Kennel/Animal Hospital Soundproofing

I take about three-to-four calls a month from people who are looking to soundproof or acoustically treat a kennel, boarding room, or animal hospital. I have provided a few different products to approach and fix the noise problem in a few different ways. Typically kennels or boarding facilities are set up very similarly which revolves almost specifically around function and clean-ability. When you walk into a kennel, you’re going to see a concrete floor, painted cinder block walls and either a metal roof deck or a sheet rock ceiling. Kennels and boarding facilities are dirty areas that have to be sprayed down and cleaned constantly. When you cram 20 dogs into a concrete room, it doesn’t take a degree in physics to guess that the volume of that room is going to be extremely high. Even if it is one small dog barking, it won’t take long for one to develop a headache. I have been working with my local animal hospital to treat the boarding facility in the back of their building. This is an attached room rather than a separate building and entry to the room is gained through a heavy steel door. When I first looked at the door, there was a self-leveling door bottom screwed into the bottom of the door, but it was not adjusted properly and didn’t make a good seal. This facility has 9-10 kennels which have concrete block separating walls, two concrete exterior walls, two sheet rock interior walls, and a standard drop ceiling. Another area that the hospital wanted me to look at was the exam rooms which had almost no privacy at all, and when I saw the space, it was very clear as to why. The floor in the building is a ceramic tile (obviously for clean-ability) and the doors of the exam rooms had about a 3/4″ gap along the bottom of the door. The sound would travel through that gap as if the door was not there. I worked with the management at the hospital and put together a plan of attack. My plan was to introduce 112 square feet of an acoustically absorbent wall panel into the kennel area, to acoustically treat the back of the metal door, and to continue the gasketing around the door jamb. I also wanted to install weather stripping around the door jambs of the exam room doors and install automatic door bottoms to eliminate the air gap between the door and the floor.

The intent of introducing an absorbent panel on the inside of the kennel area was to decrease the reverberation time of the room. Often times, with multiple noise sources in a room with almost all hard surfaces, the overall sound pressure level of the room can actually be MORE than the sum of all of the noise sources themselves. These sound waves keep building up and bouncing off of each other gaining strength and intensity. People often call this the cocktail party effect. With only one or two people in a room, it is very easy to hold a conversation with another person or people. When that room is filled with, let’s say, 20 people, after about 10 minutes, everyone finds themselves screaming at the people sitting next to them just to be heard. They have to raise the volume of their voice to compete with the ambient noise of the room.

Dogs do pretty much the same thing. If you get one dog barking, it is natural for the other dogs to bark as well. With this noise bouncing around and not having anywhere to be absorbed, the dogs just keep going and going and going – driving nearby employees crazy.

First, the exam rooms. Each of the exam rooms has two doors – one that allows access from the lobby, the other leads to the “care area” or back of the building where the dogs are given shots and the like. At the bottom of each of the doors, I installed the 330-C-36 Automatic door bottom. The door seals were extremely easy to cut with a Chop Saw/compound Miter saw, and each installed onto the door with three Phillips head screws which come with the door bottom.

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Next, onto the kennel area. I installed a 33-C adjustable jamb seal on the door jamb introducing a seal around the perimeter of the door. I then cut three panels of 2″ thick Sound Silencer and used a construction grade adhesive and glued them to the noise-source side of the door.

Finally, considering that the kennel area was constructed of all hard surfaces for clean-ability, I wanted to introduce an acoustically absorbent panel into the space to reduce the reverberation time of that room. Decreasing the overall sound pressure level greatly helps when one is trying to reduce the amount of sound leaving the space.

Now that everything is installed, the exam rooms are much more confidential, and the sound leaving the kennel area has been significantly reduced. Completely eliminating the sound transmission is extremely difficult to do, and will generally require altering the construction of the space and thousands of dollars. Most people that work with animals expect to hear the animals to some degree- and a sound proof room is not needed.

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About Ted W

My name is Ted Weidman. During my time at Acoustical Surfaces, Inc. I have helped countless people with all kinds of different noise problems. I have a background in education, which hopefully helps me explain noise, sound, and acoustics in a way that is easy to understand.

Please contact me with any questions you may have.

direct: 952.466.8225 | office: 800.527.6253 | fax: 952.448.2613

12 thoughts on “Kennel/Animal Hospital Soundproofing

  1. My name is Taylor Dryden I am a Student at Manchester High School, and I did a Science project that has to do with sound dampening. In this project, I took 3 different sizes of aluminum and taped them to a cookie sheet that was clamped onto a counter all at different times, then took a nut attached to a string that would strike the cookie sheet in the middle each time i released it from the same height. I would record each noise level that came off of the cookie sheet being hit with a DB, and I took the graphs and compared the noise levels. It seemed to be that the littler the sheet of aluminum got, the less sound it reduced, but also adding in between the pieces of aluminum and cookie sheet, then added a viscoelastic layer, which was double sided carpet tape. If any way possible that you could take the time out and talk to me a little about how you think this viscoelastic layer helps reduce the noise level, or if you think the type of metal would affect the noise level reduction, I would be very appriciative. If anyway possible, could you also tell me what your oppinion and thoughts are on the sound barriers that are along highway, and how helpful you think they are.

    Thank you for your time, please get back with me as soon as possible!

    Thank you very much,
    Taylor Dryden

  2. Hey Taylor,

    If you have a few minutes, feel free to give me a call and I’ll do my best to discuss this with you, but I’ll try to answer your questions here also. Do you have any pictures of the materials and method that you used for your testing? I’d love to have a look at them.

    First of all, you mentioned that your test resulted in the finding that the smaller the piece of aluminum, the less noise produced. Although I’ve never done any testing like this, the results seem to be consistent and predictable with physics. It likely has to do with the overall rigidity of the piece. Imagine taking an 8’ long 2×4 wooden board (like those used to build walls) and putting it between two bricks. If you stand in the middle, the thing will flex quite a bit. But, if you take the same 2×4 but cut it down to a foot long and put it between the bricks it’s probably not going to move much.

    When you strike the piece of aluminum with the nut, it basically transfers energy from the nut into the aluminum. Are you old enough to know the movie The Matrix? If so, do you remember when the helicopter crashed into the glass building? The impact of the helicopter sent “waves” out in all directions like dropping a pebble into a calm pond. This is basically what happens when the nut hits the aluminum. If you hold the aluminum with your fingers, you can probably feel the vibration of the aluminum. When the aluminum flexes and pushes waves of energy into the air. Your ear takes these waves of energy (or pressure) and turns them into a sound.

    I’m not sure that the viscoelastic layer was used properly. It sounds like you used it as a shock-absorber between the cookie sheet and the aluminum. Was the nut on the string striking the aluminum or the cookie sheet? I don’t quite understand this but I’m sure you could walk me through it.

    A viscoeslastic damper is basically a way to absorb the vibration of a material. Imagine taking a bell and ringing it with a hammer. When you hit the bell, the energy from the hammer is transmitted to the bell and the bell physically shakes. If you put your fingers on a bell, the vibration of the bell is absorbed by your fingers and the bell is much quieter much faster. This is an example of a viscoelastic damper. If you had the aluminum hanging from a string and hit it with the nut it would make a noise. If you put the double-sided-tape on the back (the non-struck side) of the aluminum and hit it with the nut, it would make a much different (quieter) noise because the double sided tape would reduce the resonance (vibration) of the aluminum.

    As far as the highway barrier goes, I’m not quite sure how your test relates. The effectiveness of the noise barrier is going to depend on the type of barrier, height of the wall and the proximity of the test area to the wall. The type of noise barrier is going to have a significant impact on it’s performance and it is important to note that different states and climates use different products for the highway barriers. Generally speaking, the noise barrier is effective for the first two to four rows of houses as you travel away (at a 90 degree angle) from the barrier but after you get far enough away, the noise barrier’s performance is negligible because the sound pressure actually bends back down toward the ground.

    I hope that some of this made sense, so please feel free to let me know if you have any other questions or if you need me to explain something better.

    Thank you,
    -Ted

  3. Hello Ted,

    I appreciate the amount of information you have shared to help make our new kennels more effective for both the dogs and us. Do you have different thoughts if you were to build ground up, instead of trying to retro existing buildings? We would like to integrste much of this into our new kennel construction. Feel free to call if you would prefer to tak directly.

    Sincerely, Steve Lucas Chandler, OK

    • Hey Steve,

      I have taken out your phone number so that it is not shared with all the reader’s of the blog. Don’t worry, though, I have passed it on to Ted.

      Thanks,
      Katie

    • Steve,
      Thank you for the comment! There are quite a few different ways to build walls, or buildings in general that can be extremely beneficial for blocking sound. I have suggestions for quite a few different types of buildings – concrete block, metal stud, wood stud, etc. I would be happy to either help you modify an existing design or plan or help you design and plan the entire space. You mention “from the ground up” in your message, but there are a LOT of variables for building design so I’ll break it down to the very basics. Here goes…

      For the money, I would plan on sand-filled concrete block for all rooms that you expect to be loud. Make sure the walls go from the slab to the roof deck and are as air-tight as possible. I would also strongly suggest a stand-alone or separate HVAC system for this space so the sound being made in this/these room/s does not use the duct work to get from point A to point B. I would use ALL solid-core or heavy doors and be sure they are installed into the rough openings “correctly” which I can go into later. Depending on the exact wall assembly, you may want to consider one of our sound-rated doors which are really only needed in very high STC wall assemblies. If space allows, you could always build separate, free-standing walls on the office side of this concrete wall to block even more sound. Metal studs with standard or cotton insulation and a layer or two of Sheetrock would work well. Blocking or containing the sound is the difficult part – once the room is soundproofed, then it just becomes a matter of absorbing some of the echo and reverberation in the room – and that is quite a bit easier and usually a different conversation.

  4. For a veterinary kennel, is there any type of flooring that helps reduce noise? It would obviously have to be very easily cleaned and water resistant for cleaning purposes. Thanks for all this great info here!!!

    • Meg,

      Thanks for the comment. Unfortunately, I do not know of any type of underlayment that will meet your needs. Most acoustical panels are a minimum of 1″ thick and are light, soft, fluffy-ish type products. These physical properties are why they absorb sound.

      Ted

  5. Hi,

    I was just wondering if there was any material you can suggest for excercise yards or boundary fencing that would minimise the noise or curve it back into the property. Just so the neighbours are not affected by dog noise but would still allow to have the dogs go outdoors if they wish to?.

    Thanks
    Hayley

    • Exterior soundproofing and acoustics are a tricky situation because whenever you have shared airspace between a noise source and a potential listener, the sound has an easy avenue to get from point A to point B. The product I would recommend exploring is the Exterior Sound Blankets Reinforced which are barrier and absorber panels. The amount of products I can suggest is quickly limited when exterior-applications are presented. These blankets/panels would mount right to the fence.

      Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need more information. Thanks,
      Ted

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