Mass Loaded Vinyl vs Green Glue: All You Need to Know

When it comes to soundproofing, choosing the right material is essential. Two popular options are Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV) and Green Glue.

Both of these products have their own unique benefits and drawbacks, making them suitable for different applications. I’ve used both on many occasions and both work really well. But they have their pros and cons and you need to know when to use them.

In this comprehensive comparison, we’ll explore the properties, installation, effectiveness, and cost of Mass Loaded Vinyl and Green Glue to help you determine the best choice for your soundproofing needs.

1. Properties

Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV):

  • MLV is a dense, flexible, and heavy material made of vinyl impregnated with metal particles or barium sulfate.
  • It is specifically designed to block sound transmission and vibrations, making it an effective barrier for airborne noise. For example, it can be used to make a fence better at blocking traffic noise.
  • MLV is typically available in rolls and comes in various thicknesses, ranging from 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch.

Green Glue:

  • Green Glue is a viscoelastic compound that is applied between layers of drywall, plywood, or other rigid materials.
  • Its primary function is to dampen vibrations and convert sound energy into heat, minimizing both impact and airborne noise.
  • Green Glue is available in tubes and is applied using a standard caulking gun.

2. Installation

Mass Loaded Vinyl:

  • MLV can be installed in walls, ceilings, and floors to provide effective soundproofing. In fact, I’ve listed 12 soundproofing projects where MLV can come in handy.
  • It can be cut to size and attached to the surface with nails, screws, or adhesive.
  • MLV can also be sandwiched between layers of drywall or other construction materials for added noise reduction.
  • Here’s a video on how to install MLV.

Green Glue:

  • Green Glue is most commonly used between layers of drywall or other rigid materials.
  • It should be applied evenly across the entire surface in a zigzag pattern, ensuring full coverage.
  • After application, the second layer of drywall is placed on top and fastened to the studs, creating a constrained layer damping system.
  • Here’s a video on how to install Green Glue.

3. Effectiveness

Mass Loaded Vinyl:

  • MLV is highly effective at blocking airborne noise, such as voices, music, and traffic.
  • Its dense and heavy composition makes it a strong sound barrier.
  • Its effectiveness can be increased by adding multiple layers or combining it with other soundproofing materials.

Green Glue:

  • Green Glue excels at reducing both airborne and impact noise, such as footsteps or items being dropped.
  • Its viscoelastic properties allow it to absorb and dissipate vibrations.
  • Green Glue is most effective when used in conjunction with other soundproofing materials, such as drywall or insulation.

4. Cost

Mass Loaded Vinyl:

  • MLV can be more expensive than Green Glue, with prices ranging from $1.50 to $2.80 per square foot.
  • However, its effectiveness and durability make it a worthwhile investment for many soundproofing projects.
  • Soundsulate is the best MLV I’ve used.

Green Glue:

  • Green Glue is typically less expensive than MLV. Or it used to be! Recently the prices have gone up, so keep this in mind before buying.
  • Keep in mind that the cost of additional materials, such as drywall, should also be considered when calculating the total cost of a Green Glue soundproofing project.

Pros and Cons of Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV)

Pros:

  1. Effective at blocking airborne noise: MLV’s dense composition makes it highly effective at blocking airborne noise, such as voices, music, and traffic.
  2. Versatile installation: MLV can be installed in walls, ceilings, and floors, making it suitable for a wide range of soundproofing applications. It can be installed in addition to other materials such as rockwool batts and green glue to improve insulation.
  3. Easy to cut and install: MLV can be easily cut to size and attached to surfaces using nails, screws, or adhesive.
  4. Durable: MLV is made from strong materials that can withstand wear and tear, making it a long-lasting soundproofing solution.
  5. Can be combined with other materials: MLV’s effectiveness can be enhanced by using multiple layers or combining it with other soundproofing materials, such as insulation or drywall.

Cons:

  1. Heavy: Due to its dense composition, MLV is heavy, which can make handling and installation more challenging.
  2. Not as effective for impact noise: While MLV is excellent at blocking airborne noise, it is not specifically designed to reduce impact noise like Green Glue.

Pros and Cons of Green Glue

Pros:

  1. Reduces both airborne and impact noise: Green Glue’s viscoelastic properties make it effective at reducing both airborne noise and impact noise, such as footsteps or items being dropped.
  2. Easy application: Green Glue can be easily applied using a standard caulking gun, making it simple to use and install.
  3. Cost-effective: Green Glue is typically less expensive than MLV, making it a more budget-friendly option for soundproofing projects.
  4. Compatible with multiple materials: Green Glue can be used between layers of drywall, plywood, or other rigid materials, making it versatile for different construction applications.
  5. Enhances the effectiveness of other materials: When used in conjunction with other soundproofing materials, Green Glue can significantly improve their noise reduction capabilities.

Cons:

  1. Requires additional materials: Green Glue must be used between layers of rigid materials, such as drywall, which adds to the overall cost and complexity of a soundproofing project.
  2. Longer cure time: Green Glue requires time to cure, which can prolong the completion of a soundproofing project. Full effectiveness may not be achieved for several weeks.
  3. Less effective as a standalone solution: While Green Glue is an excellent soundproofing compound, it is most effective when used in combination with other materials and may not provide sufficient noise reduction on its own.

FAQ:

1. Can you put Green Glue on MLV?

Green Glue is designed to be used between rigid materials, such as drywall or plywood, to create a constrained layer damping system. Applying Green Glue directly to Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV) is not recommended, as MLV is a flexible material, and the viscoelastic properties of Green Glue would not be fully utilized.

However, you can use Green Glue and MLV in the same soundproofing assembly to maximize noise reduction. For example, you can install MLV on a wall or ceiling, and then apply Green Glue to a layer of drywall or plywood before attaching it to the MLV. This creates a multi-layered soundproofing system that combines the mass and density of MLV with the damping properties of Green Glue, effectively reducing both airborne and impact noise.

Keep in mind that the effectiveness of such a system depends on proper installation and ensuring a good seal to prevent sound leakage.

2. Is Green Glue toxic?

Green Glue is a non-toxic, low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) soundproofing compound. It is formulated to be safe for use in residential and commercial applications. However, as with any construction material, it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and safety precautions during installation.

While applying Green Glue, you should wear appropriate protective gear, such as gloves and eye protection, to avoid direct skin or eye contact. Additionally, ensure proper ventilation in the working area to minimize any potential irritation from fumes. Once the Green Glue has cured and the wall or ceiling assembly is complete, it poses no significant risk to occupants’ health.

If you have specific concerns about Green Glue’s safety, it’s always a good idea to consult the manufacturer’s Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for detailed information on its composition and potential hazards.

3. Is MLV Toxic, Flammable, Waterproof?

  1. Toxicity: MLV is generally considered safe and non-toxic for use in residential and commercial applications. It is made from vinyl impregnated with metal particles or barium sulfate. Although it is safe for most uses, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and safety precautions during installation, especially if cutting or trimming the material. Make sure to wear proper protective gear, such as gloves, eye protection, and a dust mask to avoid inhaling any particles.
  2. Flammability: MLV is typically designed to be fire-resistant, but it is not completely fireproof. Most MLV products have a Class A fire rating, meaning they have a low flame spread and smoke development index. While this makes MLV suitable for most residential and commercial applications, it is essential to check the specific fire rating of the product you are using and ensure it complies with local building codes and regulations.
  3. Waterproof: MLV is made from vinyl, which is naturally water-resistant. This means that MLV can resist moisture and water exposure to some extent, making it suitable for use in damp or humid environments. However, it is not entirely waterproof, and prolonged exposure to water may cause damage or degradation. If you expect the MLV to be exposed to significant amounts of water, it is best to consult with the manufacturer to determine the most appropriate solution or consider using alternative waterproof soundproofing materials.

Conclusion

When choosing between Mass Loaded Vinyl and Green Glue for your soundproofing needs, consider the specific application, your budget, and the desired level of noise reduction.

MLV is best suited for blocking airborne noise, while Green Glue excels at reducing both airborne and impact noise. Each product has its own unique benefits and drawbacks, and the best choice will depend on your specific requirements and preferences.

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