Second Skin vs Cheap Sound Deadening

Second Skin vs Asphalt: No More Cheap Deadener!

Second Skin vs Asphalt: No More Cheap Deadener!

Ohhh man, asphalt sound deadening mats. Where to start? This article promises to be a doozy.

We understand that some people just want the cheapest option that will work at least a little bit, no matter if there are other negative consequences. If you feel that statement describes you, there’s no need to continue reading. You’re looking for an asphalt-based product, and we won’t sell you one.

But if you’re someone who values and appreciates his or her car; if you’re someone who wants to take care of what’s likely one of the most expensive purchases you will ever make – you’re looking for a butyl rubber sheet. And if that’s you, you’ve come to the right place. We hope you decide to join Team Second Skin!

Ohhh man, asphalt sound deadening mats. Where to start? This article promises to be a doozy.

We understand that some people just want the cheapest option that will work at least a little bit, no matter if there are other negative consequences. If you feel that statement describes you, there’s no need to continue reading. You’re looking for an asphalt-based product, and we won’t sell you one.

But if you’re someone who values and appreciates his or her car; if you’re someone who wants to take care of what’s likely one of the most expensive purchases you will ever make – you’re looking for a butyl rubber mat. And if that’s you, you’ve come to the right place. We hope you decide to join Team Second Skin!

Free USA shipping
Free USA shipping

Popular Sound Deadeners with NO Asphalt


Spectrum™ Spray on Deadener
Damplifier Pro™ Deadening Mats
Damplifier™ Deadening Mats

Asphalt is Always a Poor Choice

Asphalt based mats fail on four dimensions. Yes, FOUR!!

  1. Asphalt does not damp vibrations very well.
  2. Asphalt is not as sticky, and have been known to fall off.
  3. Asphalt will outgas harmful chemicals when heated.
  4. Asphalt is not actually cheaper! (That's right. Keep reading.)

Any one of those is enough to disqualify asphalt mats as a legitimate option, but people still use these mats. One of the big reasons is that asphalt mats don't advertise themselves as "asphalt-based" (Why would they do that?). They also do SEEM to be a lot CHEAPER – they cost so much less per square foot of material! But as you're about to be thunked over the head with, those “savings” are not as real as they appear.

Failure #1: Performance

Here’s the thing about asphalt’s vibration damping performance. Once installed, it will actually deaden the metal!! Yes, I know, did you expect us to say that? That’s why it can get positive reviews. Your car actually will be quieter. The problem is that it doesn’t deaden the metal very well. To visualize how big the difference is for you, we tested a leading asphalt-based mat in a lab and made a graph.

Second Skin vs cheap sound deadening asphalt mats

Testing method: SAE J1637

Yikes. But how is your everyday shopper supposed to tell the difference?! All they know is that they installed the stuff and their car did get quieter. To compare the two products, they’d have to do multiple cars, but your average DIY customer won’t do that. You know who does multiple cars? Auto body shops. Auto shops who care about quality ALWAYS use butyl for deadening.

Failure #2: Adhesion

We regularly hear from customers who have had their asphalt mats fall off the metal and want to know what to do next to fix what's now a car soundproofing disaster. For those of you considering asphalt, we’ll give some real advice (besides DON'T). Be very intentional with your surface prep and use a heat gun prior to sticking it to the metal. It’s unlikely you will have issues if you are VERY careful. No guarantees though. You could end up with a car that looks like this...

At Second Skin, we guarantee Damplifier’s adhesion for the lifetime of the vehicle. Should you clean the surface a bit and make sure there’s no rust? Yes, you should – especially on the rust. But Damplifier Pro is going to stick anyways. Once applied to the sheet metal in your car, our butyl rubber compound is not coming off and will go with your car to the scrapyard.

Failure #3: Health Safety

You probably have heard that asphalt stinks and can make your car smell bad. We’ve found that different people have different levels of sensitivities to smell so that asphalt smell bothers some more than others. Your nose is telling you something though. Listen to it.

But let’s get serious about health – not just the smell. The problem is that asphalt based mats outgas chemicals when heated. Cars generate heat. Cars sit out in the hot sun. What could go wrong?

  • The materials we know are in the mat are bad. Asphalt and tar – we don't burn them in our houses and we don't use them in candles. You have warnings from OSHA and the NIH about increased cancer risks. You even have roofing companies releasing guides about how asphalt is safe to use on a roof despite the Class 2A Carcinogen designation (“probably carcinogenic to humans”). Sure that’s fine for you roof, but why put it inside your car?!
  • Who knows what “other fillers” are in those mats? Asphalt based mats are almost always made in China or Russia, where the manufacturing standards are lower than the USA. We’ve literally seen an asphalt mat melt in front of us because it was part of a “bad batch”.

Busting the Myth of Cheap Sound Deadening

Let’s wrap up by taking a final look at price, but let's do it from a new angle. Let's look at it using a lens of VALUE. What's the true cost of that $20 piece of asphalt you’re about to put in your $30,000 BMW?

Second Skin vs Asphalt: A Price Comparison

Damplifier Pro Asphalt Based Mat

Surface Coverage

25% required; 60% recommended

100% required

Avg Acoustic Loss Factor*

0.218

0.033

Price Per Sq Ft

$5.56 to $7.94

$1.50 to $3.00

Adjust Price for 50% Less Coverage

$5.56 to $7.94

$3.00 to $6.00

Adjust Price for Acoustic Loss Factor*

$5.56 to $7.94

$19.80 to $39.60

Adjust Price for Outgased Chemicals

$5.56 to $7.94

Increased Cancer Risk X Value You Place on a Healthy Life

*Acoustic loss factor is a measure of how much vibrational energy is converted to heat instead of sound. The theoretical maximum is 1, but anything over 0.1 is very good. Tests were conducted at 7 service temperatures between 32 F and 140 F using testing method SAE J1637.

Adjust the price per square foot because you have to cover more of the metal. Adjust it again based on the performance difference. And then finally do your own calculation based on how seriously you take the health concerns. What price per square foot do you get?

A Sound Deadening Mat You Can Be Proud to Install

I don’t know if you could tell, but we don’t have a very high opinion of asphalt based products. If you’re looking for a Dynamat alternative, do yourself a favor and don’t sink all the way to the bottom of the barrel with asphalt. Even if you don’t choose Second Skin, we’d sleep better at night knowing there’s one less person devaluing a perfectly good vehicle with cheap sound deadener.

  • Damplifier Pro has the highest acoustic loss factor and heat rating in the industry.
  • We use no asphalt, tar, or cheap fillers. The result for you: no outgassing chemicals and better performance.
  • Peel, stick, and roll them on to metal. Adhesion guaranteed.

Final Thoughts

If you want to dive deeper into all things soundproofing, check out the Owner's Manual where we go deep into the details to teach you how to soundproof and insulate your vehicles. You can also call us and we'd be happy to talk through your build with you!

If you'd like to take a look at the full line of Second Skin materials, head on over the our shop page.