A noisy environment is annoying and unhealthy. Whether you own a restaurant where you want to section off the calm environment from the noisy section or are the noisy neighbor who loves to jam in the middle of the night, you’ll find a solution right here!
Let’s explore why acoustic panels should be your cup of tea.
What are acoustic panels?
Before we get on with how to put acoustic panels to use, let’s find out what they are and why you should get them.
Acoustic panels are designed for sound absorption. Therefore, they’re an ideal choice for people who want to sound-proof a certain area.
The insides of the panels are made up of foam which absorbs most of the noise. It works best with mid to high frequencies. The panels can be flat or sculpted, depending on the preference of the client. Sculpted panels are designed in a way that the ridges further aid the process of sound wave absorption.
If you want to keep the noise in your room or property limited to the four walls without annoying people in the surrounding area, acoustic panels are the perfect solution!
How to choose the right acoustic panels for your usage
Acoustic panels are not something that comes in a ‘standard size.’ There are varying thicknesses and designs. Of course, the thicker the panel, the more sound it can absorb. But, does that mean you should get the thickest acoustic panels available right off the bat?
Well, you don’t have to get the thickest acoustic panels for the most efficient sound absorption. There are some other factors you should take into account before making the final decision.
The first factor is the design. If the panels are sculpted, they’re more likely to absorb sound efficiently than if the panels were flat. A 2-inch thick sculpted panel can perform just as well as a 4-inch flat panel. The ridges in a sculpted panel increase the absorption rate of the sound waves, hence the better soundproofing quality.
The Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) plays a major role. This determines the quality of the panels you get. Not all panels have the same quality foam installed in them. This quality is defined by a decimal number from 0 to 1 which is known as the NRC.
0 is the least efficient end of the scale whereas 1 means that 100% of the sound will be absorbed. Since acoustic panels are only absorbing the sound instead of altering it, the absorption quality is the ultimate measure of quality. A panel with 0.75 NRC will absorb 75% of the sound in the room. Anything above 0.5 is considered good whereas panels below 0.5 are not very useful.
The last factor to consider is the size of the panel. Acoustic panels come in all different sizes. You can choose the ones that will cover your walls most efficiently. Of course, if all 4 walls are covered with panels, the soundproofing will be much better than if only one wall was to be covered with the panels.
You should weigh all these factors to find the perfect acoustic panels for your usage.
Where to place them
The one thing that plays the most important role in the efficiency of acoustic panels is their placement. If you do it right, less will prove more.
One mistake that you can possibly make is to place all panels together on one side of the room. Never do this. Spread out the panels as evenly around the room as possible.
Look at it this way: sound waves don’t have a defined direction. They’ll go all around the room. So, have at least a small section of panels all around instead of placing them in one corner altogether.
Spreading out the acoustic panels also increases the overall covered area that is soundproofed. For example, if you initially have 6 panels that are 24”x24” and put them all together side by side, the total area that will become soundproof is around 3,500 squared inches. On the other hand, if you place each panel with a 12-inch gap in between, you’ll end up adding an extra 1,500 squared inches to the soundproofed area.
If you’re smart with the placement, the empty spaces in between the panels also become part of the covered area. The efficiency of the acoustic panels will increase without you having to exceed your budget.
Next, be as symmetrical in the placement as possible. Don’t give sound waves the chance to reflect off of one surface and travel out of the room. Acoustic panels work best when they’re placed symmetrically around the room.
This isn’t always convenient because rooms have a lot more on the walls too such as signs, windows, air conditioners, etc. If precise symmetry isn’t possible, create as even patterns as possible.
Another placement error is the height of the panels. Don’t put them too high up where the least amount of sound waves will travel. However, also don’t put them too low for them to get damaged. Opt for an optimum middle of the walls where the majority of the sound waves travel to in the shortest possible time.
How to install acoustic panels
You’re now well aware of which acoustic panels will work for you and how you need to place them for maximum output. However, there’s one more thing you must understand to make the outcome even better.
The installation process has a major role in the effectiveness of the acoustic panels. If you’ve hired a good installation service, you don’t have to worry about this. However, it’s always best to educate yourself so that you can ensure that the service you end up getting is up to the mark.
The first step on the installation is to measure. Based on the tips given above for placement, measure how big and thick panels you need. Repeat is 2 to 3 times for guaranteed measurements. Then, head out to purchase the right thing for yourself.
If you want to soundproof a room so that no sound leaves the room, install the acoustic panels on the inner side. All the sound waves will be absorbed before leaving the walls. On the other hand, if you don’t want any sound to enter the room, you’ll install the acoustic panels outside. This way, the sound will be absorbed before it enters the room. This is the most efficient way of installation based on your requirement.
In conclusion, acoustic panels are a worthwhile expense if you’re a gym owner, restaurant owner, industrial estate owner, live in a noisy building, or something along those lines. Acoustic panels are your solution for the perfect soundproofing that you need!