A resilient channel is a "Z" shaped
length of steel that is designed to stop the transfer of
general vibrations through the structure. The best uses
are for ceilings or walls where there is already a large
Examples could include footsteps from above, a rock band
on the opposite wall with speakers nearby, or trains within
100 feet where they rumble the ground.
Resilient channels can be hard to install correctly. When installed incorrectly it does very little to stop noise. Some new styles of resilient channel are available that are more foolproof to install. More expensive, but better unless you really know how to install resilient channel correctly.
Frequently called Mass Loaded Vinyl
(MLV), these materials certainly have their place and
can be used in many different ways to stop the transfer
of noise. Sometimes this is described as a panacea (cure
all - solve all) and it is not.
Always remember the principle of mass: if it does not weigh much it will not stop much. Also realize that adding together several high mass layers does not necessarily add up to a great improvement.
So, be careful that you are getting the correct type of
noise treatment described earlier.
Stuffing the walls with insulation is bad. You are taking
out the air that is helpful in insulating and stopping
Using the pink stuff is easiest and economical. It works
okay. Most insulation does very little to help noise reduction.
What does work well is sprayed-on cellulose.
This can actually be very good at insulating, reducing
sealing the wall. The cost is higher, but worth it if you
have a really heavy noise problem you are dealing with.
Many companies doing this can even give you the STC ratings
(always a good sign) of the cellulose.
Sealing the holes can be important,
as the electrical plugs, pipes exiting the walls, or
any “hole” put
through the wall, can hurt you.
Uses about a 1/8 inch sheet of lead glued to one side of
the sheetrock and installed with the lead facing the
This is an excellent noise reducer, but can cost $125-250
per piece of sheetrock. You will want to use #2 lead (which
means it weighs 2 pounds per square foot) on the sheetrock.
While you should be cautious while handling lead, it is
not dangerous or a problem having it in your walls.
If the noise problem involves stopping noise from coming through windows, then the windows are more of a problem than the walls are. Simply replacing your windows with newer dual pane windows will NOT help much. A second window is always required to get a significant improvement in noise reduction. Look in the links
section for recommended companies.
Be careful. Most window companies think that whatever there best window is,
that will help the most to stop your noise. They all think they are experts on
soundproofing and most do not understand as much as you have already learned
Wall plugs are custom constructed
thick “plugs” that
are stuffed into your window opening. They block out all
the light, but hopefully block noise too. Unless they seal
very well they will not work well.
The wall plugs are an inexpensive way to reduce the noise
a little bit. I have not seen any STC reports to substantiate
their benefit. I would guess about a 20-40% human ear perception
noise reduction, but how they are constructed would make
a huge difference in the effectiveness.
For a temporary situation, as an example, where a renter
that cannot add a soundproofing window, or for those who
cannot afford $400 to $600 per window to soundproof the
windows, it is a viable alternative.
As a temporary situation, buy some sheetrock and nail
or screw it over the window and make sure there is a good
seal, and you will achieve a quick and low cost alternative.
There are some companies that attach a piece of plastic
to your existing window with magnets or Velcro and call
it a noise reduction window. It is not. The seal is usually
poor and there is no mass and usually very little air
Most of these types started as an insulation solution
and when people said they also made it quieter, these companies
started selling them to stop noise. They usually stop from
5% to maybe 35% of the noise(35% if they do everything
right and all is ideal).
Never expect much noise reduction unless the panel tightly
seals and uses laminated glass.
Continue by clicking on soundproofing.