For people who want a quiet atmosphere in their home without too many loud sounds, then getting a soundproofing fabric is one of the options. Although there are plenty of methods that you can use, this one will suit you well. Soundproofing fabric can absorb sound or block it, giving you the peace you have been looking for. In this article, we’ll talk about soundproofing fabric and how to choose the best for your needs. So, let’s start!
What are the best soundproofing fabric options, though? The best materials with good sound-absorbing and soundproofing properties are foam, velvet, burlap, mass-loaded vinyl, and acoustic fabric. Each of these materials manages the sound in a specific way, and each one has its advantages. Basically, it all comes down to the budget you have at your disposal.
In order to do this job, so you can choose the best soundproofing fabric for your needs, below we bring you a complete overview of the best and most effective models on the market. Among the fabrics we have selected, you will surely find at least one ideal choice for you, whether your goal is to soundproof or improve acoustic.
What is Sound-Absorbing Fabric?
First, remember that the fabric used for sound absorption is not soundproof. It will improve generated sound quality by decreasing echo and reverberation in the room. It will also decrease transmission when it comes to frequencies between rooms. Fabric with sound-absorbing abilities is usually used in theaters, restaurants, recording studios, churches, and homes.
Fabric curtains absorb reflected noise, making the sound better in small and large rooms. They can very easily control the sound, and at the same time, they are a far less expensive option. Similar to deflectors, sound-absorbing panels, and traps, how successfully the cloth will control the sound depends on its density, thickness, placement, and fullness. Pleating will increase the thickness. Hanging the curtains separated from the window or wall 6” to 12” will increase sound control.
Related Article: Are Moving Blankets Soundproof (Explained)
Sound Absorption Vs. Soundproofing – The Difference
Sound absorption is absorbing the extra sound waves within the space and causes poor acoustics, and bad echo, while soundproofing prevents sound from leaving or entering the room. When we compare soundproofing and sound absorption, we can see how different materials interact with the energy of sound waves.
We must first understand that some materials absorb sound energy, some reflect it, and some allow sound to pass through or transmit it. Depending on the sound frequency, the majority of materials are able to do all three in a certain amount. Mentioned materials can have better performance on a mid to high frequency or, on the other hand, just on low frequencies.
Sound absorbing means reducing the echo or reverberation within a room. A material labeled with absorption Class (coefficient) tells you how much sound it will be absorbed in a specific frequency range.
For example, when the absorption coefficient is marked as 0.30, that means that 0.70 (or 70%) of the sound can be transmitted or reflected through this material. Therefore, soundproofing represents how we are preventing or blocking the noise not to be transmitted through walls, doors, or windows.
That is why we usually talk about the material absorbing or reflecting sound frequencies broadband.
Related Article: Top 7 Best Soundproof Insulation Materials
Acoustic Fabric vs Regular Fabric
Most fabrics have acoustic qualities that can absorb or reflect sound waves. On the other hand, acoustic fabrics can absorb, reflect, or enable sound to move by improving its quality. They are third-party tested when it comes to absorption, reflectivity, or transparency (they have an NRC rating). Note that some manufacturers design this material to be transparent, while others just test existing material for transparency.
The main difference between acoustic and regular fabrics is their breathability and functionality. The fabric must be durable, acoustically breathable, and hold its shape. You have to know that many fabrics can pass the test on breathability (blowing air through the fabric). However, this does not mean they are acoustically breathable.
Some fabrics can have the label of acoustic transparency if they allow air to pass through, but this method is not acceptable if the sound on all frequencies is passing through it. Some fabrics have transparency scaled up to mid-range frequencies but at the same time not too high or low-range frequencies. The result is a flattened sound.
The Best Soundproofing Fabrics
If you are looking for some material that will be used on your wall or just looking to get soundproof curtains, you have a huge selection of great fabrics that can block, sound-absorb, and reflect sound. You can use them when it comes to soundproofing. In this section, we’ll present the best models on the market.
1. Velvet Fabric
Velvet is a type of fabric that doesn’t only look good but also comes with other benefits as well. This luxurious material is very popular when it comes to sound-absorbing features. Keep in mind that when it comes to velvet thickness, it isn’t always true that the material has to be very heavy to have good quality.
This fabric material is perfect for hanging because of its plush vertical fiber. Therefore, one of the options is to use it for window treatments. However, if you want to do this, we recommend choosing some heavyweight options. A good idea is also to double up the fabric for the curtain. Two layers will defiantly absorb more sound than just one.
2. Mass Loaded Vinyl
Mass-loaded vinyl goes into the category, and it’s the most popular material that you can find in today’s market when it comes to sound absorption, soundproofing, and noise reduction. It was introduced to the public around 1960, and it’s still a favorite. People love it because it has a specific ability to dissipate sound while traveling through it. This means that no noise is getting in/out through your walls.
There are many ways how you can use mass-loaded vinyl. To get the perfect results, apply it in sheets within your drywall or fasten it to the exterior wall. It is a very effective and cheap material.
3. Acoustic Fabric
This fabric type is made originally to give acoustic benefits. It works differently than a standard soundproofing material and allows sound to go through it with no interference. However, it can also block materials that are placed between rooms. This fabric type is popular in the music industry and can usually be used to cover bass traps, together with the speaker grills.
If you are trying to find something that will improve the quality of the sound in the room and prevent it from spreading around the house, then the ideal choice is the acoustic fabric that can also be used on curtains.
4. Wool Fabric
Wool is the most popular used material for carpets, and it’s known that these comfy walkways have great soundproofing characteristics. Wool is great in deflecting and absorbing sound because it comes in many different sizes and shapes.
If you want to have the best results, you should use wool for a carpet. However, wool can also be used for another purpose instead. Many musicians use these carpets and hang them in their studios for better soundproofing results. So you can try to do the same in your home. Trust me, you will be amazed at the result.
5. Velour Fabric
When you want to drape the walls in velvet but you can’t afford it, velour is a very good and affordable alternative. It represents the cheaper velvet version with smashing soundproofing abilities. It’s used to create anything, from window coverings, all the way to wall hangings.
This fabric is an ideal choice when it comes to sound blocking because it can control the noise that leaves a room. Because of that, the velour can be found in theaters, cinemas, and clubs. It is famous for its blocking and acoustics capabilities. One additional thing is that velour feels and looks just as pretty and posh as velvet, and in addition, it is still cheap.
6. Burlap Fabric
Burlap is a material that has gained popularity in soundproofing because it is manufactured in a way that it has a weave pattern that is open. As a result, air and sound can easily pass through it, which is why it is commonly wrapped around acoustic panels. This fabric enables sound travel and it prevents the sound from escaping the room. This allows you to have good quality noise within the room.
For better results, use and put a layer of different sound-blocking materials underneath it. This is especially useful in the case of making wall hangings or curtains. With two materials working together, effective soundproofing is ensured, and the fabric will offer much more breathability in comparison to most.
7. Foam Fabric
Foam is a soft fabric, making it perfect for sound absorption material. It has many hardened and formed tiny gas pockets. Foam fabric absorbs sound and doesn’t reflect it. Because of that, this is great to use. You can use this material anywhere in the house.
Acoustic foam is a product that has been specially manufactured for sound absorption and thus will accomplish better results compared to the standard ‘run-of-the-mill’ foam. You should know that a great amount of sound absorption can be achieved by using regular foam, ensuring that every noise you are making stays inside the room.
8. Cotton Duck Fabric
Cotton Duck fabric is a material that is usually made from 100% cotton of a finer weave. This fabric material weighs only 10oz per square yard. Another great thing about it is durable, resistant to rips, and breathable. It is available in dozens of colors and can be used in any home as it suits any décor.
This material is washable, and it can also be tumble-dried. The dimensions of this fabric are usually 58” to 60” wide. Cotton Duck is an inexpensive material that is easy to cut and fold, making it a good DIY panel. It’s a good choice, and it can be used for acoustic treatments.
If you want to learn more about the best sound absorption materials, be sure to watch this YouTube video.
If you have an apartment, then be sure to read How to Soundproof a Door in an Apartment? 10 Ways.
FAQ: People Also Ask
When you are trying to improve the acoustics in the room or soundproof it, the right fabric choice can take you a long way. Besides using good materials, much more can be done in these cases. Here are some of the most frequent questions that people want to know about soundproofing.
Is there a Difference Between Sound Absorb and Soundproof?
Soundproof means blocking the sound within the room, while sound absorption is limiting the sound to travel within the room by using special materials that can absorb the sound.
What Material is Best For Sound Absorption?
Absorbing the sound within the room is done by choosing the more pliable and softer materials that will perform just that. These materials are better for insulation, and they will absorb sound on their softness. Note that options like wood and metal reflect the sound, and you need to avoid them.
As you can see, it is very important to choose the right fabric material for your home if you want to have quality sound insulation. Now that you’ve learned some things, the more prepared you will be for this task. I believe this article has helped you choose the best material for your needs. Your suggestions and comments are much appreciated. Be free to share the text with someone who can benefit from this useful information.