Mass Loaded Vinyl: The Complete Guide

Beginner Info, Soundproofing

mass loaded vinyl
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I’ll walk you through various aspects of mass-loaded vinyl such as uses, safety, and installation.

Furthermore, we’ll also discuss the step-by-step methods to soundproof a fence using MLV.

Noise is all around us.

From the time we wake up to the time we sleep, we’ve to face both good as well as bad noises.

I love music but the same music irritates me if a person next door is playing it loud at midnight.

It is not only the case but there are also many more ways in which noise can adversely impact us both physically and mentally.

For example, if you’re residing in a high-traffic zone such as an airport or railway station then you’ll definitely be looking for efficient and cost-effective ways to get rid of the continuous noise.

Needless to say, the market is saturated and flooded with soundproofing products and their claims as well.

I’ve time and again persuaded my readers to select good soundproofing products and methods for their soundproofing projects.

I’ve spent quite a few times in the soundproofing industry and with my experience, I can assure you that the final outcome of any soundproofing project can only be fruitful if things are executed in a correct manner.

Unfortunately, most of the newbies do it wrong.

Anyways, all said and done, today I’m gonna talk about a soundproofing product that doesn’t need any INTRODUCTION.

If you’re a soundproof enthusiast, then you’ll be well aware of the fact that mass-loaded vinyl is a product on which even soundproof experts rely.

Well, correct me, if I’m wrong.

 You may be inquisitive, what makes mass-loaded vinyl so effective and popular, right? 

Don’t worry, we’re gonna discuss mass-loaded vinyl in detail, and in the end, we’ll discuss its outdoor uses taking the example of a soundproofing fence.

What is Mass Loaded Vinyl?

You’ll be astonished to know that since the 1960s, this material has been grabbing the eyeballs of soundproofing enthusiasts.

Though time has changed the popularity of mass-loaded vinyl is only seeing exponential growth.

Mass-loaded vinyl aka Limp mass barrier is impregnated with metal particles whose main purpose is to increase the mass.

Needless to say, mass-loaded vinyl is a great sound-blocking material which is also known for its flexibility.

As the name suggests, mass-loaded vinyl is made of two elements: vinyl and barium sulfate (or similar elements).

Vinyl is used to give MLV the required flexibility.

Barium sulfate is a non-toxic and high-density material that is used to block sound effectively.

Well, I’ll talk about it in the next section.

What is Mass Loaded Vinyl Made From?

Already we had a brief discussion that mass-loaded vinyl is made of two elements; calcium carbonate/barium sulfate and polyvinyl chloride.

Polyvinyl chloride is popularly known as PVC or vinyl.

The unique thing about MLV is that it exhibits both elasticity and viscous characteristics when deformation happens.

In short, it is a viscoelastic material.

Most of the newbies will not be aware of the fact that MLV returns back to its original shape when stress is stopped.

Almost all viscous materials have the capability to strain linearly and resist shear flow.

Mass-loaded vinyl does great work when it comes to combating reverbs, vibrations, and echoes.

In fact, when MLV is exposed to vibration, it will absorb it and also, retain the shape.

MLV is a perfect blend of elasticity and density.

Is Mass Loaded Vinyl Safe?

Well, It goes without saying that MLV is a promising soundproofing product, but is it safe?

Let’s find out.

I just did a random survey and found that people don’t have a single opinion.

Furthermore, the main reason behind this could be a lack of knowledge and information.

As discussed earlier, MLV uses barium sulfate or calcium carbonate as the inert material, and many people have an opinion that exposure to a high level of barium sulfate can be fatal.

Nonetheless, in our case, the probability of barium sulfate causing any short-term or long-term damage to your mental as well as physical health is next to impossible.

The element is insoluble in water and therefore totally inert.

Because of the misconceptions that people have about barium sulfate, a lot of manufacturers have started advertising the MLV with the tag barium-free.

Nevertheless, barium sulfate is NOT gonna impact your physical and mental health adversely in any way because of its inert nature.

Definitely, flammability is a point of concern.

I’ll not deny the fact the MLV can catch fire but ONLY at very high temperatures.

Most of you’ll be astonished to know that MLV is safer than foam panels when it comes to flammability.

As a soundproof consultant, I’ve been using as well as recommending MLV to many clients, and I can assure you that I’ve never even heard about problems such as flammability, health hazards, etc. related to mass-loaded vinyl.

Does it make sense?

What I mean to say is that as long as you’re following the daily safety instructions, MLV is a safe product to use.

Can You Paint Mass Loaded Vinyl?

There are people whose priority is safety concerns, at the same time, there are many people who are looking for aesthetic products.

Lots of my clients aren’t happy with the availability of colors of mass-loaded vinyl.

Nevertheless, I’ve got a piece of good news for you.

Though originally the product was available in only two colors still you can change the color easily.

All you need to do is to use latex paint of your desired color.

You can make MLV more vibrant by painting it in the color of your choice.

It also comes as transparent as well as translucent.

It is highly advisable to read the manual instructions carefully before you start painting MLV.

There is an umbrella of products under the name “MLV” and unfortunately, all the products don’t react in a similar way when painted.

Finally, my sincere advice would be to contact the manufacturer in case, you’re having trouble with painting.

Mass Loaded Vinyl Uses

I hope all your worries related to safety and aesthetics are well taken care of.

When it comes to soundproofing, MLV is used across the verticals.

As per my experience, for the best results, MLV is sandwiched between other soundproofing materials.

Whether you’re doing soundproofing wall, floor, or ceiling projects, mass-loaded vinyl is the ultimate solution.


Needless to say, the importance of mass-loaded vinyl can be understood from the fact that it can be used in cars for soundproofing purposes.

So, without any further ado, let’s have an in-depth discussion of where and how can we use mass-loaded vinyl.

Doors and Windows

I’ve discussed in the article on soundproofing rooms that doors and windows are two critical areas that need special attention for the success of soundproofing projects.

The interior doors are a point of concern because in most cases, these doors are hollow and offer almost negligible resistance to unwanted noise. 

You can use mass-loaded vinyl to add mass to the hollow doors, and the same holds true with the windows as well.

To enhance the soundproofing capabilities further, you can install curtains or blankets.

These curtains/blankets are made of sound-absorbing materials and thus can absorb unwanted noise.

Pro Tip: The thicker and denser the blanket the better will be the sound dampening capability.

The MLV curtains are a great way to absorb as well as block unwanted noise.

Whether you want to convert your room into a home office or audio recording studio MLV curtains are a great way to deal with external noises as well as airborne noises.

On the downside, MLV curtains aren’t the prettiest ones on the market, so people who are very particular about the aesthetic of their room may not be very comfortable installing these curtains.

Nevertheless, I would like to make a point that these MLV curtains can be easily painted, so you can get an effective product without compromising on the decor of your room.

In short, paint the curtain and change the game.

Machinery and Appliances

If you’re an avid reader of this blog then you’ll be aware of the fact that there are mainly two types of noise: airborne and impact.

Household appliances produce airborne noise that needs to be taken care of to maintain high-quality sound inside the room.

If you work from a home office then these unwanted noises will definitely distract you.

Unfortunately, even though you’re using the quietest household appliances, they are bound to make noise.

So, what is the solution?

Well, you can use MLV to dampen the airborne noise.

Personally, I use Thermo Tec (Check the Current Price On Amazon) to dampen unwanted household appliance noise.

Thermo Tec is affordable as well as user-friendly.

In short, you can consider it easy to “trim and fit” the solution.

MLV also works well with HVAC ductwork and pipes.

At times, household appliances produce a lot of heat, in that case, MLV will act as a heat suppressor.


As cars, trucks, and other vehicles become old, they start making a lot of noise.

I hope most of you’ll agree with this statement.

For example, a car has two types of unwanted noise.

The first one is the external noise coming from roads and the second one is the noise created by the loose solid parts, engine, etc.

The internal noise such as rattling and vibrations can be easily taken care of by the sound-deadening materials- Noico and Dynamat.

As compared to Dynamat, the former is thinner and easy to install. 

I’ve written a detailed article on the top 10 automotive sound deadeners, I would suggest, you have a look in case, you’re not updated with the market standards.

These sound deadeners enhance the quality of audio by blocking external noise.

I would recommend you cover as much surface of the car as possible with mass-loaded vinyl.

It will enhance the quality of bass inside the car.

When it comes to sound-deadening cars, you’ve lots of options.

However, to make an informed decision, you need to be aware of the various aspects of the product that you’re planning to buy.

Moreover, the price of a product is an important parameter that can influence the buying decision.

Types of Mass Loaded Vinyl

To cater to the needs of a wide range of people, manufacturers have introduced a couple of types of mass-loaded vinyl.

For the superlative result, you can combine mass-loaded vinyl with other high-quality sound blockers such as glass fiber insulation, mineral fiber insulation, acoustic foam, and ceramic fiber insulation.

Let’s dig a bit deeper into the types of mass-loaded vinyl.

What are the important types of mass-loaded vinyl?
  • MLV combined with fiberglass is a lightweight acoustic product. This product is idiosyncratic as it has the capability to block as well as absorb noise. You can use it for piping, ductwork, or garbage chutes.
  • MLV with foil, when combined with fiberglass, can work extremely well against the noise coming from pipes and ducts.
  • MLV with aluminum, when combined with fiberglass, can combat unwanted noise in the industrial area due to high durability. 
  • Reinforced MLV works great as acoustical curtain panels. It is a combination of mass-loaded vinyl and poly fabric which makes it highly durable and also, provides high endurance.

I’m assuming that now you’ve got a clear idea that using MLV along with other soundproofing materials can give you outstanding results.

In case, you’re not clear with the selection of soundproofing materials then the best way to make an informed decision is to ask yourself a couple of questions.

  • What percentage of external noise do I want to dampen?
  • Do I need to soundproof the entire room, vehicle, or machine?
  • Should I dampen noise internal noise or both?
  • And, many more???
Pro Tip: The more you’ll ask questions with yourself the better will be the clarity on the selection of soundproofing materials.

Remember, a good plan will definitely shorten your decision-making process.

Mass Loaded Vinyl Alternatives

Furthermore, I’ll walk you through some alternatives of mass-loaded vinyl that will be of great help in case, you’re on a shoestring budget.

All the options that we’re gonna discuss are highly effective and budget-friendly.

So, leave all your worries beside and keep reading.

Noise Reducing Curtains

Noise-canceling curtains are one of the best soundproofing materials available on the market.

These acoustic drapes are made of sound-absorbing materials.

I’ve already discussed MLV curtains, and you can consider soundproofing curtains as a good substitute.

In terms of sound-dampening capability, MLV curtains perform better than heavy soundproof curtains.

However, considering the aesthetic and visual appeal, a soundproof curtain is a better option.

Soundproof curtains are denser than regular curtains but not as dense as MLV curtains.

Bonus Tip: Always buy a curtain that has grommets/eyelets embedded in it.

(check out my recommendation on Amazon)

Needless to say, these curtains come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes.

Green Glue

Green Glue can be considered a good substitute for mass-loaded vinyl.

You need to use green glue between two layers of drywall to get the same effect as using mass-loaded vinyl.

Using green glue can add to your home decor because it looks quite natural.

Moreover, it gives you the same feeling as existing walls.

You can use green glue to feel the spaces that are harder to reach.

[Related]: Green Glue vs. QuietRock

Hat Channel and Sound Clips

Are you having trouble with noise transmission between the floors?

Well, without any second thought Hat channels and sound clips are the solution.

The good thing about the hat channel and sound clip is that they are directly attached to the floor beams.

Drywall is added to the channels afterward.

As a result, you can expect a significant reduction in the vibrations and the noise between the rooms.

Needless to say, these are highly cost-effective substitutes for mass-loaded vinyl.

If you’re living in an apartment in metros then chances are high that you’ll be looking for soundproofing solutions.

At times, looking at the problem from a different angle can help you to reach the solution at the earliest.


Allow me to explain it with an example.

Suppose you wake up one day and find a sudden increase in the noise.

The easiest way to solve this problem is to hire a soundproof consultant like me and assign him the project.

Of course, it involves a good chunk of money.

So, let’s shift our discussion to the cheapest way to dampen the unwanted noise.

Just having a mere look over different parts of your apartment and then making the decision accordingly can help you to solve the noise problem to some extent.

Check the curtains, blankets, ceilings, and floors of your apartment.

And, replace the curtains with noise-canceling curtains.

Add a layer of drywall using green glue if you think the walls are too thin to combat unwanted noise.

Even arranging the furniture, bookshelves, and wardrobes can dampen some echoes, reverbs, and vibrations.

In short, you can dampen both internal as well as external noise to a great extent even though you’re on a shoestring budget.

All you need to do is to be a bit creative.

Soundproofing Fence With Mass Loaded Vinyl

Moving further, I’ll be discussing the best way to soundproof your fence. Of course, it’s none other than mass-loaded vinyl that I’m gonna talk about. So, without any further ado, let’s have a look at MLV outdoor use.

I’m assuming that you’re well aware of the fact that a good soundproofing material must have high mass and density.

Lacking any of the aforementioned parameters can ruin the outcome completely.

Definitely, mass-loaded vinyl has a good mass and density, so it can be used as a great sound insulator.

In the past, I’ve used mass-loaded vinyl in a couple of soundproofing fencing projects.

In spite of being a great sound blocker, mass-loaded vinyl is quite flexible and thin.

It is almost one-third of an inch which makes it a great choice for fencing projects.

I’m assuming that we both are on the same page now.

I can assure you that mass-loaded vinyl can cover even the smallest of the gaps on the fences.

Some other features that make mass-loaded vinyl a great option for outdoor uses are durability and water resistance.

In case, you’re interested in knowing my recommendation then I would vouch for TMS Mass Loaded Vinyl. (Check the Current Price On Amazon)

I’ve used it in a couple of projects and it’s worth every penny spent.

Though it’s a bit pricey still I would recommend it because the price makes up for its effectiveness.

Step-by-Step Guide to Soundproofing a Fence with MLV

For the optimum result, I would request you to follow all the steps that I’m gonna discuss without skipping any.

Measure the Fence

Even before you start working on a soundproofing fence project I would recommend you to take the measurement of your fence.

By doing so, you’ll get an idea about the quantity of MLV you’ll be needing for the project.

Once you’ve measured the length and breadth, the next thing that you need to do is to measure the square footage of your fence.

MLVs are sold in different sizes. 

Sheets are available on the market that can cover an area of 16, 40, and 100 square feet.

As per the soundproof industry best practices, you should overshoot a bit when buying an MLV.

In case, you’re on a shoestring budget, you can limit yourself to the vulnerable areas of your fence and thus can save a good chunk of money.

For example, in the early days of my career, I did a project related to soundproofing fences and unfortunately, the client asked me to stop the project because he was on a shoestring budget.

Well, stopping the project wasn’t a good option because it would have ended with no result.

So, I decided to reduce the budget by covering only the vulnerable areas of the fence.

It was a big risk for me as the failure of the project could have adversely impacted my career.

But, I was READY to take the calculated risk.

I installed MLV on the street-facing side of the fence and also, on a side that was common with the loud neighbor of my client.

And, you know what, the project was the first big SUCCESS in my early days.

Moreover, it boosted my confidence and forced me to think that creativity can give a far better soundproofing solution as compared to the traditional ways.

Select the Appropriate Method to Apply MLV

There are many ways to attach MLV to the fence.

I’ll throw some light on a couple of methods that are commonly used.

The first one is the traditional method, have nails and screws by your side and staple it to the fence with a pneumatic stapler.

Of course, it is a time-consuming method compared to the one that I’ll discuss later.

You may need hammers, drills, or nail guns, so keep them handy.

The good thing about this method is that it allows you to remove MLV in case you want to use its alternatives without any pain in your buttocks.

Nonetheless, the method that I’m gonna discuss now is quite easy and will not need any specific tool.

All you need is some industrial adhesive or spray to attach MLV to the fence.

Well, my best bet would be on 3M Heavy Duty 20 Spray. (Check the Current Price On Amazon)

However, it’s better to decide on the method before buying MLV.

It will help you to prepare yourself with the tools well in advance.

Prepare the Material

Till now, I’m assuming that you’ve selected the method as well as measured the fence.

So, it is time to get the materials and tools to initiate the process.

Trademark Soundproofing is something I would like to recommend in case you’re looking for my recommendation. (Check the Current Price On Amazon)

The product is known for its high-quality MLV.

But, it doesn’t mean other products are not good.

I’ve been using it for quite some time now and found it very high-quality as well as effective.

Once you’ve all the things in place you can go ahead and cut the MLV as per the required dimension using a utility knife.

Remember, any mistake in the MLV cutting can directly impact the performance, so be careful.

In case, you find it difficult to cut then take professional help.

Attach the MLV

This is the last step in the MLV installation process.

As the name suggests, you’ve to attach MLV to the fence.

I’ll walk you through both methods: nailing and adhesive

Nailing or Screwing

If you’re not sure whether in future you’ll have MLV on your fence or not then I would recommend you to go with this method.

Whether you nail or screw MLV, it will be really easier for you to remove it in the future.

All you need to do is to remove the nails and screws.

Before inserting nails or screws into the fence, it is advisable to check the quality of the wood.

If the wood isn’t of high quality then take special precautions in nailing or screwing.

Use nails and screws of appropriate size.

Always nail or screw the top side first.

At the same time, never stretch the material too taut else the impact of soundproofing will degrade.

Pro Tip: Try to keep separate pieces as close as possible or make them overlap.

As a newbie, it is quite obvious that you may need a helping hand for the installation process.

So, don’t hesitate for asking help.

Using Adhesive

The adhesive is another way to attach MLV to the fence.

In case, you’re planning to use spray adhesive then I would recommend lightly spraying the adhesive on the top of your fence and then applying the MLV.

It is always good to secure the top of the mass-loaded vinyl sheet first and then lift the sheet and spray the adhesive in the middle and at the bottom.

After spraying the adhesive you need to press the MLV down.

Once you’re done with a sheet of MLV, repeat the same process with the other sheets until you’ve covered the entire fence.

In case, you’re using some kind of glue then you’ll have to spread them on the MLV sheet instead and then need to wait until the glue gets a bit tacky.

Then press the MLV hard against the fence.

 It is very important for you to understand that this process is permanent and you need to be very sure about the placement of mass-loaded vinyl. 

Once you’re done with the process you need to seal the space between the different pieces of MLV.

You can either use closed-cell foam tape or acoustic caulk for this purpose.

Well, this brings us to the end of the installation process.

I hope the extra mass on the fence will not only block the noise but also absorb it to some extent.

So, let’s summarize the entire process.

  • Measuring the fence will help you to know about the quantity of mass-loaded vinyl that you’ll need for the project
  • Deciding on the method of installation will help you to get prepared in advance with the required tools
  • Cutting the MLV as per the required dimension and attaching it to the fence will help you to achieve quietness
  • Don’t forget to seal the gap between the sheet of MLV.

Finally, enjoy your backyard with the epitome of silence.


  • Moving further, I’ll be taking a couple of frequently asked queries related to mass-loaded vinyl.
  • Most of these questions are either asked by my clientele or my readers.
  • In case, you’ve got any questions feel free to ask me in the comment section.
  • I would be more than happy to help you to the best of my capabilities.

Does Mass Load Vinyl Work?

The short and precise answer would be it DEFINITELY works I wouldn’t be writing this article.

Just Kidding:)

Mass and density are the two critical components when it comes to sound blocking.

As the name suggests, mass-loaded vinyl adds mass and density to the existing parts of your apartment, office, or even fence.

It goes without saying that mass-loaded vinyl can be applied to the ceilings, floors, walls, and structures to create a sound barrier.

It prevents the vibration of the structure due to its heavy weight.

Is Mass Loaded Vinyl Toxic?

Definitely NOT…
Mass-loaded vinyl was the first non-toxic soundproofing material developed as an alternative to lead line materials to suffice the need for the sound barrier in the industrial setting.

How Do You Cut Mass Loaded Vinyl?

  • Place a roll of mass-loaded vinyl on a hard surface such as a floor.
  • Use a T-square or Straight edge to cut a square edge.
  • Finally, use a utility knife and cut the roll.

Is Mass Loaded Vinyl Waterproof?

  • Yes, mass-loaded vinyl is waterproof.
  • In short, the performance of mass-loaded vinyl will not degrade due to changes in temperature.
  • And, since MLV is waterproof you can use it for outdoor purposes such as soundproofing fences.

Is Mass Loaded Vinyl Flammable?

  • Of course, mass-loaded vinyl can catch fire because it consists of plasticizers.
  • However, it is designed for higher temperatures.
  • As a result, you can find it playing a crucial role in soundproof engine compartment projects.

It’s A Wrap

I’m sure that now you know in and out of the mass-loaded vinyl and definitely, you’re well equipped with the information to make an informed buying decision.

It is one of the products that have been there since the time of the evolution of the soundproofing domain.

I’m sure that it will remain one of the best solutions for reducing impact noise.

As compared to its competitors it is quite thin and flexible and these features make it compatible with almost any soundproofing project.

Personally, I’ve used it for my home soundproofing projects and also for the client’s projects.

And, it has given me satisfactory results on almost all occasions.

However, the price is definitely something that is way higher than the competitors and while you’re taking any client project on soundproofing, you need to update them about the price as well.

If your client is not ready to pay for mass-loaded vinyl then you can recommend mass-loaded vinyl alternatives that I’ve discussed in this post.

After all, it’s your clients who have to make the final decision on soundproofing materials as well as the methods that they want to apply to their projects.

After all, in today’s world peace has become a luxury that everyone can’t afford.

Lastly, I do nothing different when it comes to soundproofing projects rather I follow the aforementioned steps without skipping any.

I’ve taken soundproofing a fence as an example to help you understand the use of mass-loaded vinyl.

Nonetheless, you can use mass-loaded vinyl for soundproofing various parts of the room as well.

Do you use mass-loaded vinyl for soundproofing projects?

Moreover, do you find mass-loaded vinyl pricey?

Are you happy with the performance of the mass-loaded vinyl?

I hope to hear your view on the aforementioned questions either in the comment section or in my inbox.

It will help my readers to make an informed buying decision.

Last but not least, share this piece of information with the ones who are in need of it.

After all, sharing is caring!