Everything You Should Know About Soundproof Drywall

Everything You Should Know About Soundproof Drywall

Knowing how to install soundproof drywall will enhance your skills and market as a contractor. People like privacy, and the more of it they can get inside their residential and commercial properties, the better. Moreover, most people prefer that outside noise does not seep into their space. Soundproof drywall is more effective than traditional sheetrock. Let us tell you everything you should know about soundproof drywall.

What Is Soundproof Drywall?

Soundproof drywall has a couple of different name affiliations. Some refer to the material as pre-damped drywall or acoustic drywall. It’s different from standard drywall because of the manufacturing process. Standard drywall has a combination of gypsum, clay, and mica sandwiched between two layers of paper.

Soundproof drywall is multi-layered. It contains two sheets of rigid gypsum and a soundproof deadening barrier between them. Also, soundproof drywall contains more materials within that layer. Here you’ll find a rubbery green membrane (viscoelastic material), mass-loaded vinyl, and ceramics. All the layers work to absorb the sound as it travels along the hard surface.

Soundproof drywall is a more viable option than using multiple layers for drywall. The job is cut in half because of the extensive layers already accompanied by the soundproof material. Once the sound waves pass through the drywall and reach the extra layers, vibrate, they get trapped inside.

Soundproof Drywall Comparison

Because soundproof drywall comes with an extra function, manufacturers need to measure and rate each product to determine how effective they are to different sounds and levels of noise. Manufacturers will give them a Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating.

Before selecting any material, check the STC rating to ensure it will perform the proper function for you. A high STC means the material is more effective against sounds, and a lower STC means more sound will transfer through.

One layer of soundproof drywall is more effective than typical drywall because of its thickness. One layer of ½-inch-thick soundproof drywall has a rating of 52 compared to standard drywall, which only rates at 34. Applying an additional layer of the typical drywall might improve the sound restriction, but not to the same degree as adding soundproof drywall.

Sound Transmission Differences

As previously mentioned, there are different STCs levels for soundproof drywall. It’s important to understand each level before choosing a material for your installation process.

  • Level 25: Soft speech transmits through and can be understood.
  • Level 30: Normal speech transmits through and can be understood.
  • Level 35: Loud speech transmits through and can be understood.
  • Level 40: Loud speech transmits through but can’t be understood.
  • Level 45: Privacy begins at this threshold of soundproofing.
  • Level 50: Loud sound seeps through, but can only be heard very faintly
  • Level 60+: The best level for soundproofing. Those in the surrounding area won’t be disturbed by loud speech or sound.

Typically speaking, soundproof drywall works at every level because it performs the function the STC ranking marks it at. You’ll need to determine how well you want the material to work in your favor. Keep in mind that the layers work to keep sound out, as well as stop sound from seeping through.

Deciding Factors

Aside from the STCs ratings, it’s important to note there are additional deciding factors.

Level of Frequency

You might need to also measure the frequency in addition to the sound. Because the STC scale measures sound between 125 and 4000 Hz, it won’t pick up on low or high frequencies.

Cost

Cost also plays a role in your decision. Soundproof drywall is more expensive than typical drywall, but it also performs extra functions. The cost ranges between $40 to $55 per sheet, while standard drywall ranges between $12-$20. One room will cost between three to five times more to cover in soundproof drywall, but it’s well worth the investment.

Location

Location plays a role because some areas of residential or commercial properties get more occupancy than others. For example, soundproofing the basement looks different than soundproofing the living room. The differences will help determine which sheetrock you wish to use.

Installing Soundproof Drywall

Even though soundproof drywall offers additional privacy, there is not much difference in the installation process. However, there are a few tips worth mentioning for your convenience.

Measure Exactly

Measure the wall space and use that measurement on a sheet of soundproof drywall. Cut the length of the sheet before the width.

Hold and Screw

Place the backside of the soundproof against the established studs. Hold it in place and drive a screw through into the studs. Make sure the alignment is correct before screwing, and don’t drive the screw too deeply into the surface.

Adjacent and Finishing Touches

Continue this process around the entire room or the desired area. Keep the adjacent sheets butted tightly adjacent to each other to ensure that the soundproofing is effective.

Apply drywall compound and tape to the joint and sand the mud down before priming. Also, make sure you purchase the best USG sheetrock tools to ensure optimal installation.

Soundproof Drywall Options

With soundproof drywall, there are three popular brands contractors tend to use: Quietrock, Certain Teed, and National Gypsum’s SoundBreak.

Quietrock

Quietrock is so popular because it is the first sound-dampening panel to ever come out on the market. It’s been around for about two decades and provides a few different options.

The top-end option for Quietrock is the five-four-five, because it provides the ultimate amount of soundproofing. Because of its ranking, only businesses and movie theaters use this brand.

Certain Teed

Certain Teed is a close second choice to Quietrock, and its most popular soundproof drywall is Silent FX Quick Cut. It comes in a width of 5/8 inch, and it is very easy to snap into place. This brand can handle airborne sound, but its STC rate only goes to 56.

National Gypsum’s SoundBreak

National Gypsum is the more affordable brand with four different options. The SoundBreak XP ½ inch wallboard is the entry-level model. National Gymsum’s top option maxes out at around 64 on the STC scale. Having such a high rating at a discounted price is impressive to see, especially compared to its competitors.

You were already skilled at installing drywall, but now you know everything is about soundproof drywalling. Here at Timothy’s Toolbox, we always want to make sure you’re well-prepared before starting any big project. For more information, visit our website.

Everything You Should Know About Soundproof Drywall

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