really-work-1821484/ Accessed May 25, 2021.