Three Ways to Soundproof a Stud Wall
Building a stud wall comes with many challenges, but one of the biggest is soundproofing. Making sure the wall provides adequate sound protection can be the difference for clients. In this article, we look at some of the most popular methods for ensuring stud walls provide the soundproofing qualities required for modern living.
It’s worth noting here that it’s much easier to build a soundproof internal wall than to add soundproofing to existing walls. As metal stud wall suppliers, this guide has been created with a new build in mind, but there are certain points that can be applied to existing structures.
Understanding How Sound Travels Through Walls
First of all, it helps to understand what’s happening and why when noise passes through walls.
Sound waves travel through the air, but they’re really a form of energy, which we can feel as vibrations. When these sounds come into contact with a wall, they cause minute vibrations on the surface. If the wall isn’t completely soundproofed, those vibrations will squirm through to the other side and return to the air.
The transition of sound through a solid structure like a wall distorts the waves slightly, resulting in that muffled sound. In stud walls that haven’t been adequately soundproofed or insulated, the space inside can echo the sound, which can potentially amplify noise. Therefore, soundproofing is crucial.
Minimum Requirements for Soundproofing Stud Walls
All internal stud walls in the UK must have soundproofing up to 40 decibels (dB) to comply with regulations.
It’s worth noting that 40 decibels isn’t a particularly high bar when it comes to sound. A library is a common example of the kind of noise levels 40dB involves. Soundproofing to this minimum requirement wouldn’t be enough to stop bird calls or even noises from household appliances like fridges from passing through.
Because the minimum requirements are so low, many people want additional soundproofing for their stud wall. There are various options available, which we go through below - using a combination of these can deliver excellent soundproofing.
Acoustic plasterboard is a great choice for stud walls where soundproofing is important, and can even be considered for existing walls. This form of plasterboard is no thicker than traditional alternatives, but is simply denser, which stops sound waves and vibrations from passing through as freely.
As the size is not different to regular plasterboard, an acoustic alternative can be effective at reducing the transfer of sound while not taking up any extra space.
Acoustic plasterboard can either be installed on its own to add another layer of soundproofing to a structure or can be incorporated alongside other soundproofing measures.
If you’re building a stud wall from scratch, you have a few options when it comes to improving sound protection, including isolating the studs themselves.
Looking at the science of sound at the beginning of this article, you can probably guess that the studs themselves are a great channel for sound vibrations to pass through. To stop that movement, you can build with isolated and alternative studs that don’t stretch from one end to the other. Building the wall like this helps to stop that movement from one side to the other.
An alternative to isolated studs is to simply create two separate stud walls in the same area. While doubling-up certainly cuts sound, it does take up more space, so other methods are often more beneficial.
One of the best ways you can improve the acoustic protection of a stud wall is by adding mass. Similar to the acoustic plasterboard above, a denser, more solid wall will be harder for sound waves to pass through.
Insulation is the number one way to add density to a stud wall. Ensure there are no empty cavities by filling the spaces with as much insulation as possible to ensure no space for sound to travel freely.
What Insulation is Best for Soundproofing?
Insulation in itself is good at soundproofing. However, there are specific types of insulation designed specifically for eliminating sound that you should consider.
Acoustic partition rolls (APRs) are a common favourite, thanks to their easy storage and high quality. Most acoustic rolls are designed to fit between common stud partitions, making them easy to install in most builds.
You can also purchase solid insulation slabs for stud walls. These products tend to offer a higher degree of soundproofing as they’re denser, but they are also more challenging to handle and transport. In most home circumstances, an acoustic roll will do the job fine, especially when combined with things like acoustic plasterboard.
Here at Fastbuild, we supply a variety of stud wall and soundproofing products. With a wide range of brands all at competitive trade prices, why not take a look today?