DOES INSULATION HELP WITH SOUND IN YOUR ATTIC?
Insulating your home comes with a number of benefits that you’ll feel both long and short term, such as comfortability and energy cost reduction. Those are of course the primary reasons people seek out insulation solutions but another popular benefit is sound reduction.
There is a lot of misconceptions and assumptions when it comes to sound regulation aspects of insulation. Right off the bat, we are going to assume that if you’re here, it’s because your needs and interests are insulation and maximizing your energy efficiency. You’re not here because your needs and interests are 100% soundproofing. If that was your primary concern, you would have googled soundproofing, not insulation. Soundproofing a room is common for music, media, and entertainment rooms where one might want a complete soundproof room but that requires a dedicated soundproofing project with both sound reflective and absorbent materials. A dedicated project like that means you need specific materials meant to soundproof.
Now, on to the question you’re here for, does insulation help with sound in your attic? This is a common question and it’s easy to have misconceptions about the topic. Soundproofing the attic ceiling, the walls of your home, reducing environment noise, etc. are all questions that people eventually have concerning their homes. You may not be interested in professional soundproofing, but you can still reap the hidden benefits. You have insulation needs and you’re here because sound reduction is a bonus that you’re interested in. It should be said that soundproofing and sound reducing are not the same thing. (If you want a room or house specifically built for complete soundproof, that usually requires an entire remodeling project.) Also, insulation material isn’t made to soundproof, it simply aids by reducing the transmission of sound. Sound is transmitted in two ways, airborne and impact transmission. Airborne noise transmits via air vibrations and can be both outdoor and indoor. This includes traffic and vehicle noise, voices, and natural sounds such as crickets, etc. It can also be your own TV, music, other media sources, and other residents. Impact noises transmit via vibrations traveling through walls, floors, roofs. Sound reduction is accomplished by absorption or reflection/blocking sound vibrations.
Most insulation materials reduce sound transmission by forming a complete and sealed barrier that absorbs those vibrations traveling through the structure of your home. Depending on how your home is insulated. For example, insulating the attic roof can reduce incoming noise from outside as well as noise between rooms and levels of your house. Make sure to do your research when planning these kinds of projects, especially if sound reduction is a concern of yours. Not every insulation material reduces noise. For example, reflective insulation, such as radiant and vapor barriers, does NOT reflect sounds waves or block them in anyway. Radiant barriers are made to reflect sunlight and are great, especially in southern climates, at reducing heat inside but this means that they don’t absorb anything such as sound waves. The most common materials for insulation include cellulose, fiberglass, and foam, and are all great at reducing sound transmission. As far as absorbing sound goes, fiberglass may be the most absorbent insulation material available, but you aren’t likely to have it inside the interior walls of your house without tearing it all down and installing it, so if you want interior sound reduction, you might have to look into a new project as noise reducing insulation is not strong enough to completely soundproof a structure.