Issue # 32: Sound Transmission July 21, 2004

Issue #32 Sound Transmission

  1. Basics: Glossary, Fundamentals, Building Acoustics
  2. Design: Regulations, Building Systems, STC Ratings
  3. Floors: Impact, Resilient Channel, Online Calculator
  4. Walls: Interior Gypsum, Exterior Walls, Masonry
  5. Openings: Windows, Doors, Drain & Vent Pipes
  6. Interior: Flanking, Mechanical, Electrical Outlets
  7. Resources: Site Selection, Find Products, Consultants
  8. Kenís Top Pick: If You Have Time To Surf Only One Site

1. Basics Ė Glossary, Fundamentals, Building Acoustics

Acoustic Terms & Definitions
Absorption is not what happens to your pay cheque after taxes. Owens Corning offers you definitions of the many terms you might run into when dealing with sound and noise.

The Fundamentals Of Sound
Youíll find very detailed info on the theory of sound, acoustics and noise on this great Square One site. For additional items click on the bottom left panel links under ďAcoustic DesignĒ.

Introduction to Building Acoustics
Canadian Building Digest #236 gives you an overview of sound and noise levels, reverberation & absorption, sound transmission loss, impact noise, and control procedures.

2. Design: Regulations, Building Systems, STC Ratings

Codes, Standards & Testing
The many different sound-related codes and standards could be confusing. provides a brief description and reference numbers for the US and Canadian regulations.

Building Systems, Acoustical Issues & Solutions
This report, from the IRC Noise Control In Buildings seminar covers problems and solutions for building layout, multi-components, flanking paths, sound leaks, and plumbing noise.

STC Ratings
Sound Transmission Class (STC) rates resistance to airborne sound. The STC Ratings site has explanations, rules of thumb, recommendations, and various wall systems ratings.

3. Floors: Impact, Resilient Channel, Online Calculator

Controlling Impact Sound Through Floors (PDF FILE)
Impact sound from footsteps, dropping objects or moving furniture can be controlled using different floor materials and assemblies, as shown in this NRC Construction Report.

Resilient Channel & Two Layers Of Gypsum (PDF FILE)
Some say that resilient channel cannot support multiple layers of gypsum wallboard in a ceiling configuration. BKL Acoustic Consultants say not so, and recommend this method.

Controlling the Transmission of Airborne Sound through Floors
This NRC "Construction Technology Update" explains how to best control airborne sound transmission through floor systems in multi-family dwellings. Focusing largely on joist floors, the information derives primarily from an industry- supported research project conducted by NRC's Institute for Research in Construction

4. Walls: Interior Gypsum, Exterior Walls, Masonry

Interior Gypsum Board Wall Sound Control
IRC provides a summary of the control of sound transmission through gypsum board walls and the effects of isolating each face, mass, sound absorption and cavity depth.

Exterior Wall Noise Isolation
Four common exterior walls used in Canadian lower cost residential housing were investigated for sound attenuation properties and CMHC summarizes their findings here.

Masonry Acoustics
The Masonry Advisory Council gives you information for the design and selection of masonry walls and precast hollow core floor systems, based on STC ratings and other features.

5. Openings: Windows, Doors, Drain & Vent Pipes

Windows Noise Isolation
This CMHC report lists results of testing different window types, sizes, glazing and installation methods. Also included is a chart showing the STC ratings of various window units.

Doors As Sound Barriers
Here is a brief fact sheet that summarizes research, and gives you some tips and ratings on the soundproofing qualities of various types of access doors for multi-unit buildings.

Drain, Waste & Vent (DWV) Pipes
MJM Acoustical Consultants measured the noise produced by toilet flushing in DWV pipes made of cast iron, flexible plastic (PVC) and rigid plastic (ABS). Results are shown in this chart.

6. Interior: Flanking, Mechanical, Electrical Outlets

Flanking Noise Control
Noise passing through crawl spaces, joist spaces, walls and attics is called flanking. The Canadian Wood Council offers you some solution tips, along with more sound control info.

Mechanical Noise: Plumbing Ventilation & Appliance
This IRC Construction Practice article has some good background on mechanically generated noises, as well as recommendations for better system design and installation.

Electrical Outlets In Gypsum Board Walls
Type, location and installation of electrical boxes can have significant effects on sound transmission through walls, as explained in Construction Technology Update No. 27.

7. Resources: Site Selection, Find Products, Consultants

Site Selection & More has a good selection of project remedies, and this article lists the general rules of thumb for controlling outside noise:

Sound & Noise Control Products
Are you ever looking for specific sound and noise related products? These listings from 4 Specs, the Search Engine for Specified Construction Products, might help you find them.

Finding & Selecting Consultants
The Acoustical Consulting site has an overview of acoustic specialties, tips for selecting and hiring consultants, as well as a consultantsí database that is searchable by province.

8. Kenís Top Pick: The Site

The Site
This excellent site for acoustic information and education is offered through an alliance of educators, experts and design professionals. Itís definitely worth a visit. Thatís sound advice.

Dittie For Today: Be A Winner

The Winner is always part of the answer
The Loser is always part of the problem
The Winner always has a solution
The Loser always has an excuse

The Winner says: "Let me do it for you"
The Loser says: "That's not my job"
The Winner sees an answer for every problem
The Loser sees a problem for every answer

The Winner sees a green near every sand trap
The Loser sees two or three sand traps near every green
The Winner says: "It may be difficult but it's possible"
The Loser says: "It may be possible but it's too difficult"

Be A Winner.

 © Copyright 2004               Ken Farrish               All Rights Reserved
ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada