In the past few weeks or months, I have had a few inquiries about reducing the echo and reverberation in a home gym. The nature of a gym with it’s hard floors, concrete or drywall walls and (generally) metal ceilings are the epitome an echo chamber. They are always fairly large or very large rooms and are used by people doing loud things. So, acoustical treatment of the gym is usually necessary and always makes the room more comfortable.
There are usually three questions that people ask when inquiring about treating a gym. What product do you suggest, how much do I need and where do I put this treatment? I’ll do what I can to simplify my answers to these as I could probably go on and on.
What product do you suggest?
This question can provide quite a few different answers. Most of them revolve around the room itself. There are a variety of panels available that can easily be glued to the ceiling or high up on the walls. There are cost effective panels, abuse or impact resistant panels, and then there are custom panels which are typically available in a wide variety of sizes and colors.
If you are not worried about how the panels effect the look of the room, then by all means, why not go with the cost effective panels? If they perform well enough for your needs and you are not worried about how they look, they can be a great cost saver. One school gym used these panels in a decorative way, though, making a sweet checkered pattern with them.
If you don’t really care about how they look, but you are worried about them getting hit, then you may want to consider panels that are going to be abuse or impact resistant. These are going to take a lot of damage without showing wear or tear. Here you can read a success story about a home gym using impact/abuse resistant panels.
If the gym has a look you are trying to uphold and acoustical panels will not fit into the design, you may want to look into custom made panels. You will find these are going to cost the most, but they will be able to meet your acoustical and design needs.
How much do I need?
Unfortunately there is no “easy” answer to this question as the right answer depends just as much on your comfort level and the use(s) of the room as anything else, but I have developed a safe way to at least get an idea of what kind of coverage is going to “take the edge off” of the space. I’ve applied this equation to a considerable amount of different rooms and the result has always been acceptable.
Take the cubic volume of the space and multiply that by 3%. This will give you an approximate square footage of panels to install. So: Height x Width x Depth = Cubic Volume. Cubic Volume x .03 = Square footage of panels.
My Disclaimer: If you have a massive gym, this math will change a bit. The larger the room, the more panels are needed because of the increase in reflective surface area. So, call me with your measurements and I’ll help you out with the applicable math. In larger situations, I will use 4% or even 5% based on the actual size of the room.
Where do I put this treatment?
The treatment can really be placed anywhere you would like and have essentially the same result. This leaves the end user with a lot of freedom to install the panels in locations that will not be hit by flying objects, be out of the way of impact or damage, act as a decorative element in the room, blend into the room or be installed in areas that have the available surface area. This means that you can put the panels on the walls or the ceiling and it will sound the same.
If you had two identical gyms and you put 350 panels on the ceiling of the first gym and the same 350 panels on the walls of the second gym and you had a conversation in either with your eyes closed, it would sound exactly the same. So, the spacing, location and pattern is up to you.
If you would like to ask me questions about your situation, please feel free. I would be happy to do what I can to crunch some numbers for you, talk about the best product for your particular application and get you a quote or some product samples. If you have the (even approximate) measurements for the space and you could E-mail me a digital picture or two, it would be greatly helpful
Here’s a picture for inspiration. This is one of the coolest installations I’ve seen. I’ll add a story about this later.