Whether it is keeping noise inside a home or blocking it all out, soundproof drywall is a perfect solution for homeowners out there.
It is one of the most proven soundproofing methods that can help the majority of homes and businesses, and it is relatively easy to do with a little bit of handyman knowledge.
While many different drywall offers exist, there are several that focus solely on being soundproof options. They are going to have the right type of mass to block sound, a texture that cuts down on echo, and a lot of little things that will make a difference.
We first look at some of the best brands of soundproof drywall out there. There are a few options in particular that really stand out, and using any of them will prove to be successful.
After that, we answer some of the most popular questions out there, and ultimately decide if installing soundproof drywall is worth it. (Source)
What Is Drywall?
Before jumping into the best brands out there, it is important to know what drywall actually is. A traditional type of drywall is one layer of a combination of paper and mineral gypsum.
It creates a very dense layer that is easy to apply, and is great at handling all the different types of sound. To make it even better, it helps with soundproofing without being too intrusive.
There are alternative options out there, such as soundproof drywall panels, which are actually a more resilient solution that cuts down on the ability to transmit sound waves. It has an inner layer made of a few different ingredients, including gypsum, ceramics, and viscoelastic.
Other than helping with sound, drywall helps with fire resistance, mildew, water absorption, and many other issues that traditional walls might face. It has turned into a staple in construction, but not everyone uses a fully soundproof drywall option.
There is also a size factor that you should consider when buying the proper drywall for better soundproofing. Always use a 5/8″ thick drywall for the walls you want to soundproof. The typical 1/2″ drywall won’t do a great job at stopping noise like the 5/8″.
Best Drywall For Soundproofing
Here is our list of some of the best drywall you should use when soundproofing a wall i your home or office.
The reason why QuietRock is such a popular option for soundproofing is that it is the first sound dampening panel to ever come to market.
It has been around for about two decades now, with a few different options depending on what a person needs. The panels are pretty easy to use right away, and the installation process does not take too much time.
The top-end option for a QuietRock is the QuietRock 545. It is going to provide the ultimate amount of soundproofing, and it is probably a little too much for the majority of people.
Not only does it do a lot of soundproofing, but it is pretty expensive, so businesses are usually the only ones to use it. Movie theaters, as well as audio studios, can really benefit from having a much better sounding area.
On the other side of the spectrum, QuietRock EZ Snap is perfect for people who have very little construction experience.
They come in panels that go up just like traditional drywall, and they make the process extremely easy. Everything snaps into place, and there is minimal work necessary. (Source)
The construction of QuietRock is a little bit different than traditional drywall, as they rely on a total of three layers. There are two layers of gypsum drywall that are usually around 1/4 inch thick.
Sandwiched in between is a viscoelastic sound-absorbing polymer. What that means is that the middle layer acts a lot like a rubber compound, which helps kill any sound waves and energy coming from sound better than other products.
That means that QuietRock ends up having a better Sound Transmission Class rating than traditional drywall. It is only going to be so impressive if the entire wall has these panels, so make sure to keep that in mind.
A strong competitor to QuietRock is a manufacturer called CertainTeed. It is headlined by a very popular soundproofing drywall that goes by the name Silent FX QuickCut. It comes in a width of 5/8 of an inch, and is very easy to snap into place. It matches up almost exactly like the top options from QuietRock. It also has the same fire rating at Type X, but it does slightly better in testing.
Another thing that this option excels with is airborne sound. Some of the QuietRock options are not able to handle airborne sound quite as well, but it is hard for CertainTeed to compete with their top end model. For example, QuietRock 545 can have an STC range that goes up to 80, while CertainTeed will only max out at 56.
3. National Gypsum
There are a growing number of people who are turning to National Gypsum and the different options they have for affordable soundproof drywall. They have four different options, with Sound Brake XP 1/2 inch Wall Board as the entry-level model, and Sound Break XP Ceiling Board 3/4 inch at a pretty high level.
Their top options max out at around 64 STC, which is pretty impressive for something that is so affordable. They stack up pretty well against the competition, and it is nice to see them continue to be innovative. Putting some pressure on QuietRock as the leader is certainly something that they seem focused on, and it is working so far in their advantage.
4. Multiple Layers of Traditional Drywall
For some people, going with traditional drywall is still an option that is worth considering. Maybe a person already has a lot of drywall available, or they just want to stick with something that is already used in parts of the home.
A lot of the top companies that focus on soundproofing say that their product is anywhere from 5 to 8 times as beneficial as a single layer of drywall. One way to close that gap is to add multiple layers, which is what some people will do if they do not think one is enough.
The problem is that getting five or eight layers will cause a number of issues that people might not originally think of. It is a matter of whether or not it is worth the trade-off in the end.
Perhaps the biggest hindrance is that the drywall is now going to be about four or five inches thick, which is going to significantly shrink the size of the interior. This can put a lot of stress on the walls and the ceiling as well, so do not go crazy with the number of layers. It also ends up not being very cost-effective, as soundproofing drywall will be a little cheaper.
Finally, it is just going to take a lot of time. If a person is doing it themselves, it will be a lot more tedious adding layer after layer. If a professional is higher, the labor is going to cost a little bit more.
How to Chose the Right Soundproofing Drywall?
The three main brands above all do a pretty good job at providing various options, so a lot of it comes down to coming through the specifics and seeing which one fits a particular situation the best.
In order to do that, a person should be considering why they need soundproofing drywall in the first place, and what their budget is.
Acoustic Performance Musts
Think about why soundproofing drywall is actually necessary for a particular building. Maybe a person just wants to have one room where everything is as isolated as possible, and no sound will leak in or out.
In other cases, people want to make sure that they are trying to keep a particular side of the building quiet because of all the outdoor noise. Maybe one side faces a busy road, and the sound is too much to handle.
Certain brands are going to do better with different frequencies, decimal levels, and more. Read specific reviews when shopping, because chances are, someone has gone through a similar situation already.
All three of the brands offer some pretty easy installation solutions, so there is no clear-cut stand out as far as that is concerned. With all that being said, there are certain drywall options out there that will take quite a bit longer than options that snap in the place.
Whenever possible, it is recommended to go with panels over alternatives. It just makes more sense for people who do not have much of a background with construction, and even those who do. It is going to save a lot of time and energy, and there is really no difference.
QuietRock is the most known brand for soundproof drywall, and it is also the most expensive. They have a wide range of options available, and getting the top of the line is not always necessary for some people.
The important thing is to always stay within a certain budget when adding drywall to the mix. It can be tempting to overspend and get the best of the best, but it really will not make that much of a difference if only a little bit of sound needs controlled.
If professionals are needed to help with the installation process, it is going to cost roughly the same for any drywall out there. In fact, it will cost more if more than one layer is needed, so there might be some savings with the thickest type of drywall.
When shopping in a specific range, it means that that cost will not fluctuate much at all, so mainly look at the materials and whether or not it is worth the added expense.
The last thing a person wants to do is install drywall, only to see it compromised fairly quickly. These are all very durable, and the added thickness to the drywall is going to make it nearly impossible to damage.
There is always a chance of a freak accident happening, but there are ways to patch things up and minimize the damage. All in all, this type of soundproof drywall is extremely durable.
How Good is Drywall for Soundproofing?
Think of drywall for straight soundproofing as one of the most effective ways to have a solid base. It might not be able to solve all the problems, but it is going to address some of the biggest issues in any building.
If installed correctly, it is 100% going to make a pretty big difference. It is just a matter of making sure that sound does not have some other way of leaving or getting in. A person can invest in the best soundproof drywall in the world, but it is going to fail to be useful if there are still a lot of vulnerable spots.
Soundproof Drywall Cost?
Soundproof drywall is significantly more than standard drywall, but for people who are having sound issues, it is worth expense. Look to spend about $50 or so for one panel of premium soundproof drywall, whereas a similar sheet will be under $10 for standard drywall.
The truth is that not everyone is going to benefit that much from soundproofing drywall. If it is relatively quiet anyway, adding a layer or two of traditional drywall might make more sense. There is also the option of focusing on one particular room and installing drywall that is premium there.
For people who are very serious about making sure that everything is as soundproofed as possible, it involves doing more than just adding some soundproof drywall. The next step is to go above and beyond that, adding additional material that will help everything out.
For starters, leaving drywall walls completely bare is a no-no for people who want to have the purest sound. This is where acoustic foam, acoustic panels, mass loaded vinyl, soundproof curtains, soundproof blankets, and so much more can help out. By having a much thicker wall and one more layer of soundproofing material, it is going to make that much more of a difference.
Treating the floor and ceiling is also extremely important. No major flat surfaces should be left in a room, as that will cause a lot of sound reflection that nobody wants to deal with.
Over time, people might start to notice that the drywall is breaking down just a little bit. If that is the case, make sure to keep up with repairs as much as possible. That means filling in gaps and even small cracks if necessary.
As soundproof as some drywall might be, it drops considerably if there is a way for sound to get through. Just make sure to pay attention if the drywall has been up for a while, and anything might be looking a little bit like it needs fixed.
The final piece of advice for anyone who might still be struggling with sound is to look into ways to distract. Sometimes, there is still a little bit of faint noise that people do not want to deal with. In other cases, it becomes so quiet that it is actually eerie. When that is the case, adding white noise to the mix might be the best solution. That way, it is not complete silence, but it is definitely much more livable in general.
Investing in Soundproof Drywall
People enjoy the peace and quiet, and there is no need to pick up random noise complaints. In order to avoid these issues, a particularly noisy area of a building should use soundproof drywall.
There are just so many benefits to something like this that it is hard to quantify. Instead of having to add a bunch of different soundproof material options later on, a very solid base, in the beginning, makes more sense.