Mass Loaded Vinyl [Complete MLV Guide & Alternatives]

Written by Michael Harris
Last updated

Do you live in a noisy neighborhood? Have you ever thought of vacating? Well, you are lucky to have landed on this article. If you have been wakening up severally by noisy neighbors or loud traffic sounds then think about soundproofing.

This is the only way to have a sound sleep at night. Again, if you have ever dabbed on soundproofing products, then am sure you have come across mass loaded vinyl.

This is a material that is robust and powerful. Mass loaded vinyl is an excellent choice of material when it comes to soundproofing your house or office.

The content is thick hence can block all those annoying noises with ease. Furthermore, the soundproofing material has the capability of reducing sound transmission without scaling down the space in the living room.

However, the soundproofing process has its cons and pros; thus, it is advisable to take note of the material you are using to soundproof the house. Well, let’s dab deeper and learn more about MLV.

Advantages of Mass Loaded Vinyl

There are plenty of soundproofing products in the market, but why choose MLV? Well, the vinyl-based materials have some numerous benefits that you can’t afford to miss. Let’s find out:

The Thickness of the Material

A sheet of MLV weighs about one pound per square foot. However, a good sound proofer needs to be a thick material. Despite MLV being thin, it can block unnecessary noise since the material has a better mass to thickness ratio as compared to other soundproofing products in the market.


This is the main factor that separates MLV from other products since it can easily be maneuvered around the pipes and air vents.

The materials can be used to close all the gaps that are hard to reach when blocking places that can allow entry of the noise. If you’re looking for a more versatile and non-rigid material for soundproofing, then consider mass loaded vinyl.

High STC Score

According to research, MLV is a soundproofing material that is known to have the highest STC score in the market. The high STC score implies that sound transmission gets lost between the sound source and the designated target place. The thinness of the material is the reason behind the high STC score; hence, the chance of hearing annoying noise while sleeping is almost zero.

Note: Everything that has advantages also experience disadvantages. Generally, MLV is an excellent choice for soundproofing, but the price is too high. It is the reason why many people are opting for alternatives which I will list below, read on.

Mass Loaded Vinyl Uses:

Mass loaded vinyl has plenty of uses, and it is the reason behind the gradual growth in demand when it comes to the soundproofing industry. Here are some of the most common uses of the material:

Here are some of the most common uses of the MLV:

Ideal Sound Screen for Noisy Machinery

This is the main application of MLV material. The sheets of the material are designed and arranged around a noisy machine so that they act as a sound screen.

Some of the standard instruments known for producing noise are pump, AC units, and heat exchanger. It is recommended to use an MLV sound screen to inhibit noise from reaching your living or bedroom.

Many companies that experience the production of adequate noise tend to use acoustic blankets and sound curtains for blocking unnecessary sounds.

Dampening Sounds on Suspended Ceilings

If you always hear unnecessary sounds between the upstairs and downstairs room then consider fitting the MLV sheets. Nail the sheets on the joists and beams over the suspended ceiling. This will act as a great sound barrier.

Prevent Noise Leakage into the Home Studio via Door and Windows

If you own a home-based studio that has cheap windows and doors, then it is advisable to cover them with a special blanket.

The intention is to reduce noise leakage into the music production room ultimately. The unique blanket is made from fiberglass and vinyl sheet.

Sound Improvement and Bass Increase in the Car

A lot of car owners love installing music systems in the car and the installation of MLV will help to improve the quality of the sound as well as reduce sound distortion.

Covering the car interior with FatMat is also a great option if you want to boost the bass and get a killer sound while driving over a long distance.

Eliminate Road Noise and Vibration in the Car

Driving on the road that is either rough or smooth your car to produce specific annoying noise and vibration. Therefore, the installation of the format in your vehicle will help to block unnecessary road noise and vibration from entering your car.

Soundproofing HVAC Ductwork and Pipes

Here noisy pipes and HVAC ducts can be wrapped up with mass loaded vinyl sheets to dampen the noise as well as the vibration.

How to Install Mass Loaded Vinyl

MLV is a great sound barrier that enables you to have great sleep at night. It can be fitted on either side of the walls and also on the floor surface. The vinyl sheet works uniquely as far as soundproofing is a concern, and this is the reason why many music producers love it. Here are steps on how to install mass loaded vinyl under drywalls:

1. Take Measurements

Identify the room that needs to be soundproof then take the measurements of the walls. Always remember to deduct ⅛ or ¼ of an inch from the sizes. Unroll the vinyl sheet and take the length according to your measurements. Use a sharp knife or any device to cut it.

2. Application of the Vinyl  Sheet

Place the cut sheet over the insulation on to the studs. Hold it firmly and start either from the top to bottom or the sides. You will need assistance from another person since the weight can be unbearable. Pay close attention to hard to reach zones.

3. Start Fastening

The appearance of MLV on drywall tends to look funny; hence, it is advisable to fasten it. You can use nails, screws, and a pneumatic stapler to perform the duty. Ensure they are eight-inches apart along the edges.

4. Expose Electrical Sockets and the Switches

When placing the sheet on these areas, cut the region to expose them. Seal the edges properly to inhibit noise leakage into the room.

5. Sealing the Seams

Ensure the seams are close to each other and also overlap them with about two inches in case the fall between the studs. The process helps to prevent it from peeling off and also seal any gaps that might allow the entry of unnecessary sound.

6. Installation of Drywall

This should always be the last step, and it is usually applied after the installation of the mass loaded vinyl sheet. If you find this task complicated, it is advisable to bring on board a professional sound proofer.

Mass Loaded Vinyl Alternatives

MLV is an excellent choice of material when it comes to soundproofing, but the price is what scares many people. However, these people tend to consider the alternatives to the sheet since they are quite affordable. Here are some of the great alternatives to mass loaded vinyl soundproofing materials. They include:

Acoustic Curtains

These are excellent materials that make your living room to appear attractive rather than hanging a vinyl sheet. The materials are denser hence giving them the ability to damp loud sounds.

You will be expected to hang these curtains on the windows and doors. The dense feature of the curtain helps to reduce sound transmission into the room.

Moreover, these curtains tend to have appealing designs and colors that make it great for interior design. The odd appearance makes it worth the value of your money.

Green Glue Sealant

This typically involves renovating the existing wall by adding another layer of drywall using green glue acoustic adhesive in between them.

The green glue is highly flexible between the two walls hence making it useful when it comes to dissipating sound waves. The new finish gives your room a fantastic outlook.

Hat Channel and Sound Clips

These two-component are quite expensive, but when it comes to sound blocking, they are excellent features to consider.

The combination of these components is excellent in blocking unnecessary noise transmission originating from your floors. The hat channel and sound clips are typically bound directly on the floor beams then drywall to the channel. The process decouples the floor hence later reduce the vibration and noise in the rooms.

Final Thought

Dealing with noise from neighbors and busy roads is not easy. However, the installation of mass loaded vinyl sheet in the room can give a long-lasting peace.

The soundproofing material is highly flexible and versatile hence the idea for a fantastic performance. Mass loaded vinyl is a great sound blocker available in the market.

It is quite simple and easy to install. However, you can also bring on board a professional to handle the task on your behalf. If you want a high road to silence, then consider MLV.

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About The Author

Hey I'm Michael and I run this website. I'm a professional voiceover artist and in my search to create a silent studio I've become obsessed with soundproofing and things being quiet. Thanks for visiting and if you have any question get in touch.