Styrofoam Soundproofing: Does It Really Work?

Written by Michael Harris
Last updated

Noise pollution can distort the ambiance of your house or office. Most of this noise could be due to traffic, nightclubs music and even noise created by the neighbors.

Soundproofing is normally the lender of last resort but many people tend to do it in the wrong way by use of ineffective materials.

There are plenty of materials in the market with a reputation for absorbing soundwaves and vibrations to minimize noise leakages.

Styrofoam is polythene foams and a lot of people are opting for it as a soundproofing material. However, these materials tend to prevent noise to some extent but they are not effective.

Sound is simply vibrations and waves which means the foam can try to absorb it depending on the intensity. Low-intensity sound can easily be curb but not high-intensity sounds.

Styrofoam works by muffling and reducing noise from adjacent neighbors or the environment. Also, it helps to prevent interior noise from leaking outside.

The material is mainly used for heat insulation during construction but not for soundproofing. If you are looking to soundproof your house then consider other effective materials in the market.

Therefore, Styrofoam is simply a trademark brand that is used interchangeably to help differentiate between products made from similar materials.

Is Styrofoam Good For Soundproofing?

There is a lot of information over the internet from soundproof gurus that state polythene is not a good choice for soundproofing.

Some even go to the extent of stating that it sucks. The issue happens since they tend to hang them on the wall and expect them to absorb or diffuse sound vibration automatically.

These materials tend to lightweight and they need to be handled in the right way. Proper implementation of soundproofing principles when using Styrofoam can help you achieve maximum silent in various rooms of your house despite being subjected to a lot of noise.

Soundproofing normally facilitates absorbing, decoupling, the addition of mass and damping of sounds. These are the elements that enhance maximum noise reduction.

The good news is that Styrofoam has these features hence ideal for noise reduction and thermal insulation. However, lightweight nature makes it not good for absorbing sound.

The use of Styrofoam EPS happens to be a perfect choice for noise reduction since it can absorb and decouple the rooms.

The main aim of using polythene during the construction of many buildings is to muffle and reduce noise that is being transferred through vibrations and soundwaves to the wall.

Therefore, Styrofoam only reduces the degree of noise transmission. It is only ideal to prevent sounds that have mid-high range frequent. The thin mass makes it ineffective and inefficient in total noise eradication.

Can Styrofoam Absorb Sound?

Styrofoam tends to be lightweight due to the thin mass. Hence it can minimize noise to some extent depending on the frequency.

However, the material has some properties that make it reputable for thermal insulation and noise proofing. But it needs to be installed in the right way to achieve the result in the long run.

It is advisable to attach MDF and concrete to the material to make it a good sound insulator. It helps to absorb vibrations and prevent the transfer of sounds.

The most wonderful thing about Styrofoam is that it can increase STC to over 40 especially when it is being used on a regular wall.

EPS tends to work well when they used on the construction of walls that are loaded with vinyl or green glue. They normally improve the STC to over 50.

If you are looking to insulate your home from unnecessary sounds then you should think about polythene sound insulators.

These materials are quite affordable and simple to install. This best way is to involve them during construction to help absorb sounds.

Therefore, Styrofoam can absorb and decouple to prevent a sound transfer through the walls. Hence help achieve maximum noise reduction in the long run.

What Are The Practical Uses Of Styrofoam?

Inclusion of Styrofoam polythene in the wall during construction help to improve soundproofing capabilities. Pairing with other materials makes decoupling process to be quite effective.

Here are some of the practical applications of polythene during soundproofing:

Acoustic Sound Diffusers

Styrofoam can easily be molded into different shapes such as 13-root quadratic diffusers. The molding makes them available as ceilings and wall panels that have diffuse frequencies that range between 600Hz and 5,000 Hz.

These acoustic sound diffusers are the perfect choice for reflecting, breaking and dispersing soundwaves. Some of the soundwaves are absorbed and converted into energy.

Window and Door Plug

Polythene tends to be thin, moisture-resistant and elastic. This implies that they can easily be fixed on the windows and doors to form a decoupling layer.

When they are paired with MDF panels make them effective as far as soundproofing is a concern. It is the reason they are widely used in media rooms, studio recording, and offices.

Structural Insulated Panels

These are materials made to be used in the construction industry. They are mainly made in areas that are highly controlled from polythene panels.

They tend to be sandwiched between the layers of OSB. EPS tends to decouple the wall layers and prevent sound transfer besides offering effective thermal insulation. Also, the two OSB layers enhance the rigidity of the framework.

Alternatives of Styrofoam for Soundproofing

Polythene is not the perfect choice for soundproofing since they tend to prevent certain frequencies of the sound only.

This has resulted in the emergence of other alternatives proven to be effective. Examples of soundproofing alternatives that are denser and heavier than Styrofoam include:


The stone wool is a popular construction insulation used in sound-absorbing panels. It tends to be available in rigid panels and battens.

It can be used in walls or hang as acoustic panels to improve the quality of sound since it has an NRC rating that ranges between 0.85 and 1.05. Effective use of stone wool help to increase the STC of the wall to over 52 making it ideal for effective soundproofing.


Insulation The insulation material is quite applicable for construction and it tends to be available in rigid panels and batts.

It is an effective material for increasing the STC of the wall since the NRC ratings range between 0.85 and 1.05. Unfortunately, the material is not that rigid like the ones available in the market but you can use the batts in the wall.

Final Conclusion

Styrofoam are effective when it comes to thermal insulation. The lightweight nature makes them unsuitable for soundproofing especially when used independently.

However, when paired with other materials, they tend to perform effectively. The good news is that there are a lot of options in the market. Good luck.

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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.