Stop Noise in Its Tracks With MLV Sound Blocking Material

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Mass loaded vinyl is a high quality noise abatement material that can substantially decrease the noise level in your car cabin from things like car wind noise and road noise. When paired with effective sound deadening, you’ll have a car so quiet, you’ll be telling everyone about it. Second Skin is here to help you get those type of results in YOUR vehicle.

Blocking Airborne Noise Requires Automotive Sound Barriers

Vehicles are subject to different types of sounds. Those unwanted sounds you hear inside your vehicle are traveling towards you along two very different paths. Structural noise will muddy up the sound of your vehicle without the proper sound dampening material. Airborne noise is the kind of noise that an effective sound barrier will stop. To get the best results, you have to target both and match the product to the path you want to silence. Allow us to explain the difference.

Structural Noise

Some sound waves travel through the vehicle’s structure before radiating into the passenger compartment. Vibration energy generated by mechanical systems and from road and tire friction moves through the metal chassis, floorboard panels and body structure of the vehicle before reradiating into the car cabin as noise. In many cases, the metal panels can even amplify the sound, like the buzzing noise when you turn the bass up on your audio system.

The solution to improve your acoustics is to apply car audio sound deadening material to any metal that vibrates. As the name implies, sound deadening materials dampen the metal and mute the vibrations, much like stopping a noisy wind chime with your hand.

Airborne Noise

Other types of unwanted noise travel into the vehicle by air. The air molecules surrounding the vehicle transmit unwanted sound from the exterior of the car, through the body panel, and then finally into the passenger compartment. These noises include the droning noise of exhaust system resonance, the roaring of road noise that comes from the tires, and even noise from air flowing under the vehicle.

The solution to airborne noise is to create a high quality sound barrier using the three key principles of blocking sound: heavy, limp, and airtight. The idea is to create a personal bubble that rejects airborne sound waves before they reach you.

If you use the wrong products for the application, use low-quality products, or apply products incorrectly, you will get inferior results. That’s why people get widely differing results when adding sound dampening material to their vehicles. Avoiding those expensive mistakes is easy – thank goodness you're reading up on it!

MLV Car Soundproofing Just Like In Construction

The manufacturing of mass loaded vinyl for cars is big business these days, and it didn’t even start with the automotive industry. Creating more comfortable living spaces using mass loaded vinyl sound barriers has been a growing priority in the construction industry, and automotive companies have finally wised up and applied those same three key principles used in home and commercial soundproofing to vehicle soundproofing.

Dense: you need at least one pound per square foot to effectively repel sound waves (and the heavier the better). If you go much lower than that, the STC rating won’t be high enough to be worth the effort.

Limp: the barrier should be somewhat malleable and soft to absorb the energy of noise vibration and to prevent it from resonating

Unbroken: any gaps in the barrier are gaps that sound waves can travel through


Mass loaded vinyl is the preferred automotive solution because, with a proper installation, it achieves all three of our effective noise barrier qualifications. It’s “limp”, which allows it to absorb energy. It’s flexible, allowing it to fit nicely into a vehicle without any gaps. Lastly, it’s dense! The term "MLV" comes from the way the vinyl material is manufactured. To increase the mass of the vinyl sheets, heavy metal particles are mixed in during the manufacturing process. That extra weight increases the density and creates an effective sound barrier.

Second Skin’s mass loaded vinyl options range from 1 lb per sq ft to 1.25 lbs per sq ft. We don’t recommend going up to 2 lbs per sq ft because the material becomes less workable around the contours of your car.


Using MLV Around the House

Creating a mass loaded vinyl sound barrier is also an effective way to soundproof a home or soundproof an office. Our Luxury Liner Roll™ is an excellent solution for your typical wall soundproofing project (for ceiling soundproofing or floor soundproofing projects, there are better solutions). MLV can be installed directly attached to the studs so that it has flexibility to hang limp and block sound. That's what makes MLV such an effective noise barrier. It's not just the density, it's that the material's limpness flexes when hit with the sound waves' energy like a bed sheet sucking the energy out of a tennis ball you threw at it.

Luxury Liner™ – MLV Cars Want

Luxury Liner™ is our MLV without the fused layer of closed cell foam. Just like with Luxury Liner Pro™, we’re very particular about the quality of the vinyl to ensure it’s odorless and the mass per square foot is consistent. For best results, we always recommend using a decoupler when installing Luxury Liner™ MLV in vehicles.

If you use Luxury Liner™ on top of a sound deadener, you need to install a soft, decoupling layer (such as our OverKill Pro™ closed cell foam or Heat Wave Pro™ jute insulation). The softer decoupling material prevents the two hard surfaces from resonating together. Don't allow the sound waves from that vibration energy to reduce your results.

Second Skin Can Help!

Quality materials matter. Why go through all the effort of deconstructing your car only to get subpar results due to inadequate materials? Do it right the first time.

Max out your car soundproofing project by installing a noise blocker on top of your sound deadener. Once you’ve upgraded to a personal bubble of calm, you’ll be glad you did.

If you still have questions, don’t go it alone! Call in for help on your project. We’re here to help.

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