Posted by: keenebp | August 4, 2009

Noise Control

Since I have to start somewhere in the beginning, I’ll introduce myself as Jim Keene; I’m the Quiet Guy. I’m with KEENE BUILDING PRODUCTS, a company I started in 2002 that produces sound control products, mostly for floor/ceiling assemblies and walls. There is a lot of information about noise on the web. Lots of it is absolutely on target and true. Some of it isn’t. Since I’ve started working in noise control (1996) a lot has changed. Today, contractors actually understand a lot about how noise is controlled. Today, contractors actually care if the products and systems are installed properly. I take those two assumptions today unless shown otherwise. We are all better off if we elect to leave those that don’t care to their own noise. The first step in the process is caring. Once care is present, there is a reason to do things right. We’ve tested a lot of the myths in the industry and found truth and we’ve tested some industry assumptions and found non-truths. Please use this blog as a means to ask questions whether about floors, walls, ceilings or exterior applications – if the answer doesn’t lie in a test I’ve conducted, we’ll attempt to find the person that has the right info.

What’s New!

KEENE has been involved in a bunch of testing recently. We’ve been researching the corrugated metal deck market for the last 12 months. Today, that floor is installed with a two layer gypsum concrete pour. First the flutes are filled then a mat is installed on the filled flutes. Finally in the application, another 1.0” of gypsum concrete is installed. We thought there might be a better way. The test results on this assembly were barely passing. In order to get high IIC numbers, the system required both a topically added sound mat and the sandwiched sound product. We found a means to control noise with topically added mats and with a single pour of gypsum concrete. Both of these save time, money, labor and materials. Both of these approaches provide results that are attractive to developers. If you would like more info or have any questions, post the information here and we’ll start something new.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for writing.

I’ll go quietly now. Please go quietly too!

The Quiet Guy



  1. What is the most cost effective way to lower noise levels in my single family home?

  2. When a home owner is considering how to control his/her own noise, the economics are different than trying to achieve code. I’m certain the first step is to Google “quiet rooms” or to talk to a contractor. Just like in multi-family construction the answer isn’t a magic product and one design addition isn’t going to solve the issue. In multi-family we add resilient channels, batt insulation and resilient floor mats. In walls we add resilient channels and extra layers of gypsum board. For a single family home owner with a media room, I would recommend starting with those components first. Put resilient channels (install them properly with nail guards like RC Assurance to prevent short circuiting) in walls and ceilings, add an extra layer of gypsum board to the same areas. If the budget still allows for more enhancements, get the insulation in the cavities. Lastly, to help with foot fall on second floor projects install a resilient mat and floating floor to handle vibration noise. That’s the order. Try and get the insulation and resilient channels in first for walls, then floors.

  3. Can thin sound mats really work to control vibration noise in flooring?

  4. The answer is NO.

    Physics tells us that the waves that pass through floors get to be pretty long and to control vibration noise we need space. Somehow in multi-family noise control some product suppliers have suggested that thin can still be highly functional. Our physics lessons tell us otherwise. Vibration is controlled by void space (touching), thickness and resilience. In stacked construction the floor is going to put some pressure on the subfloor since everything sets on the next component down the assembly. In other words we are always going to have touching for noise conduction of the vibration wave. Since conduction of the wave is always present, the quantity of void space, the THICKNESS and RESILIENCE of the material will always matter. We are varying resilience and void to handle the structural integrity. Too much resilience and void causes structural failure just like too much structural integrity provides vibration waves with clear paths. Even if we could build a room that lacked any contact with the adjacent room, the 100% void space between the room could still pressurize from the vibration wave and conduct the noise.

    Economics preclude us from being able to build completely isolated floors so we add a mat that has some thickness, some resilience and lots of void. Physics means the more of those qualities we have the better off we are. Thickness does matter.

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