Yes, you can soundproof a stud wall, but to soundproof a stud wall properly, you need to follow some solid soundproofing theory. Luckily, it’s simple to soundproof a stud wall (when you know how) and not expensive if you have a tight budget!
To soundproof a brick wall, you need to add mass, acoustic insulation for absorption, and a decoupling device. Why do you need to do all this? Because these three elements are what make any partition truly soundproof – it’s the soundproofing holy trinity.
How stud soundproofing works
See how stud soundproofing works with the interactive image below. Each material resists sound in a different way and gives you the best reduction.
Real stud wall soundproofing
Real stud wall soundproofing has all three of the core elements; mass, absorption and decoupling. To achieve this, we use a MuteClip soundproofing frame that screws onto your stud wall. This is slimline and will give you the best soundproofing for the space used!
You can see below how the stud walls are filled with acoustic-grade insulation first. Over this, we can fix the MuteClip and channels into place. These channels are then able to support the soundproof panels that are directly screwed into them.
MuteClip Double Silver
Why add mass to a stud wall?
Stud walls naturally have a low mass, and this is bad for soundproofing! High mass materials are able to reflect away airborne noises like TV or people talking (your noisy neighbours). We add mass with soundproof panels and these prevent sound from escaping or getting in (and you don’t need them on both sides!).
Why do we add acoustic insulation to stud walls?
We add acoustic insulation to stud walls to control something called the drum effect. The drum effect is when sound enters the cavity spaces between the stud work and then bounces around. This reverberation of noise inside your wall will actually amplify the original noise.
It’s a bit like talking out loud and then talking down a hollow tube. Down the tube, your voice is louder (and fuzzy!). Your stud wall is effectively one big speaker because there is so much cavity space. We fill it with acoustic-grade mineral wool to stop the drum effect in its tracks.
Why do we decouple your stud soundproofing wall?
We decouple your stud soundproofing wall to make it much harder for sound to travel from one material directly into the next. By creating a physical space between your existing stud wall and the new soundproofing panels, sound cannot easily travel through the materials.
We use MuteClips to decouple a stud wall and these massively reduce the surface area in contact and give you the best soundproofing for the space used. Happy days!
Can I just use plasterboard to soundproof a stud wall?
No, you can’t just use a layer of acoustic plasterboard to soundproof your stud wall. This will only increase mass (slightly) but not include absorption or a decoupling device. The most paired-back solution we use has 4 different layers to it!
This system, made from MuteBoard 3 and Tecsound, is only used if space is a real constraint. It can’t block as much noise as even the bronze MuteClip system and costs around £20 more per m2! This system is 35mm thick, which is why it costs a lot more for less sound blocked; reducing noise in such a small space is very difficult.
Can I soundproof my stud wall without removing the drywall?
No! You can’t soundproof a stud wall without removing the original plasterboard (drywall). If you don’t remove it, you can’t treat the cavity with acoustic insulation. Without installing acoustic insulation, your soundproofing will not be effective as you’re missing one of the three core soundproofing rules.
As much as it seems like extra effort, standard plasterboard is not as good as acoustic plasterboard for sound reduction. It will only make your wall even thicker and your soundproofing far less effective.
Can I inject foam into stud walls for soundproofing?
No, don’t inject foam into your stud wall to soundproof it! Soundproofing foam is, sadly, a myth and best avoided. Spray foam does not have good soundproofing qualities as it has a low mass and is an inflexible material. These characteristics actually make it a good conductor of sound, so steer clear!
Instead, remove the existing plasterboard from your stud wall and replace it with acoustic insulation (Rockwool). This has a mass of 45kg m3 or more and is an acoustic-grade solution with excellent results.