Monday, November 07, 2005

Why does one need soundproofing in a commercial space?

Anatomy of a poorly built space or Why soundproofing is important?

As I lay on a traction table in a chiropractor’s office, I ponder how this room could have been sound isolated more during construction. This room’s purpose is to relax a person after having just been adjusted by the chiropractor. Problem is that there is a loud banking office right next door. You can easily hear conversations (though you can’t always make out the words) through these thin, typical, commercial building walls.

First, I think about how this building was likely constructed back in the 70’s. The outside walls are concrete tilt up the inside framing is wood 2’x4’. The walls are likely only as tall as the drop ceiling t-bar and tiles. The walls are also most likely one single layer of half inch drywall each side.

The outside concrete tilt up wall seems to act as a pretty good sound barrier to the constant traffic on the busy street just a few feet below this building.

The inside partition walls and drop ceiling are the problems. If I could re-plan this building, my prevention for the problems in this building would start with building the walls up to the level of the roof. The reason that I would have done this is that the attic or open space above the drop ceiling can easily pass sound. The ceiling tiles are just there for acoustics and not for their sound isolating ability. In other words, the ceiling tiles are simply there to improve the acoustics (reduce echo, increase speech intelligibility) not to stop sound from traveling from office space to office space.

I would have built the walls with a Rocksound mineral wool insulation material in between the studs followed with a layer of Mass Loaded Vinyl (a 1/8” thick, loaded-vinyl sheet material with equivalent sound transmission loss to lead sheeting) on both sides of the partition wall and then a layer or two of 5/8” thick drywall.

Following this plan would have made for a nice sound isolated room to relax and recover from a strenuous chiropractic adjustment. Oh well…one can dream.

Thank you for reading and look for a second article on ways to remoded this space for sound isolation.

Scott Swisher

Sound Isolation Specialist
Call Toll free (877) 530-0139

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