Install More Drywall To Make Your Home Quieter — Sun Sentinel

Install More Drywall To Make Your Home Quieter - Sun Sentinel

Install More Drywall To Make Your Home Quieter

October 8, 2006 | By Morris and James Carey

Privacy and quiet are becoming more and more rare around many homes.

In the days when the interior walls of most homes were constructed of large studs, and covered with wood lath and several layers of plaster, noise was less of an issue. Walls and floors prevent sound waves from moving from room to room. However, the interior walls in most modern homes consist of nothing more than a 2-inch-by-4-inch stud (the 4-inch side actually measures 31/2 inches) covered with one layer of 1/2-inch drywall on either side.

Controlling noise between floors can be a daunting task. The most effective solution is to increase the density of the material between floors; one of the simplest ways is with a thicker carpet and pad upstairs.

If you’ve tried that trick, your best bet is to install a resilient channel (RC) along with a layer of 5/8-inch drywall on the ceiling downstairs. RC is a Z-shaped metal channel acoustically engineered to reduce vibration and the transfer of noise. It can be attached with drywall screws right over an existing drywall or plaster ceiling. The channel is applied perpendicular to the ceiling framing and should be screwed into the framing.

Keep in mind that light boxes, heat registers and other ceiling-mounted devices must be extended to align with the new ceiling surface. And, needless to say, the new drywall will need to be finished and painted.

Because of the complexity of this project, you may want to hire a professional drywall contractor. We are hard-pressed to think of a task that requires more physical stamina than hanging those monstrous sheets of wallboard overhead.

Reducing noise from room to room similarly involves increasing the density or thickness of the material separating the spaces. Adding one layer of 5/8-inch drywall can have a profound impact. Adding a layer to both sides of a wall can make it virtually soundproof.

A new layer of drywall is attached to the framing through the existing wallboard with drywall screws and/or construction adhesive. The drywall must then be finished and painted, paneled or papered. Again, if you’d rather be sailing, then a drywall contractor can help.

As with the ceiling scenario, electrical outlets, switches, and other mechanical components and finishes will need to be extended. Electrical box extenders are inexpensive and available at hardware stores or home centers. Crown mold, baseboard, and window and door trim may also need to be replaced.

If you do the work yourself, there are a few tricks that make the job go easier.

Essentially, hanging drywall is like putting a puzzle together. In most cases, the panels are installed with the long side running horizontally, perpendicular to the wall studs. Ceiling panels are installed perpendicular to the ceiling joist.

If the wall or ceiling is framed with proper spacing (typically 16 inches or 24 inches on center), the end of each panel should align with the center of a stud or joist. Thus, there will be ample bearing for fastening nails or screws. In addition, joints are staggered to provide maximum strength and prevent cracks.

There is method to the madness of hanging drywall. Ceiling material is hung first and wall material follows. This allows for a neat corner configuration, which makes finishing easier. It also allows the wall panels to reach down to the floor, leaving only a small gap.

Since most homes have 8-foot ceilings, two panels (one above the other) cover the wall from floor to ceiling.

What do you do if the ceiling is higher than 8 feet? Here’s what the pros do: Rather than hanging two full sheets high and adding a partial strip at the bottom, they hang one strip in the center with one full sheet above and one below. That places the joints at a comfortable working height.Don’t take short cuts.

Hiring a pro to tape and finish the job not only will give you professional results but also can make even the poorest installation job look super.

For more home improvement tips and information, visit or call 800-737-2474, ext 59.

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