Resilient Channel: What Is It and Why Do You Need It?

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Silent Home Hub Resilient Channel

Rooms and spaces can get too noisy at times. That’s because the unwanted sound may come from the acoustics within your space.

Fortunately, incorporating the use of a resilient channel may help manage this noise.

We’re here to tell you everything you need to know about soundproofing your walls!

Are you up for some challenge? If yes, let’s not waste any more time and GET TO WORK!

Table of Contents

What Is a Resilient Channel?

Here are some key details regarding resilient channels.

  • THIN METALLIC STRIPS used to separate sheets of drywall from the existing building structure.
  • Have PRE-DRILLED HOLES that help for their easy installation onto a surface.

We get it! You want to know why there is a need for this separation, right?

The space you’re introducing with the resilient channel creates a decoupling zone to easily trap noise or unwanted sound waves. In short, the decoupling zone is soundproofing your room!

PUT IT THIS WAY: directly screwing the drywall onto your wall or ceiling would improve the transfer of vibrations and sound around the room.

This makes you hear noises that should’ve gone unnoticed in the first place. The added space from the resilient channel addresses the noise issue.

Four Principles of Soundproofing

For a better understanding of how resilient channels work compared to other materials, you should understand some basic concepts related to how soundproofing works:

  1. Absorption. This slightly reduces sound reverb using dense and soft materials. A common example to demonstrate this principle is acoustic foam.
  2. Mass. It’s harder for waves to make heavy components vibrate to produce sound. Common examples are mass-loaded pieces of vinyl.
  3. Damping. This property accounts for the dissipation of vibrations and sound energy. Materials like green glue and drywall use this property rather than transform this sound energy to heat.
  4. Decoupling. Key factors for this property are the air cavity in the wall, the insulating material, and the frequency of sound. Resilient channels allow the existence of this cavity between the stud and the drywall.

Are Resilient Channels Worth It?

Simple answer: Yes, they are.

Resilient channels are among the most popular soundproofing materials in the market. They’re EFFECTIVE and AFFORDABLE!

Resilient channels can help in soundproofing entire buildings and houses for INDUSTRY-GRADE quality.

They particularly help in controlling the sound and noise reverberated from drywalls, ceilings, and plaster walls.

If these aren’t enough to convince you, don’t worry because we’re here to provide you with an ample assessment of resilient channels and their advantages, disadvantages, and other things to consider!

Pros

#1 Performance and Affordability

The noise cancellation properties of resilient channels can rival the performance of those from higher price points.

  • Resilient channels are great at making an area with multiple rooms and walls soundproof.
  • Resilient channels are meant to create space between you and the surface, accommodating the vibrations.

Think of hotels, apartments, and offices! They have enough space and means to use such channels that account for air cavities.

These channels are definitely the top choices for industry-grade buildings. But you don’t have to worry because you may still use resilient channels in your homes.

In fact, MANY homeowners do just that!

However, don’t forget to account for space while the house is still being constructed.

They’re extremely affordable at just around $150 for 12 foot long channels. You will definitely get your money’s worth!

#2 Sound Transmission Class (STC) Rating

The STC rating shows how well a building partition reduces perceived sound.

Good resilient channels usually score a 65 on the STC rating scale. This is a great score!

Companies know that the STC rating is a MAJOR FACTOR when choosing the right soundproofing material for construction.

You NEED to pay close attention by checking whether they have the permits and results to prove their rating. It’s been common for some companies to fake their documents for this.

If you play your cards right, expect to be treated with high-quality resilient channels that give you nothing but top-tier soundproofing.

The still-growing popularity of resilient channels is thanks to their high STC ratings from across all models and brands.

Cons

#1 Lack of Developments

It’s ironic that the developments, or lack thereof, DON’T stem from the resilient channels themselves. Rather, it is the fault of manufacturers.

You see, the trends in construction are changing and developing at a rapid rate.

Resilient channels just aren’t growing as much as we would like. Think about it: in a few years, trends MAY OUTGROW the need for these resilient channels over time.

The problem with this is most manufacturers rely solely on the loyalty of customers on resilient channels time and time again.

One advantage that could come out of this scenario is repairs are easy when the material is familiar. Still, the lack of developments can prove to be an unforeseen disadvantage for a future time.

#2 Short Circuit

Resilient channels are prone to short circuits because of the wrong installation.

The studs should push the resilient channels to the side of the drywall. The wrong installation could produce the opposite result and have the drywall push AGAINST the resilient channels instead.

This often results in the following:

  • Short circuit
  • Terrible noise insulation

So What’s Our Verdict?

A resilient channel is still one of the top soundproof materials you can get in the market. Its features and the pros outweigh the cons BY A MILE!

Our professional opinion is that resilient channels are still very much worth it!

What to Look For in a Resilient Channel: A Quick Buying Guide

Want to reduce sound reverberations? Are you thinking about making a barrier to combat unnecessary noise?

It would be useful to familiarize yourself with the basics of resilient channels to know what you should consider. Don’t worry because we’ve got you covered ALL THE WAY!

Types of Resilient Channels

The first thing you have to know in designing your soundproof room is how to use and distinguish the different types of resilient channels.

Resilient channels have two types:

  • Single-leg: a single row of screws
  • Two-leg: two parallel rows of screws

The only point of comparison between the two is that single-leg resilient channels are more unstable because they feel the impact of the sound vibrations more.

If you’re after a more stable secondary wall, it might be BETTER to choose the two-leg resilient channels.

You don’t have to worry about their effectiveness that much since you’ll use them the same way.

Common Measurements to Look For When Choosing Your Resilient Channel:

  • Length: around 8 feet long
  • Gauge: 20-25 gauge steel metal
  • Depth: 1/2″

Density Is Also Key

You should also definitely consider the density of the material!

A quick rule of thumb is: the denser the channel, the easier it can be installed and screwed onto your wall.

Price

How Much Does Resilient Channel Cost?

The average price for the resilient channel with 25 gauge will be around $150.

How Much Does Installing a Resilient Channel Cost?

The average cost for installing the resilient channel would be around $1 per square foot.

Best Resilient Channels for Wall or Ceiling

Let’s try to apply everything we’ve learned so far by trying to choose an actual product.

Here are two of the top resilient channel models you can catch in the market right now!

Auralex RC-8 Resilient Channel

Auralex RC-8 Resilient Channel

Features:

  • Length: 8 Feet
  • Gauge: 25
  • Material: Steel
  • Air Pocket: 1/2″

This Auralex resilient channel heavily reduces sound transmission from a room during construction. It is a one-leg resilient channel type.

The RC-8’s LENGTH and GAUGE LEVEL isolate the sound waves well around each side of the wall and ceiling.

It’s long and dense enough to install against the wall and create the required air gap for decoupling.

Here are some pointers to follow when installing the RC-8 product:

  • Install HORIZONTALLY against the wall.
  • It should accommodate two pieces of 5/8″ drywall and sheet block layer.

The Auralex RC-8 resilient channel is perfect for your bedroom, office, and private space for wall or ceiling soundproofing!

Trademark RC-1 Resilient Channel

Trademark RC-1 Resilient Channel

Features:

  • Dimension: 2.0″ W x .5″ D x 96” L
  • Gauge: 25
  • Material: Steel
  • Air Pocket: 1/2″

The Trademark RC-1 resilient channel is also a one-legged channel type.

It is the industry’s top offer at its price point! It’s a COST-EFFICIENT solution that does its job effectively in terms of reducing sound transmission in both steel or wood partition.

The RC-1 is designed to hold two layers of drywall with a weight of approximately 1.6 lb each. You may also use some green glue for added security and support for the second layer.

How to Install a Resilient Channel

Not a DIY person? Feel like you aren’t up for the work? Consider calling a professional right now.

The installation of your resilient channel can MAKE OR BREAK its performance.

The procedure to install resilient channels is easy enough to follow, but we want to ensure that everything goes according to plan.

You might end up spending more fixing whatever problem arises with your own soundproofing. We want to avoid that!

We’re here to guide you through the experience of installing your resilient channel layer.

Step 1: Identify Where to Position the Stud

If the studding and joist side is easily viewable for you, then the resilient channels may easily be drilled onto your wall directly.

If not, you have to follow these THREE STEPS:

  1. Remove the drywall. You could also make large openings in the drywall panels if you do not want to remove the entire wall.
  2. Lay out your electric boxes and wire cables to figure out the path of the noise.
  3. Fill in the spaces with soundproof material. Also, consider an absorbent mat on the inside of joints and studding! This will help screw the channel better.

Step 2: Drill the Resilient Channel Against the Wall (or Ceiling)

A resilient channel often needs special drywall screws on either side for better security.

You also have to make sure that these screws do not come in contact with the base support of the resilient channel.

The wall should have a narrow flange at the bottom, with the larger flange positioned on top. Remember that this is also applicable to a ceiling.

  1. Put the drill to the center spot of the stud.
  2. Mount and drill the resilient channel against the stud. Position the channel HORIZONTALLY when working on the wall and VERTICALLY on the ceiling.

Make sure you don’t screw in too tight! Just screw into the first layer of material and not pierce through the entire resilient channel.

You won’t need these screws after completing each step.

Just make a mental note that the resilient channel may also be butted over the framing members!

Step 3: Lay the Drywall on the Resilient Channel

After drilling the resilient channel, it’s time to lay some drywall.

  1. Hang the drywall near the resilient channel.
  2. Mark points on the drywall sheet to ensure that you are drilling holes at the RIGHT PLACE.
  3. Drill the screw accordingly. Make sure you don’t cross over the studding to not pierce through the primary wall!
  4. You may add a sound material on top of the wall layer accordingly.

TIP: Use an absorbent cloth or material to coat your drywall panels. This will help add to the improvement of sound and noise reduction!

RELATED: QuietRock vs Double Drywall: Which Has a Higher STC Rating?

What Not to Do With a Resilient Channel

Resilient channels are easy to install, as you can see in the steps.

However, there are SOME FACTORS you may simply overlook, which may end up decreasing the performance of your channel and its soundproofing ability.

We break them down for you so that you can be more conscious about them too!

Poor Installation Methods

It has to be said. If you aren’t a professional or a long-time hobbyist, then you must expect a couple of roadblocks in the way.

This is the most common cause of performance failure among resilient channels. Some improper methods you might find yourself doing include the following:

  • Drywall screws going into both resilient channel flanges. Drilling a screw through the inside flange FULLY LOCKS in your resilient channel. This means that no space is left for decoupling, thus providing no soundproofing benefit.
  • Baseboards. Some contractors make the mistake of REINFORCING the bottom of drywall with a wooden block. Avoid doing this because this locks it together with the stud.
  • Resilient channel over existing drywall. What you’re creating here is another compact structure that DOES NOT maximize the channel’s soundproofing property. Always remember to install your resilient channel over the studding.

You should have observed by now that the wrong implementation of methods generally involves resilient channel spacing.

Following the instructions on prescribed depth and stud alignment should effectively address this.

REMEMBER: We want to have an air cavity around the resilient channel to achieve the decoupling effect that reduces noise!

Designing Resilient Channel for Metal Studs

The use of a resilient channel is especially effective on a wood stud or a high-mass wall layer.

Some contractors and manufacturers tend to design their buildings around a resilient channel mainly because it is cheaper.

However, some buildings are already completed with a 20-gauge or 25-gauge steel stud. These ALREADY do a great job at decoupling noise.

DO NOT make the mistake of incorporating a resilient channel when faced with a situation like this. Adding a resilient channel will not solve the problem and will result in negligible improvement.

Consider addressing the principle of mass and instead use soundproofing membranes or layer them with construction components.

Attaching Cabinets or Bookshelves to a Resilient Channel

Resilient channels are strong enough to provide structure to your ceilings and walls.

However, they are not capable of carrying heavy units that are likely to be mounted. These units include TVs, cabinets, or bookshelves.

You definitely wouldn’t want your wall to suddenly cave in.

However, you also don’t want to make the mistake of directly mounting the resilient channel onto the stud. Doing so will only reduce the performance of your resilient channel even more.

What Should I Do?

The rule of thumb is to ensure that the resilient channel you’re getting is field-tested by the manufacturers.

The STC ratings don’t fully reflect deviations and the environment, so a high score doesn’t automatically mean extreme durability.

If anything, you may always try mixing a couple of noise reduction principles to get your desired sound output.

Installing In Tight Spaces

Remember that a resilient channel requires around 2 INCHES OF SPACE from the wall or ceiling. This is to account for:

  • The thickness of the channel
  • The additional sheet of drywall

Small rooms and renovations are limited by their area and may cause incompatibility with the desired resilient channel.

Again, you may always consider other methods and alternatives if you face a situation like this.

Alternatives to Resilient Channel

We’ve already established that a resilient channel effectively reduces and filters out unwanted noise.

However, if a resilient channel is not your cup of tea, OTHER ALTERNATIVES can still help you achieve the decoupling effect!

We will be giving you a rundown of these popular options and let you know what we think about them compared to a resilient channel.

Hat Channel

Hat channels resemble the inward dip of a hat that is great for sheathing. These are made of galvanized steel or aluminum that is shaped into a furring strip-like channel.

Some features of the hat channel include:

  • Length: 12 feet
  • Depth: 7/8″ from the brim to the crown
  • Gauge: 16 to 25 gauge metal
  • STC Rating: 6 to 46
  • Cost: a standard 12-foot length is about $6

READ MORE: Hat Channel vs Resilient Channel: Which is Better for Soundproofing?

Hat channels are usually used on concrete and masonry surfaces. The channel is also attached perpendicularly to the joists or horizontally on the stud.

You may also be presented with a choice between steel or aluminum. For this, simply consider that aluminum hats are EASIER TO CUT!

This might be important depending on how you plan to use the hat channel.

Unfortunately, hat channel strips do not fully isolate each layer of the structure. You may, however, combine them with other resilient clips to improve the noise reduction performance!

| PROS

  • Easy to use and install
  • Provides smooth level surface for attaching drywall

| CONS

  • Less effective in noise reduction than a resilient channel

Sound Isolation Clip

Isolation clips are metal clips that have a rubber section meant to attach to structural members. This rubber component decouples the wall or ceiling structure from the hat channel.

Yes, these clips are accessories to your hat channels. The rubber component helps dampen vibrations in a way that channels are simply not able to do.

Take note of the following details should you consider getting a sound isolation clip.

  • These clips provide the necessary cavity between the wall and the wallboard, which creates a floating wall or ceiling to prevent a direct connection with the joists.
  • Sound isolation clips generally carry MORE MASS than resilient channels to provide better sound control.
  • They are also usually aligned perpendicularly to the joists.

The combination of isolation clips and hat channels are overall easy to install and can carry more weight. You can buy your own clips at around $4.50 – $7.

| PROS

  • Can support two layers of drywall
  • Highly affordable

| CONS

  • Expensive
  • More time-consuming to install

Final Thoughts

Man using ipad inside a workshop

Reducing noise is an upgrade and experience you would want for your personal space.

Using a resilient channel that stands the test of time is one of the best ways for you to achieve this.

A project that involves the incorporation of a resilient channel is NO EASY DIY PROJECT for anyone. Don’t be afraid to seek the help of a professional.

Do you have any experience with using a resilient channel? Any soundproofing tips and tricks you might want to share with the rest of us? Let us know in the comments section below!

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About the Author

andrea_adams

Andrea Adams

Fidgeting with gadgets and electronics has long been Andrea’s expertise. She has assembled, disassembled, and tweaked almost every type of device you can think of. Through the years, she has come to realize that technology should never be fussy. And that’s where her interest in quiet products stemmed from. She hopes to become your go-to person for insight when deciding on noiseless goods to purchase.