Are Resilient Channels Worth It?
With basements being finished and used for everything from media rooms to guest suites to home offices, it’s no wonder that one of the most popular upgrades added is sound insulation. After all, what will your coworkers think if all they can hear on your Zoom meeting is what sounds like a herd of buffalo stampeding above your head (your office just so happens to be underneath the kitchen, where “school” is in session). Many types of material can be used to insulate walls and ceiling for sound dampening, one of the most effective being resilient channels (commonly referred to as RC channel).
What is a Resilient Channel?
RC channel is made from thin, flexible strips of metal–typically steel–and is designed to fasten directly to the studs. The RC strips are installed perpendicular to the studs, and drywall is then attached directly to the RC channel instead of fastening to the plywood studs. This process decouples the drywall from the wall studs, creating a pocket of air, and forming a gap in the path sound waves take.
Do Resilient Channels Work?
Physics is real, and RC channel used as a sound dampening device is based on those real properties. As long as the RC channels and drywall are installed correctly, they really do work to dampen sound from surrounding areas by not allowing sound waves or vibrations to pass from studs to drywall.
Advantages of Resilient Channels:
- Practical and affordable
Installing RC channel can be easily done at the time of basement finish or remodel, and is not cost-prohibitive or time-intensive.
- High STC rating
Sound Transmission Class ratings determine the ways in which various materials reduce sound waves. RC channel has a high STC rating.
Resilient Channel Caution:
- Possibility of short circuit
If not properly installed – meaning, if a screw meant to fasten a drywall sheet to the RC channel penetrates through a stud–then the entire decoupling process is short-circuited, rendering the insulative properties non-effectual. Hiring a professional may be your best bet for this job to ensure that installation is correct.