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Monday, 29 April 2013

Soundproof Garden Studios and Garden Offices

Garden Office and Garden Studio Soundproofing

and

 

How to build a Soundproof Garden Studio


Written by Richard Grace - Garden Structures Ltd April 2013 with help and advice from Jonathan

 

About Sound


In order to stop the passage of sound it is a good idea to understand a few of the basics. Sound travels in waves and is measured in decibels (the quantity of it)  = (volume).  If you stop these waves travelling they bounce around and find another route – I guess this means it is a bit directional. In an enclosed space sound seeks out every possible way of spreading and finds the most impossibly small weakness in soundproofing to get out.
 
 

Why would we need to soundproof a Garden Room?


There are two reasons only for soundproofing any enclosed area:

a)      To stop the possibility of the sound penetrating outside. If you are audibly communicating and want this to be secret or - more usually stop the possibility of annoying the neighbours.

b)      You want to listen to the purest sound, which could be silence or beethoven without the interference of the outside environment (this applies if you live in a flat with adjacent neighbours up, down or to immediate sides who in enjoying themselves can create a bit of a distraction).

Back to Soundproof Garden Studios.



For sure it is not a good idea to constantly play loud music or watch East Enders at high decibels in an ordinary garden shed. For whatever reason it is easy to understand that sound which is pure magic to yourself is not “everyone’s cup of tea” if you get my drift. Personally I love music from the musicals and motown) but others seem to enjoy electronic techno-rubbish. Everyone has some difference in taste.


A Professional Soundproof Garden Studio


The whole subject of soundproofing takes on a different dimension if you deal with sound as a professional. You will no doubt want to mess about with it and listen to the same thing over and over again to make sure it is correct. Although I have little expertise in the sound engineering field I have understood that the various frequencies of sound (base / treble / drums / pianos / guitars / vocals (also in different pitches) etc. can be split up and mixed to create better and better versions of the stuff. Digital manipulation of sound is now available even to the amateur enthusiast using special software and an ordinary computer. Pro Tools, Logic Pro and Garage Band from Apple are good examples of this.

If you are an enthusiastic amateur or indeed a professional the last thing you want to do is let this hobby or work have a detrimental effect on relations with neighbours. Nor would you want to send off a piece of finished work where the sound of the upstairs neighbours trying hard to ensure continuance of the human race is clearly audible.

So to make sure the Soundproof Garden Office works well and avoid unnecessary stress for all around:

How to stop sound - in or out of a Garden Studio 


Well - firstly mass stops sound - mass means weight/volume and has an effect on cost of material. As the most accepted material for Garden Offices and Studios is wood and wood has volume but not terrific mass then there should be some other layers. More layers or more mass often (mostly) means more cost. Now you have the message that increasing soundproofing of a structure also increases cost of building it.

You could of course build a concrete bunker underground but whilst protecting from bombs (and the noise of them) in neighbouring areas this is hardly ever a practical solution. What you need is maintain an acceptable exterior architecture and add layers of mass. So for example ordinary timber cladding with the normal type of heat loss insulation can be protected from sound leakage or ingress with additional layers on the inside.
 
 

A Room within a Room


In a typical "stop the neighbours being annoyed” situation take care and plan well. You are trying to build a “room within a room”. Firstly the room as viewed from the outside should be ok with you and the neighbours and not have on it signs logos and murals, which will make the whole thing far more sensitive than necessary. I have never been surprised that us humans can hear any disruption in silence if we really want to!!!

So a Sound Studio in the garden should a) look like a normal garden building and b) block as much sound passage as possible within budget.

More mass is needed and normal looks are needed. Cost is always an issue and more mass = more cost more mass = more weight more cost = less of the other stuff you need. It is about as simple as that!

Specialist Soundproofing Materials


So let’s turn to experts in providing mass at less cost and less weight to create a room within a good looking traditional garden room within your budget and we are all on the way to success.

How to create a Sound Studio that works

 
  1. Choose a traditional design with acceptable and unobtrusive appearance.
  2. Build its outer skin / doors and windows with normal materials fitting in to the existing environment
  3. Inside the outer skin build another room, which stops the passage of sound. Using the correct layers of mass to suit the decibels being distributed outside, or inside at the target cost.
  4. Consider secondary doors and windows to complete the sound blocking.

This is done usually by de-coupling the outside room from the inside room. Either two structures or more economically mount the inside room on de-coupling mountings (resilient bars). These cost effective / easy to fit components stop the passage of vibration (which is what sound is) and are the most important part of any soundproof Garden Office or Soundproof Garden Studio.

 

Next task is to provide they most cost effective soundproof room. Dense plasterboard in layers sandwiching SBM5 the environmentally friendly equivalent of lead will do the job required in the walls. Windows and doors need further attention, as plasterboard and SBM5 will not fulfil the purpose of easy access and allowing natural light when preferred. It is a good idea therefore to consider secondary (soundproof doors and window shutters)

Taken as a package with the correct layers, the correct materials and the correct installation it is possible to contain loud music in the garden shed and stop ingress of outside noise completely on a reasonable budget.
 

My advice for creating a Soundproof Garden Building


  1. Make it look traditional
  2. Build two rooms one within the other
  3. Use dense materials for the inner room
  4. Provide secondary screening for doors and windows


Stay at peace with your neighbours, reduce stress, and keep sound waves, decibels / "your own taste" in music or TV to yourself.

Soundproof music Studios for your Garden written by Richard Grace with help and advice from Jonathan

 
April 2013 for more info visit  www.aarco.co.uk
 

1 comment:

  1. Not much noise about this one yet!

    ReplyDelete