Can Mass Loaded Vinyl Be Used Outside? (Step-by-Step Guide)

Back in the day, there was not much you could do about noisy neighbors, honking cars and road constructions. You just had to live with it.

Fortunately today, we can enjoy more peace indoors with various soundproofing methods and materials. One of which is mass loaded vinyl or MLV for store.

This poses an interesting thought: If MLV can be highly beneficial indoors, then perhaps it also has some benefits in store for outdoor use?

While mass loaded vinyl (MLV) is typically used for enclosed structures, this can also be applied for outdoor use, given the right temperature range. MLV is most compliant in high-temperature conditions for 100% effective soundproofing.

Mass loaded vinyl is a great option for home or property owners looking into soundproofing parts of their house or commercial property.

This makes a lot of sense, considering the material’s versatility and long-term benefits.

Going through this article, you will learn more about MLVs and how it can soundproof any outdoor setting for your noise-free satisfaction. 

Ideal Conditions For Outdoor MLV Use

No matter the MLV use you have in mind, it is essential to consider the weather condition, season, or climate in your current location to ensure the effectiveness of your mass loaded vinyl.

As mentioned above, MLVs are not just great for interior soundproofing but are suitable for outdoor use as well.

This section discusses the ideal conditions for you to apply your MLV and use it optimally.


At best, using mass loaded vinyl in an outdoor setting suggests that these situations are present:

A modern form of house fencing. Where MLV could be used

Open Structures 

While soundproofing is typically added into interior structures, there are also elements or setups outside that require soundproofing, such as decks, patios, and fences.

You could also consider alfresco style restaurants and cafés that encourage open-air eating.

You want to enjoy your scrumptious food and the perfect weather without being disturbed by street noise.

This brings us to another ideal condition for outdoor MLV use.

mlv could be used to suppress the noise of an air conditioner

Noise-Heavy Objects/Environment

The primary purpose of mass loaded vinyl is to block off noise or reduce vibrations from one area to another.

This becomes extremely handy when you are either in a noisy environment or are handling noisy equipment in a public place.

Due to the versatile composition of MLV, these can be installed inside small spaces (like walls) or inserted in hand-held to large machinery.

Mass loaded vinyl can be detected in various applications including AC units, pumps, heat exchangers, and generators. 

MLV can also be installed inside vehicles especially those that emit loud sounds, such as cars, boats, trucks, and RVs.

MLV can be applied inside doors and underneath vehicle floors. You can even line an entire trunk compartment as necessary.

As a result, you can experience fewer rattles, vibrations, and engine noises while on the road.

Temperature Conditions

Now that you have a gist of where to apply MLVs, let us discuss when to use them.

When we think of any residential or commercial improvement we want to achieve, it is important to look into weather conditions and study if seasonal climates and other natural elements will affect the material. 

When it comes to mass loaded vinyl, they are most compliant in high temperatures, which is 38°C/100°F or higher.

In basic physics, an object expands when you heat it. In contrast, when the temperature drops or it gets colder, the object becomes stiff.

The same principle occurs in MLVs. The temperature condition of the specific location affects the effectiveness of this particular sound barrier. 

In correlation with this, sound is a type of energy that MLVs recognize so their composition continues to be compliant within their operating temperature range for soundproofing purposes.

Take a look back on our example of the alfresco restaurant earlier. This kind of setup is ideally done in summer, spring, or fall where you can enjoy normal to high temperatures outdoors.

On the other hand, MLVs may not work as well in low temperatures where the material stiffens thus not effectively blocking off noises or dampening sounds. 

This does not necessarily mean that MLVs are absolutely dysfunctional in locations with cold climates or weather conditions.

Manufacturers have found a solution for this...

MLV Additives

To make sure that their MLV products are compliant regardless of the existing temperature, manufacturers apply additives like plasticizers, a synthetic resin that adds flexibility and reduces brittleness on particular materials such as MLV.

For exterior application, a carbon-fiber mesh is added for strength, which can be seen in reinforced MLV. I found a spec sheet that highlights some of these points.

There are also UV additives that are preferred for materials with long or extreme sun exposure.

MLVs are manufactured in a standard design, although they vary in thickness and weight, depending on where you plan to install them.

The major difference is where you will be purchasing them – if you prefer to directly contact a manufacturer or you will simply buy from a store.

In short, any brand or type of MLV is suitable for outdoor use. 

Additionally, mass loaded vinyl can give your interior design a nice appeal. While you can actually directly hang MLVs on the wall for easy installation, they are best attached within the sheets of drywall.

If you choose to hang it, you can give it a more customized look. Fortunately, mass loaded vinyl has a paint-friendly material so you can opt for any color that you find apt for any room, location, or application.

Otherwise, you could always choose the transparent type, so you can ditch all the fuss with color selections.

You also do not have to paint it anymore if you are attaching it in between drywalls.

Mass loaded vinyl roll

Mass Loaded Vinyl: What’s It About

MLV is a highly effective sound barrier. It is suitable for different applications, and you can make the most out of it by knowing more about its composition and other technical aspects.

To start with, MLV is composed of various materials. It consists of a high-temperature viscoelastic material and an inert material (calcium carbonate or barium sulfate).

Its weight ranges from 0.5 pounds per square foot to 2 pounds per square foot while its thickness commonly comes in 1/8 inches, 1/4 inches, 1/16-inches sheets.

With the absence of lead fillers, mass loaded vinyl is not as heavy as lead, yet are completely safe and flexible to install.

You can install them flatly, roll them, cut them into smaller pieces – basically whatever the application requires.

A mass loaded vinyl has the primary purpose of dampening noise or vibrations in general as needed.

This can also properly reduce sound transmission with a space-saving material.

Using MLV, you could soundproof walls, doors, ceilings, ducts and pipes, and other sound control applications.

Ideally, mass loaded vinyl should be installed against studs with drywall over it.

So the purpose is to wedge them between walls instead of being on the surface of your structure.

You can attach them with studs or joists, followed by acoustic caulking or barrier tape all over the seams for foolproof soundproofing performance.

Check out some of our other articles after finishing this one:

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Other Specific Uses For MLV

By now, you must have a better appreciation for MLVs in outdoor settings. But let us not forget about other structures.

In this section, we will focus on other specific uses of mass loaded vinyl.


When you combine “soundproofing” and “outside use”, you can easily come up with fences as your first project area, and for a good reason.

Fences have their gaps where noises can still get in and travel to the inside of your home. Mass loaded vinyl is great for blocking street noise (whether for you or your pet’s comfort).

They are known for their thin yet flexible material, which makes them great for versatile application.

There is also no need to worry about your dogs chewing up your MLVs – they are built to last and can withstand roughhousing! 

Whether you will install it with nails, screws, or staples, you can do so with MLVs. You can also easily cut them with a utility knife or scissors.

Some also come in adhesive-ready material for easy application.

Make sure to use industrial adhesive or spray (Example: 3M Heavy Duty 20 Spray). 


Having a deck already built does not mean you cannot add soundproofing to it anymore.

In fact, some homeowners opt for this additional touch after the construction is done.

In some instances, you may have just purchased a new home, inspected the neighborhood, and decided that your deck could use a little soundproofing.

Either way, with the right equipment on hand, you can provide your decking floors a great sound barrier for sustainable use. 

By applying mass loaded vinyl underneath your deck’s wood panels, there is better coverage for any sound you produce on your decking.

Whether they are shoes clanking on the floorboards or music your neighbors do not want to hear in the middle of the night, a durable sound barrier such as a mass loaded vinyl can do the trick.

Masonry Walls

The great thing about mass loaded vinyl is that you can attach them over practically anything.

If you have an existing wall or surface area, simply cut out the MLV in appropriate sizes to properly fill out the spaces and attach them in between drywalls or on framings. Or in this case, masonry walls.

They are pretty easy to install, so no need to hire a professional contractor for this kind of work.


MLV is known for its dense composition, hence the perfect material for your soundproofing needs.

You can trust on this material to contain all noises and sounds within your home.

So whether you want to keep outside noise out or inside noise in, you can apply mass loaded vinyl on your roofing and give it that additional padding for great insulation.

Semi-Detached Houses

Sharing a house with one or two other residents is a practical financial choice, but not exactly an ideal setup if you enjoy peace and quiet on most days.

For a viable solution, consider installing MLV. This easily eliminates noise coming from your neighboring house, so they can enjoy their parties without disturbing you.

This also works the other way around! If you like gathering friends on your side of the house, you can do so without creating unnecessary noise elsewhere. 

MLVs are a fantastic choice in semi-detached houses where there tends to be plenty of foot traffic and other noises from daily activities.

Focus on large areas including floors, party walls (largest wall surface), window walls (vibrations can move from your party wall to window wall), and ceilings (especially for first-floor residents).

Detached Houses 

Much like semi-detached houses, you can take advantage of MLVs by installing them all over your detached house.

This stops the noise from getting in or out and you can enjoy your daily events with no worries.

Additionally, this provides increased property value, which is great news for homeowners planning to sell soon. You can also soundproof individual rooms aside from the entire house.

If you were a potential buyer, just imagine being located in a busy city where there is constant noise coming from every direction. I bet you would love to buy a soundproof house! 


If you are looking for a long-term solution for your soundproofing problems, consider installing a mass loaded vinyl within your walls.

They are highly flexible, durable, and easy to install even on your own. They are suitable both for indoor and outdoor use.

When installing outdoors, they are best applied in locations with high temperatures for optimal use.

Alright guys, that’s it for this article, if you are interesting in reading more about garages, smart homes, home security and a whole lot more. We have lots of cool articles related to sealing such as:

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Steve Foster

Suburbanite, tech geek, handy man, automation enthusiast who started blogging about the stuff I do around my home and found he had a knack for it.

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