What is barrier board?
Barrier boards, or acoustic boards, are two outer layers sandwiching a special sound absorbing material. The outer layers can be made of wood, plaster or some other composite and the inner layer is usually a sponge foam of some kind. Sound passes through the outer layer, is dampened by the inner layer and is effectively prevented from passing to the next layer.
How effective is barrier board?
Barrier boards are designed to absorb sound in the high to mid frequencies, and can reduce noise levels by up to 75%.They are good for reducing mechanical sound transmission too, due to the inner foam layer which can absorb sound vibrating through the board. The two rigid panels will allow most sound to pass through unaffected, though.
Because they offer flat rigid surfaces, barrier boards can be installed in your home in place of plaster sheeting or other types of wall façade. Barrier boards have very little additional bulk, so won’t protrude into the room like other types of sound insulation might, and they normally do a good job of blocking out traffic noise or isolating a home theatre.
How is barrier board installed?
Barrier boards can be put up in place of or on top of an existing wall façade, and are fixed to the wall in much the same manner as plasterboard. Because the panels are flat, they can be cut to size and fitted right over the top of your existing walls without having to sacrifice space. They will also completely seal on all corners, preventing any sound from leaking around the outside edges.
Relative cost and effectiveness
While slightly less effective than other types of sound insulation, barrier boards are cheaper in comparison and take less time and expertise to install. For a substantial reduction in noise transmission, these boards can be an ideal solution. For anything more serious though, you may want to invest in other types of sound insulation.
Shortcomings, potential improvements
While they are effective at reducing noise levels, barrier boards will never totally account for all sound absorption on their own. For additional soundproofing, you may need to install further insulation on the inside or outside of the wall.