Choosing the Right Acoustical Materials for your Project

Acoustic Materials

We have dedicated years of our acoustical consulting careers to helping clients and end customers find the perfect acoustic solutions to their problems. One of the main issues that often arises is the need to clarify exactly what the best case scenario is for the customer. Simply wanting to “get it fixed” can quickly lead you down the wrong path, since each solution comes with its own set of trade-offs.

The questions below were carefully chosen to help you down-select the solution(s) that will be ideal for your application. Once we understand the exact parameters of your issue, we’ll reach out within 12-24 hours to offer a product mix or solution that we know will meet your needs.

For instance, we’ve seen clients add 2 additional acoustical drywall layers to an already-rigid wall in an attempt to block more noise coming through. Budget was not a concern, but the project did not reduce any more noise. The issue? The sound was vibrating through the wall, and as a result, additional layers did nothing to attenuate the noise level. What they needed instead was a decoupling layer – with staggered stud construction and resilient stud clips, to reduce vibration through the wall and give them the noise reduction they sought.

On another occasion, a customer was attempting to stop sound from seeping up into apartments from a restaurant bar below. They thought it would be easy to absorb the sound, and reduce the overall noise transfer. However, there was already fire-rated spray-applied insulation on the exposed structure below, making installation difficult without significant inspection costs.

Often times we see hotels and property management firms spend thousands of dollars trying to keep their tenants happy, but if they spend their money in the wrong places, they end up with lousy results and disappointed customers.

We apply thorough criteria to each product selection process and ensure our customers are informed of product specs and data so that they can make the most educated decision.

Consider the rules below prior to selecting a product:

  1. If there is sound travelling through a wall or window, it is critical to add mass to that structure. The Mass Law states that the sound traveling through a structure is inversely proportional to the mass of that structure.
  2. Unless the sound travelling through the structure is vibrational. This structure-borne noise actually travels in the material, therefore it’s important to decouple the structures. For instance, rather than simply adding another layer of drywall on to an existing layer, place a
  3. Absorb sound to reduce echo and reverb. Block sound to prevent distraction.
  4. Sound finds the path of least resistance. The 1% rule says that a 1% opening (in the direction of sound travel) will let through half of the sound. A 5% opening lets in 90% of the sound. You’re much better off sealing small gaps and cracks than spending significant sums of money adding mass to an already solid structure. The Boundary Condition is one of the most often overlooked elements of acoustical soundproofing.

For a more detailed analysis, use our Acoustic Product Selection Tool and answer 12 questions to determine exactly which acoustical products are right for you.

Acoustics Expert

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