Can You Put MLV Over Drywall? Benefits, Drawbacks, and Tips

Are you tired of those annoying noises sneaking into your space? Maybe you’ve heard of mass loaded vinyl (MLV) and are wondering if it’s a good match for your drywall. Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s delve into the world of MLV and see how it pairs with our trusty drywall.

Introduction to Mass Loaded Vinyl

Delving into MLV, Mass Loaded Vinyl stands as a beacon of contemporary soundproofing. This material, both dense and flexible, is meticulously designed to serve as a potent shield against intrusive noises.

The term “vinyl” in its name alludes to its primary component. However, the true magic lies in the infusion of high-mass elements like calcium silicate.

This blend is pivotal. The vinyl lends MLV its pliability, facilitating effortless installation and compatibility with various surfaces. In contrast, calcium silicate enhances its density, transforming it into a powerhouse for sound insulation.

A cornerstone of soundproofing is this: density is paramount in blocking sound. Conventional wisdom might suggest the necessity of a thick barrier for effective soundproofing. Yet, MLV challenges this notion. It offers a remarkable density-to-thickness ratio, ensuring robust soundproofing without the added bulk. This unique characteristic makes MLV indispensable in settings where increasing wall or ceiling thickness isn’t an option.

Drywall: A Common Building Material

Shifting gears a bit, let’s talk about the unsung hero of most interiors: drywall. At a glance, drywall may seem unremarkable. But if you take a moment to look around, chances are, you’re encased in it.

Going by various names — plasterboard, gypsum board, or sheetrock, to name a few — drywall is fundamentally a panel derived from calcium sulfate dihydrate. This humble board’s primary job? Crafting the very walls and ceilings that define our spaces.

However, it’s not all aesthetic. Drywall inherently carries some acoustic properties. Given its dense nature, it does offer a level of sound insulation.

But in the grand orchestra of urban noises — think blaring horns, construction rumbles, and, let’s not forget, the aspiring drummer next door — drywall alone often falls short. It’s in these moments that reinforcements, like MLV, become indispensable.

Why Opt for MLV Over Drywall? The Over Vs. Under Debate

One common question people ask is: Should MLV be installed over or under the drywall? Let’s break down the reasons why placing MLV over drywall might just be the smarter choice.

No Major Reconstruction Needed

Delving into wall renovations can be daunting. If you opt to install MLV under the drywall, it necessitates removing the existing wall, placing the MLV, and then reinstalling the drywall. That’s a lot of mess and labor!

In contrast, placing MLV over the drywall is far less invasive. It’s akin to dressing up your walls with a soundproofing layer, without the upheaval of tearing them down first.

Easy Removal

While MLV does a stellar job at soundproofing, you might not always want it around. Maybe you’re moving, redecorating, or just need a change.

When MLV is installed over the drywall, the removal process is straightforward. No fuss, no muss — it’s as simple as taking down wallpaper.

Superior Acoustic Management

Beyond mere noise-blocking, the nuances of sound control matter. Reverberations and echoes can degrade the audio quality within a space.

By choosing to hang MLV loosely over the drywall, you aren’t just blocking external disturbances. You’re also curbing those internal sound reflections, providing a dual benefit.

The Look

MLV, with its unique texture and finish, can offer a contemporary, industrial look. This works brilliantly for certain spaces — be it a rugged home workshop, a chic loft-style living room, or an avant-garde recording studio.

In essence, placing MLV over drywall is about marrying convenience with efficacy. You get the robust soundproofing without the demolition drama. Plus, with the added bonus of “aesthetics” and superior sound control, it’s a choice that harmoniously hits all the right notes.

An Easy-to-Follow Guide to Installing MLV Over Drywall

Now, you’re probably already itching to get started on your soundproofing journey. Hold onto that enthusiasm, and let’s walk you through the essential steps to ensure your installation is seamless and effective!

Must-Have Tools and Materials

  • MLV: Your go-to material that’s about to transform your space into a sound sanctuary.
  • Staple gun or nails: Your choice will hinge on your comfort and the specifics of your walls.
  • Acoustic sealant: Our secret weapon. This ensures complete sound isolation by sealing potential breaches.
  • Friendly assistance: It’s not just about muscle; it’s about that guiding hand and that second opinion. Having a buddy assist can make the process enjoyable and efficient.

The Prep Work

A successful installation is all about what you do before the main event.

Begin by ensuring your wall is spotless and moisture-free. And those nails or screws poking out? It’s showtime for them. Either make them flush with the wall or bid them goodbye.

A smooth, flat surface is crucial for the MLV to do its job effectively.

Installing Your MLV

Now let’s delve into the essential steps and tips for mounting MLV over drywall:

  1. Detect those studs: Before you dive in with nails or staples, it’s stud finder time. It’s essential to identify and mark the studs behind your drywall. Remember, for a steadfast and secure installation, your fasteners must anchor into these studs.
  2. Alignment matters: Initiate your MLV installation from the top corner, ensuring it sits flush against the drywall for optimal effectiveness.
  3. Secure it methodically: When fastening the MLV, maintain a consistent pattern. Start from the top and proceed downwards, then sideways, spacing your nails or staples approximately 8 inches apart.
  4. Seal and overlap: For rooms that need multiple MLV sheets, make sure the edges overlap. After ensuring a snug overlap, apply the acoustic sealant. This crucial step guarantees a solid, uninterrupted shield against intrusive noise.
  5. Finishing touches: Once affixed, trim off any extra MLV at the bottom. Stand back, admire your handiwork, and relish the silence you’ve just curated.

Conclusion: The Verdict on MLV

Mass loaded vinyl serves as a shining example of today’s soundproofing advancements. Whether you’re grappling with urban cacophony or the noisy TV next door, applying MLV over drywall offers a direct remedy — as long as its aesthetic doesn’t bother you.

Given its easy installation and proven efficacy, choosing MLV is a commitment to tranquility in our frequently noisy surroundings.

MLV can also be utilized outdoors, such as on fences, to reduce noise intrusion. For additional information, please refer to the linked article.

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