It seems like, these days, more folks are aware of the need for soundproofing than ever — a few barking dogs and chatty children in the other room while you’re in a Zoom meeting will have that effect. While your wall joints aren’t your only consideration when your next job calls for soundproofing, a gap like the one in a head-of-wall joint is going to be a huge weak point for sound transmission. Along with preventing the spread of smoke and fire, soundproofing wall joints matters.
And that’s why we couldn’t be more excited when, back in May, we rolled out the most advanced drywall accessory for soundproofing out there, Sound Gasket.
In the past, we’ve given you some general overviews on what Sounds Gasket is and why it’s so much more advanced than traditional acoustical sealants. Today, let’s dig deeper into the facts and figures for Sound Gasket, and Trim-Tex’s entire family of fire and sound rated drywall accessories, and what those mean when it comes to soundproofing wall joints.
STC Ratings and Code Compliance
We measure much of a material’s ability to prevent the passage of sound through gaps like those in a head-of-wall joint by its Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating. This rating, according the experts at STCRating.com, is “a single-number rating of a material's or an assembly's ability to resist airborne sound transfer at the frequencies 125-4000 Hz.”
When we talk about STC ratings, we’re primarily talking about preventing noises like speech — that’s usually what falls into that 125-4000 Hz range. The rating is less of an effective standard for low-frequency noise, like the kind you’d get from bass-heavy music or something like heavy mechanical equipment.
The Uniform Building Code (UBC) specifically requires an STC rating of 50 for the wall assemblies of Group-R occupancies like condos, hotels and apartment buildings. Sometimes, though, especially when it comes to commercial buildings, a code compliant assembly’s capacity for noise reduction gets short shrift to other considerations. But rest assured that, even where inspectors aren’t strict about noise reduction, a contractors’ customers certainly are. Home and building occupants are going to notice pretty fast if their walls aren’t up to snuff for sound transmission.
Breaking New Ground by Soundproofing Wall Joints with Drywall Accessories
Just as soundproofing should be top-of-mind for drywallers, it was definitely top-of-mind for Trim-Tex when we designed our code compliant drywall accessories.
Beyond Sound Gasket, our dedicated soundproofing solution, nearly all our fire rated drywall accessories are designed for noise reduction as well, including Fire Bead, Fire Gasket and Hotrod XL. All these provide the same (or better) STC ratings as acoustical caulk.
But let’s get more specific. On a standard wall, with single 3 5/8" unbalanced studs (the standard for lab testing by the authority on sound transmission testing, ASTM), using Fire Bead, Hotrod XL or most acoustical sealants in the joints, you’ll achieve a sound rating of 50 STC. On the same wall and studs, Fire Gasket and Sound Gasket can get you a rating of 51 STC. (On a wall installed with resilient channel, Hotrod XL provides an STC rating of 55.) Balance those studs or double them up, and these numbers only go higher from there — Sound Gasket can provide up to 68 STC. All of our code compliance solutions have been thoroughly sound tested according to ASTM E90-09.
Even if Sound Gasket provided the same STC rating as traditional acoustical caulk, rather than a higher one, it would still beat out sealants for one important reason: longevity. Acoustical sealants and sprays start to cure after they’re applied, and never quite stop curing, so eventually, they’ll begin to shrink, harden, crack or all three. You won’t typically see a sealant with a performance warranty longer than a couple years.
Compare that to Sound Gasket, which will retain the same level of soundproofing for the wall assembly’s entire lifetime. That bubble gasket along its vinyl profile is flexible and stays that way, providing a perfect, unbreakable seal within your wall joint, as well as giving your wall a full inch of movement. It’s installed easily and quickly in both concrete and pan/fluted deck assemblies, and can be inspected that same day.
Add up all these advantages, and you can see we’re not just blowing smoke: you’re looking at the most advanced solution for soundproofing wall joints you can get.
Get your hands on this innovative sound rated solution by finding a dealer near you, or you can request a sample to get a peek at Sound Gasket for free by following the button below.