Best Way to Soundproof a Wall or Ceiling in a House or Apartment

Construction & Remodeling Services

Looking for the best way to soundproof a wall or ceiling in a house or apartment? The process of soundproofing the walls requires dismantling the existing drywall from the walls and the ceiling, installing fiberglass insulation in the walls, metal strapping the studs, and afterward installing new drywall to the channel. 

Prioritize a place 

The process requires much labor and is often messy when there are no professionals involved. In order to reduce the hubbub in the house, it is recommended that one room at a time should be focused. Prioritize which room needs more soundproofing and start the process from there. You might need to keep the sound in (as in a music studio), or you might want to keep the sound off (a study room, perhaps). 

Make a sound-trapping Duct

One way to go about soundproofing the walls is to make the room as airtight as possible. However, if you are able to do that, then you might have gotten yourself in the trouble of improper ventilation and ending up in a stuffy and suffocated room. In order to counter that trouble, you might need to install a short length duct in an interior wall. A sound trap is created by making a duct from the fiberglass duct board and balancing the grilles. This trap will be able to allow the ventilation. 

First up: Get the Sound Proofing Rating of the Wall

Before proceeding with the soundproofing process, you should get the sound transmission class ratings of your room’s wall. This rating indicates the sound is blocking the ability of the wall. The ratings are ascertained under ideal laboratory conditions. Therefore, there are certain factors that are not accounted for in these ratings, such as plumbing lines in the walls, the sound thereby traveling through them and through other such pathways around the walls. These ratings, nonetheless, are important to compare the different methods and materials used for controlling the sound. 

A conventional wall that has 2x4 studs and is covered with half an inch drywall on either side of the wall has the soundproofing rating of 34. This implies that the sound will be fully heard and deciphered in case there is some music or people talking on the other side. The rating will increase up to 39 if the walls are installed with fiberglass insulation.  The sound coming from the other side will be muffled and incomprehensible. 

Cost effective methods of soundproofing the walls 

The rating can be made to reach 50 if one side of an insulated wall is covered with resilient channel and the 5/8” drywall. You will only be able to hear the sound from the other side if there is some shouting. 

This method of soundproofing is most cost-effective and also ensures a fair level of soundproofing. However, you can make the soundproofing rating of the wall go up by attaching one side of the insulated wall with a resilient channel and screwing four layers of half an inch drywall. The rating this way would increase to 56 or maybe some more. 

A certain level of soundproofing can be ensured without having to demolish the wall. Locate the stud cavities on the wall and cut holes over each of those locations. Next, cellulose insulation is blown into those holes. You can then cut the new 5/8” drywall, so it becomes a quarter short of the ceiling and the floor. Attach the new sheets of the drywall by means of special acoustic dampening adhesives and the drywall screws. Then proceed with caulking the gaps with acoustic caulk. 

There is also an alternative method of attachment that uses head-rails and whispers clips. If you don’t want to use a resilient channel with screws, you can utilize the mentioned metal filling strips. This methods involves the attachment of whisper clips to the studs in a sporadic manner and then clipping on the head-rails. Rails are then attached with a 5/8” drywall after leaving a quarter of an inch gap on both the top and bottom. Caulk in the gaps with acoustic caulk. If further soundproofing is needed, then another drywall layer could be added which sways away from the seams. 

Now you know some of the best ways to soundproof a wall or ceiling in a house or apartment.