Sound Proof Walls and Firewalls

This story shows how to add sound control to your walls.

Creating Sound Control

If you want to limit the amount of sound that escapes from a room, incorporate one or all of these five strategies into wall and ceiling construction.

-- Add sound-absorbing material into the stud or joist bays (Step 1).
-- Separate the two sides of the wall from each other. One way to do this is by screwing resilient steel channel to the wall or ceiling, then screwing the drywall to the channel. Other methods include staggering 2x4 studs on a 2x6 soleplate, or even framing two walls, then separating them with a 1-inch dead-air space. You'll gain additional isolation by gluing and screwing the second layer of drywall to the first, not to the framing (Step 2).
-- Increase the mass of the wall or ceiling by using thicker panels and/or installing multiple layers (Steps 3 and 4). Install a sound-reduction board as the first layer and top it with drywall.
-- Seal sound pathways by caulking, gasketing electrical outlets, and weather-stripping doors (Step 5).

Successfully decreasing sound transmission makes a room more acoustically reflective. You'll probably need to consider adding sound-absorbing materials such as carpeting and drapes.

Step 1

Install insulation in the stud cavities to dampen sound transmission. For this purpose, sound attenuation fire blankets (SAFB) are superior to fiberglass. The mineral fiber blankets stand up in stud bays without mechanical fastening. For ceiling applications, installing resilient channel first is a good plan.

Step 2

Screw resilient steel channels to the walls, spacing them 16 inches on center. The channel's design minimizes the amount of direct contact between the studs and the wallboard.

Step 3

Install the first layer of drywall vertically, screwing it to the channels. To achieve the best sound control, make each layer of drywall as thick as possible; two applications of 5/8-inch panels produces excellent results. In high-end projects where even greater sound control is needed, you can use a third or even fourth layer.

Step 4

Apply adhesive to the back of the second layer and install it horizontally. Drive type G screws into the first drywall layer, avoiding both the studs and resilient channels.

Step 5

Using a caulking gun and a special acoustical sealant, fill all cracks around the wall's perimeter, especially at the bottom of the wall. Also caulk any gaps between the drywall and electrical boxes and heat ducts.

Comments (4)
Nancy5212256 wrote:


4/21/2017 04:41:47 AM Report Abuse
toesie21 wrote:

Wall has to be 2 x 6 framing

12/22/2012 10:19:20 AM Report Abuse
toesie21 wrote:

Need a 2hr. exterior fire wall with structural stability

12/22/2012 10:18:46 AM Report Abuse
philnanc wrote:

would roll insulation help for sound proofing between floor & ceiling for finishing a basement

2/6/2012 08:02:54 PM Report Abuse
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