There are different types of vinyl flooring. But if you want to stop pissing off your downstairs neighbor with your music and stomping noise or just improve your room’s acoustics, mass-loaded vinyl (MLV) is your best buy.
Mass-loaded vinyl is super easy to clean, extremely durable, and comes at an affordable price. Besides, you can place them under a carpet or stick with their particularly wood-like textured finish. Their ability to significantly dampen surrounding noise traveling into your space is one reason it’s most sought after.
So, in this article, I’ll cover easy steps on how to install mass-loaded vinyl on the floor, its benefits, and alternatives.
What is Mass Loaded Vinyl?
MLV is a popular vinyl flooring usually installed with carpet to block out most noise. This material offers an extra cushion, making it an excellent sound insulator between your carpets and floorboards.
Even better, it’s affordable, explaining why my top sound experts recommend it for soundproofing your space. While it may not be the most durable option, it’s effective for reducing noise where it matters.
What is Mass Loaded Vinyl Made Of?
MLV is made of a viscoelastic material. Usually, it’s vinyl filled with either calcium carbonate or barium sulfate. This results in a natural high-mass material with impressive soundproofing and acoustic capability. Also, it’s responsible for its durability and deformation resistance.
Thanks to its perfect combination of vinyl and dense inert compounds, MLV solves dread noise problems by absorbing and blocking migrating sound waves.
This is one of its biggest advantages over other soundproofing materials like foams, mineral fibers, and fiberglass. MLV does more than block the traveling sound waves but absorbs them.
Also, these sound-attenuating materials are usually rigid or thick panels, limiting where and how to use them. MLV, on the other hand, is super flexible and comes in different thickness and length options in rolls. So, they have a wide range of applications. They are flexible enough to be molded, wrapped, or hung with ZERO stress.
Compelling Reasons to Use Mass Loaded Vinyl on Floor
Still, wondering if MLV is the best soundproofing material? Here are key reasons to consider installing mass-loaded vinyl on the floor.
Excellent soundproofing performance
MLV offers the most affordable and incredible soundproofing result when it comes to effectively soundproofing your space. Unlike typical vinyl sheets, MLV contains dense compounds to increase its mass. Thus, making it better at blocking invading sound. Hence, it’s often installed in noise-sensitive spaces like offices, libraries, and bedrooms.
Mass-loaded vinyl is flexible since it’s made of viscoelastic material. Therefore, it’s a versatile soundproofing material suitable for a vast application range, including flooring. It has a nice texture, which looks appealing on the floor. Also, you can choose to install it whichever way you deem fit.
On top of that, MLV is durable enough to last many years. Meaning? You won’t have to spend the extra dough on maintenance or replacement.
Thin & dense profile
This soundproofing material is not as thick as other options, taking less floor space. However, it provides enough mass to attenuate vibration and noise in a room. Also, unlike foam and other thicker materials, it can easily cover a large floor area, making it the ultimate flooring option for soundproofing.
Step-by-Step Guide for Installing MLV on Floor
Sound underlayments dampen the voices and footfall noise going through the floor by acting as a separating layer between your finish floor and subfloor. Luckily, MLV is an affordable option and super easy to install.
Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide on how to install mass-loaded vinyl on the floor:
- Step 1 – before beginning your sound isolation project, remove the baseboard molding and floor transition pieces to access your subfloor. It’s essential to clear them out of the space to be soundproofed for bump-free installation. Also, you want to organize them so that you can easily reinstall them without getting confused or needing an extra hand.
- Step 2 – after getting everything on your carpet off (baseboard molding and transition pieces), remove the finish. There are several ways you can do this. However, I recommend using an electric staple remover or a pry bar to ensure you neatly remove the carpet with no damage.
- Step 3 – once the carpet has been safely removed, you want to get the padding (if you use one) out for access to the subfloor. The easiest way to do this is using the pry bar to pry up a corner of the padding. It should be easier to rip the padding away from the tack strip by pulling it inward. Note: you should do this carefully to avoid tearing the padding.
- Step 4 – After carefully removing the padding, the subfloor should be accessible. Now, lay the MLV down on the subfloor. If you want to use a double layer of mass-loaded vinyl, ensure both layers are perfectly aligned without any space between them. Also, you want to ensure the edges are properly laid without any exposed areas.
- Step 5 – After completely installing the mass-loaded vinyl, replace the paddings, carpets, and baseboard molding. It’s important to line them up correctly. Also, avoid gaps between the MLV and the finish flooring.
Yes. You can choose not to soundproof your floor with MLV. Other decent options include floor underlayment, polyethylene foam, and acoustic foam.
MLV is perfect for soundproofing carpet flooring. However, there are some concerns with using MLV under the carpet. It tends to get wet and slippery when water splashes on the carpet. Also, it’s not as durable as most traditional soundproofing options.
MLV has many applications, including blocking airborne noise in cars. You can install MLV on your automobile’s floor, roof, doors, and boot doors.
There are numerous ways to soundproof your room. One of the most effective options is installing MLV on the floor. It can block and absorb noise and vibration for a more peaceful space.
Keep in mind that MLV has its own downsides. More importantly, purchase the best mass-loaded vinyl to ensure excellent soundproofing performance.
Before going ahead with the project, seek professional advice. This would help avoid damaging your flooring and guarantee a perfect installation.