In today’s article, we’ll look at two of the most commonly used soundproofing materials: resilient channel and hat channel.
You’ll be in great hands if you consider applying any of the two soundproofing methods. Make sure to read our review thoroughly if you want to put your materials to good use.
What are We Going to Tackle?
Here are the things we will be tackling in this resilient channel vs hat channel review.
- How It Works
- How to Install
- Pros and Cons
These will help us determine which is the better sound barrier. Keep reading to find out the winner between the resilient channel vs hat channel!
What is a Resilient Channel?
A resilient channel is a strip of metal filled with holes.
It isn’t anything special, but it does the job of isolating sounds and sound vibrations.
The thin sheet of metal is bent to form enough space between the wall or ceiling to prevent sound vibration movement.
Resilient channels work like a spring.
- ONE END of the metal is fastened to the studs.
- The OTHER SIDE of the channel is bolted on the drywall.
However, there is one thing that you should keep in mind when it comes to resilient channels.
It IS NOT the best option when if you want to fully soundproof the walls.
Why is This So?
The resilient channel tends to easily come into contact with the drywall and other surfaces. The reason for this is because the metal grids are attached at the right angle of the studs.
We don’t want that to happen because it will cause MORE NOISE and allow sound vibration transmission.
Avoid having it come into contact with the ceiling, floor, wall, or structural framing (which is nearly impossible).
Also, beware of the channels sagging and rusting over time. It’s a common problem people encounter.
How to Install Resilient Channel on Drywall:
Sadly, there isn’t any way to prevent the resilient channels from sagging or coming into contact with other surfaces.
What you can do, however, is to install it properly.
The resilient channel has the reputation of one that isn’t easy to build. But, trust us, installing it correctly affects how good the channels will be at soundproofing.
Here’s how you can PROPERLY install resilient channels:
- Remove the layers of drywall to create a large opening and air space in the drywall panels.
- Apply an absorbent mat on the insides of its wall’s joints and studs for you to screw the channels.
- Use special drywall screws so that the channels will be secured and won’t loosen up over time. (NOTE: Be careful not to come into contact with the base of the resilient channel.)
- Put on the drywall back using longer screws.
- Screw the first layer of the drywall and the channel. (NOTE: Make sure you don’t screw them too tightly to avoid contact.)
- Coat the drywall panels with a kind of absorbent closed-cell material. It’s better for sound absorption.
- Let it dry. Make sure that the drywall layer is intact.
- Test it out!
If you aren’t too sure about doing it yourself, you can SEEK HELP FROM PROFESSIONALS to completely soundproof your room. Expect to pay at least $1 per square foot of a resilient channel.
How Much Does It Cost?
Resilient channels have been around for a long time, and it was first introduced to the American market during the ’60s as RC 1, an affordable and effective soundproofing material.
Today, the price of resilient channels remains affordable and inexpensive at only $6 to $10 per 12-foot.
Are Resilient Channels Effective?
If you’ve done a little Google research before coming here, then you’ve probably seen many posts that tell you to ditch resilient channels.
And we’re here to clear things up, so PAY CLOSE ATTENTION.
Resilient channels are an okay-ish soundproofing method. Like we’ve already mentioned, it does the job, making it effective to some extent.
Many of the STC (Sound Transmission Class) ratings for the channels fall in between the safe number, 45-55. This means that loud sounds CAN STILL escape, but they come out faint and garbled instead.
However, note that STC ratings differ from product brands. Some manufacturers produce high-quality ones, while some are on the lower end of the spectrum.
Many sellers offer lower quality channels, but people still get deceived despite false advertising. They only find out about the mishaps later on.
If you want better sound control, use trusted brands ONLY like the Auralex RC8 Resilient Channel. These RC channels are probably the most reliable ones you can buy online.
- Decouples walls and prevent noise and sound waves from traveling
- Decent soundproofing
- Difficult installation process
- If resilient channel and sound clips are not properly installed and are drawn up sideways, the possibility of a short circuit happening is likely to happen
- Channel framing structure can become rusted over time and sag
- When metal ends come into contact with any wall or ceiling surface, it can create noise
- Many low-quality sellers
What is a Hat Channel?
A HAT CHANNEL is another option if you’re looking to prevent sound from escaping the room.
Most people may find the name funny, but hat channels are actually handy and were made for soundproofing purposes.
Like resilient channels, a hat channel or a furring channel is a CORROSION-RESISTANT framing piece used to fur out walls in masonry and ceilings.
It resembles a fedora because the channel has legs that look bent and folded in an outward direction.
The hat channel is commonly attached HORIZONTALLY on the wall studs or PERPENDICULARLY on the joists.
The channel’s “crown” is bolted on the drywall. The air space in between improves sound control effectiveness.
What We Like Most About Hat Channels
We can’t stop raving about hat channels because they do a great job CREATING GAPS OR SPACES between the interior or exterior walls or the drywall.
The contraption enables the channels to breathe and prevents moisture from building up. This serves as a BIG HELP in cutting maintenance costs.
Also, when speaking about structure, hat channels have it better. Hat channels are MORE STABLE than resilient channels that are filled with holes.
Hat channel serves a double purpose:
- Prevent sound from traveling
- Provide structural support to the roof by creating a smooth and leveled surface
Hat channels come in different shapes and sizes, with the two main variations being steel and aluminum hat channels:
Aluminum Hat Channels
- WILL NOT rust and form mold
- Prevents fires
- Lightweight and durable
Steel Hat Channels
- Often requires additional coating and is…
- HEAVIER and MORE PRONE to rust and corrosion
- MORE EXPENSIVE
This channel type includes quality dimensions:
- 25 gauge
- 20 gauge
- 18 gauge
- 16 gauge
How to Install Hat Channel on Drywall
The process of installing hat channels on these walls is simple. Just follow these quick steps:
- Measure your dimensions! We’re not only talking about the drywall but also the ceiling and the furring strip that you’ll use.
- Locate ceiling joists before attaching the furring strips or the hat channel to the drywall or wood studs. Make sure that the strip is placed perpendicularly. Use 3-inch screws to keep hat channels in place.
- Level the hat channels out on the studs. Be sure to follow the correct measurements.
- You’re ALL SET!
See, setting hat channels up is much easier versus resilient channels.
How Much Does It Cost?
Price varies according to length and quality, but for an average of a 12-foot hat channel, it costs only $6, not much different from a resilient channel.
Of course, you can also scour the web for other cheap soundproofing tools and materials.
Are Hat Channels Effective?
Are hat channels any BETTER than resilient channels in terms of soundproofing?
Well, this is a tricky question. Do hat channels really win vs. resilient ones?
If we base it on the STC score, then the first option is far better. Hat channels have an STC of only 36 to 46, which means that loud speeches can be heard and understood clearly.
Hat channels only cover LOWER sound frequencies.
But, this DOES NOT MEAN that it’s ineffective vs. resilient channels.
We installed a hat channel in our basement a few years back, and it works just as well as any sound barrier. The room structure and installation process still play vital roles.
- Easy installation
- Solid and stable framing is better versus resilient channels
- Create smooth surface
- Prevent moisture build-up
- Lower STC than resilient channel
- Prone to rust and corrosion (for steel hat channels)
Resilient Channel vs. Hat Channel: What’s the Difference?
You can easily tell the difference between hat channels vs. resilient channels in terms of structure, support, and the quality of isolation it can provide.
- If a hat channel is named after the fedora because it looks like one, a resilient channel resembles a baseball cap.
- The resilient channel is more stable and durable than a hat channel because the latter has holes lining up its surface.
- Hat channels vibrate more since they have two different attachment spots on each leg, so they can easily be mounted on walls.
- Hat channels do an excellent job of keeping things in place since it DOES NOT shift or sag.
Hat Channel, Resilient Channels vs Sound Isolation Clips: Which is Best for Soundproofing Walls?
Sound isolation clips are a simple and cost-effective solution if you want to block out all sounds coming from your walls.
Unlike hat channels and resilient channels, sound isolation clips have a BETTER reputation for soundproofing.
They dramatically help improve privacy and soundproof any wall or ceiling by AT LEAST 10 STC.
Sound isolation clips work by preventing sound shocks and vibrations.
Many people also find it easier to install sound isolation clips compared to RC 1. Just secure the isolation clips on the floor joists, and you’re all set.
Setting up sound isolation clips WILL NOT require additional tools! Not bad for a simple contraption.
Sound isolation clips work best with those who already have an existing hat channel and find the noise a problem.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is Acoustic Decoupling?
Acoustic decoupling attempts to limit and block sound movement in and out of the area as much as possible.
Sound waves tend to travel from walls, ceilings, floors, and windows.
Thankfully, the process of acoustic decoupling helps reduce sound vibration and sound movement by separating the two layers of drywall.
If every surface is made soundproof, then it’s a guarantee that NO SOUND can leave or be heard from your home.
But, before we can achieve this, we’ll need the help of soundproofing clips and channels for the best results.
What are Sound Transmission Class (STC) Ratings?
So, how do we know if a material is soundproof?
That’s where Sound Transmission Class (STC) ratings come in.
STC ratings help us determine how different types of soundproofing materials can reduce sound waves. The higher the score or rating, the better it is in sound control.
Here’s a guide that should help you determine how the numbers work
- 45: Good enough score
- 60: The target score
- Anything BELOW 45: sound and sound vibrations from the inside can escape.
Good soundproofing begins at an STC rating of 45.
Sound transmission classes are beneficial when we compare resilient channels and hat channels.
How Can I Further Improve Soundproofing?
Whether or not you’re convinced with our resilient channel vs hat channel review, we listed down 4 alternatives that can stand alone or help fight noise transfer.
You can use these to complement soundproofing and improve sound quality!
1. Two Layers of Drywall
Using another layer over your existing drywall as a sound barrier helps prevent sound transfer. Two layers of drywall increases STC score by 10 points.
NOTE: You’ll need to do a little DIY for this.
You will need to use acoustic caulking to fill the 1/4″ gap or space in between.
2. Green Glue
Applying Green Glue between the layers of the wall can dampen sound transmission.
Green Glue and other acoustic caulking products are magical tools. Why?
They convert sound waves into heat energy. We can easily deal with all types of sounds ― high frequency or a low-pitched one.
Just smear it on the studs or the wall.
3. Mass Loaded Vinyl
Another way to deal with sound vibrations is the mass loaded vinyl.
Mass loaded vinyl is made out of a heavy polymer sheet that dampens sounds when the mass LV is attached to the layers of the wall.
They are secured against the studs or hung on your windows like a curtain.
The mass loaded vinyl has an STC between 21 to 31, depending on its thickness.
If you’re working on your garage, insulation helps compress the sound. There are different types of insulations you can choose from.
Resilient Channel vs. Hat Channel: Final Verdict
No doubt, both are effective solutions to keep vibrations and sound transfer at a minimum.
However, the better choice between the two is the hat channel. Resilient channels might have a higher STC, but the many problems people encounter outweigh the benefits.
The hat channel is the BETTER OPTION because it provides more structure and support to your wall and ceiling. Even though it has a lower score, it can easily complement a good old sound isolation clip.
July 8, 2021 – removed affiliate links, updated external links
July 1, 2021 – added changelog, fixed article format, updated internal linking, optimized content