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Use sound judgment. Building acoustics.

A building’s acoustics can have a large impact on the well-being, happiness, and productivity of its occupants.

Simply speaking, any sound that is unwanted, or in excess, is "noise." CertainTeed Building Science investigates sound paths to understand sound's sources and modes of transmission.

There are two types of sound paths: airborne sound and structure-borne sound. Airborne sound is directly transmitted from a source into the air. All sound that reaches your ear is airborne. Some examples of airborne sound are passing traffic, music or voices from an adjacent room, or the noise from machinery and aircraft.

Structure-borne sound, also known as "impact noise," is sound that travels through solid building materials such as footsteps on floors, door slams, plumbing and mechanical equipment vibrations, and the impact of rain and weather on a building.

Some practical sound control techniques that will improve the airborne sound transmission resistance of wall and floor-ceiling assemblies include:

  • Constructing partition walls with lightweight steel framing instead of wood studs.
  • Adding sound absorbing fiberglass insulation to wall and ceiling cavities.
  • Constructing airtight building assemblies by sealing around windows and doors, as well as any penetration through the assembly. Sound energy will always find the holes and take the path of least resistance.
  • Structurally breaking the tie between finished drywall surfaces and wood framing using resilient channel or acoustically engineered gypsum board.

Some practical sound control techniques that will reduce impact sound transmission through floor-ceiling assemblies include:

  • Installing thick carpeting and padding.
  • Structurally disconnecting floors and ceilings with resilient underlayments and isolated suspended ceiling systems.
  • Isolating plumbing and electrical conduits from structures with resilient pads and hangers.

Improve the acoustical performance of room spaces using solutions that include:

  • Suspending sound absorbing acoustical ceiling tile systems.
  • Installing carpeting in open plan spaces to cover hard surfaces.
  • Installing acoustically absorptive wall partitions and coverings to dampen sound energy.

CertainTeed Building Science provides a baseline understanding as well as the advanced solutions for acoustic concerns, including:

  • Acoustical performance testing standards
  • How to design environments for sound control
  • Ways that blocking sound transmission is accomplished
  • The significance of the sound absorption coefficient
  • How sound absorption is accomplished
  • Systematic approach to sound control

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