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Operable Walls vs. Traditional Walls

Posted on May 25, 2023

In the ever-evolving world of architecture and interior design, operable walls have emerged as a transformative solution that offers unparalleled flexibility and functionality. These innovative partition systems have revolutionized contemporary design, allowing for dynamic space utilization and seamless adaptability.

Many differences exist between operable walls and traditional walls, shedding light on their flexibility and acoustic control. Let’s review their attributes to best select the operable wall for your business needs.

Flexibility and Efficiency

Operable walls offer a unique solution for maximizing space utilization, especially in a post-pandemic corporate environment where hybrid workforces remain dominant. Operable walls allow businesses to maximize square footage with the ability to morph as the day demands.

Operable walls employ superior technologies that enable seamless movement by everyday end-users.

Traditional walls, on the other hand, represent the conventional approach to dividing spaces. Traditional walls are constructed with bricks, blocks, or other building materials, providing stability and permanence. They are the standard choice for permanent structures where flexibility and reconfiguration are not essential requirements.

Sound Control

Any wall on the market - operable or fixed - has an associated STC or sound control rating, but only operable walls provide both STC and versatility. 

First, it is important to understand what kind of sound control a space desires. This chart explains commons noise levels and the associated STC rating required to reduce the transmission of sound from one room to another.


Common Sounds   STC Level
 Most Sentences heard clearly 30-35
 Words or phrases heard occasionally 36-40
 Loud speech audible: music and TVs heard 41-51
 Speech barely audible, loud music, and TV heard 52-55
 Loud speech inaudible, loud music faintly heard 56-60

This next chart compares fixed wall versus operable wall options. Operable walls can match or exceed the STC performance of common fixed wall constructions listed below, and only they can create multi-functional space.


Fixed Walls Ratings STC Level
4l-inch Cinder Block 25
.25-inch Plate Glass 26
.50-inch Gypsum Board each side 2X4 wood 34
.25-inch Acoustic Glass Laminate 36
2 Layers .50-inch Gypsum Board each Side Metal Studs with Cavity Insulation 50
8-inch Brick Wall with .50-inch Plaster each side 54
2 Layers 5/8” Gypsum Board, 2 Tubes of Green Glue, Wood Studs 56

Unlocking the Potential of Your Space

At Modernfold, we pride ourselves on standing out as the ultimate resource for industry-leading operable wall solutions in the dynamic world of architecture and design. With an unwavering commitment to delivering the highest quality products, we guarantee unparalleled acoustic performance and space flexibility.

Take the first step to unlock your space's potential, and contact us today for more information about our operable walls and how they can help you create your desired space.