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How to Soundproof a Stud Wall

How to soundproof a stud wall to reduce sounds generated in common domestic situations, conversation, TVs, music and computer games. Increase the sound insulation between rooms in your home by soundproofing the stud walls that separate one room from another, soundproofing stud walls will also reduce noise from toilets, showers and noisy boilers that are normally situated near bedrooms.

Typical stud walls are constructed of a timber or metal frame that has plasterboard attached to either side; some stud walls will be insulated with a low density thermal insulation quilt. This type of construction will offer very little resistance to the passage of sound, successfully soundproof stud walls using the following methods below, increasing the mass of the wall and create separation to stop sound passing between rooms through the walls.

Soundproof a Stud Wall by Removing Existing Plasterboard

For the best level of soundproofing for an existing stud wall you should remove the existing plasterboard from one side of the wall. This will leave the cavity between the studs exposed, infill between the studs with high density acoustic insulation slabs. The depth of the existing stud will determine which thickness to use; this will normally range between 50-100mm for most stud walls. Once the stud is filled with the insulation fix soundbreaker bars to the stud work, attach horizontally across vertical studs using wood or dry wall screws, the bars should be spaced at around 600mm centres. The wall should be finished using either specialist soundproofing panels or two layers of acoustic plasterboard, use an acoustic sealant to fill all edges and joins of the boards.

Materials Required

Fitting

  • Remove any surface mounted items from the wall, coving, skirting board, dado rails and electrical points. Once the installation is complete these can all be attached back onto the wall.
  • Remove the plasterboard from one side of the wall, for optimum results remove the plasterboard from the side of the wall were the noise is coming from, make sure that any nails and screws are also removed from the studs.
  • Infill the exposed cavity of the stud wall with DFM acoustic insulation, slab thicknesses can vary to suit the depth of the existing frame work; most stud walls are constructed using timber battens between 75-100mm thick. Cut the DFM slabs with a hand saw to tightly fit, cut them slightly larger than the opening to ensure a tight fit, the slabs will friction fit so you will not need additional fixings to hold it in place.
  • Once the cavity has been filled with acoustic insulation attach the soundbreaker bars to the stud. Bars should be fixed using wood or dry wall screws. The bars should be fixed at 600mm centres horizontally across vertical studs, using wood or dry wall screws. Screw the bars into the studs by screwing through the pre-drilled holes that run along one edge of the soundbreaker bars. The wider corrugated flange should be facing out into the room with the holes at the bottom.
  • You are now ready to fix the plasterboard or acoustic panels to the bars, always use dry wall or wood screws to fasten to the bars. Ensure that all edges and joins of the boards are sealed with an acoustic sealant; seal the perimeter of the wall with the acoustic sealant.
  • You can extend electrical cables through the wall by cutting a hole for the cable to pass through, use sealant to seal the hole afterwards.
  • Finish the wall by plastering and aattaching the wall furniture that was removed to complete the installation. You can hang pictures and mirrors on the wall; we do not recommend drilling into the wall to hang heavy objects as this can reduce the effectiveness of the soundproofing.
Flanking Noise

When you are considering any wall soundproofing solution you should also consider flanking noise. Noise that transfers through a building through voids such as floor and ceiling cavities between the joists, Sound will not only transfer directly through a wall it will find weaker points and easily pass between rooms through these areas. The best method for stopping flanking noise is to insulate between floor and ceiling joists, insert DFM acoustic insulation against the wall between the joists, filling the depth of the cavity and coming into the room about 600mm. This will block and absorb any sound that will transfer over or under your wall. We recommend that you use 100mm 80kg/m³ DFM for this.

Alternative Stud Wall Soundproofing Method

If you do not want to go to the extent of removing the existing plasterboard you can increase the sound insulation of a stud wall by using direct to wall soundproofing panels. Applying this type of panel over the existing plasterboard will help reduce airborne noises passing between rooms. Insulate a wall that does not require high levels of noise control the thin wall panels are quick and easy to install, and the level of noise they will reduce will mean poorly insulated stud walls should give you an additional level of privacy in your home.

Key Points
  • Use thin direct to wall panels to stop general domestic sounds through walls or if you have limited space to lose but need to increase the level of sound insulation of your walls.
  • High levels of soundproofing will be achieved by using different combinations of products; wall soundproofing kits will offer the highest level of noise control.
  • Consider building a new wall with a 25mm gap from the existing wall for extra separation.
  • A complete wall soundproofing solution would include treating the problem of flanking noise.
  • Increasing the mass and creating separation is the only way to reduce airborne and impact noise through a wall.
  • Light weight foams or egg boxes will not soundproof a wall.

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