Does Mass Loaded Vinyl Work

Does MLV Work For Soundproofing

A common misconception on the internet when it comes to soundproofing is that you need to cover your room with egg cartons, foam, or some sort of acoustic paneling. We’re not going to dive into that misinformation rabbit hole (False information on the internet? No way!) besides to say it’s no effective and don’t do it. And who has all of those egg cartons lying around? The primary point of confusion is that what you are reading treats acoustics the same as soundproofing, but in fact they are different problems with different solutions. While acoustical materials help you increase the sound quality in a space, soundproofing is all about blocking sound from getting into or exiting a space at all. The basic foundation of any good soundproofing barrier is (1) creating an airtight structure and (2) making that structure as dense as you can.

That’s where mass loaded vinyl comes into play.

What is Mass Loaded Vinyl?

Mass loaded vinyl is an acoustical barrier that is meant for blocking noise transfer. Our Luxury Liner mass loaded vinyl is made of PVC vinyl, but there are other types of vinyl as well that are used to make MLV. MLV is safer than lead and is denser than drywall. It is a high density, limp material that has been a leading sound barrier for decades.

Mass loaded vinyl is typically colored black with a density between 0.5 lbs and 2 lbs per square foot. The most commonly bought version is 1 lb per square foot and comes in large rolls, but we also sell sheets because they’re much easier to ship and some projects need less square footage. MLV is odorless, heat resistant, waterproof, tear resistant, and has a high STC rating for effective noise blocking. Two of the most common uses for MLV are soundproofing walls and car soundproofing.

Whether you’re dealing with noisy neighbors, nearby traffic, or airplane noise, these forms of unpleasant noise can affect you and your family’s comfort in your home. Noise pollution has been shown to trigger the body’s stress response, which is why excess noise has been tied to a variety of issues – ranging from heart disease to lower sleep quality to less work productivity. Mass loaded vinyl is one of the tools we have at our disposal to address these issues.

Does Mass Loaded Vinyl work?

Yes, for the right things! It is great for airborne noise like people talking, music playing, engine noise, or street noise. Mass loaded vinyl is one of the most popular soundproofing materials, used by construction crews and do-it-yourselfers alike. The MLV comes in the form of a large roll and is used to 100% cover your walls or ceilings (not floors!) for noise control.

MLV is popular in applications ranging from commercial buildings to professional soundproof studios to home theater rooms. Because MLV is so versatile, it can be used in just about any soundproofing solution.

While Mass Loaded Vinyl is a prevalent soundproofing material and has been for many years, it does have some limitations which lead to some looking for an MLV alternative. One of the biggest shortcomings of MLV is that it’s not meant to handle structural impact noise. Whether it’s in a car or a building, it doesn’t do a good job of stopping vibrational energy or structural sound from passing through. It also won’t help to stop footstep noise from the floor above.

Cost to Soundproof a Wall with MLV

Okay, so what does MLV cost? Let’s look at the cost of soundproofing a wall with MLV. The actual material cost to soundproof a wall will vary drastically depending on the size of the wall and the labor required. To give you the best information possible on the cost of, the table below shows what it would take to soundproof a 30’ x 8’ wall. The cost of labor will vary depending on the project size and location, but a good general rule is that it takes as long to install MLV as it does to install a layer of drywall.

Material Estimated Cost Per Sq Foot Material Needed for 30' x 8' Wall Cost for a 30' x 8' Wall

Acoustical Sealant

$16.99 per tube

85 Liner Feet per Tube


Luxury Liner Mass Loaded Vinyl

$2.50 - $3.50

300 Sq Ft of 1lb MLV


Where do people use MLV?

Mass loaded vinyl is used in a HUGE variety of projects. It’s common to see it installed in a vehicle on the floor, cabin firewall, trunk, and doors (NOT the engine compartment or the roof behind the headliner). We also regularly use it in a building as part of a soundproof wall or soundproof ceiling construction. If you have questions on a particular application, reach out to us! We can help you stop noise in its tracks!



Recommended Product

Luxury Liner™ Roll - Mass Loaded Vinyl (1 lb / 2 lb)

Related Articles

How to Soundproof a Wall

Cost of Soundproofing a Wall

Have questions about your project?

Call us at 1.800.679.8511