Sound Control Walls: Construction Options

Making the Right Choice

For residential sound control, there are more than a half-dozen ways to increase the noise reduction of interior walls.

  • Acoustical Caulking
  • Sound Control Insulation
  • Double Layers of Drywall
  • Resilient Channels- Soundclips, etc
  • Staggered Stud Construction
  • Double Wall Construction
  • Soundboard, Wonderboard, etc.

Sound control is most efficient when two or more methods are used together. There are many possible combinations of these six techniques. How does one choose which to use?

The table below lists typical STC values for a variety of construction types. It also shows the improvement in noise reduction provided by the different sound control options, using as a baseline the most basic wall construction of studs and drywall with no caulking. Notice that a wall with an STC value of 50 ( studs, drywall, resilient channels, sound control insulation ) provides four times more sound reduction than the basic wall with an STC value of 30.

Type of Construction STC Value Improvement
Studs/ Drywall/ No Caulking 30 (MAX) 1 (baseline)
All remaining Types include Caulking
Studs- Drywall 35 1.42
Studs- Double Drywall One Side 37 1.63
Studs- Drywall-Sound Control Insulation 39 1.87
Studs- Double Drywall One Side – SC Insulation 41 2.15
Studs- Drywall- Resilient Channels 42 2.3
Studs- Double Drywall One Side -Resilient Channels 45 2.84
Studs- Drywall- Resilient Channels -SC Insulation 50 4.0
Staggered Studs- Drywall- SC Insulation 51 4.3
Studs-Double Drywall 1side-Res Channel-SC Insul. 52 4.6
Staggered Studs-Double Drywall 1Side-SC Insul. 53 4.94
Double Wall- Double Sound Control Insulation 59 7.46

Remember that STC values are based on the number of decibels of transmitted sound reduced by the wall. Just as a 50 dB sound is four times louder than a 30 dB sound, a 50 STC wall is four times quieter than a 30 STC wall.

Using the values shown in this table and factoring in costs and construction time, three sound control combinations stand out as the most logical choices:
1) Studs, drywall, caulking, sound control insulation;
2) Studs, drywall, caulking, resilient channels or SoundClips, sound control insulation; and
3) Staggered studs, drywall, caulking, sound control insulation.

This resilient channel is shown in it’s proper position with the large flange up and with sound absorbing tape applied to the facing.