Standard Resilient Channel
Resilient channel really is not that bad of a product to use in walls. Realistically you can bring up the rating of a wall by a good 12 STC points. Note that there will not be much improvement at all in isolating low frequencies. The STC increase might just be enough for you if you need to block some low level sound transfer such as people talking in the next room, phones ringing, or light TV noise. Resilient channel is difficult to install and nearly impossible for a DIY homeowner to install correctly without prior knowledge of drywall and the common pitfalls of resilient channel. Because of this we would definitely recommend the use of our RC Assurance resilient channel clips. You’ll need quite a few of them even for a small wall, but they are very cheap and they will guarantee a properly installed resilient channel.
Now resilient channel can do well in walls, but it will not do much in ceilings. Ceilings are a whole other beast in the world of sound isolation and the flimsy resilient channel decoupling the drywall by just a 1/4″ adds an insignificant amount of resiliency to a 12″ thick wood framed floor. Airborne isolation will improve with ceiling installation, but not by much. Footfall impact noise isolation will not be affected enough to satisfy the majority of customers.
It’s always good to point out that importance of avoiding installing resilient channel or any decoupled system over existing drywall. This causes all sorts of issues with resonance (triple leaf effect) and the end result is a void gain from using resilient channel. Resilient channel can increase performance in a wall by 12 STC points, but if installed over drywall to cause a triple leaf then the performance will be brought down roughly 10 points. Overall gain will only be 2 points. Resilient channel in a ceiling will only bring up the performance by about 5 points so if you install the resilient channel to cause a triple leaf then you might be worse off from when you started.
Our Advice You can do pretty well using resilient channel in walls as long as you install it properly. Use the RC Assurance to guarantee success or really take your time installing to make sure you do not short out your installation. Installing resilient channel in your ceiling will not provide great results and no real improvement for footfall impact noise. Resilient channel is a decent solution for sound isolation in walls, but there are better products out there that do not really cost more as well as products that have easier, more fail-proof, installations.
Resilient Channel With Foam or Rubber Attached
Some project specs call for resilient channel with a thin foam installed on the channel and/or between the channel and framing. Some manufacturers have put together a resilient channel with foam or rubber pre-attached along with a foam or rubber base to install between the channel and the framing. This seems like a great idea, but in the end all you will end up with is the performance of basic resilient channel. No true sound test would show otherwise.
Our Advice: Do not bother with these types of products. Go ahead and use resilient channel, but do not think that using foam on the channel will actually give you a jump in performance beyond an inaudible 1 STC point gain. The reason why these types of products exist on the market is because it is nearly impossible to make a profit off selling resilient channel unless you are a local distributor. To compete online, companies had to come up with a way to alter the resilient channel to make it more appealing than basic resilient channel.