Soundproofing a Shop

Tips on wall construction to keep noise from leaking out of your shop. February 12, 2009

I am going to start building my workshop behind my house in the next couple of weeks. I would like to make it as soundproof as possible. I have been researching the web and have found some information on it. I was wondering what some of you guys have used or if you know what to use. Is sheetrock better than OSB for the interior?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor A:
5/8" sheetrock with fiberglass insulation works well. If you want to add the homesoat like sound board it can't hurt. 5/8" sheet rock is way better than 1/2" OSB.

From contributor S:
I would say either one but personally like the OSB because you don't have to search for a stud to put a screw in the wall to hang stuff off of. It also takes more abuse! No dings or holes. As far as sound, with my d.c. running I can stand outside the building and just barely hear it. The planer however may be a different story. Its my loudest machine. My house is about 100 yards away and you can't hear a thing from the porch. Sheetrock might be better for insurance reasons, and fireproofing. I wonder how well a sprayed foam insulation would work for sound - you might want to look into that.

From contributor C:
Use a 2x6 top and bottom plate, then use 2x4 studs and stagger the studs. Then nail the outer wall to the outer studs and nail the inner wall to the inner studs.

From the original questioner:
I forgot to ask - what do you do about the bay door? It will be like an overhead two car garage door unless anyone has a better idea for a door.

From contributor E:
I just completed a professional sound recording studio. Being located 60' from an active rail line sound proofing was paramount. I used double wall construction with an isolated floor system. Walls had 5 layers of 5/8" drywall with 1 layer of MDF. The ceilings had MDF with resilient channel and 5/8" drywall. Also between at least two layers there is a product called green glue that functions as a sound dampener.

This would be overkill for a backyard shop but some of the principles of de-coupling and mass can be beneficial. You might want to use the double wall construction with two layers of panel, one drywall and one osb or mdf for the walls and resilient channel on the ceiling. Use as much green glue between panels as you can afford.

From contributor Q:
OSB works very well as its rugged and easy to hang things on, but as a firefighter myself it goes up like a match if it starts on fire. God forbid it ever happen, but just something to keep in mind.

From contributor J:
If you want insulation for heating and cooling as well as sound, try ICF. It is also much stronger in a wind storm. It is also cheaper in the long run because it reduces your utility bills and the insurance is also cheaper.