Summer Sound Series: Screaming Toddlers, Noisy Gym
I run a daycare facility that includes a small gym for games, running around, etc. The problem is the echo–it’s almost unbearable! The room has a vinyl tile floor, drywall walls and a metal roof deck for the ceiling. The room is 1500 sq/ft and has a 20′ ceiling. Is there anything I can do?
Being a father of two young and active boys, I am all too familiar with the fact that kids can be loud. Get a bunch of them together in a room having fun and it can give you a headache pretty quickly. Especially if the room is made of hard surfaces, which is true for most gyms. The good news is that there are things that can be done.
We have quite a few different types of acoustical panels and each has it’s own respective advantages and disadvantages. However, for a situation like this, I can pretty quickly narrow down the options to just one: the Echo Eliminator panels.
These panels are about as cost-effective as it gets, they are in-stock, reasonable to ship, are class-A fire rated, available in nine different colors, easy to install and most importantly, extremely effective. They are, however, not as finished and aesthetically pleasing as some of our other options. But, 99.425% of the time gym or similar use rooms don’t need to be as aesthetically pleasing as an office or waiting area. The kids sure don’t care what the panels look like!
Many of my other blog articles have included a very simple equation that I have used for quite a few different spaces like this with an extremely high success rate:
Cubic Volume x 3% = square footage of panels to use
Also, as I have said before, these panels can be installed essentially anywhere in the space and have, generally, the same overall reduction in the sound pressure in the room. I would suggest putting them high on the walls or mounting them directly onto the ceiling so they see less contact and abuse, but this is only for the longevity of the panels. They are most often applied to the walls or ceiling with two types of adhesives, but I have had people use everything from double-sided tape, to Velcro® or even 3M Command™ Strips. One of the classrooms that I did decided to pound grommets (with a grommet installation kit from the hardware store) and hang the panels from small hooks. The hooks were held up by one small finish nail, making for an easy patch job if the panels needed to be removed.
It’s interesting, but I’ve noticed that when a room has been treated with acoustical panels and is quieter, the children playing in the room don’t tend to get as loud as they do in an un-treated space. When the background noise doesn’t exponentially increase with more voices, people don’t have to raise their voice to be heard by those around them. Further, when everyone in the room is speaking quieter, there is less energy to bounce off of the remaining hard surfaces. Instead of this ever-increasing upward spiral, the reverse is true.
If you have any questions about this type of situation or if you are experiencing a problem like this, please feel free to contact me, I would be happy to help you determine how to approach the situation. If you can include the dimensions of the space a photo or two and your contact information (name, address, etc), it will be extremely helpful and make it easier to help you.