New workshop soundproofing ideas

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Established Member
30 Dec 2012
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West Yorkshire
I am preparing for a 30m2 workshop build in the summer. I have no need for insulation I don’t think but I do need to make sure it’s as quiet as possible. I read that rock wool was better at stopping noise than pir but then I got the idea to fill the framing with sand?

Any ideas of other materials I could use in the 4x2 frame?
No need of insulation? Does not compute...Are you a lizard or a polar bear?
Anyhow, Rockwool will provide both thermal and acoustic insulation, in case you wake up warm blooded or fall victim to alopecia one day.
I was amazed at how little noise could be heard outside my brick garage workshop after putting 4” of loft type insulation and plasterboard all around the inside.
Truly soundproof is difficult, involving isolating the internal and external fabric of the building, and then having sound deadening material between. Otherwise you’re after mass and avoiding air paths, Rockwool and acoustic plasterboard are a good balance of performance and price.
Just a detail but sheer mass is good and well fitted heavy fire-doors keep the noise in ( and burglars out!). I'm planning to fit them here in my garage conversion
The Rockwool is better than fibreglass bats. Don't know what PIR is, as we don't have anything by those initials.

If you put bats in the space and then resilient channel (Z shaped or hat section shaped strips of sheet metal) on the framing with your sheet goods attached to it, sound transmission is reduced. The sheeting (drywall better than OSB) doesn't transmit the sound to the framing as the resilient channel decouples it from the structure. You want to make sure every penetration (electrical boxes etc) and all corners and joints are sealed to prevent sound getting through too. Double pained windows at least and triple even better reduce sound transmission.

While you may not think insulation is necessary it makes it more comfortable inside both summer and winter, plus with a constant temperature your tools will be less prone to rusting.

Insulation not needed!!!!! What part of Yorkshire is a tropical micro climate 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

Heavy mass is best sound insulation, so insulate first, then 12mm ply lining, then MLV (Mass Laden Vinyl) then further ply lining, 18mm best. If you stagger the frame uprights by an 10mm and secure outside to each upright on outermost side, and the inner lining to every other upright on the inside, this reduces sound transmission from inner surface to outer surface.

Don't bother with the acoustic foams for sound proofing, it doesn’t sound proof anything, but it will deaden acoustic echo inside the work space, great if you plan on recording in the shed, ie youtube videos, but useless to prevent sound getting out.

Also you need to seal around doors and any gaps to prevent sound egress. But you also need air flow to prevent condensation forming. Unless you plan on having a dehumidifier, that you can drain directly outside, without compromising soundproofing or sound transmission.

As you can see from above, good sound insulation is both time consuming and expensive.
Best of luck in balancing the cost, time, effort soundproofing needs.
Forgot to say - sound in the workshop may be deafening but it doesn't necessarily travel as far as you'd think, higher frequencies may be loud close to but don't travel, low frequencies go further.
I had to do a sound demo for the planning dept. at my last but one workshop. Switched everything on, closed doors and windows and went outside and you could hardly hear anything. They probably thought I'd pulled a fast one so I had to parade them back in to the noise!
This was stone building but with modern windows only single glazing thick glass probably 6mm, and fire doors. Even close to the windows was quiet outside.
Worth doing a test if possible.
There’s a firm in Brighouse West Yorkshire that’s selling Rockwool insulation from de commissioned cold rooms I used it for my garage you buy it by pallet loads need a big van to collect
Did similar with my workshop a few years back, rockwool acoustic insulation slabs in walls, ceiling and on door, lined internally with 9mm osb3 board, works amazingly well at reducing noise levels from even just outside the workshop.

Acoustic insulation is what to look for specifically, not just any old rockwool type as there are many different specs for different purposes. Most will have some beneficial effect of course but you might as well choose the best for the specific job. Also insulates very well too, keeping the temp internally stable and avoiding condensation and damp which helps with tools and machinery, but with timber and projects too as well as my comfort !
I used to work for a company making prefabricated sound recording studios. We used to fill the frame void with dried silica sand (any moisture would eventually rot the panel) and then line with rockwool. The whole thing stood on rubberTyco mats which insulated it from transmitting through the ground. Doors were lead lined and sand filled and fitted with magnetic refrigerator seals. Every joint was sealed with mastic to keep it airtight.
Different frequencies require different solutions including different sized holes and shapes to absorb the sounds. In studios they use bass traps, and moveable foam pads with different patterns, etc but this is to treat the sound within the studio.
I am thinking you are more interested in preventing the escape of sound.
Rockwool in the walls is certainly a good start. I have also seen a product like a silicone that is used to glue two sheets of ply/ osb/plasterboard together. This works in a similar way to accoustic laminate glass by separating the two layers with a flexible absorbing material, preventing the transmission.
Any air gap can transmit noise through it and glazing ( accoustic laminated dgu's ) and doors need to be considered as well.
Do you guys have a product like SONOpan? It is the equivalent of £17.70 for a 4' x 8' x 3/4" sheet, basically the same size as OSB but a little thicker. Put on the wall and ceiling before the inner sheeting would cut the noise and add some of the unwanted insulation 😉 to the shop.

Do you guys have a product like SONOpan? It is the equivalent of £17.70 for a 4' x 8' x 3/4" sheet, basically the same size as OSB but a little thicker. Put on the wall and ceiling before the inner sheeting would cut the noise and add some of the unwanted insulation 😉 to the shop.

That looks like good stuff, and cheap. Nearest I have seen is accoustic plasterboard with something similar already attached.