How To Save On Sound Proof Plasterboard
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Don't Waste Money

Find out if sound proof plasterboard, is going to be effective for your project. Sound proof plasterboard, or sound check, (various names are used from company to company), is a lot more expensive than normal plasterboard.

We see time and time again customers using sound check in applications where no significant benefit is achieved. This is just a waste of money.

This page is specially intended to assist the home owner or builder decided if using sound check is viable, or, will normal plaster be just as effective.

Home designs have become oriented toward entertainment, by providing large open plan areas, home entertainment systems, rumpus rooms for the kids etc. It is understandable that home owners want to reduce the effects of sound from one living area to another. Often this just can't be achieved due to the house design.

Proper sound reduction requires careful planning, knowledge of exactly what you want to achieve. Rather than just using a product that costs a lot more and hoping it helps.

Sound Transmission Facts

Sound Transmission is by sound waves, (everyone who went to school knows that). Consider this, most children know that joining 2 cans with a piece of string, will allow them to talk to each other over a long distance, by one talking into the can and the other listening. We know the reason for this is, sound waves travel along the string and are amplified at the other end by a hollow can. Sound transmits through a building in much the same way.

Each room in a home acts like the "can". Open space, studs, ceiling joist and plasterboard act like the "string".

To prevent sound transmission you need to cut the string, close the open space, or, make the string denser which will reduce the sound transmission.

Reducing Sound Transmission

There are 3 key words to reducing sound transmission. ISOLATION, DENSITY, ABSORPTION.

Unit developers are using Boral Shaft Wall, with great results, for sound proofing from one unit to the other. The reason shaft wall is so effective is that, there are 2 stud walls independent of each other, (ISOLATION), with the 20mm thick, shaft wall running between them, (DENSITY. The cavity is then filled with insulation, (ABSORPTION). This system "cuts the string" by limiting contact of framing from one unit to the other and providing density with the shaft wall liner to reduce sound transmission.

A 2 storey home with open living areas downstairs, is always going to be subjected to high sound transmission from upstairs to downstairs and visa versa. The major areas of sound transmission, is via the void in the stair well. Regardless of how many layers of plasterboard, or, the type of plasterboard you use on the ceilings, you will still have sound transmission through the voids.
Isolation can't be achieved. Therefore benefit of spending extra money on the other key areas, density, (plasterboard, or, absorption, (insulation), is reduced.

If you wanted to reduce sound into or out of a room, that can be isolated, like a study or main bedroom. Then spending money on affective methods will be worthwhile.

To isolate a room from the other areas, you need to "break the string", by providing a break in sound transmission. The most effective way to achieve this is to use an ISOLATION CLIP. Isolation clips are used with furring channel to create a break in sound transmission between rooms. There it is no difference keeping between keeping sound out or keeping sound in. Therefore is only necessary to sound proof the internal walls and ceiling of the room you wish to isolate.

Isolation, or, Resilient clips, are used in conjunctions with high density plasterboard and insulation, to provide sound proofing between rooms. Plasterboard manufacturers have reduced the density of their products over the years to provide a lighter plasterboard. This has reduced the performance of "standard" plasterboard as a sound inhibitor. Therefore they have to make a higher density product for sound applications, (at a lot higher cost per m2), than standard board. I suggest that you compare the price to benefit of various high desity plasterboards such as 13mm or 16mm fire rated board to that of special sound product that the manufaturers add a premium to.

Other factors that help reduce sound transmission

  • Carpet floor coverings.
  • Heavy material drapes.
  • Cloth covered furniture.
  • Double glazed windows.
Use sound absorbing materials where you can.

Green glue is another sound proofing alternative and really worth looking at. We have used this product on quite a few projects where other products can't be used for various reasons. Green Glue Company

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