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Controlling Sound in Attached Homes

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Controlling Sound in Attached Homes

With attached homes becoming more attractive to older and younger homebuyers, builders are looking to acoustic solutions to improve indoor comfort.

June 17, 2016

While the housing market appears to be on an upswing in most parts of the country, it is manifesting itself in ways quite different than it had ten or fifteen years ago. Even with more than half a million single family housing starts in 2015, this year’s Housing Giants report indicates that the housing market faces downward pressure from land and labor shortages, as well as from rising home prices.

The underlying trend at least indicates that home buying is back in vogue, after a very rental-heavy recession. However, with the kinds of obstacles now facing builders and homebuyers, space- and cost-efficient housing solutions are increasingly in demand.

Attached homes are getting more consideration in today’s market, and have proven to be very appealing to certain types of homebuyers. For younger first-time buyers, an attached home is often a more affordable way to break the rental cycle and enter the home market. It is a good stepping stone between apartment living and a free-standing, single family house.

For older homeowners interested in downsizing, attached homes generally mean a more manageable footprint with little or no lawn upkeep or snow removal. For these and other reasons, attached homes are becoming increasingly popular in over-55 communities around the country.

And for developers, attached homes are a way to maximize the profitability of a lot. More units on a given plot of land can mean more buyers and a greater return on investment.

The primary downside for many considering attached homes is simply the fact that this kind of construction means there is a shared wall. That can turn off some buyers, for fear of being able to hear and be heard by the people next door. Fortunately, new technology and techniques are available to manage the issue of sound transmission between units.

Along with tried-and-true methods using isolation clips, resilient channels and a second layer of gypsum board, there now are new products available specifically designed to address acoustic concerns. Noise-reducing gypsum board, such as SilentFX® QuickCut from CertainTeed Gypsum, is an effective way to block sound and create privacy for the occupants on either side of a shared wall.

When used in wall assemblies, noise-reducing gypsum products like SilentFX QuickCut greatly reduce airborne sound transmission between two adjoining spaces. This type of drywall sandwiches a sound-dampening layer of viscoelastic polymer between two dense gypsum cores. This type of construction interrupts the transmission of sound through the wall assembly.

An advantage of a single-product acoustic drywall solution is that it installs just like a standard gypsum board - SilentFX QuickCut even cuts like standard drywall - and uses less material than isolation clip/resilient channel solutions, because you just need one layer of drywall. Less material means reduced cost and increased square footage. SilentFX QuickCut also delivers more consistent acoustic performance because it is less prone to short circuiting, which happens when clips or channels are installed improperly.

Acoustic quality is very important to homeowners today, and, like temperature and air quality, is directly tied to overall indoor environmental comfort. Truly, when you remove concerns about acoustics and privacy, attached homes can become a very desirable option for many potential homebuyers. The advantages in cost and maintenance are very appealing when the buyer doesn’t have to worry about sound moving freely through a shared wall. A simple application of noise-reducing technology like SilentFX QuickCut can prove very beneficial for builders looking to stake a claim in this growing segment. For more information about noise-reducing drywall, please visit  

Written By

Tom Prokop serves as innovation and product manager for CertainTeed Gypsum. Prior to joining the Gypsum business, Prokop was the sales and marketing analyst for CertainTeed Roofing where he conducted analysis of product and customer profitability. In his current role, he manages the product portfolio of existing gypsum board products and assists in the launch of new products in US and Canada. Prokop can be contacted via email at [email protected].


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