Cost of Materials in
Let's look at the costs involved in building
a basic 2 x 4 frame wall and the incremental value added by
including damping in the wall. In the basic wall, there is
the upper and lower plate and 8' studs on 16" centers.
The wood costs about $0.35 per sq ft of wall. This then is
covered with gypboard, either 1/2 or 5/8 inch thick on both
sides of the wall. The total cost of the gypboard for both
sides of the wall will be about $0.30 per sq ft of wall. Then
we have to add a few nails and the material cost of a standard
2 x 4 framed wall is about $0.65 per sq ft.
When adding fiberglass building insulation the
additional cost of materials seems low, R11 is 3 1/2"
thick and costs about $0.20/sq ft. This is a standard, industry
recognized upgrade option. Here the incremental increase in
the cost of the wall is 30% for the first level of upgrade
in the performance and quality of the wall. This first upgrade
treats the air in the wall, to make the air in the wall more
soundproof. The standard wall with fiberglass sound insulation
in it costs $0.85 per sq ft for materials.
Adding WallDamp strips is the second level upgrade
for a wall. It treats the structure of the wall, to make the
structure of the wall more soundproof. WallDamp strips are
1" wide and 48" long. They are coated with pressure
sensitive structural adhesive on both sides that is covered
with release paper. WallDamp strips are added to the face
on both sides of the plates and studs. Treating the wall construction
with structural damping materials makes a major improvement
in the quality and performance of the wall.
The material cost of adding WallDamp (1"
wide strips) to one side of the wall along the plate and studs
is $0.47/sq ft. Generally, both sides of the wall are covered
and the material cost is $0.93 per square foot of total wall
surface, including both sides. The total cost of a framed
wall with fiberglass damping of the air cavity and WallDamp
damping on the stud and plate surfaces is $1.78 per sq ft.
The structural upgrade, the WallDamp upgrade costs 115% more
than a standard wall with fiberglass insulation, the acoustic
In summary, the cost for materials of
a simple framed gypboard wall is as follows:
A fully damped wall will have acoustic damping
in the wall cavity between the studs and plates and structural
damping on the faces of the studs and plates. And yes, the
material cost is about 2 1/2 times the cost of materials of
a bare wall. But the performance of a quality sound wall in
the home is worth the extra effort.
Here is another way to look at the cost. Typical
rooms might be about 10' x 14' in size. The added cost of
making the walls of this room can be converted into cost per
square foot of floor space. The room has 140 sq ft of floor
space. It has 56' of wall, 8' high and that amounts to 448
sq ft of wall surface. The total wall cost will be divided
in half because only half the wall applies to this room and
the other half of the wall applies to the adjoining room.
The total wall material cost is 448 sq ft x $0.65/sq ft =
$291 but only half of this applies to the room with it's 140
sq ft floor space. That total's almost exactly $1/sq ft for
the cost of materials that goes into the building of the studs,
plates and gypboard walls. A fully deadened wall, with acoustic
damping and structural damping costs $2.75/sq ft of floor
space. The difference is $1.75/sq ft in a house that overall
costs in the range of $85 to $100/sq ft to build. Quality
sound wall construction materials adds 1 to 2% to the overall
cost of construction but it makes the house sound 100% better
and it improves the long term value of the house.
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