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If you’re remodeling a home or office, or building from scratch, using the right materials and designs to keep out noise is a huge consideration. So is your budget. To make the best decisions, it helps to understand some of the properties about walls and how they absorb sound.

The Green Glue Company conducted a series of noise tests on dozens of walls in different configurations. We asked ourselves some of the same questions that homeowners and builders have during construction, such as:

  • Will adding an extra drywall significantly noiseproof a room?
  • Does adding resilient channel or using viscoelastic damping compound absorb a significant amount of sound?
  • Which walls work best at absorbing low frequency sounds?

Our laboratory testing was conducted using recognized standards and protocols, and they revealed some important insights about what makes a difference in isolating noise.

Adding Walls Doesn’t Add Up.

The first thing our testing revealed was that simply adding mass to a common wood stud wall is an inefficient way of improving wall performance. In our testing, adding an extra layer of drywall to a single panel wall or to a conventional single-wood-stud wall had virtually no effect whatsoever on absorption properties.

Resilient Mounts Questionable.

Adding resilient mounts to a wall changes the low-frequency resonance of walls, and this has a corresponding change in absorption properties. Interestingly, however, this change is not always beneficial when dealing with low frequencies.

Viscoelastic Damping Offers Benefits.

Our testing netted positive results when adding viscoelastic damping to a wall. It offered a broad range of sound absorption properties without affecting in-room acoustics or other sound isolation tradeoffs.

Walls That Work Best.

Based on our testing, the best walls for low frequency sound absorption are staggered or double wood stud walls. Both provide a broad range of effective sound absorption.

For more information about our sound absorption properties testing, click here.