Isolating Airborne Noise Through Walls

What Will Work

The light weight and natural resilience of walls allow them to respond well to added decoupling, damping, and vinyl. For the same reasons, including mass with any of these three upgrades is also more significant in walls than it would be in ceilings or floors.

In order of highest performing to lowest performing

Decoupling

Decoupling will always provide superior isolation over all other methods or products. The most efficient way to decouple your wall in terms of installation and square footage loss is with the GenieClip. With this option, we strongly recommend removing existing drywall and attaching the GenieClips directly to the studs for maximum performance. An alternative to the GenieClip is a double stud wall. However, to meet or exceed the performance of GenieClips, the double stud wall assembly will end up around 12” thick, about double the thickness of a GenieClip wall assembly. View the GenieClip.

Damping

Adding Green Glue Compound between two layers of drywall will provide significant gains in mid to high frequency isolation, as well as moderate gains in low frequency isolation. View Green Glue Compound tubes or Green Glue Compound pails.

TotalMass MLV

Depending on expectations, mass loaded vinyl alone may be enough for your project. This material will not help with isolation of low frequencies, but will help resolve typical resonance issues found in common construction materials. Contrary to popular belief, the mass of the vinyl is insignificant, how the vinyl resonates differently than the other materials in the wall is what creates the value of the vinyl. View the TotalMass MLV.

Combining decoupling with damping will increase performance significantly. Mass loaded vinyl can also be used with Green Glue Compound if sandwiched between two layers of drywall. Sound tests of mass loaded vinyl in a resilient clip system show little to no gain.

What Will Not Work

In no particular order

Adding a layer of drywall

An additional layer of drywall will do little to isolate sound in a non-resilient wall. If the drywall layers quadruple, then some decent gains can be reached. This means a standard two drywall layer wall would need eight layers for significant gains.

Sound Board

Including sound board in a wall or ceiling is about as valuable as adding a layer of drywall.

Low Level Pre-Damped Drywall

Some pre-damped drywall performs well, but is hugely expensive and difficult to install. The versions found at leading hardware stores are cheaper and easier to install, but do not perform exceptionally well, roughly about as well as mass loaded vinyl.

Insulation

Insulation is necessary in partitions to avoid resonance issues (basically a drum effect), but provides little isolation in a standard framed wall.

Foam Strips, Noiseproofing Tape, or Similar On Studs

These tapes, whether a foam material or rubber, will not help to isolate sound. The drywall screws or nails will penetrate the foam directly with the pressure of fastening compressing the foam as if it were not even there.

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