In the world of improving the Sound Transmission Class of any partition, there are three different ways to go about it. Sound isolation clips, resilient channels, and hat channels all do a pretty good job of providing quite a bit of help. Some people have their personal preferences, but a lot of it comes down to the individual project.
This is a look at how not only acoustic decoupling works but how resilient and hat channels contribute. In the end, it is ultimately up to each individual to decide which works best for them. There are a few major differences that sway people one way or another.
Explaining Acoustic Decoupling
The definition of acoustic decoupling is attempting to stop sound movement as much as possible in and out of an area. Sound has many different ways to get in and out, whether it be from the walls, ceiling, flooring, windows, and more.
If every surface is soundproof as much as possible, it is going to make the quality of sound very solid. It is also going to make sure that there is no sound leaving, only to be heard in other areas of a building.
To achieve good soundproofing results, sound clips and channels help separate a structure from drywall to prevent some of the vibrations that lead to sound. This does a pretty good job of helping with higher frequencies, but low-frequency vibrations are still sometimes noticeable.
Difference Between Resilient Channel and Hat Channel
There is not that much to a resilient channel, as it is simply a relatively thin strip of metal that bends in a way to form enough of a space between studs and drywall. It forms a spring type of channel that does just enough to help with handling sound.
It is important with a resilient channel to make sure the drywall does not come into contact with any other surfaces out there. That means avoiding the ceiling and floor, not to mention any other walls. This is to cut down on any vibrations that could happen by accident.
One of the more common problems people have with resilient channels is the fact that there is some type of contact eventually. Maybe there is just a bit of sagging going on, or things do not line up just right. There are a couple of ways around this if it is becoming a bigger and bigger problem.
For starters, there is an opportunity to fill some space with acoustic caulking to help improve the sound barrier. People also will think about adding a second layer of plasterboard to add a bit more mass. This can cause sagging, so make sure that the channel is strong enough to handle heavy material. (source)
All in all, this is a great opportunity to decouple walls and prevent any type of sound transfer whatsoever. Resilient channels can improve STC up to 10 points.
Just be aware of the fact that resilient channels can break down quickly if they are not professionally installed. Either make sure that everything is done correctly or hire somebody to take care of the job.
A hat channel, which is named that because it looks like a fedora, is another option for people who want to control sound inside a room. A lot of people use these for concrete and masonry surfaces, but they have made their way into other structures as well.
It is common knowledge that a hat channel is very strong, made of galvanized steel or aluminum. The most common use is to attach them horizontally to the studs.
The brim part of the channel is then nailed to any structural pieces. Attach the drywall to the top of the channel, and everything falls in the place from there.
Hat channels come in many different sizes depending on what a person needs with soundproofing. It is also important to get one that is strong enough so that it holds up over the long run.
For people who are trying to do things themselves, aluminum hat channels are more comfortable to cut and work with than steel.
Ultimately, hat channels do a great job of creating a very smooth and level surface for people to work with. It also adds about 10 points to STC.
Combining hat channels with other types of soundproofing options is usually the best way to go. This is when people can see a jump up of 20 or more points.
People love gravitating towards hat channels because they are relatively easy to install, and they help anyone who is dealing with moisture or fire hazards. They are not as effective by themselves as resilient channels.
Comparing Resilient Channels with Hat Channel
There are a lot of similarities between resilient channels and hat channels, but some minor differences can usually sway a person one way or the other.
Both do the primary job of providing just enough air space between the insulation and wall of a room. This helps to improve sound quality and make for a better experience overall.
When comparing directly, hat channels are a little stronger because they have a double attachment. The drawback is that with two different attachment spots, there is more opportunity for sound vibrations.
Hat channels keep things in place a little better so that there is no shifting, which can sometimes be a significant issue if there is any sagging whatsoever with a resilient channel.
Maybe the most significant selling factor between the two options is the fact that resilient channels are very hard to install by people who do not know what they are doing.
There are just too many things that can go wrong, and it becomes a major challenge to make repairs when the time comes. It is pretty hard to mess up hat channels, so even if they need some additional soundproofing techniques, it might make the most sense to go that way. (source)
The truth of the matter is, resilient channels and hat channels are both going to improve the sound in a room if there is nothing set up already. Hat channels just seem like a little bit better overall if picking between the two. It makes even more sense if hat channels are combined with
sound isolation clips to really help things out. A person can instantly begin to experience a much quieter, sound control area that is not frustrating in the slightest.
Resilient channels are perfectly fine as well, but it just seems like hat channels have passed them by as far as effectiveness is concerned. Even if it is a direct comparison with no boost whatsoever, hat channels get the slight edge over resilient channels.
That is good news for anyone who wants to save money because they do not have to go out and hire a professional to take care of everything