New Detached Garage Workshop Design Considerations To Limit Noise

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Established Member
19 Apr 2009
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Hi all,
I'm in the very early stages of looking at having a detached garage built, perhaps with a first floor above. What could I include in the design to minimise any noise bothering the neighbours?
Insulation , sound proof plasterboard limit your cutting and planing and the noisey stuff to after 10 am and stop at 5 or 6 pm keep the quiet jobs for later hours ,, speak with your neighbours and let them know / reassure them there won’t be any noise in the early/ late hours . It’s often the little things you do that make all the difference .. good luck ..
Heavy masonry structure is the main solution. Then double glazing with different thicknesses of glass (damps resonance).
Inside a workshop can seem very noisy but high frequencies don't travel and it can be surprisingly quiet outside.
I had to do a demo for planning purposes some years ago. Switched on all machines in the workshop, closed windows, went outside and closed doors, and you could hardly hear a thing. They thought I'd pulled a fast one!
Jim Prior has an extensive and comprehensive course on soundproofing your house which is very good: Jim Prior The Uk's Leading Expert on home and business soundproofing. Whilst it’s focused on inside your house, he does have examples of extensions and a garage conversion into a drum room in it.

He does suggest building out of dense concrete block work and using rockwool in place of celotex (celotex is a very good transmitter of sound). There is lots you can do beyond that that he covers, though worth getting in touch to see if he also has a course focused on more of a standalone studio vibe. The other course is very good too though.
Sound is transmitted by vibration, the two ways to deal with it is too, absorb, reflect or both.
For example,

Gypframe RB1 Resilient Bar

This product from is used to “decouple” plaster board from ceiling joists or walls.
Decoupling, whether via aluminium diffusion bars or very expensive laminated dense-foam/rubber mats (used as an interface layer between a solid block wall and extra dense plasterboard, for example), is one approach to sound/audio/wave/noise attenuation design when “soundproofing”.

Draft proofing (or air-tightness) should not be underestimated! Apparently, even a key hole can leak an enormous amount of sound. Finish detailing on building fabric is critical to success = watch your builders like a hawk!

Ducted Mechanical Ventilation
If you’ve gone to the enormous effort of soundproofing you don’t want to bypass all that good work with open windows for ventilation, or taking the standard approach of drilling a 100mm+ hole in the wall and installing a basic extractor fan (without attenuation). There are all kinds of baffles that can be incorporated into air intake ducting to muffle sounds etc. You could even use a single room mechanical ventilation heat recovery (mvhr) unit, which could help with keeping heating bills down!?

Incidentally, as a cheaper alternative to specialist sound rated bats, I opted for non-blown cellulose insulation (popular in the States and Europe), when building a load of internal partition walls, as they have a better sound rating compared to standard roll insulation. Although it is a loose-fill product.
As others have posted, sound waves travel by vibration so adding mass to your walls makes them harder to vibrate. The heavier something in the harder it is to move, so rule 1 is choose dense materials to build it with.

The second rule would be to try to cut the vibrations off. When I was looking into soundproofing my living room for my home cinema setup the ideal was to build ‘a box within a box’ so that none of the internal walls come into contact with the external walls. You can buy rubber dampening connections to decouple the ceiling from the joists for example and absorb the vibration. Another way this is achieved is to set the studs out in a staggered pattern slightly offset from one another so that the internal wall is attached to every even numbered stud and the adjoining room is attached to every odd number, so the internal plaster board doesn’t come into contact with the odd studs and the external doesn’t come into contact with the even studs. That way the sound can’t hit the plasterboard, vibrate through it, through the stud, and into the next skin of plasterboard making it in turn vibrate and act like a speaker oscillating back and forth causing sound waves in the air.

——————-plaster board—————-
——————-plaster board—————-

Not sure how much use any of that will be in a garage workshop though, I would have thought the garage door will be a killer
You could also consider doubling up on internal plaster boards, it adds mass without too much loss on internal dimensions, that's assuming plasterboarding walls, if ply or sheet wood lining same applies but helish expensive 🤔
You could also consider doubling up on internal plaster boards, it adds mass without too much loss on internal dimensions, that's assuming plasterboarding walls, if ply or sheet wood lining same applies but helish expensive 🤔
You can actually buy dense plasterboard specially made for soundproofing
Here is a decent video that may help a lot in dealing with sound proofing without the hype of convincing product marketing blur .