Story at a glance:

  • Noise pollution is the second largest environmental cause of health problems.
  • Gold Bond® SoundBreak® XP® Gypsum Board products dramatically reduce noise transmission between rooms or dwelling units with superior sound-damping gypsum board.
  • National Gypsum Company’s SoundBook® 2.0 acoustical assembly guide eliminates the guesswork by providing contractors and architects with design solutions that mitigate noise issues.

Flanking sound and noise pollution can be a big problem in any building, making it difficult for occupants to concentrate, impeding privacy, and affecting quality of life. Research shows noise can even lead to health problems. That is why National Gypsum Company developed SoundBreak XP Wall® Board over 15 years ago.

Noise is the second largest environmental cause of health problems following air pollution, according to the World Health Organization. Frequent exposure to noise pollution can cause high blood pressure, cardiovascular disorders, decreased quantity and quality of sleep, and increased stress and depression. “The SoundBreak XP family of products is a solution to many of these noise issues,” says Matt Gallagher, product manager of gypsum systems at National Gypsum Company.

SoundBreak XP Wall Board was just the start of the SoundBreak family, which now also includes SoundBreak XP Ceiling® Board and SoundBreak XP Retrofit® Board. Each product has different applications, outlined in the company’s XP products catalog. All share the same attributes—to reflect and absorb unwanted sound and create quieter spaces. All SoundBreak products are made with the same signature purple facer as other Gold Bond® XP products. The purple color and XP designation stand for “Xtra Protection” against mold-, mildew-, and moisture-resistant.

Gallagher spoke with gb&d about the importance of creating quieter spaces and how the SoundBreak XP product family helps contractors and designers achieve those goals.

How important are acoustics in the design of commercial and residential buildings today?

Acoustic design is imperative in all new and existing construction today. Noise is a major issue for building owners and contractors. We consistently get calls from customers asking for help creating quieter rooms, buildings, and businesses. I believe some of that has to do with the popularity of open-concept design and an increase in people working from home. Quiet rooms are vital to the productivity, health, and comfort of occupants.

Noise and acoustics have also become a key issue in construction and building management. When someone pays a lot of money for a residential unit in a multifamily building, and they can hear everything going on with their neighbor, that is an issue. Our SoundBreak XP boards are used in hotels and multifamily construction to help dampen the sounds of foot traffic, conversation, and other noise from nearby units.

You may have noticed televisions in most hotel rooms are no longer wall-mounted because that allowed a direct connection for sound energy to travel into neighboring rooms. Our SoundBreak XP Retrofit Board, which can be installed over the existing gypsum board, have been widely used in hotels to make rooms quieter without the hassle and expense associated with the demolition of a full-fledged renovation.

Privacy is another important issue. Medical facilities and hospitals must follow HIPAA regulations. You shouldn’t be hearing what a patient is saying from one room to the next. Acoustics can also be a confidentiality issue in buildings where highly sensitive information is shared. Our products are widely used to quiet meeting spaces and prevent the disclosure of sensitive information.

How do Gold Bond SoundBreak XP products help create quieter spaces?

There are three concepts for acoustical assemblies that help with sound mitigation—mass, damping, and decoupling. Our SoundBreak XP products achieve two of the three. They have greater mass than standard Type X due to the high-density gypsum core and damping because of the viscoelastic polymer. The polymer is sandwiched between two pieces of gypsum board, and it dissipates sound energy moving through the board. It never hardens and therefore helps to reduce sound energy.

Drywall reflects noise, and whatever sound energy is left is damped by the polymer. SoundBreak XP boards mitigate noise transmission in two ways, with the goal to attenuate sound energy from one space to another.

The boards can also be used in conjunction with decoupling methods to achieve all three concepts and obtain a higher sound rating. Decoupling can be achieved by constructing wall assemblies that have staggered studs, two rows of studs, or resilient channels to break up the sound’s path of travel into adjacent spaces.

How does your SoundBook 2.0 assist contractors and designers?

National Gypsum Company’s SoundBook 2.0 is an organized collection of acoustical assemblies. This guide shows architects and contractors how all of the components come together, so they can design and build walls and ceilings properly. All three SoundBreak XP products are exhibited in multiple assemblies. The SoundBook displays potential design solutions for different acoustical problems, providing a rendering of each assembly. The images are in color so contractors can get a clear understanding of the construction process and finished system.

Providing solutions to design and construction challenges differentiates National Gypsum, and SoundBook 2.0 is one of many resources we provide as a trusted partner for our customers.