Resilient channel vs. hat channel, while the two are effective in soundproofing purposes as they help improve the sound transmission class (STC) of a partition, the big question is, which is better in affordable soundproofing?
Below is a detailed comparison guide between resilient channel vs. Hat channel. Let’s get started.
What is Resilient Channel?
Resilient channel is a holed strip of metal that’s bent to create a spring-like channel.
These channels are attached at right angle to the joists or studs, creating a grid-like network.
If any contact exist, sound waves will travel through, making the channel ineffective. Some advantages of resilient channels include:
- Can improve sound transmission class (STC) rating b 5-10% or more
- Decouples wall and prevents noise transfer
- Enhances the effectiveness of insulation
- Can be easily compromised if not properly installed
- Can bent decreasing the effectiveness
- No standard STC rating
What is a Hat Channel?
A hat channel is made of aluminum or galvanized steel that’s shaped into a strip-like channel.
It’s commonly used for masonry and concrete surfaces to separate either a wall or ceiling finishing from structural elements.
Hat channel is often attached horizontally on the studs or perpendicularly to the joists, while the brim is often screwed or nailed to the structural pieces.
A drywall is then attached to the “crown” of the hat channel.
The hat channels are available in 10’ and 1 ‘length and the vary between 7/8” to 1-1/2” from the “crown” to the “brim,” and the greater the depth, the more weight the channel can support.
Steel hat channels are hard to cut compared to their aluminum counterparts. The air space the hat channels create helps improve their sound control effectiveness from 36 to around 46.
Combining hat channels with resilient channels can improve the standard transmission class (STC) rating by an additional 15-20.
Hat Channel Pros and Cons
- Simple to install
- Improves sound absorption
- Separates interior finishes from fire and moisture
- Creates a smooth surface for attaching drywall
- Less effective compared to resilient channels
Resilient Channel vs. Hat Channel
Below is a detailed comparison between resilient channel vs. hat channel.
Resilient channels resemble a baseball cap with a shorter back than the front, and it’s attached to the framing via a single brim/leg.
On the other hand, a hat channel has a fedora like a shape, and it is attached to joists or studs through both brims/legs.
Resilient and hat channel cost almost the same and have similar installation process- are often installed perpendicular to joists or studs.
Both the hat channel and RC provide airspace between the wallboard and the insulation, which improves its sound control.
The double attachment found in hat channels enables it to hold more mass than a single connection of the resilient channels. Unfortunately, the double attachment creates more space for the sound vibration movement.
The strength of hat channels ensures that drywall doesn’t shift. Unfortunately, the RC can bow under the weight allowing direct contact, which can, in turn, affect its effectiveness in soundproofing.
How to Improve Soundproofing when Using Resilient and Hat Channel
There are other ways you can improve the efficiency of RC and hat channels. These methods can be implemented during or post-construction or when renovating your home.
However, a 1/4” gap should be left around the perimeter to be filled with acoustic caulking. Also, make sure that the screws used to attach the second drywall layer must never come into contact with the structural framing, or else you risk transmission of structure-borne sound.
Mass Loaded Vinyl
Mass Loaded Vinyl is another excellent way to deal with sound vibrations.
MLV is a heavy polymer sheet that can be attached to joists or studs before buttoning up the walls or ceiling.
You can sandwich MLV between two layers of drywall or hang it on your windows and walls like curtains to damp sound vibrations.
Mass loaded vinyl has a sound transmission class (STC) of 21 and 31 depending on the thickness.
Applying a layer of green glue between two layers of drywall can help dampen up to 70%-90% sound vibration transmission.
However, for residents of New Zealand or in a country where green glue isn’t readily available, I would recommend you to use these six green glue alternatives. They are useful in soundproofing and also readily affordable.
Final thoughts on Resilient Channel vs. Hat Channel
Resilient channels may be the cheaper option; in this case, however, if you’re more serious with soundproofing and creating a quiet environment, I would recommend hat channels and then resilient channels.
While the two may seem equal in their similarity, hat channels offer more benefits, and in the long run, they prove to be the most effective option.
Meet Mike O’Connor, (a DIY enthusiast), living in Cincinnati, a city ranked as the noisiest in the USA.
As a work from home dad, I have a first hand experience of how noise can truly affect your well being.
Soundproofing isn’t something that should be taken as a hobby, it should be a skill that every homeowner should be equipped with.
Most of the work documented on this blog comes from purely first hand experience, and the products recommended work as indicated.