Soundproof Basics

More and more we are being asked to help reduce sound transmission between retail and commercial tenants.


Whether it's trying to dampen the noise between the dance studio and yoga studio or provide privacy between the conference room and open office, understanding the basics of soundproofing is important. 


Below is a brief summary of the 4 basic elements of a well isolated room and some soundproofing construction details that our friends at the Soundproofing Company have shared with us.

Soundproofing Basics  


Below are the 4 Basic Elements of Soundproofing:


 1. Decoupling - Sound is nothing more than a vibration. The vibration will travel easily if there is a nice solid direct pathway to follow, like the string between two cans. If we cut the string, we "decouple" the pathway, and the sound vibration stops.



 2 Absorbtion - A hollow wall will trap air that will resonate. When the wall is vibrated by sound (from your neighbor), the air in the wall cavity is also vibrated, just like a drum. This air cavity is another means for sound vibration to travel from one side of the wall to the other. Batt insulation will help with absorption. 


 3 Add Mass - Make the walls as heavy as you can. Drywall is one of the lowest cost sources of mass available. Best to use two layers of 5/8 drywall. It is very important to note that a heavy wall will still vibrate, just not as easily.



 4 Damping - If we could stop the drywall from vibrating, it would make the jobs of the mass, the insulation and the decoupling easier and much more effective. After all standard drywall is a HUGE surface area that is vibrating. There's a product call Green Glue (looks like construction adhesive) the is applied between drywall layers that provides damping. 

Soundproofing Wall Details 


There are many ways to achieve soundproofing depending on the situation and how much soundproofing your need. Here's a few ways to do it from least expensive to more expensive:


 1. Add more drywall - It adds more mass which makes the wall heavier. 2 layers of 5/8" is recommended and R13 Batt Insulation. Inexpensive and simple.







2. Add Green Glue and drywall - The added Green Glue converts the vibration energy into heat energy. This is a very efficient process with great soundproofing results. Moderately expensive but simple to install.






 3. Add resilient Clips, Channel Green Glue and Drywall - This solution has the highest performance but requires the removal of the existing drywall. This solution incorporates all 4 Elements of Soundproofing. You have Decoupling, Absorption, Mass and Damping. Certainly the most labor intensive, but is the most thorough solution.

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