5/8“ vs 1/2” Drywall (Best Soundproofing Sheetrock And Wallboard)

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All men’s miseries derive from not being able to suit in a quiet room alone – Blaise Pascal 

After a hard day at work and having to deal with the never-ending chaos of the world outside your front door, if you’re anything like us when you finally make it home all you want is a little peace and quiet.

You just want to filter out and escape from all of the extraneous noise, which it’s why it’s important to use the right materials to minimize the amount of sound that makes its way through the walls of your home.

The better the material you use, the higher the degree of soundproofing that your home will be imbued with. 

Let’s make one thing absolutely clear from the start: unless you use acoustically designed and engineered soundproof tiles to line the walls of your house, it’s never going to be completely soundproof and you’ll always be plagued by some level of noise pollution.

But your choice of drywall and the thickness of the sheetrock and wallboards that you use can have a dramatic effect on the amount of noise that makes it into your sanctuary from the everyday insanity of our neighborhood. 

That’s why we figured we’d step into the breach and help you increase the general level of peace and serenity in your home by discussing the benefits of half-inch sheetrock and five-eighths wallboard, and how they can help you to reduce the volume inside your home when you can’t control the level of noise outside.

So, which is the best option to give your home the soundproofing that it and you deserve, five-eighths of or half-inch? Let’s find out. shall we? 

Is Five-Eighths Sheetrock Better Than Half-Inch Sheetrock? 

If you’re looking to restyle your home, and up the level of soundproofing, it’s definitely worth thinking about using five-eighths for the job rather than the traditional half-inch variety.

There’s a reason why most contractors and developers use half-inch sheetrock on the walls of new houses when they’re building them, and that’s cost.

Half-inch wallboard costs less than five-eighths does, and when you factor in the cost of using it, rather than the more expensive variety throughout multiple houses it makes economic sense to use it for building.

Everyone likes, and needs to make a profit, right? That’s just the nature of business. 

But even though most contractors use half-inch on the walls, they’ll almost always, and without fail, use five-eighths on the ceilings of any, and all homes that they build. And there are a number of reasons why it makes more sense structurally.

As five-eighths is thicker than half-inch, it provides better sound insulation, and anyone who’s sampled the joys of a teenager stomping around upstairs will vouch for how welcome a little extra sound dampening from the ceiling is, and can be. 

The thickness also has an added bonus, as it means that five-eighths is stiffer and sturdier than half-inch, so it’s far less likely to bow or bend than half-inch is. After all, no one wants to move into a new home only to find out that their ceiling has already started to bend.

That leads to the sort of complaint and legal letters that can prove to be costly, and time-consuming for contractors and developers to deal with and address, so it’s better to always head those sorts of potential problems off at the pass and do the job properly the first time around.

This is why you’ll invariably discover that even though your walls are lined with half-inch, your ceilings will almost always be fitted with five-eighths. 

Why Five-Eighths Is Generally Better For Walls Than Half-Inch

Even though it’s one of those things that most contractors and homeowners don’t think about, as they’re used to doing things the way that they’ve always been done, it actually makes more sense, both economically and for the comfort of the homeowner to use five-eighths rather than half-inch sheetrock and paneling on the walls.

From a purely aesthetic standpoint, it provides a much smoother and satisfying finish than half-inch does, and speaking as a contractor, it just looks better when you step back and admire your work.

It’s true we do it, and despite the office scuttlebutt about contractors only being interested in profit and wanting to get in and out of any property as fast as possible, we do actually take pride in what we do and five-eighths always looks better than half-inch does when you take that quiet moment to make sure everything looks right when you’ve finished lining the walls of a house.

Obviously, we don’t have to tell you (but we’re going to anyway, just to remind in case you did forget) that as five-eighths is stronger than half-inch is, it’s hardier and can stand up to a lot more punishment than the more conventional drywall can.

And as it’s stronger and thicker than half-inch is, five-eighths is much denser and has more mass, and both of those factors mean that it will invariably provide more soundproofing than half-inch sheetrock will.

That’s why we always tell customers and clients that they should choose five-eighths rather than half-inch if they want a quieter life. 

The Financial Burden Of Five-Eighths

We’ve already mentioned that a lot of contractors and developers prefer to use half-inch because it’s cheaper than five-eighths and using it on new developments and in multiple homes can return a much higher profit.

But we’re not talking about multiple homes here, we’re talking about your home, and the costs of replacing half-inch with five-eighths in a single building, and that’s when it does begin to make financial sense. Especially if you’re looking to improve the level of soundproofing in your home. 

Let’s put it this way, the average American home is just over a thousand square feet, which roughly translates to an additional four to five hundred dollars if you decide to use five-eighths on your walls instead of half-inch.

When you consider how much more durable it’ll be and the higher degree of soundproofing that it’ll provide, the extra costs become a price that most of us would happily pay for the extra peace of mind that the thicker sheetrock does, and will provide. 

Five Eighths – It’s A Heavyweight Choice 

Right now you’re probably thinking something along the lines of “But if it’s sturdier, stronger, and thicker than half-inch is, doesn’t that mean that five-eighths is going to be heavier and harder to fit? And won’t it place an additional strain on the structure of the house?”

And the answer to both of those questions is yes, and yes. Or at least it would be if there wasn’t a lightweight alternative to traditional five-eighths boards. Which there is. 

It’s called USG Ultralight Gypsum Board and having worked with it a number of times, we can and do thoroughly recommend it, and if you’re looking to remodel and refit your home to give the soundproofing boost that you think it needs then this is the five-eighth wall paneling that you’ll need to use to get the sound deadening finish that you want. 

The USG alternative has all of the benefits of traditional five-eighths, the additional mass, density, and durability but thanks to it being almost thirty percent lighter, has a few hidden extras that’ll endear it to every homeowner and contractor. 

The reduction in weight loosely translates to nearly thirty pounds which means that it’s roughly the same weight as half-inch is, so fitting it won’t place any unnecessary strain on the frame, and you’ll get the same level of soundproofing that normal, everyday five-eighths would provide. And the best news about it?

It isn’t a specialist item, and any Home Depot or hardware store worth its salt should carry it, or be able to tell you where you can find it. 

Using USG Ultralight Wall Paneling

If you’re worrying that you’ll need to take extra precautions or that USG might not be suitable for your home, don’t be.

It’s been designed to fit any and all buildings whether they’re residential or commercial, and the only thing you need to know in order to line the walls of your home with it is how to fit sheetrock or wallboards. 

And if you don’t know, you can speak to a contractor about using USG to do the job and they’ll happily factor it into any quote that they give you for the job, and as it’ll make life, and the job of replacing your sheetrock infinitely easier for them, your contractor will be more than grateful if you do insist on using USG Ultralight. 

Summary – Five Eighths vs. Half-Inch DryWall For Soundproofing 

As we said at the beginning, there’s no way to make your home completely soundproof with wall paneling unless you use acoustic tiling and have a nearly infinite budget to make that a reality. 

But if you’re looking for an easy way to subtly reduce the amount of noise pollution that you’re plagued by, then choosing to remodel your home with five-eighths sheetrock instead of half-inch is a cost-effective and relatively easy way to achieve your goal.