Reduce the Noise Transmission Between Walls: Purple SoundBreak XP Retrofit® Board
Do you live in a small house where you can hear everything from room to room? You try to sleep but you hear even small noises from other rooms in the house, especially the room adjacent to the one you’re in? If you’ve lived in a noisy house, you’ve probably wondered how to add some soundproofing to your walls to reduce the noise.
Well, we are going to try out a drywall product that helps reduce the amount of noise that gets transmitted through the walls of our home, thanks to our sponsor, National Gypsum. (Remember, even though this post is sponsored, all opinions are, as always, our own.) We’ve worked with National Gypsum previously using drywall and cement board in our basement bathroom renovation (and remember how I won the the drywall hanging contest at the blogger event? 😉 and we love their products. Today we’re showing this noise-reducing product called Purple SoundBreak XP Retrofit® Board. It’s a 5/16 of an inch thick material that you can install right on top of an existing wall. Learn all about this product and tips for installation (both for retrofitting like we’ll show here and for new construction) here at AskForPurple.com.
Installing this sound resistant drywall was actually easier than I thought because I could just build on top of the existing wall without removing any existing drywall. There is a little bit of prep work to do before getting the board up though, so I’ll show you that part, too.
In our home, we decided to add the additional layer of drywall in our bedroom along the wall next to the bathroom. I’m an early riser, but Cassity likes to sleep later and she’s a light sleeper, which means I do my best at being ninja-quiet in the mornings as I get ready. So this seemed like the perfect location to try out a sound reducing wall and add a little bit of soundproofing to our living space.
The doorway may still be a problem because it will let sounds through, and in the future I may have to get a more solid door if I want to reduce the noise transfer even more. But for now we’re going to just focus on the wall because the main issue is the noise from the bathroom on the other side of the wall.
So the first thing I did was take off all the moldings on the wall, the base molding and the door casing. This step is necessary to add the second layer of drywall. If you are careful enough you can reuse the same boards in the same place.
Once I had all the moldings off the wall I located all the studs in the wall. I used tape on the floor and on the ceiling to help me know where to drill into the stud. It’s really important to hit the stud when installing the new drywall to hold it to the wall.
The studs were actually being difficult to find so I took a nail and I just pounded through to find the exact center of each stud and then used tape to mark it.
Once I identified where all the studs were, I started to layout how I was going to attach the drywall. I decided to hang the sheets of drywall vertically so that I had fewer seams to finish. This layout would also overlap the existing drywall seams well. The existing wall has drywall seams that run horizontally down the middle of the wall so the new drywall will have vertical seams that cross over.
So I went to the website AskForPurple.com and watched the demonstration video on how to hang the sheet drywall properly. One of the things mentioned was gluing the new drywall on to the existing drywall and screwing it in place at the same time. I used construction adhesive along the 2×4 path so the screws would hold it tight.
I used a 1-5/8″ screws, because they were long enough to go through the two sheets of drywall and into the stud to hold it really tight. One of the great features I noticed on the drywall was that they have x’s called GridMarx printed on the boards 8 inches apart on rows that are 16 inches apart, to help guide where are you were screws need to be drilled into the studs. I thought that was pretty handy to have.
So I started on the right of the wall and worked to the left. I made sure that I cut the sheets to fit just right to land on top of the marked studs. It really helped to have a second person while installing the sheets of drywall.
Once I had all those sheets cut to fit and drilled in place, I caulked all the corners with painters caulk. According to the instructional video that I watched, caulking helps seal out any potential noise that could come through the small spaces. Every little bit counts!
Now that the corners were caulked, I let that dry and then started taping all the seams. I decided not to tape the corners and the ceiling because I am going to be putting up crown molding and corner moldings in the future. But if you needed to finish this wall like the rest of the room you would want to tape the corners and the ceiling as well.
At our house we love smooth walls with very little texture. So in order to get a smooth wall look it takes a little extra work but it’s worth it for the look that we like. I ended up putting three layers of plaster over the holes and tape. The first layer was the taping. I let that dry then used a 8″ plaster knife to patch 2-3″ over the first layer.
Then on the third layer I used a large 10″ plaster knife to add a smooth layer 2 to 3″ over the second layer.
Since this is in the bedroom I didn’t want a lot of dust so I didn’t sand in between coats of plaster, I only sanded it after the last layer of plaster. I had to keep my layers really smooth in between coats in order to do that. When I did sand at the end, I was able to sand the final coats with a vacuum sander that had a sand paper of 120 grit. The vacuum sander helped to keep the dust down.
Here’s an affiliate link to this vacuum attachment that I really love to use inside the house when I’m doing drywall. All you do is attach it to a shop vacuum and sand away.
That’s all there is to installing sound reducing retrofit drywall! My next step will be to prime the wall, install the moldings and finish painting. There is one thing I need to take care of before I install the molding around the door though. Because the wall is now 5/16″ thicker, I need the door molding to be 5/16″ thicker as well. I will be adding a small strip of trim to extend the door casing out to match the wall.
So what do you think, is this something that you would try out in your house? A little bit of extra quiet can make a big difference! AskForPurple also makes other sizes for new construction, vs the retrofit panels we used, so if you’re building a house it would be best to use this in certain areas of your home instead of your standard drywall.
I did test the decibels on the bedroom before I put up the new drywall and after. What I found out was it did reduce the decibels about 10 dB from what it was before. So that tells me that it is working the way I want it to work to add some soundproofing barrier and if I wanted to reduce the sound even more I would have to go into the bathroom and re-finish that wall as well with another layer of the purple retrofit to even make it a quieter wall. I’m gonna have to save that project for another time because I don’t want to rip up that bathroom quite yet, but it is on my to do list. Another great feature is that it is perfect for a bathroom because it is mold, mildew and moisture resistant.
When you’re ready to use to SoundBreak XP Retrofit® Board for your next project, just got to AskForPurple.com to find suppliers and more installation tips.
See more of how we’ve used AskForPurple products by National Gypsum in our homes:
basement bathroom drywall and cement board installation
We recently started a home improvement company and came across this article. I would have never thought to not sand in between coats but it makes perfect sense. Thanks a ton.
I’ll be following this with great intetest.
10db is what percentage? What was the initial measurement? Thank you.
So we measured the sound with an iphone app and a drawer shutting was around 80 db with with the new drywall it was reduced to 70 db.