A Guide to Acoustics and Soundproofing
Acoustics is one of the most important considerations when constructing a building. The type of soundproofing varies depending on the purpose of the building, but in general, we want to reduce the noise entering the building and manage the sound levels inside it.
Most people are well aware of the importance of acoustics in concert halls and gymnasiums, but even venues like offices and hospitals rely on effective sound management. For example, good sound management in offices prevents noise distractions from travelling across the room. One study revealed that soundproofing offices could improve employees’ concentration by 48 per cent and reduce stress by 27 per cent. In hospitals, where confidentiality and privacy matter, soundproofing is immensely beneficial, especially for confined patients.
When designing a building, it is important to consider managing sound transmission so noise does not pose a problem later on.
Incorporating Soundproofing into Your Design Plans
For many architects, soundproofing might come as an afterthought — a task dealt with after the construction of the building. As a result, acoustic issues are only discovered once the building is occupied, and the subsequent soundproofing is usually costly and ineffective.
A more efficient solution is to incorporate soundproofing into the planned design from the outset to optimise your building’s acoustics. There are ways to do it without compromising the building’s design. Indeed, it may even enhance it in some cases.
Understanding Architectural Acoustics and Sound-absorbing Linings
There are three basic methods of soundproofing that architects need to keep in mind when talking about acoustics — absorption, reflection, and diffusion.
Absorption, or what we refer to as ‘insulating sound’, dampens and blocks out unwanted noises from the outside. The sound is ‘absorbed’ by materials that soak up vibrations, such as fibreglass, neoprene rubber, or viscoelastic foam. Constructing thick walls made of dense, heavy materials also helps prevent sound from entering a room.
Reflection is referred to as an ‘echo’. The type of material you use can determine how strong the echo is, and can be a problem if planned poorly. Reflection occurs more often on rough, rigid surfaces because their toughness bounces sound back more strongly.
Diffusion is the management of sound waves to give an even distribution of sound. Although this largely requires the management and direction of sound sources, such as speakers, surfaces can be designed to diffuse sound. Diffusion is necessary especially for more audio-oriented venues, such as concert halls, studios, or rooms with audio systems.
When we talk of soundproofing, we commonly refer to absorption, but all three are equally important. These are elements that you can easily plan for in advance. Whichever option you choose largely depends on the needs and purposes of your building. Poor sound management can easily become a daily problem. Incorporating acoustics into your design plans will benefit you and your building’s tenants.
Supawood provides a whole host of acoustic and sound management solutions, such as wall and ceiling panels. We offer a reliable service backed by crucial attention to detail. Contact us today.