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Soundproofing Blankets

How to Use Soundproof Blankets (Indoors or Outdoors)

How to Use Soundproof Blankets

Soundproofing a space can often feel like a daunting project. Although we do everything we can to make the process as simple as possible, large soundproofing projects can have even more variables to consider when you factor in different products and installations. That’s why many people turn to sound blankets for their projects. Acoustic and soundproof blankets are versatile and easy to install. They’re great as a short term solution for things like construction, but also can be installed permanently both indoors and outdoors.

Soundproofing a space can often feel like a daunting project. Although we do everything we can to make the process as simple as possible, large soundproofing projects can have even more variables to consider when you factor in different products and installations. That’s why many people turn to sound blankets for their projects. Acoustic and soundproof blankets are versatile and easy to install. They’re great as a short term solution for things like construction, but also can be installed permanently both indoors and outdoors.

The Wide World of Sound Blankets

Sound blankets are not all made the same, so before you decide to use them for your project, you should know what type would work best for you. First you should understand the difference between soundproofing and acoustics (sound absorption). Soundproofing materials are used when you need to block sound from entering or exiting a space. The goal here is to create barriers to prevent sound’s travel and reduce the noise level. Acoustics is important when you want to improve the quality of sound inside of a space. Acoustic materials absorbs echoes and reverberations which can build up in large spaces or rooms with lots of reflective surfaces. Acoustics also matters in rooms needing high fidelity audio, like recording studios.

Should I use acoustic or soundproof blankets?

Acoustic Blankets

There are a few ways to effectively apply acoustic blankets. In general, acoustic blankets should always be used in combination with some sort of barrier, as they will not actually block sound.

  • In small spaces that require a lot of absorption, like on the walls for a home studio soundproofing project
  • To cover dense barriers like a wood fence or brick wall
  • In large industrial spaces with lots of metal or concrete, like a warehouse or shop

Look for acoustic blankets with a stated NRC or noise reduction coefficient. The NRC indicates the sound blanket’s absorption of sound at different frequencies. If you are improving acoustics at home, there are some low-cost options out there that will get the job done. Just make sure the blanket you’re getting is actually rated for sound absorption. If you see anyone recommending various moving blankets as a cheap alternative, first look into actual sound absorption blankets that are around the same price and will absorb more sound (better bang for your buck). The cheaper sound blankets may not look very good, but they get the job done as long as they have an NRC rating. If aesthetics and the final look matter because you’re a business or care about the design of the room,  acoustic panels or other acoustic materials will add absorption with far more design options. For more durable needs like outdoor or industrial use, the Second Skin professional sound blankets are an excellent option.

Soundproof Blankets

While acoustic blankets are best used on top of hard surfaces to absorb sound, soundproof blankets can be used to create barriers to block sound. These blankets are used to create a wall or enclosure. Soundproof blankets are able to do this because they are not just a blanket. They have a dense barrier backing made of mass loaded vinyl and a vinyl coated fiberglass face for added sound absorption.

In addition to an NRC rating, soundproof blankets also are measured by an STC rating or sound transmission class. The STC rating measures how much sound a particular construction or material can stop. The higher the rating, the better the soundproof blanket will be at blocking sound. If you’ve been on a construction site, you’re no stranger to soundproof blankets, as they’re often used to meet local noise ordinances. These blankets are attached to a structure like a wood or chain link fence to create an unbroken barrier. Second Skin’s soundproof blankets are used at events like weddings or concerts, anywhere you need to create a temporary sound barrier. They can also be applied as long-term, permanent barriers at your home or business around loud machinery like an HVAC unit or a generator.  

commercial soundproof blanket installed outside
Commercial Soundproof Blanket installed outside

outdoor or indoor blankets

Both acoustic and soundproof blankets come in outdoor and indoor varieties. Typically, low cost blankets are less durable only can be used indoors. They are usually made of cotton or a cotton and polyester blend that will not stand up to weather or outdoor elements.

Good outdoor blankets are built with extra stitching and reinforcement to stay intact in any weather. Some of Second Skin’s sound blankets that are rated for 140 mph winds and UV resistance.

Temporary or permanent blankets

When researching high quality sound blankets, it’s important to consider how long you’ll need them. Second Skin creates blankets for any timeline. Temporary blankets are designed to last for less than 5 years. They are cheaper, but still perform very well to meet code on your construction site. Permanent blankets are reinforced and engineered to last 15 years. Permanent blankets are designed for long-term use in structures like warehouses or shops, or if you’d like to hold on to them for multiple projects.

Product Time Horizon Use Cases

Indoor Blankets

Long-term

For blocking noise from machinery, fans, blowers, pumps, compressors, etc.

Temporary Outdoor Blanket

2-5 years

For short-term use like construction site noise mitigation projects or event spaces.

Outdoor Blankets

Long-term

For permanent outdoor applications such as HVAC units, generators, and other forms of machinery. Often applied to enhance or create a sound barrier.

Product Time Horizon Use Cases

Indoor Blankets

Long-term

For blocking noise from machinery, fans, blowers, pumps, compressors, etc.

Temporary Outdoor Blanket

2-5 years

For short-term use like construction site noise mitigation projects or event spaces.

Outdoor Blankets

Long-term

For permanent outdoor applications such as HVAC units, generators, and other forms of machinery. Often applied to enhance or create a sound barrier.

How to Effectively Install Sound Blankets

As you’ve learned by now there are distinct differences between how soundproof and acoustic blankets are constructed. To get the most out of each of them, it’s important to understand how each should be installed.

How to install acoustic blankets

Acoustic blankets should always be used in combination with a dense barrier like brick, concrete, wood, or drywall. Trying to use an acoustic blanket on its own will be mostly ineffective and you may not even notice a difference. Coverage is key for acoustic blankets. As we discussed earlier, hard surfaces reflect sound and cause reverberation. The more of the surface you cover the less sound will be reflected. For exterior projects such as a brick wall in a playground, or a wooden fence around an HVAC unit, you don’t need full coverage but 50%+ is a good starting point. For interior projects, a bit more math is needed. To understand the needed square footage of blankets, you should calculate desired reverberation time and noise level. We have an acoustic treatment calculator on our site to give you a rough idea, but if you’d like to discuss your project, give us a call and we’ll help walk you through it.

How to install soundproof blankets

Creating a barrier or enclosure with soundproof blankets is very similar to creating a soundproof fence or a soundproof box. Removing any gaps in your barrier is key. Use the heavy duty Velcro edges to attach the blankets to each other. A gapless seam attached all the way to the ground will create as much of an airtight seal as possible. Sound is easiest to block near the source of noise, so the closer you’re able to put soundproof blankets to the noise source, the more effective they’ll be. Lastly hang the blankets high to break the line of sight with the noise source where you’ll be more likely to block sound, we generally recommend a height of 8 to 10 feet. If conditions are right and you're able to install everything properly, you can reduce noise up to 15 decibels, most projects are able to achieve at least a 5 to 10 decibel reduction.

Get sound blankets for your project

Sound blankets come in all shapes, sizes, and types to solve a wide variety of problems. And while soundproof and acoustic blankets are easy enough to install, finding out which blankets and how many you need for your project can be a bit trickier. Luckily we’ve been doing this for quite some time and are here to help you. Give us a call with your noise problem, and we’ll help find the right sound blankets for you to snuggle up in.

Have questions about your project?

Call us at 1.866.570.5440