What Is A Resilient Channel
Let’s begin by explaining what exactly resilient channels are and how they function.
Resilient channels were first introduced to the US market in the 60s as an inexpensive and effective soundproofing material.
They become very popular and widely used quite quickly because they were much superior in comparison to other materials for sound insulation available on the market at the time.
Resilient channels are especially useful when it comes to soundproofing buildings with a lot of rooms or apartments, but they are commonly used in houses as well.
They consist of thin metal or non-corrosive steel and are specifically designed to improve sound insulation.
The STC rating of resilient channels is very high according to many sound laboratory tests and analyses.
The only problem is the fact that the results of many of these tests are a bit outdated and not all manufacturers make resilient channels with a high STC rating today, unlike the manufacturers back in the 60s and 70s.
Resilient channels are usually used for soundproofing drywalls, ceilings and plasterboard walls. They function by isolating the drywall from the studwork and this affects sound waves and weakens them significantly.
Their effectiveness can be greatly improved by adding another soundproofing material, such as a sound attenuation blanket, although there is no doubt that they can dampen the sound on their own as well.
Do Resilient Channels Work?
Resilient channels are not popular without a good reason. They certainly are a very effective soundproofing material despite some of their minor disadvantages.
There are some companies that produce resilient channels of great quality and they have recent lab test results to prove it, you just have to do a bit of research and find someone who’s trustworthy.
Don’t just go to your local store and expect to find a perfectly good channel, you have to put in a bit of effort.
Still, you have to keep in mind the fact that these resilient channels might cost a bit more than you may expect.
Since there are many resilient channels of quite questionable quality on the market, the few manufacturers that do produce resilient channels of high quality have to raise their prices a little bit, which is to be expected.
1. They are very practical and affordable
Resilient channels are very affordable and if you choose wisely, their performance will be more than effective for the price.
While they may not be the best choice for sound insulation of your house, they are a great choice for hotel rooms or apartment buildings, for instance.
It costs a lot to construct all the adjoining walls of hotel rooms/apartments and this is the exact situation where resilient channels can be a great solution.
They will provide some solid soundproofing for a large number of apartments or rooms.
2. They have a high STC rating
A good resilient channel can have an STC rating as high as 65. This is incredibly high and it’s the exact reason for such popularity of resilient channels.
You just have to make sure that the company that claims that the STC rating of their resilient channel is that high has the appropriate proof for such claims.
If they do have proof, then you should not think twice before getting a resilient channel from them.
However, please make sure not to make any mistakes while installing your resilient channel, because those mistakes can be fatal and can terribly affect the STC rating of a perfectly good channel.
What’s Wrong With Resilient Channels?
There is a number of things wrong with the performance of resilient channels and this number just keeps growing as time goes by.
1. Their quality has dropped tremendously
The main and biggest problem with resilient channels is the fact that they are not the same as they used to be a few decades ago.
When they were first introduced to the US market, they were consistently tested and analyzed in Riverbank Acoustical Labs.
The results of the tests were quite impressive, the STC rating was very high, and, all in all, resilient channels were a very good choice if you wanted to do some soundproofing.
Still, the problem appeared when many different manufacturers started to produce resilient channels and kept claiming that it has the same characteristics as the previous resilient channels, which was far from the truth.
The fact is that most of the resilient channels produced today are of much lower quality than their predecessors and this is not a very well known fact among the general population.
So, due to lack of information, resilient channels remain popular, but that is something that is bound to change.
2. There is a possibility of a short circuit
On construction plans, resilient channels are mostly drawn upside down. This increases the possibility of a short circuit happening because the resilient channel can be installed improperly.
The weight of the drywall can push the resilient channel into the studs when the exact opposite should happen. The end result is a short circuit and terrible sound insulation.
Another place where this can happen is in houses that have a lot of housing made of green wood. Green wood quickly dries after it’s been installed and this drying process can affect the framing.
In circumstances such as these, there is a high possibility of a resilient channel coming into contact with the rest of the elements. Again, a short circuit occurs and the sound insulation is ruined.
How To Install A Resilient Channel
The performance of a resilient channel largely depends on whether it’s installed properly. If you don’t have a lot of experience in this kind of work, it would probably be the best choice to hire a professional to do the job.
You can unnecessarily spend a lot more money by trying to do this yourself than you would by hiring an expert to do this and you might create an even bigger problem.
Believe me when I tell you that installing a resilient channel is no easy task.
Still, if you’re up for a challenge or you do have a lot of experience so you decide to do it yourself, I advise you to keep a couple of important things in mind.
I will provide you with an example of drywall sound insulation using a resilient channel and I will guide you through it.
- First of all, the drywall needs to be removed. If you don’t wish to remove the entire drywall, you can simply make large openings in the drywall panels.
- The next thing you have to do is apply an absorbent mat on the inside of joints and studding.This will enable you to screw the channel onto the strips.
- You will need to use special drywall screws for this project. Keep in mind that you cannot allow the screws to come in contact with the base support of the resilient channel, which can easily happen if you don’t pay enough attention.
- Also, make sure that the screws are not too tight.
- Once you’re done with all of that, it’s time to put drywall on. You’ll need longer screws for this.
- Again, you have to make sure not to screw into the resilient channel, just screw into the first layer of material.
- Finally, it’s time to bring your project to an end. In order to do this, you should use some kind of an absorbent closed cell material to coat the drywall panels
- This will contribute to sound insulation more than you may believe, so it’s very important not to skip this step.
- You can also add a sound barrier material to the wall.
As you can see, it’s a lot of complicated work, so think carefully before you decide whether you want to do this yourself or hire someone to do it for you.
Should Resilient Channels Become A Thing Of The Past?
Now that you know all there is to know about resilient channels, you’ve probably made up your mind about whether you’ll ever use them or not.
My personal opinion is that while resilient channels do have some considerable advantages, those advantages are still not enough to make them my soundproofing material of choice.
Still, it all depends on the circumstances.
If you work in construction and have to make a lot of soundproof walls for the lowest possible price, then resilient channels are definitely a good choice for your situation.