Noise can lead to physical and psychological stress, interfere with communication, and reduce productivity in the workplace. If you’re living or working in a noisy environment, a reliable soundproofing material could save you from the negative impacts of high levels of continuous noise.
Felt is good for soundproofing. The material’s densely packed fibers work to prevent the transmission of unwanted sound waves from a source to your ears. A felt material can also add comfort and aesthetic interest to an interior design.
This article discusses topics related to felt and its soundproofing properties. Below I will explain how felt works, its soundproofing qualities, and how it compares to other flooring materials. Let’s dive right in.
Also read: Cork vs. Foam for Soundproofing
How Felt Works as a Soundproofing Material
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Soundproofing or acoustic felts differ from usual felts in a few ways. Standard felts are light and soft, while soundproofing felts are thin but dense. Most importantly, acoustic felts are treated using EPDM rubber and other materials to give them soundproofing properties.
Felt works as a soundproofing material through its millions of compressed fibers. These fibers vibrate to create frictional energy, which dissipates sound waves.
The fibers vary in size, composition, and density. They create air pockets to help it absorb sound to a minimum Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) of 0.45. In addition, felt is extremely versatile. The material can be cut and printed into an enormous assortment of shapes and sizes.
Many people tend to confuse the concepts of soundproofing and sound dampening. Soundproofing a room means that sound waves can’t pass through the exterior walls. On the other hand, sound dampening a room reduces the amount of noise penetrating its exterior walls, rather than eliminating it entirely.
Sometimes it’s best to allow a desirable level of sound to penetrate the room so that you don’t seclude yourself from others. In most cases, people soundproof rooms such as studios where they don’t want any amount of noise to penetrate the walls. On the other hand, sound dampening is ideal in home offices where you want to maintain some level of connection with others while working.
There are three main felts in the market: synthetic felts, natural felts, and combined felts. These materials can be divided into the following categories:
- Crafting acrylic felts: These synthetic felt fibers are composed of interlocking acrylic material. They’re stiffer than natural felts and are easier to cut. Even better, acrylic felts are relatively cheap and accommodate different pigments. As a result, you can dye them with your preferred color.
- Blended wool felt: Manufacturers mix wool with synthetic fibers to make blended wool felts. These felts are excellent in crafts but are usually used to make pillows and toys, among other things.
- Eco-friendly felts: These felts are made from recycled plastics, just like acrylic felts. However, they’re more environmentally friendly. They’re ideal for durable craftsmanship because they’re waterproof, stiff, and coarse. Manufacturers make them from yam fibers, recycled felts, or leftover carpet fibers. Besides being eco-friendly, these felts are non-toxic as they don’t use chemicals or adhesive.
Felt is a good material for soundproofing. Felts offer aesthetical, acoustic, and environmental benefits. Polyester felt, in particular, is a great option to soundproof a room in a way that suits its design.
Polyester felt is effective for a variety of reasons, including its aesthetic flexibility, soundproofing qualities, and easy installation. I will discuss these benefits in-depth below.
Polyester felts offer a high degree of flexibility when it comes to interior design. They come in several patterns, making them easy to incorporate as ornamental pieces in your room. They also come in multiple colors, making them capable of transforming any living or working space.
Polyester felts can reduce noise in unique ways. For instance, if you live with a noisy neighbor, they can act as sound-blocking panels to prevent noise from penetrating your walls. They can also help if you want to eliminate an echoing sound from a specific room. You can even use it on your ceiling to block out sounds from above.
When used in audio recording booths, polyester felts help prevent any sound from entering or leaving the room. These qualities of felt can help you generate clearer audio. Someone recording music or podcasts will likely use polyester felt to simplify the editing process later on.
Felt panels are extremely easy to install. Smaller felts are particularly easy to incorporate into less complicated designs. Installing felt involves cutting the material as required and aligning it with the wall fixtures. In this case, many felt products have perforations to guide you during the cutting process.
As stated above, felts can be manufactured from recycled material. This means that you can reduce environmental degradation while offering soundproofing properties to your home. Even better, the recycled material helps reduce production costs while simultaneously making a more durable material.
Felts will enhance your comfort, whether it’s used in the office or at home. The material can create a more peaceful environment and let you enjoy its other benefits, including improved mental state and entertainment. Speaking of entertainment, felts help reduce the noise from your neighbors’ music and allow you to enjoy high-quality sound in your house.
Besides felt, the market is flooded with several effective soundproofing materials. Here are the best soundproofing materials in the market today:
- Soundproof foam panels
- Mass-loaded vinyl sound barrier (Amazon link)
- Green glue soundproofing compound (Amazon link)
- Acoustic mineral wool insulation
- Resilient sound channels
- Acoustic caulk
- Soundproof blankets
Properties of a Reliable Soundproofing Material
When considering an alternative soundproofing material, you’ll need to understand what properties will help them fit your needs. Here are some of the things to look out for in a soundproofing material:
- Porosity: A porous material will alter sound energy through expansion, compression, and flow direction. An absorbent material will absorb sound, while a non-porous one will block sound energy.
- Density: For a material to be soundproof or absorbent, it must possess a sufficient density. For instance, a very high-density fabric blocks and reflects sound waves, while a low-density material lets sound waves pass through.
- Cell size: A material with adequately small cells will soundproof better than others. This means cells must be smaller than the sound wavelength to absorb sound energy more effectively.
- Tortuosity: Tortuosity refers to the measure of twists and turns in a soundproofing material’s cell arrangement. If a material features more bends, sound energy must maneuver and lose momentum in the process. Higher tortuosity leads to more effective soundproofing.
Felt is an excellent soundproofing material that can be used in many environments. You can effectively use felt in theaters, studios, concert halls, exhibition halls, galleries, interrogation rooms, gymnasiums, lecture halls, conference rooms, among other places. Besides acting as sound reduction materials, the material can also be a unique design element.
- Felt right: What is the Difference Between Soundproofing and Sound Dampening?
- Phelps: Material for Sound Proofing and Sound Dampening
- IdealFELT: Felt: The Ideal Acoustic and Decorative Solution
- Bouckaert: Why Polyester Felt is the Best Choice for Acoustic Insulation
- Acoustical: Soundproofing vs. Sound Absorbing – the Difference
- Healthline: Psychological Stress
- Thomas: All About EPDM Rubber – Properties, Applications and Uses
- Thinking Sustainably: Is Felt Biodegradable (And How To Be Eco Friendly With Your Felt Products)