Is Drywall good for Soundproofing? (Cost & Types)

While standard drywall helps muffle the sound, it won’t entirely eliminate it. Most of the drywall’s solid core forms from gypsum, a calcium sulfate mineral utilized in construction projects.

It results in a harder piece of drywall that vibrates in lockstep with sound, allowing noise to enter a closed space.

There are several do-it-yourself (DIY) options, but installing soundproof drywall solutions is the simplest and most efficient way to keep your home silent.

How does Soundproofing Drywall work?

Gypsum or calcium sulfate is the most common ingredient in drywall. Gypsum is a primary drywall component because it is inexpensive, fire-resistant, and noise-absorbing.

The solid core of gypsum gets replaced with an inner layer of viscoelastic, gypsum, and ceramics in specialized soundproof drywall. These components combine to form a more effective noise barrier.

Differences Between Soundproof Drywall and Insulation

Both insulation and soundproof drywall are supposed to perform the same things to some extent. It is primarily because they help with:

  • Sound Absorption
  • Sound Dampening
Sound-Deadening vs blocking
Sound-Deadening-Blocking

However, both provide more mass to the structure, which is a significant component in soundproofing.

Of course, the materials, and the construction used in these goods, are vastly different. While they are similar, it is worthwhile to investigate them independently to gain a better perspective.

Soundproof drywall is just that: Drywall panels with additional soundproofing elements added. Gypsum is wrapped with paper sheets in traditional drywall.

Manufacturers insert a sound dampening substance layer in between to make it soundproof. It is also a viscoelastic material that disperses sound waves, similar to Green Glue.

In contrast, insulation is simply insulation. The goods you will come across are mostly geared for heat insulation, but several of them also have decent acoustic insulation capabilities.

Mineral wool is an instance of this, as it is more rigid and denser than fiberglass insulation.

It helps to reduce noise pollution as its fibrous and open nature of it traps sound waves that spend energy while vibrating the fibers. It is an excellent illustration of sound-absorbing.

However, mineral wool helps absorb sound. It is how vibrations are dissipated before they turn into sound waves.

Insulation does it via its open structure, whereas soundproof drywall achieves it via its viscoelastic layer. The air pockets make shocks hard to transmit via the materials.

The distinctions between the insulation and the soundproof drywall, in summary, are totally down to their construction, materials, and application.

In soundproofing work, they take very identical responsibilities, but in distinct ways. Both intend to minimize sound transmission via a building.

If possible, combine a variety of products to achieve the desired outcomes.

Bonus Tip: A layer of MLV , or a similar material can be added to increase density and dampening properties. The reflective sound barrier created by the dense but flexible material is impenetrable to sound waves.

common wall assemblies

Is the soundproofing drywall worth it?

Overall, the benefits of soundproofing drywall can outweigh the price, but it all relies on the job’s complexity, timeframe, design requirements, and labor costs.

The implications of project failure are inextricably linked to the issue of the value for money. It is typically more costly to install a partition twice as compared to doing it correctly the first time.

Using a standard double-drywall requirement rather than soundproofing drywall in simpler assemblies with mild noise control needs can save money.

When noise control needs surpass STC 55, specifying soundproofing drywall instead of numerous drywall sheets on each end of the wall might save time and money.

As the total depth of wall design could be narrower, soundproof drywall can help improve the available floor area.

Soundproofing drywall will enhance usable floor area in projects with several divisions into small spaces since each wall can be fairly thin, compared to traditional noise control solutions having multiple drywall layers on each end.

Soundproofing drywall, when properly constructed, outperforms the older methods of doubling/tripling the drywall layers.

Most significantly, it’s far more dependable than DIY methods, like manually applying a viscous compound between two drywall sheets, which necessitates a highly competent staff that won’t make any mistakes throughout construction.

Factors while deciding between ordinary and soundproofing drywall

Before concluding, there are numerous aspects to consider. Among them are:

  • The conditions for acoustic performance
  • Purchase materials with plenty of lead time
  • Timeline for completion of the project Installation labor expenses
  • Subcontractor abilities and crew members on hand
  • The total cost of ceiling assemblies and specified walls
  • Overall wall or ceiling depth (and causing leasable or usable floor areas or ceiling heights)
  • Tolerance for not meeting the acoustic performance standards
  • Total budget available
standard vs soundproofing drywall
standard vs soundproof drywall

How does soundproofing drywall contrast to regular drywall?

When all the design features are equal, soundproofing drywall would exceed a regular drywall installation by around 5 STC points. For instance, in a medical clinic, a 5 STC variation can restrict the transmission of sound sufficiently to cause annoyance or compromise privacy.

Successive layers of drywall may be used to match the soundproof drywall construction, but this would result in higher material and labor costs, a longer time of installation, and a wider overall ceiling or wall.

soundproof drywall

It isn’t only the drywall that is important!

It’s also important to know how a gypsum board for sound-dampening works as a component of a noise-control enclosure. In other words, if you select soundproofing drywall or not, this is about the overall system, not only the drywall.

When the installation and specifications meet critical design standards, ceilings and walls will satisfy acoustic quality standards. Among them are:

  • The substance used for wall framing (the size and quality of wood or metal)
  • The distance between wall studs and floor joists (16 – 24 inches)
  • Dampening materials or technologies used in between framing and building structure (e.g., decoupling clips or resilient layers and channels to stop structural reverberation)
  • The volume of the air cavity within a ceiling or wall (those having smaller air cavities perform badly)
  • The type of insulation utilized, its density, and its total depth inside the wall (size and quality matter)
  • The number of power outlets, lighting, and other openings in the ceiling/wall (the lower the better it is for the performance of acoustics)
  • Sealing apertures, uneven gaps, weak spots, flanking routes, and boundary gaps with putty and acoustic sealant.
  • The gypsum board must be installed correctly (for instance, pressed against ceiling boards or not resting over the floor)

The total result is determined by how much attention is paid to such elements during specification, design, inspection, and installation.

How expensive is soundproof drywall?

Pricing fluctuates based on your region and how far away the project is from distributors. Standard 1/2″ or 5/8″ drywall might cost anywhere from 4 to 15 times more if coming from far-off places.

types of soundproof drywall
soundproof drywall cost

Sound-dampening gypsum board is primarily available from specialized wholesalers, and it’s best to contact them for the most up-to-date pricing. If necessary, delivery and sales taxes get added to the fees too.

QuietRock 510 currently costs around $54 for each sheet of 1/2-inch thickness, 4 × 8-foot panels. In comparison, a sheet of standard 1/2-inch thicker drywall costs around $10 per panel.

It implies that for the price of one QuietRock panel, you can get nearly five sheets of normal drywall.

soundproof drywall cost
soundproof drywall cost

Soundproof Drywall: Cost of installation

Many people are concerned about the cost of installing soundproof drywall in their houses.

Soundproof drywall is an expense, costing $40+ per sheet unlike regular drywall, which costs around $10 per sheet.

To keep your home renovation costs under control, you may want to restrict the soundproof drywall to areas where noise is the most of a worry.

While ordinary drywall may be used throughout the house, soundproof drywall must be used only in bedrooms and offices.

Sound Transmission Class (STC) is a rating system for measuring the efficiency of soundproofing materials developed by home repair and construction projects.

The power loss, or the change in volume of a specific noise on each end of a wall, is indicated by a rating. 

A drywall piece with a higher STC number, and hence, a greater cost will generally be more effective at preventing sound from entering the property.

stc ratings compared
stc rating compared

Soundproofing with Multiple Drywall Layers

According to QuietRock or other soundproofing drywall solutions, a single layer provides a sound barrier equivalent to up to eight layers of normal drywall.

As a result, soundproofing can be accomplished with numerous layers of conventional drywall. Eight wallboard layers, on the other hand, would be around 4 inches thick, posing several problems:

  • Higher weight on the ceilings and walls
  • Extra cost
  • Floor space gets reduced
  • Higher costs of labor
  • The greater cost of ancillary materials with drywall tape, joint compound, etc.

Lowering Transmission of Sound through Drywalls

A unique screw created by Hkan Wernersson, a researcher at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Materials Science, lowers sound transmission through drywall by 9 decibels.

With the use of a spring mechanism, it dampens the sound. A spring is located inside the center of the split screw. The screw head retains the plasterboard using a mechanical coupling, while the screw tip fastens to a wooden support.

Practically speaking, using these unique screws allows structures to have thinner walls, which could save time, money, and space.

However, it is important to note that while drywall is frequently used in Western nations, brick walls are used in the majority of Asian dwellings, including Malaysia.

Although The Sound Screw hasn’t yet reached the international market, its firm Akoustos already offers it in Sweden, and his team is interested in licensing it for the international market shortly.

Conclusion

If the sound transmission is a major concern for you, the extra cost may be well worth the expenditure, especially if you value silence. Installing soundproofing drywall could be an ideal decision.

Look for soundproofing treatments that can be applied over soundproof drywall. They’re a form of glue that absorbs vibrations and increases STC.

Installing sound absorption boards, that absorb sound before it reaches the wall, is another option.