Improve your walls with reliable, proven products. You can obtain very good results, and stay within your budget.
At Sound Isolation Company we have very high standards for the sound blocking capability of a good wall. Our "good" is probably higher than any other company you will find. We don't accept minimum compliance with local building codes, you shouldn't either; with reliable, proven products you can obtain very good results, and stay within your budget.
For soundproof wall construction, we will refer to the Sound Transmission Classification (STC) as a measurement of the walls ability to block noise. A typical residential wall has an STC of 38-40, a normal commercial wall may have an STC 42-45. For a reference point that will make your choices simple, the minimum standard for a HUD financed public housing project requires an STC 45 between units.
For new construction you have a couple of easy steps to insure a good performing wall or ceiling assembly.
|UL Soundproof Barrier|
|Green Glue Sealant|
|Sealtight Putty Pads|
Use fiberglass insulation in the cavity; thickness according to the depth of the cavity R-11 for 2x4 studs, R-19 for 2x6 studs. Using more expensive insulation will provide no measurable improvement in the STC rating.
Option 1: Use 2 tubes of Green Glue between 2 layers of sheetrock, on one side of wall. Green Glue is applied in a random pattern, on the second layer of sheetrock, and then everything is screwed together. Green Glue Install Guide
Option 2: Install our Mass Loaded Vinyl on one side of the wall, directly attached to studs, then install 5/8" sheetrock over the barrier. You can use Soundproof Barrier (MLV) between sheetrock layers, we have a version with peel-and-stick adhesive to make this simple. MLV Install Guide
The details in constructing a "good" soundproof wall are very important. Every outlet box and switch box must be covered with a Seal Tight Putty Pad, There should be a small gap at the perimeter of the wall; this will be filled with Green Glue Sealant
When we refer to sheetrock we are always assuming you will use 5/8" type X sheetrock. Heavier is always better, the small increase in price is negligible, and the benefits are measurable.
Staggering the sheetrock seams from one layer to the next is a very good idea. This helps overcome the shared seam as a leak in the wall system.
Make sure electrical boxes on opposite sides of the wall are not in the same stud cavity. Again, we don't want a "leak" in the system; don't assume that this will be done, bring it up to your contractor. Even better use our sound rated Sealtight Putty Pads for each electrical box.
Carefully consider the cost and the performance of other solutions when compared to our two options. Cost is not always an indication of the results, and you can't compare STC values in the low 40's to values of 47 or above.
There is still improvement available, build an even "better" soundproof wall; Better Soundproofing.