Vehicle soundproofing projects can range from a targeted solution for a specific noise problem to a complete vehicle comfort upgrade. We offer a full suite of premium sound and thermal insulation products to give you the tools you need to complete any build. Whether you’re a first timer or a sound deadening veteran, we’re here with the knowledge and experience to help you succeed.
Step 1: Sound Deadening with a Vibration Damper
The first step in any sound insulation project is to deaden your car’s metal surfaces to prevent structural borne noise. Every car shakes and vibrates under normal driving conditions, but some cars create more noise than others. Sometimes that’s because of the model of vehicle and sometimes it’s because you’ve installed an aftermarket product like big sub woofers. Whatever the cause, you need to reduce that structural noise – and we have two high quality options.
Our mat products (Damplifier Pro and Damplifier) are what’s called a constraint layer damper – it’s our formulation of a high-quality butyl rubber, an extra strong adhesive, and a black, annealed foil with the ghosted Second Skin logo. These three components work together to create the best sound deadener on the market. It’s not going to melt or release gases at high temperatures like an asphalt product; it’s not going to come off the metal; and it’s even a good thermal insulator if you cover the entire metal surface. Just cut, peel, and stick. For effective car sound deadening, you need at least 25% coverage, but we recommend you cover at least 60% of the metal (or more if you have a big bass system). Many customers choose to cover as close to 100% as possible depending on the project.
Our liquid products (Spectrum and Spectrum Sludge) are also custom formulated by Second Skin to deaden metal and provide thermal insulation. Because it’s a water based acrylic polymer that dries odorless, Spectrum sound deadening spray can be applied to any metal surface in your car without having to worry about fumes or a gas mask. It’s easy to apply Spectrum with a brush, roller, or spray gun and easy to clean up with water as long as you do it before Spectrum cures. Spectrum dries and changes color from blue to black 30-60 minutes after application. On top of working anywhere you’d use Damplifier Pro, Spectrum works particularly well in vehicle's that have been stripped to the metal and in hard to reach places (like your car’s undercarriage or inside the wheel wells). For effective sound deadening, you need to apply Spectrum at least 1mm thick (about a credit card), but we recommend 2 layers and 2mm of total thickness. Some customers choose to continue applying layers depending on the application.
To learn more about the benefits of sound deadening spray vs mat deadeners, check out The Owner's Manual.
Step 2: Sound Blocking with a Noise Barrier
If you want a calm, comfortable car cabin, you can’t stop after step 1. While a sound deadener will drastically reduce structural noise, it doesn’t do anything to address the other big cause of noise in vehicles – airborne noise. The most common types of airborne noise in vehicles are road noise, engine noise, and exhaust noise. To treat these types of noise, you need to create an impenetrable noise barrier to stop the sound waves.
Our best sound barrier insulation is a combination mass loaded vinyl and closed cell foam product called Luxury Liner Pro. Luxury Liner Pro is a high quality, virgin mass loaded vinyl specifically engineered for effectiveness in vehicles. Its mass enables it to block sound waves with roughly the effectiveness of a wall in your house, while the fused layer of closed cell foam serves as a built in decoupler, simplifying your install. We do offer mass loaded vinyl without the fused closed cell foam layer (Luxury Liner), which can be combined with a decoupler such as our OverKill or Heat Wave Pro products.
To install Luxury Liner Pro, apply our Second Skin Spray Adhesive to the top of your sound deadener and to the foam side of the Luxury Liner Pro. Wait about a minute for it to tack up, and then apply firm pressure to create the bond. Because most airborne noise is coming from the front or from below the vehicle, Luxury Liner Pro is most effective when applied to the floor, trunk, and cabin side firewall. On the floor, it blocks out low frequency road and exhaust noise as well as acting as a thermal insulator. On the cabin side firewall it does the same thing with engine noise. We sometimes see customers add Luxury Liner Pro to their door panels to extend their noise barrier up the side of the car, while adding weight and heft that makes any car feel like a luxury vehicle. Just make sure to measure to ensure you have 3/8" of clearance!
For more information on creating a noise barrier, see our Video Library.
Step 3: Sound Absorbing and Thermal Insulation
The third and final step to create the perfect vehicle environment is to add foam, jute, and radiant barrier products to absorb sound waves, decouple any hard surfaces, and help with temperature control. If you’ve applied Damplifier Pro or Spectrum and then installed a Luxury Liner Pro barrier on top, you already have a solid foundation with better sound and heat control than just about any car on the road. You also may have installed some of these products in your car already as a decoupler and insulator during Step 2 if you decided to go with the regular Luxury Liner MLV.
- Our OverKill and OverKill Pro products are treated closed cell foam sheets that are primarily used as a decoupler, although they are also good insulators and will absorb some low frequency sound waves. Either use OverKill as a decoupler with our mass loaded vinyl product or wedge it between rattling plastic panels to create noise stopping pressure. OverKill is also the easiest way to improve the acoustics of your door panel – just adhere some inside the empty door cavity to reduce music distorting echos.
- Our hydrophobic melamine foam (Mega Zorbe) is an open-cell foam product that’s been treated for water resistance to make it safe to use in vehicles. Mega Zorbe will absorb a high percentage of mid-to-high frequency noises while serving as an excellent thermal insulator. You can use melamine foam sheets for anything from improving your vehicle acoustics in the door panel (think recording studio) to keeping out sun or engine heat (many customers add it above the headliner). If open cell and closed cell foams are new to you, you may want to read more on the difference between open and closed cell foam.
- Heat Wave Pro is a thermal insulation material with two foil layers surrounding a recycled jute material. It’s an excellent decoupler and thermal insulator. It's also an average sound absorber. Like the Mega Zorbe, many customers use it above their headliner for extra protection from the sun’s heat, but this is a sturdier product that can replace a hood liner or be used to add insulation and radiant heat reflection most anywhere in the car.
- We also offer two radiant heat barriers that should be faced at a heat source and will reflect heat away from a surface. Thermal Block is a thin, highly reflective foil, while Mega Block is a little thicker but has the added benefit of hydrophobic melamine foam.
Check out our Video Library for additional application instructions.