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                         Mark Saville 2012  

How to install resilient channel


Resilient Channel has a number of uses in wall and ceiling construction from helping with sound transmission to obtaining a flat ceiling or wall. In the case of a truss hip roof where the layout is not the best for installing drywall, it can be installed to form a uniform grid that can accept the board easier. It also eliminates truss uplift when used on the ceiling. When used on walls it can form a straight wall, add a sound barrier and make installing the board easier.



Resilient channel                                  or Z channel as it's sometimes called is installed across the bottom chord of the truss perpendicular to the framing members. 16 inch centers are fine for 5/8" drywall and one 1-1/4" screw through the channel and into the framing member holds well.

resilient barThe channel actually hangs and flexes when the drywall is screwed to it which makes a floating ceiling or wall. When butting to the top plate on a partition wall make sure you don't push it tight to the wall as it needs to have clearance at that point to move freely. We start the channel a couple of inches away from the parallel wall. When installing the drywall care must be taken not to screw through the channel and into the framing members. When resilient channel is properly installed, it should be possible to push on the wall or ceiling drywall and it should flex.

In the photo above the vapor barrier was left out to show the system more clearly but keep in mind the vapor barrier must be fastened to the truss members and the channel goes over that.



            To fasten the resilient channel, you place the screw through the flange pictured on the right and the drywall is fastened to the flat area on the top as you would into any framing member. The weight of the drywall is distributed over the whole area so there is very little load on one screw. The sound transmission buffer is achieved by the fact that there is very little surface area in contact with the framing members.



resilient channel
                      An example of resilient channel. Photo Mark Saville.

1. Which side of the channel is best positioned next to the wall? Does the flange where the channel is attached to the joist go next to the wall or or does the raised portion where the drywall is attached go next to the wall? Or does it even make a difference?

2. Does the resilient channel fit snug to the walls?

3. Is the spacing on the channel 16' centers (three section per each four foot width)?

4. What is the screw spacing for attaching the channel?

5. What is the screw spacing for attaching the drywall?

I appreciate any advice you may be able to provide in this matter.

Thanks much for your prompt reply.

Jim White

Installing resilient channel is a very cheap and easy method of achieving a good flat surface that makes a better job all around. It might add 5 cents a square foot to the job but will save time on call-backs and installation time.

Hi Mark,

I really enjoy your website and I'm sure I'll be referring to it as I progress in the many work projects that are awaiting me in my retirement.

I am in the process of finishing my basement. I am installing R14 Roxul between the 16" centered joist to add a little sound reduction effect. Next I'll apply resilient channel (RC), and finally 1/2' sheetrock attached with 1 1/4' drywall screws.

The questions I have are:

Hi Jim,

Thanks for the kind words about my site. Glad you're making use of it.

It doesn't matter which side of the channel faces the wall, I keep it about
away to make it easy to screw.
Keep the butt ends of the channel about 1/4" away from the wall so it
catch and will be able to float.
16" centers is great and one screw per joist is good.
Drywall to channel, I screw about every 12".

If you have more questions, just ask,












Mark Saville 2012 Reprint with Permission only.

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