DIY Acoustic Panels: Let’s Build Sound Absorbing Panel in 5 Steps

 

You love having silence, but the hustling and bustling of your street make that quite impossible. Your neighbors are also not helping. You will rather suffer in silence than pick quarrels with them.

You thought about getting an acoustic panel, but it is too expensive. That is why this post will hold your hands on simple ways to build your own acoustic panel. I have provided all the materials as well as a step by step method to make it happen. Bring out the creativity in yourself and make your acoustic panel in five simple steps.

DIY acoustic panels offer you the privilege to make your room soundproof with your own hands, using your own creativity.

Let’s do it yourself!

The panels, if done correctly, are like sieves. They prevent the frustrating echo that is common in large halls and auditoriums. If you have noticed background noise in a song, it means the recording studio where the music is produced has some problems these panels could have solved.

You want to make a space soundproof. You want to ensure the music you play in the space gives the quality that makes you want to dance. You want to set up a small studio. Even, you can use these panels for your bedroom, bathroom or baby room. Here is the good news; you can do it yourself with inexpensive materials in two hours or less.

Do you have to be exceedingly creative?

NO.

The general term is ‘soundproofing,’ and the main benefit is that you will enjoy quality sounds. Some people miss the meaning when they hear the term.

Acoustic panels are not sound insulators that prevent the transmission of sound from one room to the other or from within confinement to the exterior. They are meant to enhance the quality of sound you hear within the space where they are applied.

Let’s start with what you should know about acoustic panels.

Acoustic-panel

Acoustic Panels: How Do They Work?

Acoustic panels are materials used on the walls or ceilings of space to absorb the sound produced within the space. These materials essentially prevent the echo of sound, making it possible to hear the quality of sounds clearly.

You can create the panels and use it on the interior walls of a space. Then when sound is produced at a point, the materials absorb the noise and the sound is heard clearer without any form of echo or being distorted.

Without the soundproofing panels, sound waves would reflect on the wall and reverberates. So when the sound waves travel within the space, it moves up to the ceiling or it hits the wall, the wave is absorbed into the panel.

  • The level of noise is reduced,
  • The sound is clear,
  • And echo or reverberation is reduced

Usually, there are different types of acoustic materials. The panel is our focus in this guide. (You will know the vivid difference between acoustic panels and acoustic foams later.)

You probably would find two things inside the material used as acoustic panels: foam or compressed minerals. Each material in the panel will allow the sound to penetrate. A vibration will occur which will convert the sound energy to kinetic energy which is then perceived as heat. In short, the acoustic panels reduce echo and gives out heat in the process.

Acoustic Foams Vs Acoustics Panels

The key difference between the two materials is the level of absorption. While foams allow a reasonable amount of waves to pass, panels would block the waves completely.

You could say the materials used for making panels are hard and they block waves. And the materials for making foams are soft to the hand…this is the understandable reason for their ability to allow waves pass through.

That is the simple difference between the two. To go deeper, the materials for the panel are heavy, strong; glass is an example. Foams are light, easy to carry; a soft egg crate is an example.

Why does the sound get blocked?

When you install thick, heavy panels between the source of the sound and another location, you have installed a dense mass of materials between the source and the other parts of the building. It will be difficult or impossible for the sound to escape.

So if you are planning to make the sound remain within the space, then your best bet is the panels. On the other hand, foams will just absorb the sound, act like a filter, and makes the sound clearer to the receiver.

Can Your Own Built Acoustic Panels Reduce Noise?

This is a logical question to ask if you have read the last section carefully. And it is quite simple to answer.

Acoustic panels reduce noise. How?

Usually, the sound waves will bounce against a normal wall and distort the distributed sound, causing echo and noise. But with the presence of acoustic panels, the waves are bent or absorbed around after striking the surface of the panel. The moment the sound bends or is absorbed, the noise will become reduced and the clarity will be improved.

To achieve this aim of reducing noise, select your acoustic panels carefully and understand the difference between acoustic panels and acoustic foams. Clearly, acoustic foams are the best at absorbing the sounds and reducing the noise. Therefore, you can choose a material which combines the characteristics of panels and foams.

A good example is a panel wrapped with fabric materials. This would reduce the rate at which sound is directly reflected back. And it will reduce the noise considerably.

If you choose (thick, heavy, and rigid materials) panels alone, the sound waves that hit them will be reflected and blocked from passing through and that alone will reduce the noise to an extent which is quite better.

Building Your Own Acoustic Panel Vs Buying One. The Pros and Cons

Buying your own acoustic panels has its own benefit just as building your own. Looking at the two choices would make you understand the best choice for you.

Buying your acoustic panels

The pros
  • The panel you buy will have a guarantee. It would have been developed under a good condition, certified to be effective and you will just need to install them.
  • In case you are worried or uncertain of how the product works, the manufacturer could give you a clearer form of advertisements.
  • There is a reduction in error when it is time to install them because detailed instructions would come with the material. For instance, some panels must be at a certain distance to ensure an air gap. This would be specified by the manufacturer and should be followed closely.
The cons                                 
  • Buying panels will cost you a lot more
  • It is not the best choice if you like building stuff with your hands. In other words, it doesn’t do you good if you want to be a creative person, a builder.

Building Your Own Acoustic Panels

The pros
  • It cost lesser than buying the panels yourself.
  • It offers you more flexibility over the design, the arrangements, and the building.
  • It is best if you like building things with your own hands.
The cons
  • It takes more physical effort, planning and time.

How Much Will Be the Cost of Building a Sound Absorbing Panel?

The cost of building your acoustic panels will cover three things

  • The cost of materials
  • The cost of tools
  • The size of space

When space is large, the cost will be higher than in smaller spaces.

If you are using a fiberglass panel, it costs about $6.60 per panel.

You might need some fabric of about 62″, a panel costs about $10.

(You will get to the list of all material required in this post)

Generally, the average cost will be about $20 for every panel. To calculate it by the square foot, it would be $2.5 for a square foot.

Of course, there are other factors that would determine the amount you will spend. They include the amount of noise that would be produced in the space, or to say it better, the purpose of the space.

It will cost more if (and require more expertise) to make a studio soundproof than it would cost to make a room soundproof.

Finally, your location and your suppliers are the overall chief-commandant of the prices of things. They will influence greatly the cost of the tools and the materials.

What Fabric is Good for Sound Absorption?

Acoustic sound panels are of different types of materials and sound absorption.

And so are fabrics. The fabrics to be used in building acoustic panels must allow sound to penetrate. Below you will find a list of fabrics that are good for the purpose. These are the best you can get.

  • Guilford of Maine Panel Textiles
  • Colored burlap
  • A local keepsake calico

If you have another choice of fabric, ensure it allows sound to penetrate and it hides the panel inside just like the above.

How Thick Should Acoustic Panels Be?

A portable acoustic panel should be about one inch in thickness. And the general standard for manufactured acoustic foams and panels are about 2 inches in thickness. This would be effective in terms of cost and improving the clarity of speech.

The determinant of the thickness of acoustic panels is the type of pitch of the noise. Thicker panels are used to absorb a larger size of the sound.

An inch thick panel has an absorption value of about 95%. Increasing the size to twice will increase the absorption by more than 5%.

For you to ensure you are using the right thickness, clearly define the purpose of the space and the frequency of sound in there. Then you can choose a thickness between 25 mm to 100 mm – the thicker the panel, the greater the sound absorption value.

Tools and Hardware Required

Mounting brackets for attaching the panels onto the walls.

Scissors or staple gun will be used for trimming the exterior of the fabric.

Glue to hold the insulation inside the frame

Hammer and nails will be used to build the panel frames in the first place.

Drills or electric screwdrivers will be used for either making tiny holes or drive in screws.

A Saw to be used during the construction of the frames, for trimming and cutting the woods.

Materials You Have to Use

➤ Wood

You will use wood to build up the frame. Woods are usually used because of their ability to improve sound especially if they are perforated.

➤  Fabric

After you have constructed the frame, you will use fabric to cover the frame to cover exposed parts and enhance the look.

➤Sound insulation that absorbs sound

This is a kind of insulation used in the middle of the acoustic panels. This is the core of the acoustic panel. Because the level of sound absorption will depend on the material you have chosen.

Therefore, Be careful! when you choose the insulation material.

Below you can find recommended products for this purpose.

Steps to Build Your Own Acoustic Panels

DIY acoustic treatments will be effective if you have the right knowledge. By now, you have been familiar with the materials you will use for the process. In the next few paragraphs, you will understand the steps to follow.

Here is an advice: the steps are easy to do and then it is easy to make mistakes. (Mistakes aren’t bad actually, we do mistakes). Therefore, to produce the best DIY soundproofing, follow each step religiously…and religiously.

Step 1: Choosing Absorption Material

Choose a good sound absorption material. Now, if you are confused with what constitutes ‘good’ here, hang on!

The materials must be dense and strong and durable. For this post, you have three options namely Owens Corning or Rockwool absorption boards or Johns Manville Insul-Shield.

Also, one of the characteristics of good absorption materials is that it has a standard thickness of at least 2”. The three suggestions in this post meet that requirement.

Be free Check out recommended products that you can buy for a affordable price.

Step 2: Construct a Frame

After you have made a good choice of the absorption material, the next thing is constructing a wooden frame around it.

There are two choices here. You can use a furring strip of dimension 1” by 2”. Or you can use pure wood of understandable thickness. Just know that the wood should be straight without any deformity and ensure it would add some beauty to the panel.

Measure two opposite edges of the sound insulation materials, and measure the same length on the flat piece of wood. Then cut two pieces of wood. You are going to do that for the four corners of the frame.

Now for the two other edges, you must add extra length to the wood for it to overlap the first two. Remember you are creating a frame – the four pieces of wood around the insulation material must overlap.

Apply glue on the corners of the insulation materials and gently and perfectly attach the wood.

Let it dry.

Step 3: Coat the Panel

Pick a sound-transparent fabric and wrap it around the panel. To do this effectively, spread the fabric and place the frame at the center, then set-off a reasonable length of fabric to the sides of the frame. This extension is what you will fold.

Fold it tight and staple it to the back of the frame. It will be advisable to let a friend help you in the process so that the fabric will be tight.

Feel free to check out recommended sound-transparent fabric for DIY Acoustic Panel Project.

Step 4: Mount Your Acoustic Panel at the Best Position

Acoustic panels for soundproofing will work effectively if you follow this next step carefully.

The next essential step is positioning. You want to mount the frame in the best position in your room so as to ensure it clarifies sounds and prevent reverberations.

This isn’t hard of course if you think of the main source of noise and think of the panel as a piece of artwork to be hung. Hang it strategically and enjoy. It could be on the wall or on the ceiling; the important thing is that the panel absorbs sound.

Wherever you choose, ensure you leave a decent amount of space (two inches or less) between the panel and the wall or ceiling. This air gap is required to allow sound absorption and reducing echo.

Step 5: Use, Repeat, Use

You have hung the panel on the ceiling or wall. Start using the room the way you should and notice the difference in the quality of sound.

If you don’t get the quality of sound you want, then you should create another panel and hang it strategically. Hang in another place in the room.

Now you are done.

This video may also help you to get them ready quickly.

Wrapping Up

DIY acoustic panels do not take long after all. The bulk of the task is getting the required materials.

One thing about doing the task yourself is that you will understand the way it works so much that you can teach people – your friend – how to do it.

You should know that it is as easy as sawing pieces of woods and forming a frame and mounting the panel in a strategic place. This post just isn’t about the steps; it is filled with specific and helpful steps that help you so that you don’t create just a board but an effective acoustic sound panel.

Now, start creating your own.

 

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Hi, I’m Nelson

Hi, I’m Nelson

Welcome to my blog. I'm living nearby noisy area & fed up with unnecessary noises coming from outside of my house. I successfully managed to soundproof my bedroom, bathroom, my garage, my baby's room & even dog kennel .etc. I tested hundreds of soundproofing products while I was doing this mission. I am sharing all the tips I've learned & that worked for me on this blog, hopefully, it helps you too!

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