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How to Soundproof with Acoustic Caulk

How to Soundproof a Room with Acoustic Caulk

Author: Sturgeon Christie

Last Updated: February 9, 2024

Read Time: 5 Minutes

How to Soundproof a Room with Acoustic Caulk

Author:

Sturgeon Christie

Last Updated:

February 9, 2024

Read Time:

5 Minutes

Author: Sturgeon Christie

Updated: Feb. 9, 2024

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Acoustic caulk (or acoustic sealant) is your best friend when soundproofing your home or business. It’s that extra step that will make all the difference and ensure your soundproofing job doesn’t need to be redone to actually soundproof whatever you were trying to make quieter. Acoustic caulk isn’t just for construction sites — it’s used to seal walls, ceilings, floor, windows, boxes, and anything else where you’re trying to prevent sound from traveling between spaces.

 

Though one of the smaller, more inexpensive purchases you will make for your soundproofing project, acoustic caulk packs a serious punch when used correctly. We’ll give you all the basics you need to know, including what makes the caulk to seal gaps in soundproofing projects technically “acoustic sealant”. We’ll also provide step-by-step instructions for applying it in your home or office. What’s that? You couldn’t be more excited to learn about acoustic caulk!? We’re with you.

 

Acoustic caulk (or acoustic sealant) is your best friend when soundproofing your home or business. It’s that extra step that will make all the difference and ensure your soundproofing job doesn’t need to be redone to actually soundproof whatever you were trying to make quieter. Acoustic caulk isn’t just for construction sites — it’s used to seal walls, ceilings, floor, windows, boxes, and anything else where you’re trying to prevent sound from traveling between spaces.

Though one of the smaller, more inexpensive purchases you will make for your soundproofing project, acoustic caulk packs a serious punch when used correctly. We’ll give you all the basics you need to know, including what makes the caulk to seal gaps in soundproofing projects technically “acoustic sealant”. We’ll also provide step-by-step instructions for applying it in your home or office. What’s that? You couldn’t be more excited to learn about acoustic caulk!? We’re with you.

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Popular Acoustical Sealant Products


Acoustical Sealant Caulk
Damplifier™ Butyl Sealant Tape

What is Acoustical Sealant Caulk?

There are many types of caulk. Caulk can come in different colors; it can be sanded or unsanded; it can dry at different speeds. These different properties derive from the components used in the caulk’s formula. The base can be latex, silicone, foam, or butyl rubber - just to name some common ones – which also affects what the caulk should be used for. Each type of caulk is effective for its own specific purpose.

To make things more confusing – caulk and sealant, which people often use interchangeably, actually are used for different purposes. The key difference between the two from a soundproofing perspective is the elasticity. Sealant is much more elastic, and is the far superior option for soundproofing. With that in mind, from now on we’re going to refer to it as acoustical sealant or acoustic sealant caulk.

Acoustic sealant caulk is:

    1. Made of a latex-based acrylic polymer
    2. Permanently flexible (will expand/contract)
    3. Used to seal air gaps, cracks, and seams in any soundproofing project
acoustic caulk

Perhaps the most crucial part of every soundproofing project is creating an airtight seal. No matter how dense a wall is, if there are gaps in it (typically at the perimeter or around penetrations), sound will leak through. That’s where the acoustic sealant caulk comes in — think of it like the putty used to stop a leak in a swimming pool. Sound waves travel in a manner similar to water. Even the smallest leak in the side of a swimming pool can compromise its structural integrity, and the same is true for soundproofing in a room. Using acoustic sealant caulk plugs that sound leak.

Using acoustical sealant to ensure a barrier is completely airtight will increase its STC rating. As an extreme example, your typical well-sealed residential wall has an STC rating between 37 and 39. A wall that is not well sealed with often be in the 28-32 range.

You may be wondering what is this STC rating I keep blabbing about. You could write an article on it (we did), but the short version is Sound Transmission Class (STC) ratings measure how well a material or a structure blocks sound. A higher number means more sound is blocked by the barrier.

Our preferred acoustical sealant is Titebond acoustical sealant caulk. We use it on every soundproofing project.

Titebond Acoustic Sealant:

  • Available in 28-ounce tubes
  • White application color
  • Application temperature range of 40-100 degrees Fahrenheit (room temperature is perfect)
  • 2-year shelf life while unsealed

Acoustical Sealant vs Regular Caulk

As we mentioned earlier, caulk comes in a huge number of varieties (and brands). If you’ve ever shopped for caulk online or dared to wander the sealant aisle at your local hardware store, you know the huge selection makes it very easy to spend 10 minutes second-guessing yourself as you try to find the right product.
So what makes one type of caulk good for soundproofing and another type of caulk good for tiling a shower? Let’s break it down.
 
How it dries: 
    • Caulk hardens when it dries. This can result in cracks when exposed to varying temperatures or regular wear and tear.
    • Sealant remains flexible when it dries. It is elastic and holds up better to a gap that might be expanding and contracting.
What it’s made of:
    • Acoustic sealant is latex based. The rubbery, flexible properties of latex-based sealant caulk make it ideal for long-lasting air seals. Not only will an acoustic sealant block sound from entering a room, its elasticity allows it to properly decouple two hard surfaces to prevent the transmission of structural sound between them.
    • Other options to avoid: You want to avoid a silicone caulk, a hybrid caulk that mixes silicone and latex, all sorts of spray foam caulk, and butyl rubber caulk. These should not be used for soundproofing.

 

How to Use Acoustical Sealant

Where to use Acoustical Sealant

Like in real estate, when it comes to applying soundproofing solutions in your home or office, it’s all about location. The areas in which you apply the acoustical sealant are the primary factor in keeping unwanted noise out. There are two places where you will want to focus your efforts:

    1. Windows - Windows are usually the main areas through which sound enters a room. While the composition of the window itself (glass) naturally transmits more sound than the wall surrounding it, gaps and leaks are common — and usually the bigger culprit. Properly sealing around the interior window frame will help, but sometimes the glass itself is the weak point. Check out our guide to soundproofing windows on how to solve the window itself letting sound into your room.
    2. Walls - When learning how to reduce noise through walls and soundproofing an existing ceiling, it’s easy to overlook the small gaps and openings along the perimeter of walls and ceilings when soundproofing a wall in your room. Use acoustic sealant caulk at the base of the ball (behind the baseboards) and around the rest of the perimeter where the wall meets the floor. For soundproofing tile floors, or any other floor assembly this is a very important step. Also seal around power outlets, light switches, vents, and anywhere else there’s a penetration. Focus on the details! Sealing these gaps properly is the key step in any soundproofing project.

how to apply acoustical sealant

Preparing and applying your acoustic sealant caulk is quick, easy, and highly effective for gaps measuring from ⅛” to ½”. Follow these steps to apply caulk in your home:

  1. Cut ¼” hole in the tip of the tube using a utility knife or scissors. This hole should be cut at a 45 degree angle, and should be cut slightly bigger or smaller depending on the size of gaps you expect to be filling
  2. Place the tube of acoustical sealant in a standard 28oz caulk gun
  3. Hold the tip of the caulk into the gap. Squeeze the trigger and move the caulk gun across the entire gap so that sealant is consistently applied
  4. For baseboards or areas with trim, use your finger to smooth out the caulk so that the trim can easily sit squarely against the wall.

Once you have finished applying the soundproof sealant, wait at least 48 hours for it to cure before attempting to paint over it. Acoustic sealant caulk is not recommended for use as an adhesive or in exterior applications.

soundproof caulking

Final Thoughts on Acoustical Sealant

Whether you are building a soundproof home office, recording studio, media room, or commercial space, acoustic sealant caulk is an absolute must have. While you can take steps to soundproof a room without it, forgetting to seal up the room will lead to frustrating noise leaks that will reduce the total soundproofing effectiveness. We recommend the use of acoustical sealant on every soundproofing project. Whether you’re hanging drywall or undertaking a full renovation, applying sealant in those gaps will make all the difference.

If you’re ready to begin your soundproofing project but need some direction on where to start, get in touch with us. We’d be happy to work with you on a custom soundproofing solution for your home or work space.

Have questions about your project?

Call us at 1.800.679.8511