Soundproofing Office – National Association of Home Builders

NAHB office soundproofing

National Association of Home Builders – Soundproofing Case Study

Situation: The corporate headquarters for The National Association of Home Builders, NAHB, requested a soundproofing consultation with our firm regarding a renovation of a noisy corner office to transform it into a quiet media room for broadcasting. Located in the busy downtown district of Washington, D.C., the location of this project was a corner office, experiencing both incoming traffic sounds as well as airborne noise transfer through a large wall adjacent to a busy stairwell, hallway and constant disruptive conversation.

NAHB soundproofing floor plan

Solution: Due to the method of sound transfer and frequency of sound waves entering the media room we decided to focus primarily on wall and window noise mitigation. We dismissed the need for drop ceiling soundproofing, as flanking sound transmission (noise going up, over and down into the room from the ceiling cavity) was not an issue in this space. In many offices flanking noise would be a major concern, but the wall actually extended to the true slab ceiling, even above the drop-ceiling, greatly mitigating this factor.NAHB office soundproofing

First, over the main wall area we installed our Floor Blokker Pro wall underlayment over the existing drywall to reduce airborne and impact noise by up to 75%. This material decision was due to our need to both block and decouple sound waves effectively while avoiding large scale inner wall reconstruction. During our initial consolation we discussed pairing the Floor Blokker Pro with our DecoupleLink system, to further decrease the impact noise and vibrations from entering the media room. Due to the location of the doorway on the main wall the DecoupleLink Decoupling rails would’ve caused unevenness between the new walls and door opening, not allowing them to be flush with one another. Traditionally if needed, we would build a custom doorframe for an aesthetic finished product in this scenario, but after calculating the STC rating of the media room with our proposed materials and modifications we decided against the DecoupleLink layer altogether. Instead we came in under budget with similar noise mitigation results, choosing to layer the Floor Blokker Pro with a 5/8th inch thick acoustical gypsum board.


NAHB office soundproofingThe large window openings in the space required sound blocking curtain panels to prevent traffic sounds from entering and disrupting workflow and concentration. We installed sound blocking AcoustiTrac™ curtains over all windows. In the design phase we decided to overlap each curtain panel slightly to form one solid noise barrier; this ensures no sound leaks in and around the edges. The thickness and inner core of these curtains also insulate the space to combat the heating and cooling costs, which were a consideration to this tenant.


As a result of our acoustical consultation and implementation, the NAHB is now able to begin recording media in their facility without the constant background noise disrupting their recording sessions.

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 traveling 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 traveling 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 onto 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.

Acoustical Contractor Supply

Acoustical Contractors

We know how hard it can be to find the right materials for an acoustical or soundproofing project. Whether it’s sound barrier material for a home theater system, or acoustical panels for a gym or other large project, finding the right material on budget and on time is critical.

Commercial Acoustics prides itself in being the Acoustical Contractor Supply Depot of choice. Our staff of trained and knowledgeable acoustical consultants brings a technical perspective to each and every project. We’ll get you the materials you need to complete the job!

Acoustical Contractor Supply

  • Experience with detailed quotes – we’ll handle them quickly and easily
  • Detailed installation instructions
  • Custom Quotes for New Construction, Remodeling, or Acoustical Projects
  • Low Price directly from the manufacturer and Ships in Days
  • Tech and spec data online, to minimize call wait time, and with lower overhead, we can afford to get you the best price!

How to Soundproof a Noisy Office

Commercial Acoustics office soundproofing

Noisy Offices are a Major Distractor – For Clients and Employees

In modern offices, the main source of noise from office to office, or adjacent rooms, is through the drop-ceiling. These drop-ceiling tiles are specifically designed to minimize cost and provide an aesthetic background, but not to block sound traveling through them. In fact, often times they are designed to allow sound to pass through, in order to reduce echo in the office.

If you look just above the drop-ceiling tiles, you’ll also see that often-times the wall separating offices does not extend up to the true ceiling, allowing even more sound to pass through. This equates to only a thin, flimsy barrier separating one discussion from another.

If you are experiencing noise issues similar to this in your office, you may need to do one of two things – heighten and strengthen the wall between offices, or reinforce the existing drop-ceiling tiles. While modifying the wall may require several days and significant construction, reinforcing the tiles with our Drop-Ceiling Noise Blokker is quick and easy.

Drop-ceiling Noise Blokker can be installed in minutes, simply laid on top of the existing panels, by office employees or maintenance staff. The cost is extremely economical, and the new 3-layer composite design is made to block noise transfer while further improving the sound absorption of the existing ceiling tiles.

Another common noise complaint we get in noisy offices involves large, “shared” office spaces with cubicles or assembly areas.

office acoustics

Often times it can be difficult to hear in these areas, as the reverberation increases, the speech intelligibility decreases in inverse proportion. This is the case when the room is quite large, and exacerbated by parallel surfaces with minimal absorption (rugs, furniture, tapestry). In many offices, inexpensive wall-to-wall carpeting is used in construction, but this material is extremely inefficient at absorbing background noise.

When background sound absorption is the solution you need, we suggest acoustical absorption panels or similar absorption products.

Addressing these common office noise issues is critical to:

  1. Increase workplace productivity
  2. Soundproof discussion for proprietary, or security, reasons
  3. Increase workplace enthusiasm & employee satisfaction
  4. Escape from the office background noise yourself

Commercial Acoustics is a tailored acoustical consultancy and solutions provider to help you solve each of these issues. Let us know how we can help, today.

Commercial Acoustics – Offering Custom Acoustic Solutions

custom acoustic solutions

We’re pleased to finally unveil our newest website, the services and solutions branch of our parent company Residential Acoustics, the makers of the AcousticCurtain and AcoustiTrac, soundproofing window solutions.

We’ve become more and more familiar with the issues facing people everyday, as we’ve taken on projects to support those that face noise issues both at home and at work, as well as on the road. There are a number of solutions available to any person, depending on budget, schedule, and how much they’re willing to deal with ALL THAT NOISE! We want to educate people to make the most informed decision possible, and our end goal to reduce noise-related frustration in the customers we serve every day.