Something in the world of floating have you stumped?
While Ashkahn is off doing whatever it is Ashkahn does when not on the podcast, Graham sits down with Jake Marty the Float On construction guy (and co-owner of Float On), to talk about Quietrock.
Now before you rush to the Resources section to see which ones are best, this episode lays out the reason to use Quietrock, when (and how) to compromise for more affordable options, and where you may not want to use this when planning your build out.
Listen to Just the Audio
Transcription of this episode… (in case you prefer reading)
Graham: All right. Hello, everybody. This is Graham over here.
Jake Marty: And this is Jake Marty over here. How are you doing?
Graham: The Construction Man himself.
Jake Marty: Among other things, but yeah.
Graham: We’re not joined by Ashkahn today, whose absence is sorely felt. He’s getting ready for the conference, which is right around the corner, coming up August 18th and 19th. If you don’t already have your tickets, definitely go and grab those. So he’ll be back and recording podcasts soon, but in the meantime, we’re going to take some episodes here, maybe a week or two, to go over some of your construction questions, as long as we have Jake Marty in town.
To kick things off, the first question we have is, “What type of QuietRock do you guys recommend for float rooms?”
Jake Marty: What type of QuietRock? Well, that’s kind of a loaded question. Well, because-
Graham: First of all, it assumes we know what we’re talking about.
Jake Marty: Yeah. Somebody thinks that we know what we’re talking about. Well, we do use, actually, a couple different types of soundproofing drywall. When we do use QuietRock, we use the 525 EZ-Snap.
Graham: Let’s back up a little bit first before we go too deep into it, which is a) what is QuietRock?
Jake Marty: Right. QuietRock is a soundproofing drywall. Basically, it’s really dense, really heavy gypsum, two layers of it sandwiched together with an acoustical compound in between, kind of like a little PB&J gypsum sandwich. It’s very delicious. Don’t eat it. Don’t eat that stuff.
But, basically, you’re just kind of creating a very heavy, very dense piece of drywall that has a much higher STC rating than your regular drywall. And since it’s on the interior float rooms and stuff like that, we actually use the mold-and-mildew-resistant sheets, as well, anytime within those spaces.
Graham: Yep, and it’s definitely not the only type of soundproofing that you can do as far as drywall goes. I mean, you can even just use regular five-eighths-inch drywall-
Jake Marty: Absolutely.
Graham: And layer it, maybe, with, again, an acoustical compound in between. Green Glue is kind of the most tested ones-
Jake Marty: Kind of the Kleenex of that world or whatever?
Graham: Yeah, yeah. Definitely the Kleenex of acoustical compounds. Yeah.
Jake Marty: And we’ve heard combinations, as well, because it all comes down to budget. We’re constantly talking about theory, and we’re constantly like, “What would be ideal?” But, at the end of the day, you have to match what your budget is. So we’ll see some people do one layer of soundproofing drywall and then another layer of just regular drywall on top of that, again, like Graham said, with the acoustical compound in between the two sheets.
Graham: A little pro tip there. What you’re actually doing is separating your materials and kind of changing densities in between when you add that acoustical compound-
Jake Marty: Yeah. It helps.
Graham: -in between, which is, it kind of really is like a butter. Green Glue, again, it’s like a-
Jake Marty: Yeah. It’s a-
Graham: You know, it’s like-
Jake Marty: It’s like a slime.
Graham: Yeah, it’s like a slime that you put in between.
Jake Marty: It just comes out of a giant tube, big caulk gun.
Graham: So the idea there is that when the sound waves hit your first sheet of drywall or your first sheet of QuietRock, rather than just pass through the exact same density into the next sheet behind them, they now have to go through this slime, which whenever sound waves change densities of material, they break up a little bit. And it kind of diffuses them.
So that’s sort of the idea behind putting that in between the sheets as opposed to just layering them directly when we’re referencing an acoustical compound separating sheets of wall.
Jake Marty: Yeah, absolutely. Also, it is worth noting, since we are kind of talking about QuietRock here, that we don’t use that on ceilings because it’s not actually rated in moist environments to be mounted on the ceiling. So we’ll end up using another brand of soundproofing drywall called SilentFX, kind of the QuietRock’s competitor.
Another thing to kind of keep in mind, this all depends on where you’re at not only in the country but in the world. Like in Australia, they’re not going to be shipping in QuietRock. That’s cost prohibitive. They’re going to be using their own type of soundproofing drywall as long as it hits the same STC ratings that we’re trying to shoot for.
Graham: Yep, and the cost one is really interesting, too, because QuietRock is pretty much the most expensive soundproofing drywall that I’ve seen out there.
Jake Marty: Yeah.
Graham: So deciding to just go with QuietRock right off the bat as opposed to another solution is saying, “We’re sort of skipping straight to the big boys or the heavy hitters here.” It might not actually perform better than other solutions, and correct me if I’m wrong, Jake, but I think the reason that QuietRock is so expensive is because they are the most robustly tested-
Jake Marty: Absolutely.
Graham: -drywall solution out there. The amount of actual just sound tests-
Jake Marty: Independent lab testing.
Graham: -they put all of their products through means they’re verified to give a certain level of soundproofing, whereas the others might do just as well, but we don’t know for sure. So when you-
Jake Marty: It might also just be marketing, right? People can put anything they want on the outside of their package if it hasn’t been independently verified. So that’s something that gets scary, whereas we know QuietRock is testing their stuff.
Graham: Yeah. You’re just sort of paying for peace of mind and for that certainty that it’s actually certified and verified. So that’s why when QuietRock gets brought up and it’s kind of maybe the de facto soundproofing for walls, that’s really why it’s getting brought up, is because of that rigorous testing they’ve gone through.
Jake Marty: Something to keep in mind when you’re thinking about that as well, when it went off to independent lab testing, that was their perfect form. There were no gaps between their drywall. Everything was built perfectly. What we take away from that is that’s what we need in our float center. We need contractors that will pay attention to detail because the weakest point in the system it destroys everything, really.
Any sloppy work, like if the installer does not do a good job, then you’ve just paid a lot of money for something that’s not doing what it’s designed to do. So going all the way back to your contractors, it’s not just the materials. It’s the people that use the materials.
Graham: Yeah, yeah. For sure. That’s a huge one that we see all the time. You can do your soundproofing 99 percent correctly, and that one percent can ruin the effectiveness of any soundproofing you did. It’s such a details game.
Jake Marty: It’s very, very similar to waterproofing. One small pinhole in your waterproofing system, and salt, that little bugger, gets in there and it just starts destroying things. Sound waves, very pervasive. Very similar to that beautiful magnesium sulfate we all love so much.
Graham: Okay. I guess we should answer their real question now that we’ve given a lot of background on this, which is, “What type of QuietRock do we recommend?” In general, the EZ-Snap is kind of the basic wall QuietRock. If you’re doing your lobby walls, anything that’s not in a wet or really moist area, probably the EZ-Snap is what you’re going with.
Jake Marty: Yeah, and then again, in those moist wet areas like the float rooms, we use the mold and mildew resistant or just the mold-resistant sheets.
Graham: Yep. Also EZ-Snap.
Jake Marty: Yeah. There’s actually a whole line of QuietRock. The 525 EZ-Snap is not insanely expensive, and it’s pretty effective. And it’s five-eighths of an inch thick, so it meets a lot of code requirements. You can spend a lot of money. They just go up: the 525, the 535, the 545.
Graham: Some of them just start getting up to, like, I don’t know-
Jake Marty: That one’s two inches thick.
Graham: Yeah. It’s crazy.
Jake Marty: $300 a sheet. The only people that buy those are, like, movie theaters, I guess. That’s the only thing I can really think of.
Graham: So yeah. There you go. A little background on QuietRock, some of what you should use, and again, it’s very hefty. So if you start actually quoting out your entire float center for double-layered QuietRock with the mold and mildew resistant on the inside, expect to be shocked at the price tag you get back, and probably realize that you can’t actually do that throughout your entire space. You might need to decide exactly where you want to double up on certain walls and where you want to skimp and save and stuff like that.
Know that if you do put that down, you’re just saying, “I’m willing to invest a huge amount of money in this soundproofing.” To me, I guess it’s a little scary, especially for first-time float centers, too, going that route, because it’s also saying, “I think I did my waterproofing perfectly, and I’m not going to mess up the soundproofing on the inside of my float rooms,” because it’s also terrifying. Once you’re installing these really expensive sheets of drywall on the interior of your float rooms, that’s also a lot of stuff that can get damaged by moisture and saltwater and stuff like that.
So yeah. It’s a very personal decision, I guess, deciding where you’re going to draw those lines and which side of the monetary fence you’re going to come in on?
Jake Marty: Yeah, for sure. Often, I’m getting calls and questions about how we can pare down a budget, how we can trim down a budget, because it’s coming in $120 a square foot or something like that, and they only budgeted $80 a square foot. Where we’ll see that taken away is maybe in those hallways that is shared with other float rooms or something like that, and then we’ll soundproof heavy on the lobby side because you have all that noise out front, all the interactions and everything like that, where it’s like you might not need soundproofing drywall in your bathroom, you know what I mean?
Jake Marty: So yeah.
Graham: Yeah, and of course, where you’re located has a lot to do with it, too.
Jake Marty: Yeah. For sure.
Graham: If you’re out in the middle of a forest versus off of a busy street in the middle of a city, you can cut down on a lot of soundproofing.
Jake Marty: If you’re out in the middle of the forest, you could probably put a float tank in a yurt. That might be nice.
Graham: All right. If you have questions of your own, especially for the next couple weeks, any construction questions, definitely head on over to floattanksolutions.com/podcast, and we will attempt to answer them.
Jake Marty: We’ll do our best.
Graham: All right. Thanks, everybody.
Jake Marty: Yeah. Thank you so much.
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