Using Particle Board instead of Drywall

Discussion in 'Studio Construction & Acoustics Forum' started by rob_vde, May 29, 2003.

  1. rob_vde

    rob_vde Guest

    We are presently building two rooms one Tracking - one Control and we got given a number of large sheets of particle board 13mm (1/2") thick. My question is, what would be the effect of using this material to replace the first of two layers of 13mm Drywall on the internal walls, i.e.; the layer screwed directly to the resilient channel.

    The other "donation" we have received are a couple of external doors, very solid, only problem they both have an very solid (bevelled) 3/8" thick glass panels. I would like to use them, one for each rooms, but I am wondering what would be the best material to use between the glass and/or if I should use any Plywood or MDF panels screwed and glued to the timber around the glass?

    thanks for any opinions / suggestions on this!
     
  2. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer

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    Rob,

    > what would be the effect of using this material to replace the first of two layers of 13mm Drywall on the internal walls, i.e.; the layer screwed directly to the resilient channel. <

    I'm not certain. I believe the density of the materials - weight per cubic unit - is what matters most, but maybe someone else can chime in and clarify.

    > The other "donation" we have received are a couple of external doors <

    I'm not sure what the problem is from your description. If the glass is 3/8th inch thick and is well sealed around the edges, it should be okay.

    --Ethan
     
  3. rob_vde

    rob_vde Guest

    Ethan;

    Thanks for the quick reply!!
    It would be ideal to get away with using those doors as they are, as we are not having any windows in the rooms, relying on two-way video for communications between engineer and talent. Glass in the doors,even though they both go to a corridor could be a lot more comfortable.

    thanks again....Robert V.
     
  4. omegaarts

    omegaarts

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    I don't think particle board is going to be nearly as good as 2 5/8 sheetrock.
    Actually I know it isn't.
     
  5. jazzman_in_pa

    jazzman_in_pa

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    The basic rule for soundblocking is that massive, dense and rigid is better than lighter, less dense and less rigid. MDF is better than particle board, particle board is better than plywood. Here's a good explanation of why:

    http://www.customaudiodesigns.co.uk/articles/tloss.htm

    It's a good idea to sandwich different materials together. I.e. it's better to have drywall, particle board, drywall than to have two layers of drywall and then one of particle board.
     
  6. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer

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  7. jrsgodfrey

    jrsgodfrey Guest

    I agree, that Custom Audio Designs site is great.

    In the "Basic Room in a Room" article they refer to "M20" acoustic density panel, specifcally to adhere to brickwork to improve soundproofing before building the inner wall. (my situation exactly). What is that stuff -- is it compressed fiberglass, like 703? Is there a equivalent US product?
     
  8. PRR

    PRR

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    First you want to estimate how much sound blocking you need. In some cases, great recordings have been done in barns with holes in the walls, in other situations floating concrete rooms are not enough. If you need sound blocking, in most cases an overdose of normal construction materials will do the job simply and at low cost.

    With an estimate of how much blocking you need, you can compute the mass/area needed. If you need large blocking, a double-wall is cheaper than trying to do it all in one wall (anyway stud-walls are naturally double-skin, though you have to decouple transmission through the studs).

    When you know how much mass you need, it comes down to "what is the cheapest mass in a usable form?" And then free always wins.

    But mass alone is not the whole story. All panels have some midrange resonance. Particle board is different from gypsum or plywood, but I doubt it is worse. Using rubbery mountings and gummy glues will help a little, but it is awful hard to really damp a large panel. Alternatives are lead sheets and clay-loaded plastic sheets, but they are costly specialty items. Mostly we manage fine with wood, woodchip, or gypsum boards. You can certainly build fine speakers in particle board. Other materials may be a little better. But free is free!

    My concern about particle board is that some types emit noxious gases for months after installation. Some people are hypersensitive. A small studio could get very little clean air. It may help to paint the particle board.

    Doors always leak most around the edges. You have to seal all the cracks very well before the rest of the door matters much. If you have foam "seals" on only 95% of the perimiter, that last 5% will leak more sound than a hollow-core door. So heavy glass is not at all a problem until you get the perimeter sealed like a submarine.
     
  9. realdynamix

    realdynamix

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    Hi all! :) Hey I don't want to sound like a baby here, but, man particle board has some kind of bonding chemical inside, and it smells terrible. If it leaches out this stinky stuff, you will think something died in the wall. The only time I have seen it not stink, is when it is sealed with something. It must be kept at a certain temp and humidity to pevent the odor. Sorry to come off this way, but I have been around enough of it to know.
    Just something to consider, maybe the kind you have is better, but if you smell anything else but wood, watchout!
    --killjoy, Rick
     
  10. Just curious about the mass thing...saw a Bob Vila show the other day in which they were using something called cement backer board...used as foundations for showers, etc...

    It reportedly weighs more than anything else available, and is made with concrete...wonder how THAT would fit into the mass law?
     
  11. realdynamix

    realdynamix

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    :) Known in the supply stores, in the States, as wonder board, or Durock.

    --Rick
     
  12. PRR

    PRR

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    > cement backer board...

    It is heavy, heavier than gypsum, but much more expensive. Therefore the mass/buck ratio is not as good as gypsum board. Also I suspect DuRock has less internal damping than gypsum, though the difference may be small.

    As it happens, we have a spread of DuRock in the opera pit, and I don't recall it having much sound, good or bad. When you run a piano-corner into it: gypsum will punch-through leaving only a small scar on the piano, DuRock takes considerable pounding but eats piano corners like a rasp.

    I'd take DuRock for absolute maximum mass in a given thickness (where lead sheet was not available or had to be covered with some hard-sheet surface), anyplace that is wet, or where you need somewhat better abuse resistance than plain gypsum board. In general, it is a real pain in the back: to lift and to screw. Two layers of thin gypsum may give the same or more mass with fewer leaks and less work. And gypsum is so much cheaper per pound.
     
  13. rob_vde

    rob_vde Guest

    Thanks heaps for all the responses,
    I've decided to use the particle board (or Chip Board as it is also called, and use lots of rubbery type glue when I join the outer layer of drywall to the particle board.
    I now understand the obvious lack of internal damping of particle board compared to drywall would be the main issue.
    Also thanks for the link to the Custom Audio Designs site, looking through it i found a reference to using magnetic acoustic seals, (MG39 & MG85) and found a local supplier in Australia (same product but 1/3 of the English Price.)
    I would love to use these for my doors, using those would also mean I don't have to worry about normal door locks etc., I am now wondering if anyone has used those? I am assuming that just using the magnetic channel on the vertical edge only would be adaquate, with normal rubber seals every where else, hoping that this would provide enough force to keep the door closed tight against the other seals. (and hopefully still be able to get out of the room occasionally)

    thanks again.....Robert V
     
  14. PRR

    PRR

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    I have not observed the "something died in the wall" smell that Rick has. (But my nose is not so good: in fact several somethings died in the attic and I wasn't sure for a month.) And it may depend where/when the board was made: there are many factories, and they all look for cheaper materials.

    I know for fact that many grades of particle board, when left damp a while, will sprout mold. Mold is a real problem in a small poorly ventilated room. Wallboard wicking up from a concrete slab behind a finish wall can make an amazing amount of secret mold.

    But aside from those simple organic smells: the most common binders include formaldehyde, the same stuff we use to pickle dead people and lab frogs. The "Biology Class" smell. A whiff of formaldehyde is only annoying and irritating. But constant low-level exposure to its fumes, levels too low to make you say "this stinks!", can cause or worsen health problems.

    "A family recently installed a new counter top and cabinets .... That evening,... the mother’s eyes began to water and the youngest son started coughing. When they left the kitchen,.. the symptoms went away."

    I know people who had to move out of their new house and have all new all-wood cabinets put in while they stayed in a motel.

    And it isn't just a wheeze: rat-studies say formaldehyde may cause cancer.

    http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/indoor/formald.htm
    http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/resnotes/notes/97-9.htm
    http://www.montana.edu/wwwcxair/formald.htm
    http://www.nontoxic.com/nontoxicpaints/formaldehyde.html
    http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/factsheets/...
    http://extension.usu.edu/publica/hoimpubs/hh04.pdf
    http://www.nohsc.gov.au/OHSInformation/...

    The problem got worse through the 1970s-1990s as houses got tighter, and in response the particle board makers have tried to be a little more careful about what chemicals go in-to (and come out-of) the boards. You can even buy "Livingreen formaldehyde-free particle board", but I doubt you are so lucky to get it as a gift.

    Re: painting for vapor reduction: "Formaldehyde ...is at least partly blocked by coatings. Although special formaldehyde sealants are available, varnishes (polyurethane and nitrocellulose) are also effective in this regard (two coats are preferred)." from http://www.montana.edu/wwwcxair/formald.htm --- note though that polyurethane also emits vapors while it cures, though after a few days these get pretty small. I have not seen true nitro varnish in years, and with the solvents we used to use it is probably banned everywhere outside a filtered spray booth.

    And ya know- by the time you put two full coats on faces and edges of "free" particle board, gypsum isn't any more expensive.

    There are other binders used, but I think in low-price (i.e. "give-away") board they all make some sort of noxious vapors.

    I personally did not think twice before bringing 5 square feet of dense particle shelving into my drafty old house. But if you are putting 600 SF of wallboard in a 200 SF studio, then sealing the door, it could be a real gas-chamber.
     
  15. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer

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    PR,

    Nice to have you here. Thanks for the excellent post.

    --Ethan
     
  16. sheet

    sheet

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    Durock, green board, etc is almost the same price here in Oklahoma.
     
  17. Rod Gervais

    Rod Gervais Moderator

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    Ok - on the ? regarding the magnetic strips - i have successfully used them - actually coupled with General Motors automobile trunk rubber - to super "sound seal" door assemblies - you also have to get a very good quality drop seal for the door bottom. Take particular care at the joining of top to side and sides to drop seal conections - your seal is only as good as your weakest points for the most part.

    They will NOT however take the place of latching hardware - and will not overcome the smallest of door warpage. So still think along the lines of latches which do not penetrate the door assembly. Interior latches for when you are in the room - seperate exterior latches for when you aren't.

    I trust that you can trust the people on the other side of the door?

    Happy Hunting

    Rod
     

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