If you own a gym, recording studio, or any kind of space that is always noisy, then you will agree that echoes are annoying!
You surely got to this page because you are trying to find a solution. You’ll be happy to know that sound baffles (also known as acoustic baffles, acoustical baffles, or just ceiling baffles) are an effective, economical solution to eliminating these irritating echoes. However, sound baffles can be quite expensive, especially if the space is large.
As such, you may have considered building your own sound baffles. In this article, we will teach you exactly, how to build your own sound baffles!
Let’s get to our sound baffles DIY!
What Are Sound Baffles?
Sound baffles are echo and noise reduction treatments made from hardened resin and acoustic fiberglass and are often hung vertically from ceilings (hanging sound baffles). These materials are just what you need if you want to quiet the noise in a large space with limited wall space.
By definition, sound baffles are noise mitigation tools installed in walls and ceilings to reduce the strength of reflected sound waves, also known as reverberated sound. Quite simply there’s no better soundproofing method to reduce echoes other than acoustic panels and acoustic tiles.
Besides being an economical solution to noise and echo issues, they are commonly used to improve acoustics as well. This means they really help out in music studios or performing theatres.
What Are Sound Baffles Made Of?
Sound baffles might contain a fiberglass, foam, or cotton core. The baffle may be wrapped in acoustic fabric or composed entirely of foam. Larger baffles contain an aluminum frame to add structural strength.
How Do Sound Baffles Work
So how do sound baffles work?
As mentioned, sound baffles are a simple fix to noise pollution issues in your space. These noise mitigation panels are made of sound-deadening materials like mineral wool or foam and wrapped with PVC, Sailcloth, or poly-facing.
The materials absorb sound waves from the environment and are an excellent means of controlling reverberation in enclosed areas.
Baffles can quickly dissipate when hit by sound waves, killing the echo and noise. They come in different styles, shapes, and sizes, allowing you to choose something that matches the décor of your room (or space).
These tools are suitable for all areas that have airborne sound transmission, mainly in large open spaces.
This means you can install them in pools, schools, churches, theatre halls, and other spaces surrounded by hard surfaces.
Sound Baffles DIY – How to Make Sound Baffles
If you have decided to go about sound baffles DIY, here are the steps:
- Calculate The Surface Area Of Your Walls: Thes first step is to measure and calculate the surface area of your walls. If you are going to be placing them on the ceiling, then calculate the surface area of your ceiling. All you need to do is to check the length and with of each and then multiply length x width.
- Determine Wall or Ceiling Coverage: Based on the surface area of the wall or ceiling, you can determine the amount of wall coverage you will require. For light coverage, we recommend 10% of a room’s wall surface, for medium coverage we recommend 15 to 20%, and for high treatment, we recommend 25 to 35%. Anything above that is rather extreme.
- Determine Panel Dimensions: So now that you have determined the surface area you want to cover, the next step is to determine how many sound baffles you will need for this sound baffles DIY. For example, for a 12’x12’ room with a 10’ height, the wall surface is 480 ft². Now 10% is 48 ft². 20% is 96 ft², and 35% is 168 ft². In this case, assuming that you are using 2’x4’ (8 ft²) panels, you’ll need 6, 12, or 21 panels respectively.
- Create A Frame: You can create a frame for your sound baffles, but it’s not essential. If the board is all you have, you can use that, but we would recommend some sort of soft plastic or even regular PVC is great!
- Select Your Sound-Absorbing Material: As we already mentioned, sound baffles can be made of several different sound-absorbing materials including hardened resin and acoustic fiberglass. For your DIY, you can use 2”, 3”, or 4” thick rigid insulation panels, acoustic fiberglass, hardened resin, foam, or another material. The most important thing is to ensure the density is high, i.e between 2.5 lb/ft³ to 8 lb/ft³.
- Choose and Prepare an Acoustically Transparent Fabric: Select a fabric that is breathable, strong enough to be stretched taut, and has a color or pattern that blends or complements the room. You may want to wash and dry it to reduce possible sag over time. However, if it has been treated with a fire retardant, don’t wash it. By the way, you don’t necessarily need the fabric, it’s really just for aesthetic purposes.
How To Install Sound Baffles – Sound Baffles DIY
Now that you have designed and created your sound baffles, let’s get to installing them.
Before anything else, you should note that there are several methods of installing your sound baffles (ceiling baffles). Most of these methods are simple, and you don’t need any specialized skills. Don’t forget that you can install panels on the walls or ceiling.
It’s important to note that you may not want to install sound baffles if you have in-ceiling speakers.
However, if installing baffles is a must for you, then remove the in-ceiling speakers before installing your sound baffles. This is because otherwise, the sound baffles will drown out any sound coming from the speakers.
1. Cloud mount
If you opt to float the sound baffles (ceiling baffles) off your ceiling, then cloud mounting is what you need.
This method requires some rope, wire, or chain to hang the panel and it does not require any specialized skills. That’s because some baffles come with factory-installed grommets and eye bolts, for easy mounting.
When using the cloud mount method to install your sound baffles (ceiling baffles) , you can hang them at any length comfortable for you.
After all, the distance between your ceiling and the panels does not affect the sound absorption process.
2. Rotofast Clips
This is one of the simplest methods of installing sound baffles (ceiling baffles) on wooden surfaces and drywall (you can also check out our drywall soundproofing guide).
For this technique, you have to anchor the clips randomly on your panel, and then press it against the mounting surface to make a mark.
After that, drive the mating portion of your clips through the marked area and attach the baffle. This method is simple and does not require any glue. It also makes it easy to transfer the sound panels.
Your choice of sound baffles will depend on many things, including the amount of noise experienced in your house. Use a decibel meter app to measure the decibel levels in your house. Check out one of our decibel level chats to get an idea of the level of danger of the noise in your house.
To install sound baffles (ceiling baffles) on brick walls and concrete blocks, you can use a set of mechanical clips (z-clips) attached to the back of your panels.
During the installation process, you will need to anchor a set of wall bars to your surface and then simply slide the panel in place.
This method is very effective, and some baffles come with factory-installed clips.
4. Impaling Clips
This is one of the best installation techniques if you do not intend to transfer the baffles to another place.
All you need to do is to anchor the impaling clips on your wall and apply adhesive glue to the panels, before pressing them on the surface.
The teeth of the clips will sink into the back of the baffles as the glue dries up. This method is suitable for wooden surfaces and drywall only.
Though most of these installation methods are simple, they may need a little effort to successfully execute. Luckily, you won’t get any complications.
Advantages Of Sound Baffles
Your sound baffles DIY will certainly have several advantages Installing sound baffles in your space is an easy way to way to control noise, and it offers a list of benefits to you and the people around you. Let’s look at some of the essential benefits.
1. They improve the acoustic quality
By using sound baffles, you can kill unwanted noises in your space and make other sounds more clear.
That leads to improved musical clarity in entertainment areas and improved speech intelligibility in lecture halls or any other performance venues. You can also use them in retail outlets, to facilitate smooth conversations between the customers and the attendants.
2. Reduce stress
Though you may not know it, killing noise helps you to reduce stress. That is because if you can hear what people are saying, then you are less likely to be frustrated or irritated by their inability to understand you.
3. Improved Safety
While working in a workshop or any other place with noisy equipment, it can be very challenging to maintain safety.
That means you need to cut down the amount of noise in such areas, to eliminate all the distractions that may lead to accidents. You can do this using sound baffles and allow the workers to have clear communication while working.
4. Improved Productivity
If you have ever tried working in a noisy environment, then you will agree with me that sound baffles are essential to improving your productivity.
They significantly reduce the amount of noise in your working space, allowing you to concentrate on your task. That leads to improved productivity.
As you can see, sound baffles have immense benefits for your room or space. The best part is that they require minimal effort to install, even without prior experience. Here is all you need to know about installing sound baffles.
How Effective Are Sound Baffles?
In very tall spaces, it is common to encounter a ceiling made of steel decking or concrete. These building materials are considered to have low absorption coefficients, in other words; they are highly reflective and do not absorb sound well. Sound baffles are particularly effective, as they can absorb both the direct sound from a sound source, the reflections from ceilings, and higher sections of the walls.
Where Can I Hang Sound Baffles?
Sound baffles are most often used to reduce echoes in large, open spaces. However, you can use them in any commercial, industrial, public or residential room. They can be safely hung from any ceiling that can handle light-duty chains, and they make an excellent noise-reducing option for:
- Industrial facilities
- Entertainment facilities
- Professional recording studios
- Home recording studios
- Broadcast studios, etc.
There you have our sound baffles DIY! Sound baffles are excellent noise-killing tools that help you reduce unwanted sounds in your space, for better acoustics and a serene talking environment.
These panels come in various sizes, colors, and designs, giving you a variety of options to match your interior décor. For additional echo reduction, you may want to use soundproof curtains and seal your drafty windows with acoustic sealant caulk. They are also easy to install and go a long way in reducing echoes.