One Stop Shopping
Have you been asked for the “square
One person provides the advice, the materials and the labor. Good
for a kitchen tile job perhaps, but inadvisable for soundproofing and
noise problems. Unlike tile, soundproofing is not a matter of applying
the “best” product to the “problem” surface.
Have you been asked for the “square footage” over the
phone in order to get a quote? That’s a sure red flag;
appropriate for the kitchen tile, perhaps, but never for a noise
problem. It shows that the contractor has already decided on the method
he will use, sight-unseen. Without the proper testing and
expertise, a contractor will liklely rely on what may have worked on
another job, without knowing exactly why.
But the “why” is very important. Different frequencies
of sound, different sound sources, different building construction,
different paths of sound transmission and other factors necessitate
specific solutions tailored to each individual case.
Read "A Case Study in
Two Letters": A cautionary tale of a job done twice and
a lawsuit as told in two letters of thanks from a client (finally)
enjoying some quiet.
Years ago, I designed a sound mixing room for Atlantic Records.
Unfortunately, a large pipe that ran across the ceiling of the room
forced me to design an undesirable shape into the ceiling structure,
the best compromise given the fact that the pipe was unmovable.
Years later, I discovered an exact copy of the the Atlantic room in
another studio, including the compromised ceiling design.
out that the “acoustic consultant” was one of the
carpenters who built the room at Atlantic. He had obviously gotten a
copy of the plans, assumed my design must have been impeccable and used
it as “his” blueprint for all future designs.
One Size Fits All?
Even the “successful” job the contractor bases his work
on may not have been efficiently done. Perhaps they did A,B,C and D
when only C was effective. Based on this “success”, they
will repeat A,B,C and D at every other location, but your problem may
require E and G instead. And “B” could actually make the
noise louder! Yes, in some cases the application of more materials can
actually make a noise problem worse.
And if what you really want is quiet, “soundproofing”
may be the wrong approach altogether. Sometimes the proper cure is a
modification of the noisemaking machinery or other source.
Advisor + Salesman = Conflict of Interest.
Even an “honest” contractor has an inherent conflict of
interest. Noise problems are tricky; “more” soundproofing
not only nets him a bigger profit but//(seemingly) gives him
“insurance” that he will have solved the problem. But this
scattershot approach adds extra cost and can still omit the method that
would have been effective. Nothing is more expensive (and disruptive)
than having to do a job twice.