Sound Dampening Your Workshop

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Forum topic by jhawkinnc posted 04-06-2010 04:44 PM 7482 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View jhawkinnc's profile


111 posts in 3839 days

04-06-2010 04:44 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sound workshop dampening noise question

I recently added on a workshop off the back on the garage. I went ahead and made it a 2-story addition so that my son could have a new bedroom, too. Both of us are loving the new spaces. The only problem is…..the sound.

After he goes to bed, I’d like to “retire” to the shop to knock out some projects. The problem is that the equipment (bandsaw, sander, drill press, etc) can be heard in his bedroom – and it keeps the little guy awake. And I don’t even bother to turn on the vac system…

The shop floor is a poured concrete pad, the walls are insulated behind sheets of OSB and there is some insulation in between the ceiling and the floor above. Guess I should have planned things out a little better during the build.

Can anyone recommend some ideas for knocking down the amount of noise? Besides doing everything with hand tools… :-)


13 replies so far

View rockom's profile


134 posts in 4410 days

#1 posted 04-06-2010 07:46 PM

I would try earplugs, and if that doesn’t work for him, maybe…
Just kidding.

I’ve got a similar issue. My shop is in the basement with only the plywood sub-floors and carpet in between. Fortunately, I’m not directly below so I can still use my band saw and drill press but it cuts deep into serious after hours wood working. Even on the weekends, my youngest naps twice a day.

I’d investigate some sound absorbing tiles for the ceiling…not sure how much they will help. A spray foam is also available to coat the floor joists before installing the ceiling…sounds like it’s too late for that though.


-- -> Malta, IL -<

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


752 posts in 3812 days

#2 posted 04-07-2010 03:08 AM

You can look up on line (or if an old fogey like myself, the Yellow Pages – or is it Yellow Book now?) for sound proofing supplies. You basically hang a Z-channel and then hang the drywall on that. It can be installed over existing drywall, losing about an inch of headroom. I did this in a previous basement shop and it made a world of difference. It wasn’t cheap, but well worth it with growing sons!

Good luck!

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View cstrang's profile


1832 posts in 3707 days

#3 posted 04-07-2010 03:33 AM

The only real way that I know of to do it 100% right… and you’re not going to like the sound of this (pardon the pun haha) is to put in some soundproofing insulation like Roxul and use C-channel and a double layer of drywall, which will drop the sound level significantly.

-- A hammer dangling from a wall will bang and sound like work when the wind blows the right way.

View Bahremu's profile


21 posts in 3940 days

#4 posted 04-07-2010 04:01 AM

I agree with Dave. The best solution is a resilient channel that will decouple the sound vibrations from travelling through ceiling drywall to the floor joists into the bedroom. Two layers of drywall will help more.

You can also add Mass-loaded Vinyl onto the bedroom floor to help damp the sounds travelling up.

Check out QuietRock. It is a drywall panel with a rubber inner membrane to stop the sound. The website says it can be installed over existing drywall.

Soundproof Ceiing

View thiel's profile


407 posts in 3831 days

#5 posted 04-07-2010 04:24 AM

The above is a cadillac system for dampening the sound, but you can get much of the benefit at a much lower cost. The real key is to limit the ability for the sound to migrate through solid structures (hence the C channel above). You have to separate the structure that gets hit with the sound from the structure where you don’t want the sound to travel. Second, you want sound absorptive materials.

You could accomplish much of the same effect by using thin furring strips on the ceiling and then applying homesote, and then drywall under it, with a gap each time. If it’s a ceiling, you’ll get even better damping if you hang the materials using wire or some other minimal profile material—but you want as few gaps or seams as possible. Do both the ceilings and the walls since the sound will transmit through any available surface and they are all connected.

Earplugs work, but heaven forbid there’s a fire you don’t want a kid wearin’ earplugs.

-- --Thiel

View jhawkinnc's profile


111 posts in 3839 days

#6 posted 04-07-2010 03:12 PM

Thanks for all the great suggestions! It seems that the common thread is to add layers of different densities to the ceiling that includes some porous materials (insulation/foam) and/or air pockets to prevent the sound waves from traveling through. Fortunately, the ceiling is pretty tall so adding the materials will not cramp on headroom.

I really appreciate everyone’s input! Guess I gotta make a run to Home Depot now (like I really need an excuse to go).


View JAGWAH's profile


929 posts in 3623 days

#7 posted 04-07-2010 03:19 PM

Sound proofing drywall, not cheap but I hear very helpful alone or especially with Bahremu’s plan above.

-- ~Just A Guy With A Hammer~

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3510 days

#8 posted 04-08-2010 11:51 PM

The bottom line is to have dense, reflective surfaces on the side away from the sound source, absorptive material in the middle and a porous surface on the side nearest the sound source. Industrial sound proofing panels have solid metal skins on the far side, 4” of chopped mineral wool in the middle and perforated thin metal skins with a granular pattern on the near side. This material is used in sound proof booths for instance. Just keep the principal in mind and there are lots of fairly affordable alternates out there. And, of course as said earlier, as little physical contact between the absorptive barrier with the adjacent room as possible.

Another thought might be to add dampening pads to as many sound sources as possible. I have applied 1/8” neoprene pads to insides of machine cabinets and open cell dense foam as well. Everything contributes to the noise and a lot of little corrective measures all add up to help.

View JoanaC's profile


1 post in 3504 days

#9 posted 04-13-2010 02:31 PM

Like JAGWAH has said the Sound proofing drywall of QuietRock is really good.
Similar to Bahremu arrangement above you can have
—Wood, tile, ceramic or carpet floor
—QuietFoam underlayment
—Structural subfloor (Existing Floor)
The QuietWood will provide the sound proofing and the foam will reduce footfall and other impact noise on hardwood or tile floors.
And if you want more you can go for another layer of sound proofing drywall below the floor structure.

View poopiekat's profile


4540 posts in 4273 days

#10 posted 04-13-2010 03:32 PM

It’s probably never been mentioned here, but there is a new scientific way to eliminate noise, through a technology known as ‘Noise Cancellation’. In theory, if microphones are placed in a noisy area, and sound is generated through speakers at exactly the opposite wave, it has the effect of making the offending noise completely inaudible. Some high-end European and Japanese cars have this technology, and it WORKS!! I bought a Koss noise-canceling headset for my wife’s computer, and she can now listen to her music without interference from her noisy office at work. It is amazing how well this technology works! I chose this website randomly, which explains it pretty well:
The side benefit is not having to get your hands dirty on renovations!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View Ripthorn's profile


1459 posts in 3524 days

#11 posted 04-13-2010 06:10 PM

I studied and researched acoustics for all of my 6 years in school and did stints with recording studio/home theater design and large scale sound system design. While active noise control works for some applications, it is not anywhere near advanced enough (yet) for this kind of applications (not to mention expensive as all get out).

The best combination of cheap/doable and effective will be using RC channel or similar with another layer of drywall on the ceiling (with plenty of good mineral wool in between, not just the cheap insulation you get at Home Depot). The walls will have some effect, but not near as much as the ceiling. If there is a stairway, putting in a soundlock is a good idea (just a little hallway with doors on each end, reducing direct transmission through the door). You can put treatments on the walls and it will help some, but the effect for that might be greatest in the workshop rather than the room above.

Using the Quiet Wood and foam products can be effective, but increases the cost astronomically. Usually the gains seen by using specialty materials are only readily apparent when working in a critical listening space like a dedicated concert hall, recording studio, etc.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4432 days

#12 posted 04-13-2010 06:18 PM

in addition to Roxol insulation and or mineral wool, doubled up drywall..etc.,

I hear that if you staple the cardboard egg containers to the ceiling helps.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View tblank's profile


79 posts in 3509 days

#13 posted 04-13-2010 11:05 PM

1/2” soundboard over insulation, followed by resilient channel and a layer of 5/8” drywall fire taped. Eventually sheath the walls and lid with 1/2” plywood. Quiet and easy to hang things on the wall or for laying up bent work.

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