By Nigel F. Maynard. It's no secret that fiberglass insulation is an important product in the on-going effort to make homes weather-tight and more energy efficient. But the product's capabilities don't end there. If you want to reduce noise infiltration and transmission in your interior walls, ceilings, and floors, fiberglass insulation can take care of that, too.
Though noise infiltration from outdoors has always been a concern to homeowners, room-to-room noise transference is now just as important to many homeowners, says Eric Nilsson, director of marketing for residential and commercial insulation at Valley Forge, Pa.-based CertainTeed. Noise is a bigger issue than it was, say, 10 years ago because of current living trends and architectural styles.
"With the growing number of home offices, homeowners want their houses quieter than ever," Nilsson says. Moreover, the popularity of open floor plans and building products, such as ceramic and stone tiles, contribute to a noisy interior, especially in homes with high ceilings. That's why manufacturers are putting more emphasis on fiberglass insulation's noise-control properties.
CertainTeed recently introduced Noise-Reducer, a new kraft-faced fiberglass product that is designed for wood-stud wall construction. The batts help control sound by breaking the path of vibration and absorbing unwanted noise, the manufacturer says. CertainTeed also offers a line for ceiling/floor assemblies, CertaSound, which is designed to reduce sounds from ventilating systems and plumbing.
Toledo, Ohio-based Owens Corning also targets noise with its QuietZone Noise Control System, an extensive line of offerings that include fiberglass duct products, acoustic floor mats, as well as acoustic batts. The company says the system and a single layer of 1/2-inch drywall board can reduce perceived noise levels by up to 65 percent compared to an uninsulated wall.
And those lofty, 12- and 15-foot ceilings encourage vibration and echoing sounds, which can be problematic if hard surfaces are present. Knauf Fiber Glass, in Shelbyville, Ind., says its high-density batt insulation is perfect for those applications when high ceilings are wanted but noise is not. The product comes in various sizes, but the 8 1/4- and 10 1/4-inch versions are for solid-frame cathedral ceilings.
Sound off: ComfortTherm poly-encapsulated fiberglass insulation provides thermal and acoustical benefits but will not cause irritation to homeowners because the product is formaldehyde-free, so there's no off-gas in the house. It is available in pre-cut batts that fit standard wall cavities or in rolls that can be cut to fit any size. The batts measure 3 1/2 inches thick, so they will fill standard 2x4 wood frame cavities. Johns Manville. 303-978-2277. www.jm.com.
Two faced: High-density batts come in various sizes, but the 8 1/4- and 10 1/4-inch sizes are designed for solid-frame cathedral ceilings to help reduce noise. The thicknesses also maintain the recommended air space between the batt and roof decking, the manufacturer says. The batts are available in kraft-faced versions, which fit tightly between studs and include wide flanges for stapling, or in un-faced versions, which friction-fit between studs. Knauf. 800-825-4434. www.knauffiberglass.com.
Pipe down: NoiseReducer is a 3 1/2-inch-thick fiberglass acoustical product that is specifically designed to help reduce sound in wood-stud construction. It helps break the path of sound vibration and absorbs unwanted noise, and the manufacturer says it can help add from four to 12 points to the Sound Transmission Class rating of a home. Kraft-faced with tabs for easy installation, the product is available in 15 or 23 inches wide by 93 inches long. CertainTeed. 800-723-4866. www.certainteed.com.
Silent zone: QuietZone Acoustic Batts are designed to absorb sound vibrations in wall, floor, and ceiling applications. The kraft-faced product measures 3 1/2 inches thick and comes in 15- or 23-inch widths and 93-inch lengths. The batts are part of the manufacturer's QuietZone Noise Control System, which consists of such products as acoustic wall framing and floor mats to break, block, absorb, and isolate sound vibrations. Owens Corning. 800-438-7465. www.owenscorning.com.