Noisy Dance Studio Next to An Office
We are interested in getting more information on your product for a customer who has asked us if we could help in sound proofing a newly constructed dance studio.
The wall is 50′ x 10′ and has a business office on the other side. Even though the noise heard in the office is minimal, they want to make sure it does not increase.
The wall is a fire wall with thick insulation. Double 5/8 drywall on each side.
The owner has tried the acoustical panels at his house and swears by them.
Please contact us concerning your product and your ideas on decreasing the sound being heard in the adjoining office.
There are likely a few ways to approach a situation like this. I would recommend starting out reading our article on sound blocking vs sound absorbing to help understand the basics of what you’re trying to accomplish here. I have had a fair amount of other inquiries for dance studios and business offices and it is generally a challenging situation for a few reasons, which I can explain further if you would like.
Acoustical panels are typically intended as a way to absorb echo within the room they are installed. They do not block sound from passing through the wall. In fact, most products that do a good job absorption are going to allow the sound to pass right through them. The owner may have used them in a situation where there was now less echo and sound pressure in the room. This reduces the energy hitting the wall, creating the perception of a reduction of noise. 90% of acoustical panels on the market do not have any kind of STC rating, which is a measure of sound transmission loss, which is what you would want in this particular situation.
What you are going to want to do here is block the sound. Blocking sound is done in one of two ways. You can add mass/density to the wall assembly or you can decouple the wall assembly. Basically, decoupling is going to make it so that one side of the wall does not have a hard surface contact with the other. The most effective of these two would be to decouple the wall assembly. Most commonly this is achieved with a Resilient Channel Isolation Clip (RSIC-1 clip). Without getting too detailed with the installation, these clips are installed onto the studs and a hat or furring channel is snapped into the clips. Additional layers of sheetrock are then installed on the face of the hat channel.
The other challenge here is the going to be the type of noise being generated by the dance studio. Physics say that the lower the frequency of the noise, the more difficult it become to block, or even reduce. I would expect the music in the dance studio to generate a good amount of lower frequency noise (bass). So all of the low frequency noise may not be blocked when this is completed. Blocking the bass completely would take a fairly significant re-engineering of the wall assembly.
With that said, just remember that every situation is going to be different. To treat the noise problem of an office next to a dance studio will require a completely different approach than if the dance studio were next to a manufacturing plant. The office environment typically will start out with a low level of background noise, which makes it easier for the occupants in the office to hear the noise from the dance studio. If you were in a manufacturing area where the background noise is going to be a lot higher to begin with, the dance studio’s noise may be at the same level as the background noise. Just like it is a lot harder to hear someone whispering in a noisy cafeteria vs a quiet library.
Have you been in a similar situation? What would you do differently?