Soundproofing can be a pretty tough thing to get just right. There are a lot of different ways to go about it, and two common options are to use either mass loaded vinyl (Full In-depth Article) or Green Glue noise proofing compound and sealant. Both have their supporters, but which option is best?
Below is a closer breakdown of the two options people have when soundproofing a room, studio, vehicle or virtually any enclosed area. Making a smart decision now can save a lot of money in the future.
What is Mass Loaded Vinyl?
Mass Loaded Vinyl, which is also referred to as MLV, is a type of vinyl sheeting material with metal particles embedded. It is used to add mass to walls, ceilings, and flooring to help with soundproofing an area. The most common place to put MLV is between two layers of drywall.
It has been around since the 1960s, and it does help a lot with various types of noises. Made up of calcium carbonate and polyvinyl chloride, it is very versatile, allowing it to be effective nearly anywhere. It handles vibrations very well, completely eliminating some sounds.
Many compare MLV to sheet lead because they work in similar ways and cost about the same. It seems like more and more people are moving towards MLV between the two, but there are also other options available that are helping people soundproof. Since it comes in sheets, it’s pretty easy to install and move on with the construction.
What is Green Glue noise proofing compound?
Green Glue noise proofing compound is used in a lot of the same ways as MLV. It is put in between two pieces of drywall, reducing noise and eliminating any leaks outside of the room as well.
It is a viscoelastic damping compound, turning sounds into a small amount of heat. It tackles all types of sound frequencies, which is ideal for a home, office or studio set up.
A lot of people use Green Glue either in new construction, or when doing a renovation. Since it can go between any two layers that are rigid, there is a lot of versatility with the product. People have been using the product since launching in 1989 as an alternative to a lot of mass options that can’t form quite as well to its surroundings.
How do the two products compare?
Both MLV and Green Glue noise proofing sealant is geared towards helping individuals isolate specific areas and provide silence from the outside world. This is used in a lot of ways to help with audio recording. It is also used by people who might just live in noisy areas. Not only is it important to keep sounds from coming in, but sounds inside from leaking as well.
The two options have been around for a while, but Green Glue has really started to gain traction over the last few years. Several studies have been done to compare how the two stand up against each other, and it’s surprising to some people to see the cold hard facts.
According to tmsoundproofing (Source) Green Glue has the edge when it comes to overall soundproof capabilities. A lot of that might come down to its versatility to get every single crack that is possibly exposed. Available in sealant form, it is especially easy to get into corners and provide complete coverage.
Green Glue does especially well when dealing with low frequencies. This is an area that has been a struggle for MLV for decades now, and it took this sealant to figure things out a little better. That means anyone who has a home theater can use Green Glue and really notice a difference over a similar setup with MLV.
This is not to say that MLV is not a quality option for certain locations and purposes. There are still a lot of people who love MLV, and it’s ability to add mass so quickly. It’s never in a different form, so it holds up in more extreme temperatures throughout the year.
People can achieve an STC of 55 with Green Glue, which is slightly higher than using MLV in any particular way. MLV is usually either hanging limply or in the center of a sandwich with drywall. The STC is in the low 50s for either option. That might not seem like much of a difference, but every little bit matters when doing proper soundproofing.
How much do the two options cost?
Another advantage for Green Glue is that it is very affordable for those people who are on a budget. It can get expensive in a hurry to use MLV, which is why it is more commonly found in studios instead of homes. MLV is becoming a little more affordable thanks to all the competition out there, but it’s just very difficult to justify the cost if the results show that Green Glue is outperforming MLV.
Green Glue is marketed heavily as the most affordable and effective way to noise-proof something. It’s also easy enough to use that do-it-yourself repairs are easy to pull off. There are easy instructions included with orders, plus several videos online for people to watch for tips and tricks on how to get the most out of the product.
Are the products safe to use?
Green Glue is entirely water-based, which makes it non-toxic and non-carcinogenic. There is a mild odor to green glue, similar to other latex products out there. It is not a dangerous odor that will cause any issues, other than the rare chance of a slight headache from a foreign smell. It is safe to use on an entire home or building if that is what a person wants to do.
As for MLV, it’s a little more complicated, but it is considered a safe product as well. High levels of elemental barium have the potential to be toxic, but there is not nearly enough of it in MLV to cause any issues. For that reason, it is also labeled as a non-toxic option for people to go with. No one should fear using it or being exposed to it for long periods of time.
The installation and application process is a little more hands-off with the Green Glue compound since a gun can be used in tight places. This particularly comes in handy for quick fixes, making it very easy to safe to make minor repairs. This makes it not only safer but a little less messy as well.
What can’t MLV and Green Glue do?
When people use MLV and Green Glue, it is important to know its limitations. Both are compounds that must be used between two layers of building materials. They are not permanent adhesives, so it doesn’t work well when using soft layers such as plastics, padding, glass, etc.
It is also not recommended to use either outdoors where the temperature can get extremely hot or cold. Green Glue, in particular, will fail to work as properly designed. MLV holds up a little better, but both don’t promise to be as effective.
Where can MLV and Green Glue be purchased?
Green Glue is available through select retailers and online through Amazon.com. MLV is a little more readily available at just about any local home improvement store, plus amazon.com and other online retailers as well.
Both are a little more inexpensive when purchased online, which is definitely something to consider. There is the convenience factor of shopping locally, but with time to spare, it makes sense to save money by placing an order.
Why does Green Glue win this head-to-head comparison?
Any person looking to soundproof an area wants something that is effective, first and foremost. People are always willing to spend money as long as it works. Green Glue comes in at a lower price point than MLV, and it outperforms it head-to-head.
How does it all work in Green Glue’s favor? It comes down to the dampening behavior of Green Glue. It cuts down the vibration with drywall and takes care of resonant behavior. Instead of being something that can flop around in a wall cavity, Green Glue is more form-fitting and ready to handle anything thrown it’s way.
Results are never guaranteed, but that is another reason why it helps to start with the cheaper option. If Green Glue does not live up to expectations, there is a chance to try something else and not be out a ton of money. Trying MLV first could lead to a lot of money wasted, and overall disappointment.
Green Glue has quite a few companies trying to mimic what they offer, but it is still a very unique compound that has helped a lot of people put the finishing touches on an area that needed soundproofing. It’s worthy of the hype, and the best value on the market right now in this category. MLV still does a solid job, but Green Glue is on another level as far as helping people out and keeping projects under a certain budget overall.