Soundproofing and Sound Absorption Tips

Sound isolation is a green solution to noise complaints. This can be a common issue when your studio is sandwiched between other businesses. Designed for retail, strip malls are rarely built with sound isolation in mind. Noise, whether from music, large groups or, tapping feet tends to carry into surrounding businesses leading neighbors to complain.

So, how do you continue to run your dance or fitness studio effectively and keep good relations with your neighbors? The answer is most likely already in your studio.

Dance Flooring

Most dance studios utilize a material called “Marley” (Marlay/Matlay is the same thing) for creating a dance floor surface texture. This material is widely used and is essentially heavy PVC vinyl sheeting similar to the material that is presently being marketed and sold as sound isolating material.

In fact, it is the same material.

If you have ever attended a National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) trade show you may have seen vendors offering heavy PVC vinyl for this purpose. This heavy PVC vinyl sheeting greatly attenuates sound, even after it has been scuffed and torn up by “dancing feet”. Sound sees no difference! Ugly becomes beautiful as this “old stuff”, which has been peeled off a floor, gets hidden between layers of beautifully painted drywall to isolate sound.

For best results, “Marley” (Matlay/Marlay) should be sandwiched between drywall sheets of varying thickness (1/2” & 5/8”) which will vibrate at different frequencies, helping to eliminate resonance.

Adding Drywall

Put up the first drywall layer as normal using joint compound as usual. Since this will be covered, only light sanding is required to remove ridges and lumps. Cover with Marley and secure with staples or whatever. When placing the second drywall layer adjust so that the seams fall on different studs than the first layer.

Seal The Joints

Sound travels through the tiniest of spaces, therefore sealing the joints of each layer and all edges airtight is of the utmost importance. Use caulking and tape to make sure the barrier is complete.

If you are sub-dividing (partitioning) a larger space into separate rooms you can use this “Marley” application combined with staggered stud walls to achieve excellent sound isolation. Staggered stud walls involve using wider top and bottom plates and narrower studs.

For example, top and bottom plates could be 2×4 (or 2×6) and the studs be 2×3. The plates should be installed over two lines of caulking to insure all is airtight. On one side of the wall the studs are placed the standard 16” on center at the edge of the 4” (or 6”) plates. The narrower studs will not extend to the other edge and therefore will not touch the other side.

Weave In Fiberglass Batting Insulation

On the other side of the plates place the 2×3 studs at the edge of the plates starting 8” from one end, then 16” on center. Weave in standard fiberglass batting insulation for even better effect. Install the drywall/Marley sandwich described above on both sides. This will give you a wall in which the two sides are decoupled. If electrical sockets are required, they are best done using surface mounted conduit. Running electrical service as normal in this wall will introduce air leaks.

A Green and Cost Effective Solution

In an ever growing environmentally conscious world, re-purposing and recycling items has gained importance. Most dance studios when replacing “Marley” just throw away the old material. There’s a chance you can get your hands on it for free by calling another local studio. Trash becomes treasure. Otherwise, we have used material available at drastically reduced prices. Call us at 310 519-1314 for availability.

More Dance Studio News:

The Right Way To Build a Dance Studio

Why Do Dance Studios Need Floating Subfloors

Choosing the Correct Ballet Barres for Your Dance Studio