BOSTON—SoundGuard is touting the world’s first soundproof paint for commercial use. According to Founder/CEO Jonah Lupton, it all started with a noisy neighbor.
“I worked for a Wall Street investment bank for nine years and then started a software company in Wilmington, NC and, while in an apartment, I shared walls on both sides. There was a noisy neighbor on one side and one side had kids,” said Lupton. His landlord at the time refused to spend nearly $5,000 on soundproofing materials.
In that moment, an idea was born. “I thought ‘there’s got to be another solution’ and I looked for something,” he said.
Feeling determined, Lupton got to work on a new product. “I shut down my software company and talked to paint chemists to develop this formulation. I found a small group in Connecticut to do product development in exchange for the manufacturing business. We spent a year-and-a-half doing product development and then field testing and we launched the product a year ago.”
The saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention”—well in this case, let’s say father of invention. SoundGuard was created as a cost-effective solution to reduce noise problems in commercial spaces such as hotels.
Lupton dove into the details, learning about acoustics and physics to gain an understanding of how sound penetrates walls and how best to reduce the sound transmission.
“What I learned was sound is a vibration and if you can reduce the vibration at point of entry by deadening or dampening it, you can reduce the sound,” he said. “It’s worthwhile to any place that has a wall dividing spaces. We tried many formulations, up to 25 variations. We found a combination that gave us our desired result.”
Lupton explained that there are two different types of sound: airborne, which comes from voices or TV noise and then there’s impact sound, which may come through a floor assembly, a person walking across hardwood floors.
SoundGuard’s high-performance architectural coating must be applied with the use of a sprayer, not roller. “We spray three coats,” he said. “It’s very thick and the product is about 135 KU in viscosity. It’s like a Dairy Queen Blizzard or a thick milkshake. It’s too thick to brush or roll. You won’t get an even, smooth finish. When you spray, it leaves an amazing finish and sometimes it’s so smooth it feels like ceramic. You can put a top coat or wallpaper over our product.”
To find out if a hotel is a good candidate for SoundGuard, Lupton and his team will go on-site to do testing. “They would be a good candidate if the noise complaints are occurring through the walls from room to room. We can always come in and test at the property level,” he said.
The future looks bright for Lupton. SoundGuard is currently an approved vendor with PPG and Sherwin Williams plus he’s in ongoing discussions with several other large dealers. He’s also garnered interest from some hotel industry players.
“We’re in discussions with all the hotel brands such as Marriott, Hilton, Choice Hotels, Yotel, Hyatt, IHG and Omni and we’re talking to dozens of hospitality groups,” he said. “We have a very important project coming up with Marriott in two weeks in terms of field testing. We are eager to help the brands, ownership, as well as architects and designers to understand SoundGuard’s value.”