So, I’m sitting at my desk one day happily making my way thru my afternoon at the office when in comes an E-mail from a really good friend of mine on the west coast.
Hey – I need some acoustical work done! We built a new addition to our Bike Shop and it’s all rattle-y and echo-y in there. Can you charge me an exorbitant amount to fix my problem, please? What info would you need from me to get moving? Or, do I need to find someone local? Shakka, Bra.
In my reply I asked him for the measurements of the space along with a few photos which would help me better understand the room that he was dealing with. He sent them along with
Attached is my totally awesome diagram of room dimensions and a couple pictures. Let me know if you need more pictures or of different details. Essentially, the room is a trapezoid – a square with one edge that goes out diagonal to elongate the store front on one end. It has 14.5 ft tall ceilings. Let me know what else you need. Thanks!
After a few more E-mails back and forth, I have a pretty good idea of the sound problem he is trying to fix. I’ve seen this before. Many retail locations built recently take advantage of the industrial look of an exposed concrete floor and an exposed metal roof deck. It’s a raw, hip look but the unfortunate result is awful acoustics and a terrible echo. If any kind of background music is being played or any work is done that generates much noise at all, the sound pressure VERY quickly fills the space and creates an uncomfortable work environment.
After putting together a box of potential product samples and literature, store manager Leif took over as my point of contact for the project. Leif asked many good questions about the relative difference between products, cost, colors, location, type of installation and mounting type. The owner of the bike shop wanted to get the panels installed near the ceiling of the shop and had a few different ideas about exactly how that was going to be done.
I actually met with our owner yesterday and, as we speak, am investigating some ways to hang the soundproofing. He doesn’t want to glue it to the ceiling but we’re looking at affixing it to a rigid board. We’d hang it between the steel beams where it would have been glued anyway but just below the ceiling itself. If the new cost of some extra materials clears we should be getting things rolling pretty soon. We wouldn’t need the spray adhesive as we’d glue all the pieces to panels on the ground prior to hanging. Have you ever seen something like this done? and, Hey Ted, I know you’re a busy man. Thanks for the samples I have a few last minute questions and would like to get some sound damping on the way. 1. How much does it add to the cost to have you install grommets, I assume it’s per grommet. Can we get up to 4 installed or was it just two or three. 2. Is there a significant difference in sound damping characteristics between the one and two inch material? Is the main reason for 2 the installation method? 3. Is it still realistic to be able to have these here by mid feb? We have a woman’s night, as I mentioned on the phone, that we are REALLY hoping to have them up for. I’ll get back to you tomorrow on a finalized color choice. Thanks again Ted for your time and consideration.
One very important factor that I always bring up when a baffle installation is considered is the fire suppression sprinkler system in the room. If the baffles are installed in a location where they are going to inhibit the throw and coverage of the sprinklers, not only is that type of installation not safe for the potential occupants of the room, the fire marshal would likely require removal and relocation of the panels. I made this very clear and it was decided that grommets would be installed along the 4′ side of each panel on site with tools that are available at the local hardware store. The final product choice was our 1″ thick, Burgundy Echo Eliminator panels which are made from recycled cotton fiber. A few important factors that made this a good choice were the economical cost for the product, the high acoustical absorption of the panels, the availability of nine different colors, and the fact that the panels were in stock. The bike shop was hosting a woman’s night and the goal was to have the panels installed for the event. A few days after I shipped the panels I received the following E-mail:
Hello all, I’m pleased to announce that we have installed the echo reducing material as planned in our North Pro Room. With some hard work and a lot of hours we were able to get the whole room accomplished in ONE DAY! I had great volunteer help from Lance, Gavin, and Andreas and used our orange “scaffolding” a tall ladder and a pre-planned attack to make it happen pretty efficiently. Attached are some pictures. The echo has been eliminated and the sound quality during normal conversation is remarkably improved. The material adds a nice look and a new dimension to the room. -Leif