Being able to choose the best soundproofing options can be a challenge. Simply hiring any company to do the job may not fully solve the problems you need to be addressed. There could be initial improvement but, over time, common soundproofing mistakes might emerge.
It takes an organization with trained acoustic technicians to determine the best applications for the space or spaces that need specific soundproofing implementation. Working with highly skilled professionals to avoid so many of the common soundproofing mistakes that plague the industry is paramount. Knowing what to spot beforehand can be highly advantageous, as well as cost saving, so you can immediately recognize a potential problem before it arises.
At FSorb, we embrace the knowledge and needs of our clients as well as educate and support those who could use assistance to pinpoint the best options. Through this kind of collaboration, common soundproofing mistakes are avoided and the best results can thrive. In addition, our sustainable, natural, Eco-friendly acoustic material products offer solutions that reduce excess ambient noise while calming the nervous system and remaining completely safe for human health.
Mistake 1 - Ignoring Sound Leaks
One common soundproofing mistake is neglecting ‘sound leaks’. Solid materials are needed to block sound while soft surfaces are used to absorb. It is easy for a company to show up and start slapping all kinds of soundproofing panels and curtains throughout your space.
However, if potential sound leaks are not identified first, then these applications may not fully solve your sound compromising issues.
Sound leaks could come from various sources including wall cracks or gaps. Wall cracks can be due to structural damage or degeneration. If these are not too severe, they can be addressed through manageable solutions but other presentations may need engineering intervention. Gaps, which can present as rattling, hums, or other acoustic disruptions are more capable of repair.
Sound leak gaps are often found associated with:
Situational acoustic design can be implemented to diffuse and block sources of sound in ways that best suit the space. It is also in your best interest to prime your space before soundproofing installation. There are several sealants that can be used to tackle a project that presents with potential sound leaks.
Some examples of soundproofing sealants include:
Green Glue - No detected formaldehyde emissions and meets LEED certification.
Acoustic caulk - Low toxicity, high adhesion, mildew, and mold-resistant, and paintable.
Noise-proofing joist tape - Seals sound leaks that may come from wood floors or the like.
Visco-elastic compound - Converts sound energy into heat. This is possible because materials such as polymers are capable of scattering energy and rapidly dissolving sound. The viscous interior is able to stretch and absorb the sound energy, then dissipate the sound waves as heat. These compounds are often used between drywall and another surface.
Don’t let the common soundproofing mistake of sound leaks compromise your soundproofing project. It is best to utilize soundproofing sealants that are low or have no VOCs (volatile organic compounds) non-flammable, and non-toxic, an approach which FSorb embraces and recommends.
Mistake 2 - Not Knowing Your Noise Source
As mentioned, sound leaks are one kind of noise source but knowing the exact source is paramount. It may be obvious but sometimes it takes trained technicians to assess the fine details of a project before beginning soundproofing installations. Neglecting to pinpoint the exact type of sound compromise is a common and often costly mistake.
Some examples of specific noise problems:
Airborne - Street noise, noise from adjoining spaces, airplane traffic, garage sounds
Structural-borne - Loud pipes, mechanical equipment, heat noise, lavatory flushing
Echo & reverberation - Background noise, voices/activity from within, industrial sounds
Once the noise source is accurately detected, soundproofing mistakes can be avoided exponentially.
Mistake 3 - Improper Acoustic Design Placement
Some soundproofing project applications rely on materials and structures for soundproofing alone. Neglecting to consider the science behind acoustic design placement is another common soundproofing mistake.
According to research done on sound diffusion by the Advanced Telecommunications Research Group, San Antonio's Catholic University of Murcia, Spain,
“The diffusion equation model was used for room acoustic simulations to predict the sound pressure level and the reverberation time...This work provides conclusions on the validity of the diffusion equation model for rooms with homogeneous dimensions...” (1).
This research is one example of the essentials of acoustic design for correct placement of soundproofing materials.
The four basic elements of proper acoustic design are:
Block - Solid, sealed materials stop sound from transferring
Absorption - Dampening unpleasant sounds with soft materials
Reflection - Reducing noises from bouncing and echoing
Diffusion - Even distribution of high and low frequency sounds
A study of proper acoustic design placement in a simulated classroom by researchers from Aalto University, Aalto, Finland was reported in an article published in Acoustics titled, ‘Influence of Sound-Absorbing Material Placement on Room Acoustical Parameters’ which stated,
“The results show that absorption material is less efficient if it is mounted to the corners or on the edges between the walls and ceiling, if the sound field is more or less diffuse. If the room modes dominate the sound field, the most efficient location for the sound-absorbing material was found at one of the surfaces causing the modes” (2).
FSorb team members are trained in proper acoustic design placement according to each specific space requirement. This professionally designed positioning ensures yet another avoided soundproofing mistake.
Mistake 4 - Using Toxic Materials
Soundproofing is a finite science and using the proper materials is essential for getting the job done. Although there are many materials to choose from, it is the high toxicity of a variety of chemically laden choices that can prove to be a significant soundproofing mistake. This is because, over decades of humans being exposed to toxic soundproofing materials within commercial (as well as residential) spaces, some concerning health compromises have been linked to such exposure.
At FSorb, we are committed to delivering healthy acoustics with optimal results to assure our clients that their sound issues will be addressed along with their health in mind. It is our mission to avoid using toxic materials by developing sources that are proven to be more beneficial to the whole body system. These materials include:
Recycled plastics - These are antimicrobial (meaning they do not attract mold or mildew), durable, sustain shape and color for decades, contain no chemicals or airborne particles, support low-VOC requirements of LEED projects, and are registered as ‘Red List Free’ with a Declare label under the Living Building Challenge.
Extruded polyester - This is recycled polyester that contains no adhesives or fiberglass.
Naturally fire-protected - Our Eco-friendly soundproofing products have a class A NFPA rating.
Non-VOC - Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be detrimental to human health. Our products do not contain any VOCs.
In addition to non-toxic sourcing of soundproofing materials, FSorb understands the importance of how the body is affected by all kinds of noise levels. When the central nervous system is assaulted by excessive noise it can rattle humans to the core. Unfortunately, so many do not understand this to be a cause of various health issues that can range from minor headaches to more serious concerns.
Research from the Department of Psychiatry, Medical Sciences Building, Queen Mary, University of London, showed findings on the health effects of noise exposure which were published in the British Medical Bulletin, which stated,
“It has been postulated that noise exposure creates annoyance which then leads on to more serious psychological effects...Symptoms reported among industrial workers regularly exposed to high noise levels in settings such as schools and factories include nausea, headaches, argumentativeness and changes in mood and anxiety” (3).
These common soundproofing mistakes are a small example of how essential it is to mitigate noise exposure, whether conspicuous or inconspicuous, for optimal performance and health. Implementing the most efficient non-toxic materials into strategically placed acoustic positions is the win-win FSorb strives for when approaching each individual project. We pride ourselves on getting soundproofing right, across the spectrum, which includes key productivity and physical wellness combined.
At FSorb, we are motivated by improving human health and do so by creating eco-friendly acoustic products. Our mission is to help designers build beautiful spaces that reduce excess ambient noise while calming the human nervous system. With over 25 years in the acoustic business we stand behind FSorb as a durable, environmentally friendly, and low-cost product. If you want an acoustic solution that is safe to human health at an affordable price, then we are your resource.