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How to Install Mass Loaded Vinyl

How to Install Mass Loaded Vinyl

How to Install Mass Loaded Vinyl

People ask "does mass loaded vinyl work for soundproofing" all the time. Well if you are looking to soundproof your home, commercial building, or vehicle, mass loaded vinyl is an excellent option. It’s easy to install and will substantially reduce the airborne noise traveling into any space when installed correctly. The installation is straightforward, so you can even install the MLV yourself if you’re a little handy and depending on the project!

We’re going to start this article off by reviewing how to install mass loaded vinyl in a room – whether for walls, ceilings, or floors. Towards the end, we’ll overview how to install the MLV in a car, truck, SUV, or van. If you still have questions or just want to discuss your project, please feel free to reach out to us for mass loaded vinyl installation help. We’re here to answer any questions you might have!

 

If you are looking to soundproof your home, commercial building, or vehicle, mass loaded vinyl is an excellent option. It’s easy to install and will substantially reduce the airborne noise traveling into any space when installed correctly. The installation is straightforward, so you can even install the MLV yourself if you’re a little handy and depending on the project!

We’re going to start this article off by reviewing how to install mass loaded vinyl in a room – whether for walls, ceilings, or floors. Towards the end, we’ll overview how to install the MLV in a car, truck, SUV, or van. If you still have questions or just want to discuss your project, please feel free to reach out to us for mass loaded vinyl installation help. We’re here to answer any questions you might have!

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Popular Mass Loaded Vinyl Products


Luxury Liner™ Roll - Mass Loaded Vinyl
Luxury Liner™ Roll - Mass Loaded Vinyl

Where to Install MLV

MLV is an awesome material which can be used anywhere that you want to keep sound from traveling from our space to another. In your house, car, or business, you can use MLV to an existing barrier (or on its own!) and create a quieter, more productive space.

How to install mlv on walls

Walls are the most common place to install mass loaded vinyl in a room. The MLV is typically installed directly to the wood or metal framing, although it can be installed between layers of drywall if needed. Attaching directly to the studs is preferable though because it allows the MLV a bit more flexibility, which slightly increases the amount of sound blocked. At roughly 1/8” thick, 1lb MLV has a low profile and will not affect the doors or windows.

Always fill the cavity between the studs with insulation. The MLV should be mechanically fastened to the studs with a cap stapler or cap nailer. Seal the seams, the perimeter, and around any penetrations with acoustical sealant. For any soundproof wall installation, always use 5/8” drywall or a soundproof drywall. Using Green Glue between lays of drywall is also recommended. If you're curious on if you should use Green Glue vs mass loaded vinyl, then you should check out our article on the subject. A well-sealed wall with a MLV barrier on one side will have an STC rating between 47 and 50.

How to install mlv on ceilings

The second most common place to install MLV is on the ceiling. For a ceiling MLV installation, it’s important to know what MLV will do and what it won’t do. MLV will not stop impact noise (like footsteps or jumping children) from the floor above. It is excellent for stopping airborne noise (like TV noise or people talking). MLV is also heavy, so your typical DIY project may want to use other soundproofing options, like a sound isolation clip system. MLV is often used in combination with other products, like sound isolation clips or a rubber flooring underlayment if impact noise is part of the problem.

For how to install mass loaded vinyl on ceiling, it is typically installed in one of two ways. The most common method is directly to the joists with insulation above it and 5/8” drywall below it. This type of install method is very similar to the wall installation from the previous section. The second common way MLV is installed for a ceiling installation is above the joists and directly below the subfloor. If installing MLV this way, the mass loaded vinyl should hang a bit loosely between the joists instead of pulled tight. This installation method allows the MLV to maintain it’s “limpness”, which slightly increases the amount of airborne noise blocked.

How to install mlv on Floors

Mass loaded vinyl can be installed on the floor between layers of plywood or MDF to add density and block more airborne sound. Installing MLV on the floors is less common than other room soundproofing applications, but it is thin and effective way to add sound blocking power to your floor-ceiling assembly.

For most floor soundproofing applications, we recommend our UnderBlock Rubber Underlayment instead of MLV. The 10mm version is also very heavy to block airborne noise, but the recycled rubber has the added benefit of decoupling the floor from the building’s structure. By isolating the floor, UnderBlock also substantially reduces the sound of footsteps and other impact noises from the floor above.

alternatives to mass loaded vinyl for walls

Tips on How to Install MLV

Installing MLV on walls or ceilings is not a hard process, but you need to be methodical to do the job right. If this is your first time or it’s a DIY job, take your time. And call us if you have any questions!

Pro Tip #1: 100% coverage is absolutely required. To truly soundproof a room, you must soundproof all 6 surfaces – 4 walls, 1 ceiling, 1 floor. Even if only one wall or one section of the room seems to be transmitting sound, you should not expect the room to be soundproof with just one wall treated. You should only expect for sound to be reduced substantially, as now the sound waves travel along a new path into the room.

Let’s say your wall is the best soundproof wall on the planet, the sound is not going to travel through the wall – it’s going to go around it! We call this process flanking, which means the sound traveled over, under, or around your barrier.

Pro Tip #2: Acoustical sealant is your best friend in any soundproofing project. You must seal the seams, around the perimeter, and around any penetrations. Another common path for sound is for it to “leak” through cracks, gaps, or seams in your barrier. The best performing soundproofing barriers must be both dense AND sealed.


Check out our Mass Loaded Vinyl Rolls for Home Soundproofing

Our Luxury Liner Mass Loaded Vinyl is an amazing and versatile soundproofing product. You can use it on a fence or soundproof generator box, as well as on the walls or ceilings. For any soundproofing project, mass loaded vinyl will help!

Product Features:

  • For the 1 lb rolls, an STC rating of 26 (similar to a double paned window)
  • For the 2 lb rolls, an STC rating of 32 (similar to a wall in your house)
  • Used to soundproof walls, cars, PVC pipes, etc
  • Flexible, fire resistant, odorless, tear resistant
  • Made in the USA

Step by Step Guide for Installing MLV

When installing MLV on ceilings or walls, you will need the MLV (of course!), a tape measure, utility knife, T-square, acoustic sealant caulk, and your choice of mechanical fastener (either nail gun or a staple gun). If using nails or screws, you should also be using a plastic washer due to the material’s weight. MLV should always be attached to the building’s structural framing. Drywall alone will not support the weight. Always use 5/8” drywall (or better) over the top of MLV.

MLV Install tools

  1. Cap Stapler – 1” long, 5/16” wide with 1” cap (preferred)
  2. Cap Nailer – 1-1/4” nail with plastic washer
  3. Utility Knife
  4. T-Square
  5. Acoustical Sealant
  6. Putty pads (recommended)
  7. Tape Measure

Steps to Install Mass Loaded Vinyl

  1. Measure the height of the wall. Roll the MLV out on the floor and cut it at about 1/8” less than that height. Cuts should be made using a utility knife and T-square.
  2. With a helper, lift the MLV sound barrier and line it up starting at the top corner so that the MLV is straight across the ceiling. The gap between the MLV/floor and the MLV/ceiling should be about the same.
  3. Staple or nail it into the studs every 8”. Start across the top and then fasten down the length of the studs. The second person should be supporting the weight of the MLV until a handful of mechanical fasteners are in place.
  4. For both 16” OC and 24” OC, we recommend an additional nail and washer across the top plate every 12”.
  5. As you hang the MLV, cut holes around outlets, light switches, and other penetrations. Putty pads are recommended around all electrical boxes. Use your utility knife to cut an opening around each box, with a very small gap (1/8”) around each penetration.
  6. Continue this process for each sheet of mass loaded vinyl. When an MLV seam meets at the stud, butt those sheets directly against one another (do not overlap!). When a seam occurs between studs, allow the MLV to overlap by about 2”. You will need to cut away this overlap at the top and bottom plates to allow the 5/8” drywall to install flush. All seams should be sealed with acoustical sealant caulk.
  7. Use acoustic caulk to seal all seams, around the perimeter, and around any penetrations in the wall.
  8. Install the 5/8” drywall over the top of your MLV. Use acoustical sealant again around the perimeter and around any penetrations. Remember the pro tip from earlier – acoustical sealant is your best friend!

How to Install Mass Loaded Vinyl on a Ceiling

The steps to installing mass loaded vinyl on the ceiling are basically the same, the only thing to keep in my is that you are lifting and holding the mass loaded vinyl overhead, instead of hanging against the wall. With the extra weight overhead, make sure to have additional manpower on the job site to hold and install on the ceiling.

how to install mass loaded vinyl on walls

Luxury Liner Mass Loaded Vinyl Installed on a wall

MLV Installation in Automotive Applications

Of course, many people don’t just use MLV in houses. Mass loaded vinyl is also used in cars to block airborne noises such as road noise, tire noise, engine noise, and exhaust noise. We recommend starting with the Damplifier Pro sound deadening mat directly on the metal to stop vibrations and structural noise. Next install Luxury Liner Pro over the top with 100% coverage. Luxury Liner Pro is our best automotive noise barrier, and is a fused combination of MLV and closed cell foam. The MLV acts as a barrier and the closed cell foam decoupled the mass loaded vinyl from the hard surface below it.

Luxury Liner Pro is flexible and easy to cut with a utility knife. You want as close to 100% coverage as possible to create an effective noise barrier. We recommend installing Luxury Liner Pro on the cabin side firewall, floor, and trunk – going over the wheel wells. To get around a large curved structure, you may need to make relief cuts. You’ll also need to cut out small openings to re-attach your seats. Finish off by taping up the seams and then re-install the upholstery back on top.
The results are unmatched. Using Damplifier Pro and Luxury Liner Pro will cut 10-15 decibels in a loud vehicle. We sell them together in our Vehicle Soungproofing Packages, which is one of our biggest sellers!

More MLV Questions? Contact Us for the Answers

Mass loaded vinyl is the utility player in soundproofing – it can be used in so many different applications. It’s used in all sorts of projects ranging from soundproof fences to generator enclosures to a recording studio. If you are looking for a way to soundproof any space and have any questions about MLV, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Second Skin Audio!

Have questions about your project?

Call us at 1.800.679.8511