Best Way to Soundproof:Resilient Channel or Soundproofing Drywall

Published: 23rd February 2011
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What is Resilient Channel?



Resilient channels are metal strips used to add airspace between drywall and the studs of a wall structure in order to reduce sound transmission. The channels are installed on the studs at right angles, and the drywall attaches to the channels, being careful not to let the screws touch a stud directly. In this way, the drywall is isolated from the studs, thus carrying less noise and vibration to the outer wall.



The ability of building materials to reduce sound transmission is typically classified according to "sound transmission class," or STC. Standard construction for interior walls using wood studs sheathed in drywall yields an STC rating of 30-34. When installed correctly, resilient channels can improve STC ratings by 5-7 points or more, depending on construction.



What is Soundproofing Drywall?



Soundproofing drywall is a sound isolation system designed to replace standard drywall in any wall (or ceiling) construction including wood or steel studs. Soundproofing drywall is a multi-layer laminated gypsum wall product that uses viscoelastic polymers to convert sound waves into harmless heat. The polymer stops vibration and increases in efficacy with multiple layers. Soundproofing drywall can easily be added to new or existing walls to achieve remarkable reductions in sound transmission.



For instance, adding a 5/8"-thick sheet of QuietRock soundproofing drywall to both sides of an existing wall increases the STC rating to 56 and results in an 80% reduction in perceived sound. In new construction, it is possible to obtain an STC rating of 70 using two layers of wood studs and a layer of QuietRock soundproofing drywall on each side.



How Do They Compare on Performance and Price?



While in theory construction with resilient channel can deliver excellent noise control results, it implies significant risks in terms of performance. The principal drawback of resilient channel is that it is easy to "short-circuit" the system during installation. Because the success of the resilient channel construction depends upon the decoupling of the frame from the drywall, if the drywall loses some of its isolation the effectiveness of the resilient channel can be compromised. Recent investigation has shown that resilient channel construction has a post-construction failure rate (STC designed value) of 90%. One of the major drawbacks of construction with resilient channel has been its high failure rate in the field.



Soundproofing drywall on the other hand, can be installed just like regular drywall but with much better results. Brands like QuietRock offer panels that are specially designed to score and snap as easily as a standard panel of drywall. This makes installation quick and easy and obviates the need for complex construction techniques. Because soundproofing drywall has the soundproofing technology built into it, the results are reliable and difficult to compromise through faulty installation.



Because resilient channels have low costs for materials, it is often regarded as the most cost-effective soundproofing option. However, because soundproofing drywall can be scored, snapped and hung like regular drywall without the added step of installing resilient channels, the installation time is lower. When you factor in the labor time for installation soundproofing drywall often makes up for higher materials costs.



Summary



Resilient channels pose a significant risk of failure in floor/ceiling and party wall assemblies. Lab specifications showing STC 43-55 often result in field-tested STCs in the 34-38 range. Soundproofing drywall can provide an easier, more reliable option with excellent soundproofing results and quick, simple installation.





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QuietRock ES soundproofing drywall helps achieve noise reduction at

the lowest possible total installed cost compared to old soundproofing

techniques - easily and reliably. Complete QuietRock ES solutions for

retrofit and new construction projects have become the soundproofing

standard for residential and commercial buildings. Learn more about

QuietRock ES applications.

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