How to Soundproof a Metal Building

Metal commercial structures have a lot of check marks in the minus column: low cost, low maintenance, and fast construction. An item on the minus column, however, is noise pollution—with every clang, bang, and echo reverberating throughout the building.

So, how can you reduce noise transmission in a metal building? A key part of sound control in buildings is utilizing the right sound insulation. In a metal building, you’ll need sufficient insulation to provide protection and comfort for both weather and noise. In addition to selecting the right insulation materials and design, there are plenty of other tips and approaches to help with both internal and external noise. 

Below we’ll cover what you need to know about how to soundproof a metal building for long-term effectiveness. 

How Is Metal Different from Other Types of Construction?

A thin sheet of metal rattling in the wind can generate the sound of thunder, but metal can also be an effective material for sound control. 

Depending on how it’s used, metal can absorb, contain, or reflect sound:

  1. Sealed space to prevent sound transmission – Metal can be tightly sealed along edges and connections, creating an airtight barrier that prevents sound from entering or exiting the space.
  2. Density to reflect sound – Metal can also reflect sound waves away from their source instead of absorbing them, further reducing noise levels. 

Why Soundproof Metal Buildings

Before sound levels cause permanent damage to the ears, ongoing exposure to higher-than-comfortable noises will cause distraction, annoyance, and higher stress levels. Whether you’re present to work or play, a noisy environment cuts into your ability to concentrate, relax, and communicate with others, especially in work environments like manufacturing, elevated noise levels can lead to elevated safety hazards.

A comfortable indoor noise level is no higher than 45 decibels. However, this noise level is unrealistic in real-world manufacturing and industrial environments considering all the factors that impact sound in those settings.1 Instead, consider a more attainable goal of getting below the OSHA noise levels of 85 dB. To do so, you’ll need to consider each plane, opening, and connection of the structure, including: 

  • Wall systems, including layers, spacing, insulation, and underlying framing design
  • Foundation, flooring, and floor coverings
  • Ceiling layers, insulation, and spaces
  • Door and window materials
  • Ventilation and sealing

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12 Materials for Soundproofing Metal Buildings

Many acoustic products are multi-function; they allow you to choose products to provide thermal barriers, interior design, and structural elements that are also optimized to enhance acoustic comfort. But what is the best soundproofing material to mitigate unwanted noise?

Beyond your choice of materials and products, architectural and construction choices—such as the amount of airspace between wall and ceiling layers—are also critical to soundproofing.

Below is a selection of soundproofing material products that are top picks for metal building construction or remodels: 

  1. Cellulose insulation – Acoustical and thermal cellulose panels or batts are a traditional option to boost the temperature and sound control of walls and ceilings. 
  2. Denim insulation – Recycled denim insulation offers a sustainable, itch-free option that boosts soundproofing and thermal insulation for walls and ceilings in a range of thicknesses.  
  3. Vinyl sound barriers – Rather than installation inside of wall cavities, vinyl sound barriers can be installed on framing directly under drywall. The material reduces sound transmission between spaces. 
  4. Bonded acoustical cotton panels – Ideal for eliminating echoes in large spaces, bonded acoustical cotton panels are an economical choice to absorb sound and can be installed over other ceiling and wall surfaces. 
  5. Acoustical panels – Often used in studios or entertainment areas, you can affix acoustic panels straight to finished interior walls and ceilings for all-in-one sound absorption, blocking, and diffusion––and not to mention an enhanced design for your space.
  6. Wood wool acoustical panels Wood fiber boards or panels are an effective option for installation over wall and ceiling surfaces and can provide visual warmth and texture as well as temperature and noise protection. 
  7. Custom fabric-wrapped acoustical panels – These decorative fabric-wrapped acoustic panels, often seen on theater ceilings and walls, can be custom sized and upholstered to match any interior specs. They reduce reverberation and noise. 
  8. Polyester acoustical panels – Looking for custom colors or graphics? These decorative, tackable polyester panels can be installed on walls and ceilings to reduce echo and reverberation along with providing the option for custom-printed graphics.
  9. Window inserts – Ideal for retrofitting current windows, acoustical acrylic window inserts can be ordered in custom sizes and are easy to install and remove. In addition to reducing external noise, they increase the thermal efficiency of current windows and filter 85% of the harmful UV light spectrum.
  10. Door seal kits –  Door seal kits and door bottoms improve noise reduction at the level you choose.
  11. Rubber floor underlay – You can install a sound-deadening floor underlay below most flooring assemblies to dampen vibrations and aid soundproofing.

Learn more about methods of control and reduction of excessive sound for your business.

Tips for Soundproofing in Metal Buildings

Metal buildings often tend to be large structures with open floor plans or gathering spaces, which add to the challenge of soundproofing. Follow these tips to develop a plan for your building:

  • Identify the noise – Are you looking to reduce external noise sources? Contain internal sources such as machinery? Reduce crowd sounds? Clarify the source, direction, and level (in decibels) of the noise sources. 
  • Map a usage plan – Are you soundproofing the whole building, or isolating specific spaces with different noise control needs? What activities, amount of time, type of communication, and degree of relaxation or focus will play out in each area? 
  • Set decibel goals – Remember that anything below an 85 indoor decibel noise level is ideal. You’ll want to aim for that in occupied areas where possible. Workers exposed to 85 or higher dBA will need personal protective equipment such as earplugs and earmuffs.2
  • Gather the team – Involve your building manager, architect, contractor, designers, and other key players along with an acoustical specialist when discussing options, considering materials, and balancing soundproofing with other structural and business needs. 
  • Measure twice – Dimensions, weight, and suspension and connection systems of your structural elements are critical to making informed choices about soundproofing products and solutions.
  • Add layers – Your best approach for soundproofing a metal building is to build multiple layers into each external side of the cube (or whatever the shape of your building), including floor and ceiling. Layer options include cavities of airspace, insulation, soundproofing blankets, vinyl sound barriers, interior and external materials, and additional panels or coverings. Using varied widths and materials works best for soundproofing. 
  • Room within a room – Another way of visualizing a layered structure is to imagine building a smaller building within your metal building. Inside, you’ll add a stud framework, insulating layers, and an internal layer of drywall. 
  • Seal it up – Address ventilation needs for temperature and humidity control, and then pretend you’re in an aquarium: make it air-tight. Use acoustic foam panels, spray foam insulation, and other methods of sealing edges, cracks, fittings, and holes throughout the structure. 
  • Finishing touches – Noise control isn’t all about keeping loud noise out. To reduce internal vibrations and sound wave travel, design elements such as rugs, curtains, and heavy or upholstered furniture also play a role. 

How Much Does It Cost to Soundproof Metal Buildings

There isn’t a simple price tag on soundproofing your metal building—it depends on several factors beyond the building size. 

A ballpark range to start with is $1.50 – $3.00 per square foot for basic insulation of metal buildings. The cost of additional products and choices to implement soundproofing will vary widely depending on your needs and specs.3

However, there are ways to incorporate acoustic considerations in choices of multi-purpose materials and structures, such as choosing insulation—necessary for temperature control regardless—that offers maximum noise protection. 

A final price will depend on: 

  • Product and labor prices in your location
  • Size and complexity of your building
  • New construction or retrofitting a current structure
  • Considerations related to building usage, weather conditions, and local regulations
  • The final mix of soundproofing products and solutions

How Long Does It Take to Soundproof Metal Buildings

As with price, you’ll need to connect with an expert in soundproofing—like Acoustical Surfaces—to identify a timeline based on the right-sized plan for your building and business. 

Soundproofing products range from those that can be easily installed over existing structures to underlying layers and products that require remodeling or application during new construction. 

Soundproof Your Metal Building with Acoustical Surfaces

Now that you have a grasp of the basics for soundproofing a metal building, the next step is coming up with a plan specific to your business and environmental needs. 

As one of the leading experts in sound control solutions, Acoustical Surfaces can partner with you on a specialized approach for your building. Beyond soundproofing against external noise transmission, we have a full range of products and plans to address improving sound quality inside your spaces.

Whether you’re in the food industry and want to reduce restaurant noise or want to know how to deal with construction noise, we’ll help you come up with cost-effective, long-lasting solutions to improve the safety and comfort of your building occupants. 

Ready to learn more? Contact us today to get started on a soundproofing plan to meet your needs.



  1. US Environmental Protection Agency. EPA Identifies Noise Levels Affecting Health and Welfare.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reducing Noise Exposure: Personal Protective Equipment.
  3. Angi. How Much Does It Cost to Soundproof a Room?


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