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What is a Resilient Channel?

By B. Turner
Updated May 16, 2024
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Resilient channel is a type of construction material used to reduce sound transmission through walls and ceilings. Sound waves travel best through a solid material, so creating an air cavity between different types of materials can slow or stop these waves and reduce sound levels. Resilient channel consists of sheet metal studs that can be used to create a barrier between drywall and building framing. By reducing sound transmission, these channels can help maintain quiet and privacy in an office setting, or reduce street noise within the home.

Before installing resilient channel, users must complete building framing using any traditional framing method. This framing may consist of wooden or metal studs, depending on the preferences of the user. Next, the channels are secured to the walls so that they run perpendicular to the studs. Finally, regular drywall is secured to the resilient channel to create a smooth, sound-resistant wall.

In order to increase the sound resistance of walls constructed with resilient channel, builders may use special sound-isolating clips to fasten the channels to the studs. They may also choose sound board to replace standard drywall. Adding additional insulation within the wall framing can further reduce sound transmission.

Resilient channel is most effective at blocking sound when used according to manufacturers' specifications. Generally, this includes making sure that no screws pass through the drywall and enter the wall framing. This also includes making proper transitions at floors and ceilings to minimize paths where sound could travel.

One drawback to using this technique is the resulting loss of space within the room. For example, these channels can increase the thickness of the wall by as much as 1 inch (2.54 cm), leading to less usable floor space. Resilient channel can also be hard for novice users to install correctly without assistance. Even when installed perfectly, it still offers a fairly low level of improvement in sound transmission.

Different types of channel installations provide varying levels of sound transmission reduction. Buyers can compare the effectiveness of channels by using the sound transmission coefficient (STC) rating. The higher the STC rating, the more sound proof the wall will be. Some manufacturers claim that their resilient channel products improve the STC rating of a wall by as much as eight to 14 points. Others may claim an improvement of just three to five points. For maximum reduction of sound transmission, builders should choose a product that increases STC rating by the greatest possible amount.

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