Soundproofing a Fence with Mass Loaded Vinyl: Here’s How You Do It!
So you’ve seen how amazing Mass Loaded Vinyl can be, right? It’s got a perfect tan, great personality, and it’s thick. And we love thickness in the soundproofing community.
MLV is one of the best soundproofing materials ever. And it’s origins go way back to the 60s and NASA laboratories. It’s a flexible, heavy and relatively thick (1/8″) material that blocks airborne and impact noise equally well. So if you’re dealing with low vibrations from equipment or just regular traffic noise, covering your fence with Mass Loaded Vinyl can really help reduce that noise.
Check out the difference it’s made on this really noisy site:
Having said that, MLV can be used on any type of fence, whether it’s metal, stone or wood.
So how can you actually soundproof a fence with Mass Loaded Vinyl by yourself? Here’s a simple step-by-step process that you can follow to do it correctly:
1. Measure the fence
Before ordering MLV, make sure that you know the approximate amount you’ll need. Measure the fence if you don’t know the dimensions already. MLV is typically sold in the amounts that are enough to cover 16, 40 or 100 square feet. Of course, you can order a bunch of 16 sf packs or others to get the amount you’ll need.
You should order enough MLV to cover the entire fence or at least the part that is directly exposed to most of the noise. If your entire fence is facing a noisy street, you’ll want to soundproof it entirely. Otherwise the noise will still travel through the exposed parts and into your property.
If you’re on the fence (pun intended) about ordering the exact amount or slightly less than you’ll need or a bit more, I suggest ordering a bit more just to be on the safe side. You can always use any leftovers for smaller soundproofing projects like making a soundproof box for a generator or place MLV under a drum set or a washing machine to absorb the vibrations.
2. Order the original Mass Loaded Vinyl
There are various mats and foams that contain some percentage of MLV but aren’t the original product. These products are typically not as heavy as the real MLV and they’re specifically used for soundproofing vehicles or smaller appliances.
For a fence, you want to get the original stuff. I’ve ordered this Mass Loaded Vinyl from Amazon before and I’m confident in recommending it. It’s clean, great quality, doesn’t smell, and it got delivered fast (it was either 3 or 4 days).
There are other avenues for purchasing MLV such as Home Depot. But I’m an Amazon junkie and find it to be more reliable for online purchases.
3. Choose how to install it
There are three ways to install Mass Loaded Vinyl on a fence. You can screw it or nail it on the fence. Or you can spray the fence with a regular spray adhesive and then stick an MLV sheet on it.
I personally prefer screwing it or nailing it on a surface. Simply because it makes removal easier if you want to later on. Another reason is that it’s better if MLV is a bit looser because it blocks impact noise better that way instead of being completely stretched out.
But either of these 3 options will work.
4. Cut the MLV to the required size
Mass Loaded Vinyl comes in a big rolled up sheet. To install it, you can either cut it to size beforehand or simply roll it across the surface and then additionally cut the leftover part.
I prefer the first option. Cut it with a sharp knife beforehand and then nail/screw/adhere it to the fence. It’s better if you can cut it to larger pieces so that there are less gaps between the sheets.
Note that you’ll probably need one more person to help you install it, especially if you’re going to nail it or screw it on the fence. Once person needs to hold the material in place while the other one screws it or nails it on the surface.
5. Cover the fence with MLV
So by the time you’ve come to this final step, you’ve got enough MLV to cover the entire fence or the desired portion of it.
You also have screws/nails/spray adhesive with which you will install it.
And finally, you’ve cut the MLV to the required size.
All you need to do now is use these tools and materials to finish the job.
6. Seal any remaining gaps
You’ll probably need to use more than one sheet of MLV to cover the entire fence. Which means that there will be gaps between these sheets when they’re installed on the fence.
These gaps might not seem like much, but they can still let some sound fall through. If you want to be on the safe side, I recommend sealing those gaps with tape.
I recommend this closed cell foam tape for optimal results and because it would look natural alongside MLV. But you can use any thicker tape if you have some at hand.
This is a simple and practical guide for soundproofing a fence with Mass Loaded Vinyl. If you follow it fully you’ll definitely experience major noise reduction in your yard.
But what if you’re trying to block noise from your neighbors yard? On top of installing Mass Loaded Vinyl on the fence, there are some other strategies you can use. I’ve covered them in this article so give it a read if you’re interested in learning more.