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About Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV)

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What is Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV)?

Mass Loaded Vinyl, commonly known as MLV, is a heavy, vinyl sheeting material that is used to stop sound transmission. The weight of Noise Grabber™ MLV is the product of infusing the vinyl sheet with a calcium carbonate, which gives MLV its density while retaining flexibility. MLV has been used for soundproofing purposes dating back to the 1960s and is still considered to be one of the most effective sound-blocking materials on the market. Noise Grabber™ brand Mass Loaded Vinyl is a safe, non-toxic, odorless barrier designed to hang as a limp mass in a variety of soundproofing applications.

All Mass Loaded Vinyl is measured by weight, specifically, pounds per square foot. This correlates to the thickness of the material, but since Noise Grabber™ MLV is produced to a precise weight per square foot, there might be slight variances in the thickness. For example, the 1 LB Noise Grabber™ brand MLV is 1 pound for every square foot of material. Therefore, a 4'x10' roll of Noise Grabber™ brand MLV would weigh 40 pounds. Square footage can be found by multiplying the width times the length (W x L), and then the weight can be found simply by multiplying the square feet to the pounds per square foot. (W x L) x Weight per square foot = Total weight.

Outside of how much they weigh, or the size, different weights of Noise Grabber™ MLV have different degrees of sound blocking capabilities. These are measured with different STC ratings, which you can read more about here. The simplest way to think about it is this: The heavier the material, the better the soundproofing quality.

Mass Loaded Vinyl is a reflective barrier, meaning that it both contains and blocks sounds from leaving a space. It does so in large part due to its weight. Sound waves cause a vibration when they contact a surface, which then enlarges as it transfers to the air outside of a room. Vibrations travel faster and easier through firm surfaces like floors and walls. A more malleable and dense material, such as Noise Grabber™ MLV, helps to reduce the transfer of sound. This is how Noise Grabber™ MLV works as a soundproofing barrier in several applications, as it offers a flexible, dense material in addition to another firm, rigid material such as a wall or door.

That brings us to another important proponent of Noise Grabber™ brand Mass Loaded Vinyl: its flexibility. To be as heavy as it is, Noise Grabber™ MLV is very flexible and hangs limp instead of maintaining a rigid form. This is done by taking a naturally viscoelastic material, PVC, and loading it with calcium sulfate to create mass. A viscoelastic material will flow but will return to its original shape once the force moving them has been removed. This property, known as damping, helps Noise Grabber™ MLV lessen sound transfer. The flexibility of Noise Grabber™ MLV also allows it to be used in smaller or awkward shaped places where other soundproofing options might not be a viable option. One such way is pipe lagging, where Noise Grabber™ MLV is wrapped around water pipes to reduce the noise level of moving water. The flexibility also allows for Noise Grabber™ MLV to be transported in easy to move rolls.

One of the best parts about Noise Grabber™ brand Mass Loaded Vinyl is its range of applications. Noise Grabber™ MLV is used across several areas of the soundproofing market. One of the biggest applications is in building construction. Thanks to its thin, flexible makeup, Noise Grabber™ MLV is fantastic for use in or on walls, on the ceiling, or the floor. It can help quiet walls between rooms or be used in the construction of a sound studio. Anywhere someone is building or remodeling, Noise Grabber™ brand Mass Loaded Vinyl provides a highly versatile soundproofing option. Another major application for Noise Grabber™ MLV is in the automotive industry. Thanks in large part to its ability to stop any airborne sound, MLV is used in vehicles of all types to help with many different noises. From audio, vehicular, or road-noise, different sizes and weights of MLV can be used to help block out noise from your vehicle.

Another positive feature of Mass Loaded Vinyl is its composition. High-grade MLV, like our Noise Grabber™ brand, is odorless and has a smooth finish. This allows it to be placed on or in walls without any fear of an ugly finish or bad smell. This is because Noise Grabber™ MLV is made of PVC, also known as Polyvinyl Chloride. As a plastic, the Noise Grabber™ MLV does not have an odor that you generally associate with black construction materials, which are generally made of rubber. It also means it has a smooth, consistent finish that allows you to finish a project in any number of ways. Including leaving it open to the room.

Installation is also straightforward, though it may require the use of two people due to the weight of the material. For building installation, such as home, apartment, or office, you can look at our Installation Walkthrough, or click here. For other applications, such as automotive, Noise Grabber™ brand MLV can be installed with several different methods. One popular way is with a double-sided vinyl tape, which is common in automotive audio markets. Another way to install in a vehicle is with a form of heavy-duty adhesive. One important thing to note when installing Noise Grabber™ MLV is that all seams of the material should be sealed for maximum performance. A good way to think about it is this: Anywhere air can get out from the Noise Grabber™ Mass Loaded Vinyl, so can sound. A good way to seal the seams is with tape or caulk. You can also check out our installation photos to get an idea of how Noise Grabber™ MLV can be installed.

All told, Noise Grabber™ brand Mass Loaded Vinyl is a great way to soundproof your space. It can be used in almost any application and is flexible enough to fit in small spaces, and available in large enough pieces to cover large spaces with ease. It has been on the market for many years, and the test results show that it will truly make a difference with any noise problems.

If you have any questions about Noise Grabber™ brand Mass Loaded Vinyl or how it works,
please contact our sales team at (866) 447-8438 or at