Using Foam for Acoustic and Soundproofing Enclosures

Acoustic foam and soundproofing foam are very popular within homes, studios and industrial environments as foam can act in two ways: to absorb internal sounds and improve acoustics, or to soundproof enclosures by insulating against external noises.

Although foam can do both jobs, you will struggle to find a foam suited to both acoustics and soundproofing. You will, however, find foam suited to either function, and these will be defined by their manufactured physical properties and specialist additives.

Acoustic foam

Acoustic foam is made with polyurethane “open cell” foam. It is lightweight and easily shaped, but importantly, its open cell structure allows controls sound reverberation (prolonged sound waves bouncing of walls and hard surfaces), reducing noise and creating a clearer, more pronounced acoustic enclosure.

With acoustic foam, your aim is to tactically absorb the internal sounds to improve the overall sound quality in an enclosure. Acoustic foam is used to soften hard and large surface areas, usually walls or ceiling, where a majority of sound is likely to hit and rebound; typically, mid- to high-frequency sounds.

Our acoustic foam is a widely used, conventional acoustic foam made to meet strict UK fire regulation standards

Soundproofing foam

Soundproofing foam aims to insulate your enclosure from external noises; usually against stronger wavelengths and lower frequency noises that penetrate through walls easier. Such noises are more difficult to absorb. Although this foam has an open cell structure, soundproofing requires more specialist manufacturing process to greatly increase the density of foam high enough to absorb lower frequencies.

Due to the demand from industrial businesses for soundproof foam, almost all soundproofing foam will have class “0” fire resistance – meaning such foam is “self-extinguishing” and will turn to dust when exposed to flames. Furthermore, soundproofing foam is chemically inert, won’t be broken down against strong airflows and is impregnated with anti-bacterial and anti-fungal additives to be industrial grade material. A heavy duty, but high quality soundproofing foam.

We supply Fireseal soundproofing foam; a branded, highly modified soundproofing and acoustic foam capable of acting as a sound absorbing membrane across the full spectrum of frequency

Getting the most out of acoustic of soundproof foam

The key to quality sound absorption with any foam lies in the volume, density and positioning of foam. Simply put, the more foam you use, the greater sound absorption; and this can occur via two forms:
  • Thicker foam: a greater thickness of foam per surface area means there is more material for sound waves to travel through, generating more absorption
  • Denser foam: a higher density foam will have more material per unit of volume, again, more material that sound waves have to pass through.
Although many acoustic and soundproofing foams come in aesthetic shapes and profiles, in its most simplistic nature, choosing thicker and denser foam will produce the greater results when insulating an enclosure.

When buying acoustic or soundproofing foam, ensure to source UK manufactured foam, usually grey in colour, that adheres to strict British fire safety standards (UL94 HF1; Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations, 1988 S.I. No1324 Schedule 1 Part 1, (AMD 1989, 1993 & 2010).

Please see our Pinterest board for ideas on using, fabricating and decorating your home or studio with acoustic foam.

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