Soundproofing Your Metal Building

Published January 26, 2015 by Whirlwind Team

sound proofing steel buildingsDoes your customer need a soundproofed garage for his kid who’s learning drums? Or maybe you have a client who needs a workshop for her band-saw, lathe, and other noisy tools. Possibly your customer is putting up a small metal building for manufacturing that needs to meet local noise ordinances.

Time to study up on soundproofing a metal building. It isn’t difficult and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Metal buildings are easily sound-proofed using a few different techniques alone or in combination. Materials are readily available and construction time won’t be much longer.

Insulation

Insulation is one of the best, least expensive, and easiest materials to use for soundproofing. The amount of noise abatement it provides depends on the type and amount of insulation. And since you probably want to control the climate, this is a material you will be putting into place anyway.

Sound Absorbing Sheets or Blanket

This is a technique that can be used in an existing building or one that only needs a temporary sound-proofed space. Sound blankets come in multiple heights and widths; they are just placed on the walls and/or ceiling to muffle outgoing sound. They can reduce noise by up to 70%.

Build a Room within a Room

Building a room within a room is another way to repurpose existing construction or creating a more permanent solution. Inside the selected room hang drywall along the perimeter. Add a layer of insulation. Then add another layer of drywall over a third frame.

This is similar to professional studio construction but costs much less. If it is included in the initial design the room can be customized the way the customer needs it to be.

Resilient Channels

This is a technique that really needs to be done as part of the design. You need to isolate the wooden studs from the interior walls to mitigate the transmission of sound. So a channel is added between the drywall and the frame of the outermost interior wall using metal beams running parallel to the floor and spaced every three feet from top to bottom.

The channels are spring loaded and hold the sheet rock to the studs. This reduces the need for multiple walls, as with a room within a room.

You can combine two or more of these techniques to create even more noise dampening. For example, resilient channels decrease sound by about 16 to 18 dB. A multiple wall system (room within a room) can dampen sound by about 26dB. Used together sound levels can be reduced by more than 30 dB, a significant amount.

A Word about Metal Roofs

People may have the idea that a metal roof is the noisiest thing on the planet during rain, sleet, and hail storms but nothing could be further from the truth. Metal roofs are a long way from those old corrugated ones which were, indeed, quite loud.

In fact, a flat roof is much quieter than one with a raised pattern regardless of the material. Flat roofs and those with standing seams tend to be installed directly on the roof deck, muffling most of the sound of weather. A higher, more complex roof profile dampens sound even further due to the extreme stiffness of the materials.

Similar to metal panels on deck roofing is installing foam insulating panels made of untangled nylon filaments directly below the metal roof panels and above the roof sheathing. An alternative is to place the metal roof panels directly on top of the asbestos shingles of an existing roof.

Metal roofs may be louder due to poor fastener placement. Too few fasteners, loose fasteners, and incorrectly placed fasteners all allow the roof panel to move and vibrate. Expansion and contraction due to temperature changes can exacerbate this.

Sound proofing a metal building isn’t any more difficult that placing insulation or adding a layer of material between the metal and the studs. If your customer wants a sturdy, long-lasting building but hesitates to choose metal because of the potential for clangs and bangs, educate them about these easy fixes.

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