Thicker Drywall For Soundproofing: Why Is It Better?

When it comes to soundproofing a room, one of the most common questions is whether thicker drywall is better than standard thickness drywall. Drywall thickness can have a significant impact on noise reduction, but it’s not the only factor to consider.

To understand if thicker drywall is really better, we first need to look at how drywall works for soundproofing in the first place.

Drywall is an effective soundproofing material because of its density. The gypsum material inside absorbs sound vibrations rather than reflecting them. The denser and heavier the drywall, the more sound it will block. This makes sense intuitively – a thicker and heavier material will be harder for sound waves to penetrate.

However, drywall density is not the only important factor. The way the drywall is mounted and sealed is also critical for noise reduction. Even thick drywall will lose much of its effectiveness if there are gaps or leaks at seams and edges. Proper installation is key.

With this context in mind, let’s compare standard 1/2 inch drywall to thicker 5/8 inch and 1 inch drywall to see how thickness affects soundproofing performance.

Standard 1/2 Inch Drywall vs Thicker Drywall for Soundproofing

Here is a quick overview comparing 1/2 inch drywall to thicker drywall in terms of Sound Transmission Class (STC) ratings, which measure effectiveness at blocking sound:

Drywall ThicknessSTC Rating
1/2 inch33
5/8 inch36
1 inch41

As you can see, thicker drywall clearly provides higher STC ratings and better noise reduction. 5/8 inch drywall gives a decent improvement over 1/2 inch, while 1 inch thick drywall gives significantly more soundproofing performance.

However, keep in mind that these STC ratings assume proper installation without gaps or leaks. Even 1 inch drywall will perform poorly if not mounted correctly. Proper insulation and sealing is key.

If you want an in-depth look at the different types of soundproof drywall materials available, check out this helpful guide from Soundrify on what is soundproof drywall and how the composition affects noise blocking.

Now let’s look at some more details on the benefits and potential drawbacks of using thicker drywall for soundproofing projects:

Benefits of Thicker Drywall

  • Higher density blocks more sound – The thicker and denser the drywall, the harder it is for sound waves to penetrate through. Thicker drywall physically stops more vibrations.
  • Reduces low frequency bass sounds – Low frequencies are harder to block than high pitch sounds. The mass of thicker drywall helps stop bass noise like music thumping or appliances rumbling.
  • Higher STC ratings – As shown in the table above, 5/8 inch and 1 inch drywall have better STC ratings than 1/2 inch, meaning they test better at reducing noise in labs.
  • Can make up for less-than-perfect installation – Small gaps or leaks have less effect on thicker drywall’s ability to block noise. The extra density provides a buffer against imperfect mounting.

Potential Drawbacks of Thicker Drywall

  • Significantly heavier – Thicker drywall sheets can be two or three times as heavy as 1/2 inch drywall, making them harder to lift, transport and mount. Requires more workers.
  • Higher cost – The extra materials and thicker build adds cost. 5/8 inch may be reasonably priced but 1 inch gets quite expensive.
  • Takes up more space – Each additional 1/2 inch reduces room size, which may not be acceptable in tight spaces. Have to balance soundproofing with room dimensions.
  • Overkill for some needs – Thicker drywall may provide more soundproofing than required depending on application. For example, 5/8 inch is likely sufficient for most home theaters rather than 1 inch.

As you can see, thicker drywall for soundproofing projects involves trade-offs. While thicker drywall can certainly improve noise reduction, especially lower frequencies, the practical challenges mean it is not always the best choice.

When Does it Make Sense to Use Thicker Drywall?

Here are some guidelines on when thicker drywall may be worth the extra effort and cost:

  • For new construction projects where the floorplan can accommodate slightly smaller room sizes.
  • In home theater or media rooms where ultra low bass sound leakage is a priority.
  • For condo or apartment dwellers needing maximum soundproofing between units.
  • In music studios or band rooms where stopping maximum noise leakage and intrusion is critical.
  • When you need very high guaranteed STC noise blocking and isolation.
  • For DIY projects where you want to allow some margin of error in drywall installation.

However, for many residential soundproofing needs, 5/8 inch drywall may provide adequate noise reduction while being easier to work with. Analysis of your specific noise problems is recommended to determine if thicker drywall is required.

Proper installation of drywall is just as important as thickness. Before automatically choosing thicker drywall, ensure you first seal all gaps, use soundproofing caulk, and apply sound damping compounds correctly.

Soundrify has an excellent article on how to soundproof with drywall that provides actionable tips on when thicker drywall makes sense depending on the type of noise you want to block.

Drywall Thickness Guidelines By Soundproofing Location

Here are some general drywall thickness guidelines depending on where you need soundproofing:

  • Standard interior bedroom or office walls – 1/2 inch drywall is usually sufficient, use 5/8 inch for extra peace of mind.
  • Home theater or media rooms – Use 5/8 inch or double 1/2 inch drywall to reduce home theater bass and movie sound leakage.
  • Music rooms – 5/8 inch or double 1/2 inch drywall helps contain loud band practice sessions.
  • Bedroom wall sharing with neighbor – 5/8 inch drywall with staggered studs and insulation recommended for maximum privacy.
  • Floor-ceiling between unit soundproofing – 5/8 inch or 1 inch dense drywall recommended, depending on noise problems.

Again, carefully analyze the types of noises involved and your performance goals before assuming thicker drywall is always best. Combine with other soundproofing materials like insulation and damping compounds for optimal noise reduction.

How to Install Thicker Drywall for Soundproofing Projects

Once you’ve determined that thicker drywall makes sense for your needs, here are some tips on installing it correctly:

  • Thicker drywall sheets become very heavy. Get help moving and lifting them, or use specialized drywall lifts. Don’t risk injury trying to manhandle large 1 inch sheets alone.
  • Make sure to use drywall screws long enough to penetrate the studs or joists behind the thicker board. Standard screw length may be too short.
  • Stagger seams between layers if installing double drywall. Offsetting the seams improves noise isolation.
  • Use acoustic caulk rated for higher movement to seal thicker boards at perimeters and seams. Thicker drywall has more expansion/contraction.
  • Apply sound damping mat or noise proofing compounds between drywall layers. This constrains vibrations for even better sound blocking.
  • Take time to seal and insulate any electrical, HVAC or plumbing penetrations properly. Anything passing through drywall leaves air leaks for sound to escape.

With attention to detail during installation, thicker drywall can make a big difference in preventing noise transfer and leakage between rooms. But it’s not a miracle cure-all – you still need tightly sealed and well-insulated walls for the maximum soundproofing benefit.

For step-by-step instructions on soundproofing a ceiling with drywall, don’t miss this Soundrify guide on soundproof drywall installation on ceilings. Their tips will ensure you get it right.

Cost Impact of Thicker Drywall

Let’s take a look at how the cost scales up when using thicker drywall for soundproofing projects:

Drywall TypeCost per 4×8 sheetCost for 10 sheets
1/2 inch standard$10$100
5/8 inch$13$130
1 inch$35$350

As you can see, the cost difference is relatively modest if using 5/8 inch drywall instead of 1/2 inch on a typical soundproofing project. But 1 inch thick drywall costs significantly more.

For a 10′ x 10′ wall requiring 10 sheets, 5/8 inch drywall would only cost $30 extra compared to $250 more for 1 inch. Always get multiple quotes, but in general thicker drywall has a linear cost increase.

Factor in additional labor time and materials needed to install thicker, heavier drywall correctly. And remember that you lose square footage of living space as the walls get thicker.

Overall, 5/8 inch drywall provides the best balance of increased soundproofing performance without excessive time or budget impact for many homeowners’ needs. 1 inch can be overkill unless you absolutely need the maximum noise reduction possible.

If you’re wondering whether to use expensive specialized soundproofing drywall or regular drywall, this Soundrify sheetrock vs. drywall comparison breaks down the costs and benefits nicely.

5/8 inch vs 1/2 inch Drywall Comparison

To summarize the key differences:

Factor1/2 inch Drywall5/8 inch Drywall
Cost per sheet$8-12$12-15
Weight per sheet50-55 lbs60-70 lbs
Ease of installationEasyModerate difficulty
Soundproofing abilityGoodVery good
STC rating3336
Room size impactMinimalModest reduction
Overall recommendationGood cost-effective option in most casesProvides significant soundproofing improvement for modest added cost

When Does Double Drywall Make Sense?

Installing two layers of drywall with staggered seams provides better sound isolation than one thicker sheet alone. The staggered seams prevent direct sound transmission paths.

Double 1/2 inch drywall has similar performance and cost to single 5/8 inch sheets. Double 5/8 inch drywall can achieve STC levels over 40.

Consider double drywall layers when you want maximum soundproofing for important rooms, and when room size dimensions permit the extra depth. Checking if local building codes allow double drywall for fire rating requirements is also advised.

Get the low-down on drywall vs. plywood for soundproofing in this head-to-head comparison from Soundrify on drywall vs. plywood for optimal noise blocking. Their insulation tips are invaluable.


The bottom line is that thicker drywall can definitely improve soundproofing ability, with 5/8 inch drywall being the optimal choice for cost and performance for most homeowners.

However, proper installation and integration with other insulation and sound damping methods is just as important as sheer drywall thickness. 1/2 inch drywall may even be adequate depending on your noise problems and room constraints.

Carefully evaluate your particular needs, noise sources, construction plans, and budget when deciding between standard and thicker drywall. And remember to focus on air sealing, caulking gaps, insulating, and sound damping for best results.

With the right drywall thickness and installation method, you can achieve significant noise reduction between rooms. Just ensure your solution matches the types of noise sources you want to contain rather than over-engineering and spending more than required.

Key Takeaways

  • Thicker drywall provides higher density and mass which improves noise blocking. 5/8 inch and 1 inch drywall have much better STC ratings than 1/2 inch.
  • However, proper installation and integration with insulation and seals is just as important as drywall thickness alone.
  • 5/8 inch drywall offers the best balance of increased soundproofing ability with reasonable cost and installation difficulty for most residential needs.
  • Double drywall with staggered seams can provide excellent noise isolation without requiring full 1 inch thick sheets.
  • Carefully match the drywall thickness solution to the specific noise problems present and your performance goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does drywall thickness matter for soundproofing?

Yes, thicker and denser drywall definitely helps improve soundproofing. The mass blocks more noise vibrations and stiffens the wall. 5/8 inch drywall provides a good level of improved acoustic isolation compared to standard 1/2 inch.

Is Green Glue better than thicker drywall?

Green Glue noise proofing compound is very effective, but is usually used in addition to thicker drywall, not as a replacement. Glue helps constrain vibrations while the drywall mass blocks sound. They work well together. Thicker drywall alone will provide some benefit, but using both gives maximum soundproofing.

Should I use 5/8 or 1/2 drywall for soundproofing?

For most residential needs, 5/8 inch drywall is recommended as it provides significantly better noise blocking than 1/2 inch, for a reasonable cost increase. 5/8 inch gives a good balance of improved acoustic isolation without excessive weight or installation difficulty. 1/2 inch may still be suitable depending on room constraints and the types of noises involved.

How thick should double drywall be?

Two layers of 1/2 inch drywall is a very common configuration, providing similar noise isolation to one layer of 5/8 inch drywall while making seams easier to stagger. If room depth allows, using two layers of 5/8 inch drywall will provide even greater soundproofing ability.

Does thicker drywall reduce room size?

Yes, thicker drywall will take away space from the inner dimensions of a room due to increased wall thickness. A good guideline is each 1/2 inch of added drywall thickness will reduce room dimensions by 1 inch on all sides. This can start to feel noticeably smaller in some room layouts.

References (Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound) (4 Factors of Soundproofing) (Soundproof Drywall Guide) (Bob Vila Guide to Soundproof Drywall) (Acoustical Surfaces – Drywall Soundproofing Guide) (Family Handyman – Drywall Sizes Guide)

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