Plywood vs Drywall vs MDF vs OSB Soundproofing: Get Better!

plywood vs drywall vs MDF vs OSB for soundproofing

You don’t have a clear concept about these important terms that are also used in various places for various purposes.

But you don’t understand which type of material (Plywood vs Drywall vs MDF vs OSB for Soundproofing) you should use for soundproofing your target areas like home or other important places.

The population growth is increasing day by day and you are living in noisy areas too. In this situation, you need to set up some acoustic material to reduce the noise transmission.

Up to now, you have introduced five names such as plywood, drywall, MDF, OSB, and chipboard. But the problem is that you don’t have a clear concept about these five terms.

For that reason, you can’t make a decision about which type of material you need to use for acoustic implementation.

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So you are searching on the internet for knowing the actual difference between these five names. Separately you have got the details of these five terms but till now, you have had a problem distinguishing these terms.

In this situation, I think that you have come to the right place to know the specific difference and the soundproof ability between them.

If you want to get a clear idea, you should continue reading. After reading, I think you can understand which type of material you need to use for removing noise pollution in your home place and other areas.

First, I will try to share these five terms with easy descriptions so that you can understand them quickly.

So start reading….

What is Drywall and How is Drywall Made (Diagram)?

how is drywall made (diagram)

The other name of drywall is plasterboard and the production system of drywall is not the same as plywood.

First, see the image and try to understand the manufacturing process of drywall. After noticing this image, you should start reading the description of what I will tell you now about the manufacturing process of the layers of drywall in a short and easy language.

Do you know gypsum powder? No problem, the other name of this powder is plaster of Paris. Calcium sulfate dihydrate (scientific name: CaSO 4·2H2O) is included in gypsum material.

Water and specified additives are mixed with this gypsum. Again look at the image, then you can understand. After mixing all of them, the gypsum slurry (gypsum core) is created.

Now, this slurry is sandwiched between two paper sheets (see the image again). When the gypsum board is dried, it is called drywall. It needs a specific time for drying.

Now, you need to know the soundproofing ability of this plywood.

Is Drywall Good for Soundproofing?

You have known how to produce drywall and what the main material is.
It can reduce some noise because 1/2″ single layer drywall has the 33 STC (sound transmission class) rating. (source)

Normally, a 1/2″ sheet of drywall weighs around 1.5 – 1.6 lb/ft2 (pounds per square foot).

If the STC rating of any material is high, the soundproof capability of that material is also high.

So, according to the STC rating, drywall will not be able to block complete sound transfer from any area. Soundproof drywall (including steel layer and gypsum) is better than the normal board.

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Advantage

  1. It is more soundproof than other plywood, MDF, OSB, particleboard.
  2. It has more moisture resistance than other board
  3. It is easy to implement in the ceiling joist and you can collect the same sizes of sheets so that you can set them easily. If you use a screw gun, it will be easier to install it.
  4. Nowadays, using drywall panels is becoming popular day by day.
  5. Gypsum is non-flammable material. You have known that this material is the main element of drywall. This is why it is fire resistant too.
  6. You can collect it at a low budget and you also use acoustic drywall over plywood.
  7. It doesn’t need to finish the surface of the drywall. You can use it without applying any paint.
  8. You can install it in the cabinets and shelves because drilling any drywall is easy.

Disadvantage

  1. It has no higher soundproofing qualities than other acoustical materials like mass-loaded vinyl, underlayment, etc.
  2. It doesn’t provide proper insulation of temperature
  3. It is not water resistance

If you want to get a better soundproofing facility, then you need to add the resilient channel to the drywall.

After adding this channel, it will also reduce some noise frequencies from your internal walls. So, to soundproof the drywall sheet more, you should add this channel.

What is Plywood and How is Plywood Made (Diagram)?

how is plywood made (diagram)

Most people don’t know what plywood is and how to prepare it. This name is a combination of ply and wood.

The meaning of ply is a thin layer of the sheet. So the meaning of plywood will be a thin layer of wood. There are different types of plywood.

Such as hardwood, softwood, aircraft plywood, etc. Marine plywood is also used in the garage door walls. Some stud walls are made with wood material. For making the board of electrical outlets, this wood product is used.

In the image, you are noticing that this thin layer is made with various processes. Here, I will tell you about it in an easy way. You match my writing with this image so that you can easily understand.

First, wood logs are prepared by cutting the matured trees. After preparing the wood logs, it is needed to debark them.

Debarker means to clean the outer surface of the wood logs. After debarking that wood log, a thin layer is produced by using a high technology cutting blade.

The name of this process (creating the thin layer of wood sheet) is veneer. After completing the veneer, the wood sheet (board) is cut with an accurate measurement.

After producing wood boards, they are pressed with high pressure. During pressure, specific glue is added for creating strong bonding among multiple wood boards.

After creating a specific pressure, finally plywood is created.

Now, you need to know the soundproofing ability of this plywood.

Is Plywood Good For Soundproofing?

Now, you have understood what type of material is required to produce plywood. Yes, wood material is required to produce this board.

If you have any confusion about the acoustic properties of plywood and the soundproofing capability of wood material, you should read below the points.

Normally, impact noise can pass through the wood material because any airborne sound can quickly pass through the hard substance than air medium.

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Sound propagation is efficient in wood material. (source)

There is also available a good speed of sound in the wood material. (source)

Now, you can understand why plywood is a less effective soundproof material than drywall. To soundproof a plywood sheet, you should add reliable and acoustic material to it.

Advantage

  1. The sheet of plywood (double layers) is very strong than other board
  2. Plywood installation is easy and you can attach the sheet tightly by screw
  3. You can use it as an additional layer to any surface
  4. Plywoods for walls are also a choice for increasing the layer of walls.

Disadvantage

  1. You can’t easily cut this sheet.
  2. Heavy material
  3. Density is low
  4. It has no better soundproofing characteristics than drywall
  5. You need a high budget to collect it in comparison with MDF
  6. In adhesive or glue, phenol-formaldehyde and urea may be used.
  7. Insects may attack this board sheet.

What is OSB and How is OSB Made (Diagram)?

how is OSB made (diagram)

OSB means Oriented Strand Board which is produced from aspen trees. Aspen logs are prepared by cutting aspen trees.

After the preparation of logs, they are submerged in the pond for cleaning purposes. After cleaning the logs, the debarking process is done.

After completing this process, wood chips (wood strands) are created at specific sizes. This process is called stranding.

After completing this process, these chips are dried at the required temperature. Next, resin and wax are mixed with these wood chips.

After that, high temperature and pressure are created in these chips with a specific shape. Finally, an oriented strand board is created.

Is the OSB Board Good for Soundproofing?

After adjusting resin and wax in the aspen wood chips, this board also has the same STC rating in comparison to drywall.

Specifically, this board is made from aspen trees and mixed with chemicals. This is the reason why this board does not absorb water quickly.

Advantage

  1. Normally it is used as an interior and exterior wall for removing sound energy
  2. Don’t get easily wet. This is why it is also used as a wall.
  3. The dried material of this board is also stronger than the dried material of sheetrock
  4. After cutting, will not release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
  5. It can be collected at a low budget
  6. Since it is made from small wood chips, there is no problem making a large board sheet. That is why you can collect a large size of OSB sheet, when necessary. It may be up to 24feet in length.
  7. This board is eco-friendly because it is made from wood chips.
  8. The shared strength of the OSB sheet is greater (2 times) than the plywood sheet.
  9. It also increases the extra structural strength of a wall.
  10. It is used as an alternative to drywall

Disadvantage

  1. It is not strong enough like MDF
  2. When OSB absorbs water, it holds water for many days.
  3. It is not a finished sheet like other finished boards.
  4. It is heavier than plywood sheets and other engineered wood panels.

What is MDF and What Material is Used to Make It?

MDF means Medium Density Fiberboard which is made from wood chips and shavings (wood residuals). By using metal detectors, metal parts are removed from wood residuals.

After that, resin and wax are mixed with these residuals. After applying high temperature and pressure, this type of fiberboard is made.

Is MDF good for soundproofing?

You have got the information about the materials of MDF. Because of using resin and wax in the wood chips, it grows STC rating.

It has a higher density and the same STC rating similar to the material of drywall (plasterboard) sheets. This is why you can also use it for removing some noise in your area.

Advantage

  1. It can remove some noise like drywall
  2. MDF sheet is strong enough, denser, and is also durable. This is why this sheet is used for many purposes in replacing normal wood.
  3. You can paint the surface of MDF easily because its surface is smooth.
  4. MDF sheet is cheaper than plywood sheet
  5. It is moisture-resistant but it is not waterproof.

Disadvantage

  1. Heavy than drywall
  2. Expensive (pricy) than drywall

What is a Particleboard and How is it Made (diagram)?

how is particle board made (diagram)

The other name for the particleboard is chipboard. Now, you are confused about how to make this type of board. Ok, I am shortly telling you.

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First, sawdust is collected from the source (tree, wood logs, etc). After collecting sawdust, some specified resin is mixed with it.

Next, High pressure is given in this mixture. Finally, a hardboard is produced for that given pressure. This board is called the particleboard.

Now, you have understood that the word ‘particle” comes from sawdust (small particles).

Is Chipboard Good For Soundproofing?

If you use multiple layers of chipboard, then you may get some soundproofing ability from that board.

But my suggestion is that you should also implement other acoustic material to this board if you want to get more soundproofing ability from that board.

Other Reliable Alternatives to Soundproofing Materials?

These different types of boards you can use as walls or barriers. But for soundproofing a wall, you should use some more acoustic elements that are using some people.

There are some acoustic materials that you can try if you want to remove more noise from your room space, office, or other places.

So, now I will share some acoustic materials that you need for the acoustic application. The installation process of this material is not difficult and you should also know about it.

  1. Adhesive sealant is also used for filling small gaps or cracks. When there are some cracks in the ceiling, gaps in the door and window frame, you will need this acoustic sealant for blocking all types of small gaps or cracks and It also stops passing sound. So for stopping noise passing, you should use this type of sealant.
  2. Weatherstripping is one kind of seal tape that is used in the gaps between door frames and walls. During soundproofing a door, you will need this type of seal tape.
  3. Mass-loaded Vinyl or MLV is one kind of noise-stopping vinyl material that is also used in the wall and ceiling surface for stopping noise frequency instantly. It has high performance to stop the sound waves and some people are implementing it in their room to block the vibration of louder noise urgently.
  4. Underlayment is one kind of insulator that is also used on the floor and other flat surfaces. It is also effective to stop sound vibrations like MLV. You can use it to increase the layer of the floor surface so that impact noise can’t transfer through the floor.
  5. Acoustic Foam can absorb sound and it can be used in the room wall or other flat surfaces. It is also effective in reducing echo. It has small gaps (air chambers) or air bubbles (air cavity) that can absorb the direct impact sounds.

Do You Want Your Area More Soundproof?

If you want to keep your private place more soundproof, you should do some reliable activities that I am telling you about.

  1. Soundproofing a ceiling section is the main important issue because major noise can come from the ceiling section. There are lots of problems that may allow sound into your room. This is why you should focus on implementing acoustic elements in the ceiling surface. Some elements can also be used after installing drywall in the ceiling area.
  2. Filling the gap of the door frame is important because noise can pass through this gap. If you don’t block this sound passing area, you will not benefit from using a well and decorated door.
  3. To remove noise from a floor surface is also important for you, if you live in a noisy place like me. The floor is also the main way where impact sound can move from one floor to another floor. To stop that noise, you should do a soundproofing activity on your room floor.
  4. The other main sound passing area in the window. This is why you need window soundproofing for removing noise. You can use an acoustic curtain in the window section.

N.B: Before collecting any acoustic material, you should know about the basic elements of soundproofing. They are mass, damping, absorption, distance, and decoupling methods.

My Overview

In the summary section, I want to tell you that you should know the basic idea about engineered wood and normal wood.

Before implementing any wood, you should choose the reliable one for your place. Some people like you, don’t know the basic information about different types of board sheets.

This is why I have tried to share the introduction in easy words so that everyone can get some idea from this blog post.

After reading this full post, you may have the idea of implementing the right board sheet for soundproofing activities.

For easy understanding, I have also shared the soundproofing activity of different board panels. If you read this data, I think you have no problem collecting the right wall panel for yourself.

I have tried to share the manufacturing image of different board panels so that you can easily understand the production process of those boards.

If you know the raw material of these board panels, you can be able to choose the right one for soundproofing activities.

I have preferred drywall because the main element of this sheet is a layer of gypsum which can reduce some sound frequencies.

But my main choice is acoustic materials that you should also need. If you want your room more soundproof, you should try reliable acoustic elements that you can find from the local market.

You also need to focus on the main noise area so that you can apply soundproofing panels in replacing normal wood panels.

If you don’t have any idea about other acoustic accessories, you should read another blog post on this site.

FAQ: Plywood vs Drywall vs MDF vs OSB vs Particle Board

Is Drywall a Good Sound Barrier?

No. It is not enough to stop sound waves. But it can reduce some noise waves. This is why you can get some benefit by using drywall in soundproofing applications. But it doesn’t insulate sound properly.

Is a Plywood Sheet Good for Noise Reduction?

Impact sound can pass through the wood. During the production of plywood, multiple layers of wood sheets are combined. This is why low-frequency sounds may be stopped by plywood.

Which One is Better Soundproof Between Plywood and Drywall?

The good news is that drywall is better than plywood. Drywall contains gypsum which helps to reduce the noise level. On the other hand, plywood is made from direct wood.

Reducing noise is not as effective as drywall. So you should avoid using plywood and focus to implement drywall in replacing plywood.

What Kind of Plywood is Better for Soundproofing?

Normally, cherry wood is better than other wood because more acoustic characteristics are found in this type of wood. Cherry wood panels can be used in replacing normal wood panels.

But try to avoid any kind of plywood, if you want to remove more sound from your room.

Can a Drywall Sheet be Installed Over a Plywood Sheet?

Drywall sheets can be installed over the plywood. It will be better if you apply resilient channels by maintaining specific requirements.

Can You Soundproof or Insulate a Plywood Wall?

If you have existing plywood, you don’t need to replace it. You can apply acoustic material to this plywood sheet.

For details, you should read my other blog posts where I have also shared some information about the application of soundproof accessories in a wall.

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