The Top 4 Outdoor Soundproofing Mistakes

Soundproofing Mistakes

When it comes to outdoor soundproofing for your home, you most likely have a few rooms in mind for soundproofing or specific noises you want to block. Once you decide on the specific areas in need of soundproofing, working from the outside in is a smart and effective option. But don’t take on any soundproofing task without knowing potential mistakes!

Outdoor Soundproofing Mistakes

Exterior soundproofing is a bit different, and much harder than interior soundproofing. It’s hard to completely stop sound from traveling in such an open area, whereas if you’re soundproofing a door inside of your home, you only have to worry about the door itself. When soundproofing outside, you’ll likely need to use a lot more soundproofing materials, and you need to be sure it can actually handle the elements.

Here are the top 4 outdoor soundproofing mistakes people don’t know they’re making at the time of their project:

1. Using Materials/Solutions Designed for Indoor Soundproofing

Many people assume that all soundproofing materials and solutions fall into one big group. But did you know there are some solutions that are meant for indoor settings and others that will be more effective outdoors? If you come across an option that seems like it’ll be effective for your problem, do your research! For example, an indoor solution used outdoors is less likely to have sufficient UV protection and will potentially rapidly deteriorate when exposed to direct sunlight for long periods of time.

Outdoor Soundproofing

As you can see on the surface of this reinforced MLV, there is a special coating to help the product survive the elements.

If you’re interested in using soundproofing material outdoors it’s best to use reinforced Mass Loaded vinyl, also called Fence Blokker. This product is great to block the noise of your loud neighbors or their dogs, and even traffic noise on the other side of a fence, and attaches easily with zip ties through the product’s grommets.

Like we said earlier, it’s hard to completely block sound from traveling outdoors since there’s so much open space for sound waves to travel. However, outdoor sound barriers such as Fence Blokker and other reinforced MLV materials help to diffract, or break up, sound waves so they lose energy and don’t seem as loud.

2. Opting for an Absorptive Noise Barrier Instead of a Reflective One

There’s a very big difference between soundproofing and sound absorption, likewise there is a big difference between the products that treat each of these issues. You likely will not be using sound absorbing products outdoors because those are for treating echo, and echo only occurs in enclosed spaces. Sound absorbing materials, such as fiber glass panels, would not hold up outdoors, exposed to the elements.

As mentioned above, you should use a reinforced sound blocking material, such as Fence Blokker, for soundproofing outdoors. This product has a special UV coating to prevent any breakdown in extreme heat or extreme cold.

Just a reminder, as people get these mixed up a lot, sound absorption should be used for excess echo in a space  such as a restaurant. Sound blocking should be used when you need to stop sound from moving between spaces, so if you can hear what the person in the room next to you is doing you’ll need to install soundproofing material.

3. Choosing a Noise Barrier That’s Too Short

The basic rule of thumb for how tall a noise barrier should be is: the height of the barrier should be at least as tall as the line-of-sight between the noise source and the receiver, but add 30 percent! Forgetting about the 30 percent is the most common mistake! And while the rule of thumb is a helpful but basic guide, if you want to ensure a mistake isn’t made, your best bet is to enlist the help of an expert.

Ideally a fence treated with outdoor sound barrier panels will be between 6′ and 12′ tall, since the fence needs to be tall enough to diffract sound waves from the noise source. Also, the soundproofing material should extend an extra 5′ past the noise source in either direction.

4. Caring Too Much About Cost

While cost is obviously an important factor when it comes to the soundproofing materials and solution you decide to purchase, don’t get so caught up on your wallet! It’s more important to choose the noise barrier solution that’s truly the best solution for your project—don’t lose sight of the reason you want to soundproof in the first place!

Cost of Outdoor Soundproofing

To get quality outdoor soundproofing materials, it’s going to cost some money. Although standard MLV will only run you about $1/SF, reinforced MLV can be closer to $4/SF, but the price difference is worth the extra time that the reinforced MLV will last outside.

Certain soundproofing materials are expensive for a reason, unless you opt for buying raw material such as a roll of Mass Loaded Vinyl. Otherwise, products made with MLV, such as soundproof curtains, can run between $200-$500 per curtain due to the fact that they are custom, handmade products that require more than just one material to make.

Chances are if you find a “soundproof” curtain for under $100, it’s just a sound absorbing curtain made to reduce echo and not block outside noise. You can tell the difference between the two by asking the manufacturer for an STC rating, if it does not have one then it will not help with soundproofing.

4 Outdoor Soundproofing Mistakes

To review, the top 4 outdoor soundproofing mistakes include:

  1. Using interior soundproofing materials outdoors
  2. Using sound absorbing materials rather than sound blocking materials
  3. Caring too much about costs

If you’re currently dealing with noise—honking, loud music, car alarms, traffic, motorcycles, trains, pedestrian noise and anything else that might be creeping its way into your personal space—the good news is, we can help!

To ensure you get the absolute best results, please feel free to call or email us at so we can help you pick the right solution. One of our soundproofing experts will assist you in diagnosing your issues and offer a solution—the best approach to fix them.