When it comes to soundproofing, many different materials can be used. One of the most popular choices is soundproof drywall or plasterboard. This material is very effective at blocking out sound, making it a great choice for both homes and businesses. In this article, we will discuss the science of how soundproof drywall works, as well as where it can be best used and how you can install it yourself!
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What is Soundproof Drywall?
If you want to soundproof a wall, traditional drywall won’t cut it. It actually conducts sound quite well because of the way it’s made–a dense layer of mineral gypsum between layers of paper.
If you’re using standard drywall, you’ll need to make other changes to your framing to reduce noise coming through, like making thicker walls or adding insulation behind the Drywall.
Soundproof drywall panels contain an inner layer of gypsum, viscoelastic, and ceramics. This makes the panel much more durable and incapable of transmitting sound waves.
There are many brands of sound-proofing drywall on the market, including PABCO’s QuietRock, CertainTeed’s SilentFX, and National Gypsum’s SoundBreak. Some boast that their product is equivalent to eight layers of standard drywall when it comes to dampening sound.
How does Soundproof Drywall work?
To reduce the amount of noise that enters or leaves a room, you can add sound-absorbing materials between your drywall panels. These include fibreglass, rubber, viscoelastic foam, and mass-loaded vinyl (MLV).
The sound-dampening barriers you use, such as drywall, can be turned into the dead panels necessary to cancel out vibration from sound waves. This would usually involve placing a dampening compound between two layers of drywall, like Green Glue.
This provides a rubber layer that stops any vibration transfer. Additionally, by adding fibreglass insulation in the cavity of steel stud partitions, you could potentially see an STC increase of 10 points.
Sound waves are tricky in that they can quickly pass from one surface to another. Decoupling is the process of separating two surfaces so that sound cannot travel directly between them. Building a staggered stud wall decouples the sound vibration and breaks it up by creating a gap in the firm connections.
The heavier an object, the less it will vibrate when sound waves hit it. Reducing vibration is essential to reducing noise levels. Drywall is one of the best (and cheapest) ways to add mass and reduce noise pollution.
Other aspects to consider
- Sound frequency vibrations can be conducted from one room to another through vents, AC pipes, light fittings and light switches. Putty pads can help reduce this transfer of sound.
- It’s best to have a space between your drywall and any adjoining walls or ceiling. By filling these areas with acoustic caulking, you’ll be able to reduce sound transfer.
- Resilient clips and channels can lower the volume by 12-15 STC points, making your home or office more peaceful.
What type of Soundproof Drywall Should you use?
The choice between standard drywall or soundproof drywall is a personal one that should be decided on an individual basis.
- Price – Soundproofing your room with specialized acoustic drywall will cost more money than using regular sheetrock. The price increase is significant and may be a deterrent for some people who are trying to soundproof on a budget.
- Amount of use – The number of times you’ll use the room can help decide if it’s worth the extra money. If you’re only going to be in there once a week, that will have different implications than if you plan on using it every day.
- Decibels – The amount of noise in the room is an important deciding factor. The louder it is, the more you’ll need to take steps to reduce sound.
- Where is the room located – The type of sheetrock you’ll use is determined in part by the room’s location in the house. If your new home theatre is located in the basement, the floor will help mute sound somewhat. But if you place it on a level with other rooms, you might need an extra sound barrier to maintain peace for those living in adjoining rooms.
- Some people are more sensitive to noise than others and, as a result, may be willing to spend more money for increased comfort.
How to Install Soundproof Drywall
These steps will assist you in installing soundproof drywall, which is not very different from regular drywall.
- To start, measure the amount of space on your wall. Once you have that number, transfer it over to a sheet of soundproof drywall. From there, cut the sheet to length and then width.
- To correctly install the soundproofing, line up the backside against the framing studs. Next, use either nails or screws to attach it firmly in place. Be sure not to over-drive them so that only a dimple is made on the surface; if you drive too deep, it will cause a tear.
- Continue around the room, repeating the process until all sheets are in place. Make sure to butt adjacent sheets tightly together for effective soundproofing.
- To finish the wall, apply drywall compound and tape to the joint. Then, sand and prime it.
Although this method of soundproofing may take a bit longer to install due to its extra layer, it is very effective in comparison to traditional drywall, offering an STC 52 rating. It’s important to keep in mind that it tends to be quite pricey compared to cheaper alternatives.
Pros and Cons of Soundproof Drywall
- Pros: Can be quite effective when the right types of drywall are used in the right situation.
- Cons: Heavier than average, expensive, and professional installation required.
How effective is drywall in soundproofing?
It can be effective, depending on the type of drywall used. Traditional drywall does not provide much in the way of soundproofing, but specialized types of drywall can offer an STC 52 rating.
How much does it cost to soundproof a room with drywall?
The price will vary depending on the type of drywall used and the size of the room. On average, however, it will cost more to soundproof a room with drywall than it would with other methods.
How do you install QuietRock over existing drywall?
The first step is to determine how much new QuietRock you will need. To do this, measure the length and width of the area you want to cover and multiply those numbers together. This will give you the square footage of the area. Next, divide that number by 32 (the number of square feet in a 4’x8′ sheet of QuietRock). This will give you the number of sheets you need to purchase. Now that you know how much QuietRock you need, it’s time to install it.
Begin by removing any outlet covers or switch plates from the wall. Next, use a stud finder to locate the studs in the wall. Once you have found them, use a pencil to mark their location on the wall. Now it’s time to cut the QuietRock to size. To do this, measure the distance between each stud and mark that number on the back of the QuietRock.
Then, use a straight edge and a utility knife to cut the QuietRock along those lines. Once all of the QuietRock is cut to size, it’s time to install it. Begin by applying construction adhesive to the back of each piece of QuietRock. Then, press it into place on the wall, lining up the edges with the studs. Once all of the QuietRock is in place, use a putty knife to apply joint compound to the seams between each piece.
Allow the joint compound to dry overnight, then sand it smoothly. Finally, paint or wallpaper over the QuietRock to complete the project.