View our Product FAQ for answers to common questions about TotalMass MLV.
Mass loaded vinyl (MLV) is one of the original sound isolation products. For some time, it was considered the best solution for a number of sound issues. With advances in technology, higher-rated products have been introduced, providing more cost effective alternatives in walls, ceilings, and floors. TotalMass MLV is typically most useful in areas where a wall or ceiling cannot be constructed. Applications would include covers for doors, windows, and other openings, as well as around pipes, duct, in curtains, automobiles, and hanging from exterior fences.
1 LB VS. 2 LB
The standalone STC rating of 1 LB is STC 26 and 2 LB is STC 31. This 5 STC point difference is a doubling effect to the human ear. This significant difference in performance is only fully realized when the material is installed as a standalone product and not in a wall or ceiling assembly. In a wall or ceiling you should expect only a 2-3 STC point difference between 1 LB and 2 LB MLV.
Installing TotalMass MLV in a standard duty wall will decrease sound transmission. These gains are the result of resolving resonance issues in common building materials and not the mass of the material as it weighs less per square foot than a layer of drywall. The most significant gains from the MLV are in the mid to high frequency ranges. Offices, bedrooms, and any area with sound issues relating to voices and television noise will benefit from TotalMass MLV. A standard duty wall, (2x4 framing, single layer drywall on each side, and insulated stud cavities) will achieve an approximate STC 45 with 1 LB TotalMass and an approximate STC 48 with 2 LB TotalMass.
Basic ceiling and floor assemblies already consist of a variety of materials with different resonating properties. Because of this, the benefit of TotalMass in a ceiling or floor is minimal. The use of MLV in a non-resilient ceiling/floor assembly (an assembly with no resilient clips or channel installed) can provide a slight improvement in airborne noise isolation only. If the sub-floor is concrete or lightweight concrete, MLV will have no value in the assembly. TotalMass MLV will not help to improve impact footfall performance in either wood or concrete assemblies. For significant gains in ceilings, we recommend the GenieClip and for floors, QuietGround rubber underlayment.
ACOUSTIC GRID BLANKET
A frequent complaint in commercial office space is sound transfer from over the top of common walls, or the floor above, coming through the acoustic grid ceiling. Without converting the acoustic grid ceiling to a framed assembly with drywall, the best option is to add a layer of MLV atop the acoustic grid panels. Click the installation tab to view more on installing MLV on acoustic grids.
Using MLV as a curtain over doors and windows is a great use for the material. It provides a decent amount of mass without permanently blocking the opening. Click the installation tab to view more on installing MLV over doors and windows.
TotalMass MLV can be fastened using nails, screws, or staples. When fastening with nails or screws, it is advisable to use a thin washer to distribute the weight of the material and avoid tearing the MLV. We recommend hanging MLV parallel with the framing to avoid awkward overlapping seams. Seams can be taped together using standard duct or foil tape between the framing members or on the stud/joist as long as you keep the seam tight. If you join the seams over the framing, we recommend applying acoustical sealant over the seam before taping. Special attention is required around openings such as electrical, duct, and plumbing. Acoustical sealant and tape is recommended to keep the seal around these openings tight.
View Wall and Ceiling MLV Install Guide
A floating floor installation is recommended for maximum sound isolation benefits. Roll out the MLV, butt the seams tight, tape to hold the seams in place, and seal any gaps with acoustical sealant. The finished floor or additional layers of mass can be installed directly over the MLV. We do not recommend installing tile or other sensitive floor finishes directly on the MLV. For impact footfall isolation, use QuietGround rubber underlayment instead of TotalMass MLV.
ACOUSTIC GRID CEILINGS
Cut pieces of MLV slightly wider and longer than each panel, overlapping other pieces to cover the grid track. Pieces can be glued onto each panel or laid loosely atop the acoustic panels.
Cutting a piece of MLV to fit over your door(s) or window(s) with grommets on each corner for hanging will provide you with an easy temporary solution for these openings. Grommets can be purchased from any local hardware store.
The goal of wrapping pipes and ducts is to minimize surface vibration resonance. Installation is simple by cutting the MLV to fit, overlapping slightly, and taping the seam with a basic duct or foil tape. Both tape products can be purchased from any local hardware store.
We have completed several fencing projects using our TotalMass MLV as the main component in both wood and chain-link fencing. MLV has the ability to function in a temperature range more severe than any climate in North America, is impermeable to water, and does not degrade from exposure to the sun.
Wood fence installation is similar to installing MLV on walls. It is important to make sure there is backing near the top and bottom of the fence to fasten the MLV. This will also keep the MLV from curling. Use roofer's tin caps or similar to help distribute the weight of the MLV with fewer nails. The finishing planks will provide additional fasteners to help secure the MLV.
MLV can be hung from chain-link fences using a grommet and tie approach with a grommet every 6” to 8" along the top and bottom of the fence. 1/2" grommets are preferred. The grommets and ties can be purchased from any local hardware store.
TIPS FOR BUILDING A PROPER ISOLATION FENCE
- Build it as tall as possible (an extra foot in height will increase the STC rating by about 5 points in most fences).
- Make sure the ground below comes in full contact with the fence.
Mass loaded vinyl tests show little to no gain when included in assemblies using resilient clips or resilient channel. The gains achieved with the MLV in basic walls, floors, and ceilings are created by resolving resonance issues and not from the actual mass of the MLV. The standalone rating is only relevant when the material is exposed, i.e. around pipes, duct, hung from fences, in curtains over windows or doors, etc.
|Independent Sound Test Results|
||Not tested in any ceiling assembly
||Wood studs, R-13 insulation, two 5/8" drywall total
||Wood studs, R-13 insulation, two 5/8" drywall total with 1 LB to studs
||TotalMass 1 LB
||TotalMass 2 LB