Spray foam is popularly used for thermal insulation. However, there are several other uses for spray foam, including acoustic insulation. That is to say, it helps with noise reduction.
Acoustic spray foam insulation does help reduce many different types of noise, including airborne noise and flanking noise. However, spray foam insulation cannot completely block out all noise. Closed-cell spray foam works better than open-cell spray foam when it comes to noise control.
This article explores everything you need to know about spray foam insulation, including how it works and how you can use it for noise reduction. I’ve also included some recommendations for spray foam insulation and provided some additional noise reduction methods.
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It’s helpful to understand how spray foam works before exploring its acoustic control capability.
Acoustic spray foam insulation is a chemical product typically used for insulation but can also be used for reducing noise. It starts in liquid form and increases 30-60 times in size and takes on a foam texture when sprayed. This foam is a valuable material in building and construction.
Acoustic spray foam can reduce noise if used correctly. Spray foam can cut down on airborne noise, such as people talking and dogs barking. It can also reduce flanking noise, which travels through walls or floors, such as the sound of a television.
Spray foam is most effective when it’s used to seal the cracks and gaps in space. Noise typically travels through these cracks, and spray foam will reduce the distance from which the noise can travel. These gaps can be found in different room areas, including the door, walls, windows, and flooring.
To ensure the most effective form of noise control, use closed cell spray foam.
All spray foams have pores and openings in the final foam. As its name suggests, open-cell spray foam has “open” pores; Closed-cell spray foam has significantly smaller openings deemed “closed” by comparison. These smaller pores and openings absorb much more air-carrying noise, particularly high and medium-frequency noise, and as a result, closed-cell spray foam is much more effective in noise reduction than open-cell spray foam.
Here are the foam sprays available on Amazon.com that I recommend. All of these offer some of the best acoustic control you can get.
The Loctite Tite Foam Sealant is a closed-cell insulating sealant, which has been designed to seal cracks and gaps. It comes with a straw applicator making it easy to use. It also has built-in UV resistance, making it ideal to use both indoors and outdoors.
- This is a closed-cell foam and offers higher levels of acoustic insulation.
- It can adhere to a variety of materials, including concrete, metal, brick, and steel.
- It creates a high-density foam that’s both resilient and flexible.
- Some users have noted that this dispenses foam powerfully.
- If you aren’t wearing gloves while dispensing it, it may corrode your skin. You must take extreme precautions while using this sealant.
The Seal Spray is excellent for sealing gaps and has been designed to provide thermal and sound insulation. As it’s over 27 ounces (799 ml), it can cover over 25 feet (762 cm) of surfaces and cavities.
- It has a high yield; you’ll be able to cover a significant area with each spray.
- It makes a closed seal foam which is excellent for acoustic insulation.
- As it’s water and wind-resistant, it works well both indoors and outdoors.
- It doesn’t come with an attached nozzle – you’ll have to buy one separately.
- The can needs to be held upright to get the best foam and results.
The Great Stuff Smart Dispenser is a pocket-friendly, open-cell foam spray that comes with an attached dispenser. It’s easy to use and can be used for various other purposes, including reducing drafts, sealing an area, and keeping condensation out of space.
- It’s relatively inexpensive.
- It comes with a narrow applicator, making the foam easy to apply with little wastage.
- It can adhere to a range of materials, including brick, stone, glass, and plastic.
- It can expand up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) to fill gaps.
- As it’s open-celled, it doesn’t offer a large amount of noise insulation.
- Once opened, it’ll only stay usable for 30 days.
- It doesn’t work in larger areas.
If you want to use this brand to seal larger areas, try the Great Stuff 99108860 Smart Dispenser Big Gap Filler also available on Amazon.com.
This expanding polyurethane sealant is an easy and affordable way to fill larger sized gaps and cracks around vents, pipes, doors, windows, and more. It can be used both indoors or outdoors, and it forms airtight bonds that are waterproof and seal out pests, moisture, and drafts.
- It’s easy to use.
- It holds up to sanding, painting, and staining.
- It expands very well.
- It’s a good bargain value.
- It’s perfect for large cracks and gaps.
- Some users report poor nozzle flow.
- Straw must be rinsed after each use to avoid clogging.
- Amount of foam released from the can is reduced with each use.
How to Reduce Noise Using Acoustic Spray Foam
Once you’ve chosen the spray foam you want to use, putting to work is done in just a few easy steps. Here’s how to use acoustic spray foam insulation to help with noise reduction
1. Identify the Area You Want to Insulate
If you want to reduce noise in a particular space, identify where the noise is coming from. Look for gaps or cracks in the flooring or walls. Once you identify the spaces through which the noise is coming, determine how much spray foam you’ll need.
Spray foam adheres best to a damp area. Mist the area down with a spray water bottle. However, be sure not to cover the area with water as it should be wet, not damp. Typically, a few applications from the spray bottle is enough to get the surface ready for the application.
If your spray foam bottle doesn’t have an attached straw, it’s best to attach an external applicator straw or gun to it. This will help reduce the amount of spray foam that’s potentially wasted.
Here are some applicator guns available on Amazon.com you can buy:
- AWF PRO Foam Gun. This is a highly durable yet pocket-friendly applicator gun. The company offers a full refund if you aren’t happy with the product.
- Feng Professional Spray Foam Gun. This foam gun has a built-in control that allows you to adjust how much foam you’re releasing at a time. It also has different nozzles that you can use depending on how much surface area you’d like to cover.
Once you have prepared the area to apply the foam. Be careful to cover only the area you need. Work in small batches, allowing the foam to dry and then topping it up. Doing this will ensure that you don’t cover too large an area.
If you notice that you have applied foam in the wrong area, you should try to clear it up before it cures or dries. You can clean up uncured foam using acetone or carb cleaner, which you can find in auto stores.
Spray on the acetone or carb cleaner, allow it to sit for five minutes, and then wipe off.
6. Allow the Foam to Dry
Spray foam can take between 8-24 hours to dry, depending on the area you have covered and the humidity in the air. Allow the spray foam enough time to dry and seal off the area if necessary.
Remember that spray foam can be toxic when it’s drying. It’s essential to keep children and pets out of the area.
Once the foam is dry, you may notice it has expanded into areas you don’t want it to be. To remove the excess foam, you can use sandpaper or a scraper to remove it. However, if it’s on a carpet, you may need to combine sanding with acetone.
Besides using acoustic spray foam, you can also use a variety of other methods to help control the noise encroaching into an enclosed space.
Let’s look at some of these options in more detail.
Acoustic foam panels are panels made from sound-absorbing material. They’re typically mounted on the walls of a room that produces many sounds so that they can absorb the sound. Acoustic foam is popular in music studios as it helps improve the sound quality within a room.
To use acoustic foam panels effectively, you must select the right panels and use an adhesive spray to fix them on your wall. Here are some products you can consider. These products are all available on Amazon.com:
- Sonic Acoustics High-Density Studio Isolation Panels. These panels improve the sound quality within a room but prevent the sound from escaping into other spaces. They’re made with high-quality polyurethane foam that’s durable and easy to install. Additionally, they’re cost-effective.
- Auralex Acoustics Studiofoam Wedgies Acoustic Absorption Foam. These foam panels are small but sturdy, making them easy to install. They’ll reduce the amount of noise that escapes a room. In addition, they work well with a variety of adhesive options, which allows them to stay on your wall for longer.
- Ultimate Acoustics UA-AS1 Acoustic Adhesive Spray. To install the foam panels, you’ll need to use an adhesive spray. The Ultimate Acoustics Adhesive spray has been designed to suit any acoustic foam. It’s easy to use with an attached nozzle to cut down on leaks.
To stop external noise from coming into your space, you can change your window frames. Double-glazing windows with different types of glass are excellent for soundproofing. It would help if you also looked for windows which:
- Have thick glass
- Have only a little space between each panel
- Have a strong frame.
Most window brands will have windows that have been designed to block out noise. However, replacing windows can be a costly exercise.
Having furniture such as couches and bookcases against walls will help reduce the noise in a room. This is because furniture against the walls can help close gaps and absorb sound before entering the room.
Soft furnishings and heavy materials can go a long way in absorbing sound before entering the center of a room. Here are some soft furnishings you can bring into your room:
- Curtains. Use thick heavy curtains made out of velvet or wool. These help with thermal as well as acoustic insulation.
- Carpets. Try to install carpets made from heavy fibers like wool. Carpets can make for excellent acoustic insulation.
- Rugs. Even if you don’t want to install an entire carpet, try to bring some thick rugs into your room.
If you’ve tried to reduce the noise in a space but are not successful, you may need to consider consulting with an expert. A builder or an architect may be able to provide some insight into reducing noise.
Spray foam can be used to reduce noise that travels into a room if used effectively. It can also be used to seal cracks and gaps in walls, doors, floors, and ceilings. While closed-cell foam works more effectively, you can experiment with open cell foam, reducing some noise.
Don’t forget to wear protective gear while handling spray foam. Gloves and protective clothing keep your skin safe from the corrosive chemicals in the cans. Nose masks and eyewear keep the sensitive parts of your body from intense irritation. Call in professionals if you’re not sure of safely completing the job.