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Acoustic Sound Board vs. Roll Insulation

Numerous methods of sound insulation exist. Sound insulation serves various purposes, from improving the acoustical qualities of places like concert halls and recording studios to dampening noise in interior settings like apartment buildings, courtrooms and schools. Acoustic boards and acoustic roll insulation offer two ways of adding sound insulation to a space. These two materials differ significantly from one another offer different advantages and drawbacks.

Acoustic Boards

Some spaces contain both acoustic roll and board insulation.

The Dictionary of Architectural and Building Technology defines acoustic boards as low-density fiberboards with good sound absorption, often perforated to provide improved absorption.  Manufacturers create most acoustic soundboards from fiberglass, though other materials may appear in these insulators, including imitation wood made from synthetic fibers. You can install sound boards within walls, ceilings or floors to dampen sound transmission, though manufacturers also design aesthetically appealing acoustic boards for visible installation in places like concert halls. 

Acoustic Roll Insulation

Acoustic roll insulation technically constitutes any type of acoustic installation available as a roll, rather than as a panel or board.  The most common material used in acoustic roll insulation is rubber, though various other materials appear in this type of insulation, including Earthwool, a registered brand of rolled insulation composed of flexible mineral glass that resembles wool. Acoustic roll insulation usually goes within walls, on floors, beneath carpets and other floor surfaces, and between ceilings and floors. 

Installation Differences

The most obvious differences between acoustic sound board and acoustic roll insulation lies in their installation applications.  Acoustic roll insulation exhibits greater flexibility than sound boards. You can purchase a single roll of insulation, cut into any shapes or sizes you want, and fit the pieces into numerous spaces.  Similarly, you can create single, long strips of acoustic roll for insulating large spaces like floors. Sound boards, on the contrary, conform to pre-made sizes and shapes.  Cutting or altering a sound board may alter its insulation properties. However, sound boards can form solid surfaces when installed together.  For instance, you can make an entire ceiling or wall out of sound boards, while roll insulation generally goes within walls and ceilings, and cannot form seamless surfaces.

Other Differences

The insulating power of sound boards and acoustic rolls ultimately depends upon the actual board or roll in question.  Factors such as material, density and design affect how well acoustic insulation works. Manufacturers design acoustic boards to work in specific conditions; if installed in improper conditions, boards may not work as well as intended.  Rolls made from material such as rubber, on the other hand, provide general sound dampening. The price of acoustic insulation varies depending upon material, quantity and manufacturer. 

About the Author

Will Gish slipped into itinerancy and writing in 2005. His work can be found on various websites. He is the primary entertainment writer for "College Gentleman" magazine and contributes content to various other music and film websites. Gish has a Bachelor of Arts in art history from University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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