Drywall is one of the most effective ways to soundproof any area. Buy the right material, and it sets a solid base that keeps everything quiet. Unfortunately, it is not always the easiest to install, and some people will ultimately decide to go with a professional instead of doing things themselves.
For those who are feeling like they can take care of everything, what is important to keep in mind when going through with soundproof drywall installation? This is a look at how to handle the installation process, what to look out for, and other tips to provide the best sounding area to work in out there.
Why Soundproof Drywall Is So Important
With so many different soundproofing materials out there marketed towards people who want to keep everything quiet, it all starts with a great base. The drywall is something that can be soundproof a little bit better at the beginning, which cuts down on the need for so many other fixes later on.
It is a tactic that has been used for quite a while, and people are just starting to catch on that it is something worth spending time on.
Not everyone can start from scratch and install brand new drywall, which is why the solution is not for everyone. However, there are quite a few people who have the chance to at least make a difference. And it can go relatively smoothly as long as a person is willing to put in the work. That means either spending the extra time to install it correctly or hiring professionals who can do it.
What Materials Work Best With Soundproof Drywall?
There are a few different options out there for soundproof drywall that work particularly well. For example, gypsum is one material that has a composition of calcium sulfate dihydrate. It is a relatively soft mineral, but when it is mixed with a binder, it can be put together in very hard sheets to create a sheetrock panel.
There are steel sheet metal and mass loaded polymer layer that is usually put in between the two layers. This makes drywall pretty rigid and loaded with plenty of mass. This makes it great for soundproofing, as it is very difficult for sound to get through so much material.
The leaders in the industry all have relatively the same formula for creating soundproofing drywall that is effective. The installation process is relatively simple once the sheets are purchased and ready for action.
Fill Any Stud Cavities With Insulation
To make any wall that much more effective, it is important to fill the cavities with soundproof wall insulation. It should fit in pretty meetly within the frames, and it will remove any air gaps between wooden boards.
Any type of insulation is going to help to a certain degree, but there are specific options that market themselves as helping with sound. Look for mineral wool as just one option out there that works particularly well.
Mass Loaded Vinyl
If insulation is not something a person wants to mess with, mass loaded vinyl is another material to help with soundproofing. It can be put just about anywhere, and it is so flexible and thin that it can go in so many different areas.
Some people use it to add a layer to the outside wall. Others will use it as an option instead of going with insulation inside. Understand that mass loaded vinyl is a little bit more expensive than some of the other options out there, but it is generally worth it in the end.
Resilient Channels Make a Big Difference
The benefits of using resilient channels when soundproofing new drywall are apparent right away. They are basically sheet metal rails attached to the wooden frame of a room. They are supposed to go over the insulation and provide proper support for the drywall, but the important thing is to make sure the drywall does not directly attach to the studs.
Resilient channels are going to provide a benefit buy as much as five Sound Transmission Class levels. They are shock absorbent, and they redistribute noise so that it eventually goes away.
Before starting with the drywall installation process, make sure that the resilient channels are well taken care of. This is going to make life significantly easier, and this pretty subtle change will help out the final project significantly.
Two Layers of Drywall Are Better Than One
Soundproof drywall is definitely beneficial, but adding a second layer is going to provide even more mass and density. In theory, a person could add even more than two layers, but most will be fine with just that second layer.
To separate the two drywall layers, make sure that there is some type of acoustic compound in between. This is to keep everything together, and it decouples surfaces that might transmit sound.
Green Glue is the one brand name that so many people point to when they look at different options out there. It certainly is beneficial for those who need it most, and it is explicitly built for soundproofing in mind.
Close The Gaps With Acoustic Caulk/Sealant
Now that the drywall is up, the job is far from over. Whether it is a do-it-yourself method or even a professional handling everything, there are going to be at least a few gaps that could let sound leak through. Most construction is not going to be perfect, so this is where a sealant can really come in handy.
There are more sealants out there than just acoustic caulk, so do not be married to the idea of only using this as an option. However, if the sound is really a problem, this is built specifically to handle sounds and keep everything as quiet as possible. It is a very flexible material so that it fits just about anywhere, and no one should overlook the importance of this type of sealant.
Top Manufacturers For Soundproof Drywall?
The number one seller of soundproof drywall at this moment is QuietRock. They sell several different types of soundproofing drywall under their brand. While it tends to be pretty expensive, most people are willing to invest simply because it gets the job done.
It is something that people can install themselves, but since they are spending a lot of money, there are a lot of people who just want to leave it up to professionals instead of giving it a try.
Certainteed is another big player in the industry, and they have one type of soundproofing drywall that they standby for just about anything. It is a very thick 5/8 of an inch, and it can be layered to provide some quality support for people who need it most. It is fairly affordable for soundproofing drywall, but still more expensive than the typical solution out there without soundproofing qualities.
National Gypsum is the other major producer of soundproof drywall. They market their solutions as the Soundbreak series, with four different choices to examine. They offer some fairly thin options that might not seem like they would get the job done, but they do a great job of packing in a lot of mess with any solution.
How Thick Should Drywall Be?
It might seem like people would want to get a very thick drywall for soundproofing reasons. The thickness of drywall goes from anywhere to 1/4 of an inch all the way to over an inch in some cases.
This might not make that much of a big deal to some people, because there is such a thing as adding different layers, but it is nice to buy a pretty thick layer upfront and maybe cut down on the process a little bit.
The boards for drywall are almost always going to be 4 feet wide, but the length can vary quite a bit. There will be some adjustments to fit any type of building, but it is not that big of a deal for the most part.
Remember, it is not so much looking at the thickness of drywall as it is trying to figure out how much is added in layers. If a person has a pretty thin layer of drywall, they might need to put three or four layers to soundproof properly.
If it is on the thicker side already, two might be sufficient. Try to get close to an inch of thickness overall for the best type of soundproofing. Anything over that is going to be great, but going lower than that sets a room up to have some sound issues.
Putting Finishing Touches on Soundproof Drywall?
Once some drywall is up and ready to go, a person can pretty much do whatever they want to add any finishing touches. Some people like the bare look that is provided, but not everyone is behind that. There are actual solutions out there for people to help make the wall even more soundproof as well.
One option is to look into paint that works as a bit of a soundproof helper as well. Believe it or not, that does exist, and although the effects are minimal, it is better than using standard paint.
Another solution is to go ahead and start filling the walls with different types of material that will help kill sound pretty effectively. Some people will just get by using standard decorations, while others who are very focused on controlling sound will use acoustic panels to help deflect sound. Just make sure not to install anything that might rattle around if there is impact noise. It can end up becoming very annoying if the room shakes.
You can get fairly easy to obsess over the different type of options out there, so sometimes, it is worth just letting the drywall do its work in the beginning. After that, a person can assess whether or not they need to make additional changes, or if everything works completely fine.
Other Solutions Before Jumping to Soundproof Drywall?
Even though it is fairly apparent that soundproofing drywall is effective, people are very hesitant to go all in. Why is that the case? It is a pretty simple answer, with the two main factors being time and money.
Replacing old drywall and installing brand new layers can seem pretty tedious, and it is going to take a significant amount of time. For people who are doing it themselves, it will take a little while longer, but even professionals need time to get it done. This is something that people just do not want to deal with, so they go with what they have, and then look for other solutions at a later time.
Money is another issue, as the upfront cost of replacing existing drywall is going to cost a pretty penny. Since a lot of people are not quite sure just how much soundproofing they might need, it seems like it would be a little reckless to pay so much upfront.
There is no doubt that some soundproofing solutions out there are just extremely easy to implement and see how they go. Not only are they affordable, but they can be used even after soundproof drywall is installed. That is why so many people recommend trying something very inexpensive a first to see if it does the trick. Only later on do people start to think about paying more and more money.
It is a totally different scenario if it is new construction, and a person has the opportunity to go with soundproofing drywall right from the beginning. If that is the case, it seems like a no brainer. It is easy to see why people are still a little hesitant on the solution, but it does not reflect on whether or not it actually works.
Is it Worth Paying for Drywall Insulation?
There are a lot of people out there who simply do not have the capability of doing something as complicated as installing drywall. For those people, it makes the most sense for them to spend the extra money and get someone to help out. It obviously adds to the bottom line total, but at least a person understands that there are going to be a few were holdups overall.
Installation of drywall by a professional should be pretty smooth, since the process is the same. If the job does not look like it is up to par, feel free to press them on it before fully paying for the job. There are a lot of people who simply throw up drywall, but this is partially a soundproofing process as well.
Does Soundproof Drywall Work?
As long as drywall is created in a certain way, it is going to work very well and last a long time. Traditional composition is gypsum sandwiched between two layers of paper. This is done mostly because it is effective enough and relatively inexpensive for people who are building homes.
When using soundproof drywall options, the inner layer has gypsum, ceramics, and viscoelastic in it. It might not seem like that big of a difference, but it is much more resilient and not as easy to hear sound waves transmit through everything.
Soundproof drywall is nearly as effective with a single layer as typical drywall would be with multiple layers. This means that people not only have to spend less time installing drywall layers, but it takes up less space and eats up areas as well.
Another downfall to adding too many layers of regular drywall is that it will increase the weight put on walls and ceilings. The stress can lead to some pretty significant damage later on, so it is best just to stay away from that altogether.
Soundproofing Drywall Worth the Investment?
Most people who ultimately decide to go with soundproof drywall are delighted. It might not be something that goes into every single room, but those that need it most will notice a benefit.
There are certainly other solutions out there, but none of them are perfect. A lot of people do not want to mess with having to add too many layers of drywall, which means that soundproof drywall makes the most sense. The installation process can be tedious, but if a person can follow some instructions and have a little bit of patience, they can take care of that part themselves.
All in all, it is a matter of how much noise is affecting an area currently. If it seems like there is no real solution that is helping with the sound, this is the quickest way to fight against it. It might not eliminate the sound, but it will significantly make a difference that might make life a little more tolerable. Paying the cost to upgrade just once is going to provide years and years of satisfaction.