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Acoustic Foam – What is it?

Acoustic Foam- What is It?

Acoustic foam is one of the most misunderstood pieces of soundproofing technology. Many people believe that just applying

Pyramid shaped Acoustic Foam

the foam to the walls will be enough to block out the unwanted sounds of their amorous neighbour’s, loud music or street noise. They’re excited to have found a cheap soundproofing solution and are sadly disappointed when it doesn’t work as they expected it to, or any better than sticking egg cartons to their wall. (a popular soundproofing myth)

So, You might wonder why it is still considered a viable sound insulation solution? Well, Acoustic foam is an important piece of the soundproofing jigsaw puzzle. To understand Acoustic Foam a little more, let’s look take a deeper look.

What is Acoustic Foam?

Acoustic foam is a lightweight polyurethane open-celled foam. It comes in a variety of thicknesses and has a very uneven surface on one side, ranging from slight convolutions to large pyramid or conical wedge shaped protrusions. It is commonly used by sound engineers, musicians, in home recording studios, home theatres, and other such places where sound might echo and cause dissonance. It’s primary purpose is to improve sound quality within a space by reducing resonance (echoes) and stop excess noise from bouncing around the room. One could say that as it absorbs sound in a space it also helps reduce the noise escaping from the space; Hence it can also help to prevent the sound from entering another room. In some ways, that’s true but you must first understand how it works.

How does Acoustic Foam work?

The best way to understand how the foam works is to understand the difference between absorption and reflection. Take a basket ball for example. When you dribble the ball, you get maximum bounce if the surface is hard and it reflects the force. The ball bounces back with nearly equal force. On the other hand, if you dribble the ball on a soft surface, the force is absorbed by the soft ground and the ball doesn’t bounce back, or bounces back with diminished force.

The latter is exactly what acoustic foam does to sound. That way, it reduces echo and eventually diminishes the ambient noise of your surroundings. The surface of the foam is jagged and uneven, confusing the sound waves and further lessening the force and eventually dispersing the energy that carries them forward. For a musician, this means that his recordings are clear and there’s little to no ambient feedback.

For a person who wants to do soundproofing, this offers significant sound reduction when coupled with other solutions. The acoustic foam isn’t an all-in-one solution but it does help reduce echo and some ambient noise.

How does it help?

Whilst soundproofing can be a complex subject and we recommend consulting with a professional for large and important projects. If you are undertaking a soundproof project yourself, before you give up on the acoustic foam entirely, consider its usefulness as a ‘part’ of your soundproofing solution. Using Acoustic Foam in conjunction with other soundproofing solutions can reduce noise pollution by a significant extent. You can do this by following these steps.

  • Seal off all avenues of entry, including holes and cracks

  • Weather-strip your windows and doors so that sound doesn’t slip through the cracks

  • Add mass to ceilings, walls and floors by using mass loaded vinyl or acoustic insulation and a thicker drywall. This will block the sound coming in from outside

  • Then add acoustic foam to reduce ambient noise and echoes within your space.

By doing this, you can significantly control the noise levels in your home. Acoustic foam does have benefits. It stops noise from echoing within your house so if you have open plan spaces, boisterous children, a spouse or partner fond of loud music, or relatives who like to watch television at full volume, you’ll find acoustic foam can help to maintain your peace & quiet, not to mention your sanity!!

To find out more about Acoustic Foam or get advice on product selection, please email to [email protected], and we will be only too pleased to help.