Complete Guide to Soundproofing a Drywall


 

 

To desire peace of mind is not uncommon. It is not just for its sake but also for the bliss that comes with being able to think and work without disturbances. It may be originating from those living next door or another room in the house. This disturbance triggers the desire to find a way of working on the wall to block or reduce the noise. Soundproofing a drywall can be easily done when you follow the right steps.

Soundproofing a drywall requires you to add insulating materials and extra drywall layers to make it extremely difficult for noise to pass through.

The fact that drywall materials are used for the interior of homes during construction is generally known fact. This article aims to guide you when it comes to soundproofing a drywall without needing to tear them down or replace them.

To achieve this feat, you must first remember that the sound transmission class (STC) of the wall in question is of importance.

A quick look into what STC entails points out that it is the rating of how well a given section of a building reduces the effect of airborne sound. It is possible to increase this rating in several ways and paramount among them to add an extra layer to the partition. This is a popular method of soundproofing a drywall

Drywall – Overview

Known by a variety of names that include: Gypsum Board, Gypsum Panel, Wallboard, Sheet Rock, and many others, drywall is a panel that is composed of gypsum, which is scientifically called calcium sulfate dehydrate.

This gypsum is used together with or without other additives; these influence its ability to absorb water, resist fire, etc. The material stays fixed between thick sheets of paper.

The advantage of using drywall in construction includes but is not limited to the following:

  1. Drywalls are quick and easy to install.
  2. They require only simple repairs when damaged.
  3. Last for a long time.

And in addition to all of the above, drywall can be improved.

However, it is essential to note that drywall is not complete on its own; Drywall mud, also called Joint Compound, complements the drywall. It is easy to apply and is used to create a smooth finish. However, some mode of application might take up to 24 hours to dry completely.

Uses of Drywall

This environmental-friendly material can be made use of in several ways; amongst which we have:

  • Adding Fire resistance to ceilings and walls
    The drywall works in this regard by preventing a fire from spreading while occupants of the building get to safety.
  • Useful for topping off masonry walls above ceilings.
  • Ideal when it comes to enclosing columns to hide the steel beams it contains.
  • Excellent for partitioning.

Types

This classification of drywalls relies on the location of their installation and their physical properties. Making use of these methods of classification, we have seven types of drywall.

Regular Drywall

Types of Drywall - Regular Drywall

 

Regular drywall is the cheapest and most common drywall of all types. Also called grey drywall by some, recognizable by the colors on either side of it; gray on one side, which is the face and brown on the other hand – the back.

Regular drywall is appreciated in the DIY world because, concerning installation, it is the most accessible type of drywall to install without professional knowledge. It can be used anywhere inside a house.

It is commonly found as a four by an eight-foot panel, although it can come in various sizes. Regular drywall is the most economical of all the types.

Green Board Drywall

Soundproofing a Drywall - Green Board Drywall

 

The green board drywall is more expensive than the regular drywall, and for a good reason, it is moisture resistant. Due to this factor, it finds usage in areas where there will be moisture, like a bathroom or laundry room.

Bear in mind that this type of drywall is not water-resistant; it isn’t ideal in places where it comes in direct contact with water.

You can recognize it based on its green-colored covering, hence the name.

 

Type X Drywall

Soundproofing a Drywall - Type X Drywall

 

This type is known as the fire-resistant drywall. Although all drywall types have some degree of resistance to fire, The Type X drywall has a thicker texture to give it higher strength.

It is not fire-resistant, but it can resist combustion for at least an hour.

Type X drywalls are created by mixing glass fibers with the gypsum; these fibers are non-combustible and provide extra thickness.

It is the recommended material to use in rooms and garages in line with building codes.

Purple Drywall

 

 

If you are looking for the type of drywall to use in areas where there will be contact with water or moisture, this is the right drywall to use.

Purple drywall has a higher resistance to mold and moisture, as well as scratches and dents. Although it is more expensive than the regular drywall, it is ideal for areas that experience lots of activities because of its tolerance for moderate damages.

Blue Board Drywall

Types of Drywall - Blue Board Drywall

 

Blue board drywall comes covered with paper that has notable absorption properties, which gives the drywall a high resistance to mold, mildew, and water.

Also called Plaster baseboard, it is ideal for bathrooms and other places with exposure to wetness. Useful for veneer plastering.

Paperless Drywall

Types of Drywall - Paperless Drywall

 

Paperless drywall is different from the regular drywall because it has fiberglass covering in place of paper. The covering gives the drywall more excellent resistance to mildew and molds and protects the inner gypsum board from rot.

The application of joint compound is required to get a drywall level finish that is smooth and clean. This type of drywall is more stringent than the regular dry, and over the years, it is becoming a replacement for the ordinary kind.

Sound Dampening Drywall

Types of Drywall - Sound dampening drywall

 

The only difference between soundproof drywall and regular drywall is the extra layers placed on both sides of the board’s surface.

These layers consist of polymers and wood fibers that contribute to increasing the STC (sound transmission class) of the board but also make the board more difficult to cut compared to other types.

This type performs well in areas where there will be lots of noise or places where silence is required, like a recording room.

It is important to note that this type of drywall is way more expensive than regular drywall.

All of these types have their uses, and you might think that directly buying a readymade soundproof drywall is more feasible. Still, looking at the cost, you realize that it is more economical to get a regular one and soundproof it yourself.

Also, if you have the regular already installed or any other type, here are the steps to soundproofing them yourself. The same result will be gotten, added to the satisfaction of doing it yourself!

Steps for Soundproofing a Drywall

When it comes to soundproofing a drywall, there are three ways of doing that

  1. Checking for leaks through which sounds might be escaping and blocking them.
  2. Adding insulation to the wall
  3. Increasing the density of the wall.

The steps to take concerning each of these are as follows:

Checking for sound leaks

The first step to soundproofing a drywall is to first make a general check. There are a few tips that come in handy when checking for sound leaks.

Checking the doorways

You can start by inspecting the door separating the two rooms. It might be the gaps around the door threshold, which is a factor to consider if it is an old home.

Another factor to examine is the door itself. You should knock on the door to find out if it makes a hollow sound, if it does, the door is hollow-core and you will have to either change it or increase its density by adding an extra layer to it.

Checking the gaskets and seals

Gaskets and seals serve to cut down on sound being able to pass through doors and walls from the other side or vice versa. They are applied around door fixtures and wall edges It is a good idea to make sure that there are no leaks here too.

Checking the windows

When inspecting the windows for sound leaks, you look at the window pane(s), is it single, or double? Add an extra one if the glass is single-paned. Move on to examine the window seals if the glass is double-paned.

Checking the walls

There are two places to look at when examining a wall, the first is to look for spaces in the wall, and the second is to check the edges and floor seals.

If there are spaces in the wall or holes, you can then add insulation to the wall.

Adding Insulation to the Drywall

The following are the steps to follow in adding insulation to the drywall:

First, you get your materials ready. The mass loaded vinyl (MLV), resilient channels, green glue compound, and acoustic caulk are the materials that you need.

You strip the wall down to its wooden frame and fill it up with insulating materials. There are various options of materials to choose from; foam spray insulation, blown insulation, batt insulations, and others.

Install the mass loaded vinyl. First, you cut it to the right size you need, then nail the MLV to the frame. After that, you place the edges of the materials on the wall frames at the top and bottom. You then proceed to fix the mass load vinyl to the chassis using nails or screws. It is advisable to work from top to bottom. You might need an extra pair of hands for this part.

Remember to keep the edges of the mass loaded vinyl together, so they don’t get removed later on.

Fix in the resilient channels. They come as sheet metal rails; you install them on the frame of the wood. To fix resilient channels, you have to screw them across the wall studs horizontally. Their purpose is to support the drywall and redistribute infiltrating sounds until they dissipate entirely without making it to the other side.

After doing all of the above, you can then proceed to cover up the wall.

To add insulation to drywall without opening it up, you merely blowholes at the top of the wall, pour the insulation in and then cover up the holes. The insulation you are to use are:

Injection Foam

You feed the injection foam into the wall, leaving it to expands on its own. The advantage of using injection foam is that it can reach into awkward spaces; it is also resistant to mildew and mold. The downside is that it initiates holes in the walls, but all you have to do is fill the gaps, patch them then paint them.

Loose-Fill Insulation

You inject the Loose-Fill insulation into the holes you drill into the wall cavities. It is cheap to purchase and easy to use but requires the hand of an expert for usage on wall cavities. It has a high resistance to fire.

Adding Extra Drywall Layers

The last method you can use when soundproofing a drywall is to add extra drywall layers. To do this, you need green glue compound and drywall screws in addition to the excess drywall you intend to use.

Screw the first sheet of drywall on to the ceiling in one corner using the drywall screws. You are to do this through the drywall into the ceiling joists making sure to fix in a screw for every 8 inches.

Using a tape measure and a pencil, measure and mark the second ceiling drywall to length. Use a knife to nick the drywall along with the spots you have marked using the pen. Then bend the drywall sheet on the side opposite to the line you nicked.

You can now install the first drywall. Use a hammer with the nails following the 8 inches’ rule as before. Then measure the remaining wall sections, cut them, and fix them as required.

Fix the second layer on the ceilings and walls. Remember to cover the roof first, then the walls. Also, the nail used will be longer for this area because of the extra layer.

Final Notes

It is important to note that adding an extra layer of drywall will not magically increase the wall’s STC (sound transmission class) ratings. To fill the spaces in-between the walls, you will use the green glue compound. The compound works to glue the layers together and fill the spaces.

This article covered everything you need to know about soundproofing a drywall. To discover how to soundproof other wall types like a thin wall, click here

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