Fitness Acoustics: Keeping Sound In (and Out)

It seems like gyms and specialty fitness classes are popping up everywhere – in strip malls, next to office suites, and under apartment complexes in dense cities. The noise they generate, whether from loud music, clanking weights, or dozens of spinning stationary bikes, is causing an inundation of noise complaints, 911 calls, and even forcing some fitness studios to move into isolated industrial acoustics

Turning down the volume on the sound system is the most obvious and courteous thing to do, but this solution may not be nearly enough to make the neighbors happy. Conversely, quieter spaces such as yoga studios may want to keep noise out, whether from street traffic or the restaurant next door.

Solving Sound Challenges with Soundproofing

How can fitness studios and gyms keep noise in or out? They need soundproofing. The goal of soundproofing is to isolate the room’s air and structure from the surrounding spaces in an effort to decrease the transmission of sound energy through the building.

The exact solution depends on the type of structure, the type of sound being transmitted into the adjoining spaces, as well as whether the studio is being retrofitted, remodeled, or built from scratch. Regardless, owners will need to do something in each of the three categories of soundproofing:

  • Increasing airborne sound isolation – Sealing all the air leaks in the walls, ceilings, and floors, such as those around doors, electrical boxes, heating and cooling vents, and light fixtures.
  • Increasing structural sound isolation – Decoupling and damping wall, ceiling, and floor assemblies with resilient channel or stud isolators, elastomeric sheetrock glue, and using underlayment beneath the floor.
  • Increasing structural mass – Giving walls, ceilings, and floors denser framing and adding layers of sheetrock.

Sound Blocking Solutions

If an owner is looking for an easy fix to block out sound without having to do any major remodeling, there are a few different options:

  • Door Seal Kit – A great addition to solid core doors, these adjustable surface-mounted seals are inexpensive, easy to install, and have a big impact on noise reduction.
  • AcoustiBlox Quiet Mat – This is a heavy-duty vibration-reduction pad that’s easy to use and cost-effective. Able to serve as a finished floor surface covering an entire gym or fitness studio, this mat is also great for use under machines – and its textured surface helps prevent slipping or unwanted movement.
  • Duct V-Max – Since ducts can carry a lot of vibration, this lightweight vibration damper for ductwork can reduce rattling noises in air ducts.

For more in-depth projects, such as building from the ground up or remodeling, a few other options provide ideal solutions:

  • RSIC Clips/Channel – This decoupling system is one of the most cost-effective and high-performance solutions in use today.
  • Green Glue® – A highly-effective viscoelastic damping compound, Green Glue is used between construction materials such as two layers of drywall or wood.
  • AcoustiSealTM – A professional-series acoustical sealant exceeding LEEDTM requirements, this easily dispensable solution is a highly cost-effective method to stop noise leakage through joints and edges.
  • AcoustikTM – A cost-effective and easily-installed floor underlayment made of recycled rubber, Acoustik can reduce the transfer of vibrations created by walking, running, or exercise equipment.
  • Soundproof Doors and Windows – Depending on specific requirements, fitness studios can implement soundproof doors and windows or Climate Seal Window Inserts to greatly reduce sound leakage through these openings.

It’s important for both tenants and landlords to understand that, although they can reduce noise in gyms and studios, no practical level of soundproofing could ever completely dampen the sounds and vibrations of 600 lb. tractor-tire flips or 300 lbs. of weights falling onto the floor. There are, however, many ways to begin creating a more pleasant environment for gym patrons and neighbors alike.

To learn more about the diverse soundproofing solutions at Acoustical Surfaces Inc., visit our sound blocking product page.

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