How can noise be reduced in a workshop?
A workshop can get very loud with the use of power equipment. A woodworker should use PPE as their first line of defense when exposed to sounds of 85 decibels or more. However, the sound of your workshop may be disturbing for you and for your neighbors.
I will explain how to reduce the noise inside your workshop and how to soundproof your workshop.
13 ways to reduce noise inside workshop
- Invest in quieter machinery
- Reduce vibration
- Maintain equipment
- Create a tool sound barrier
- Use sound barrier flooring
- Install thicker drywall
- Install Acoustic wall insulation
- Install thick acoustic paneling
- Soundproof windows
- Install a solid door
- Add door sound mat
- Add acoustic panels on ceiling
- Create an isolated room
When woodworking, you may not like how loud your shop is in general. The first thing you should always wear is the proper PPE. If you are wearing hearing protection and you feel that the machinery is still too loud, then you likely not wearing hearing protection with the right decibel rating.
To learn how to pick the correct headphones, you can check out my article where I explain why hearing protection is important, how to pick the correct type of hearing protection, and the implications of not protecting your ears.
One of the benefits to reducing the noise inside your workshop is that there will be less noise to escape.
Invest in quieter machinery
The first way to limit the amount of noise in your shop is to tackle it from the source. There is only so much you can limit if you have excessively noisy equipment.
Noise tends to increase as you move up in horsepower and size. Woodworking machinery that is designed to specifically be quiet may cost more than what its worth.
My suggestion is to get quality woodworking machinery and to stay away from machines that are poorly designed. Poorly designed machines will rattle and shake more, thus adding on to the noise
As stated before, you will want to invest in quieter machinery to reduce vibration that is caused by manufacture design. However, you can have other forms of vibration.
- Have a flat and sturdy surface
- Try not to have the tool resting on the walls
- Use a vibration mat
You can have vibration from not having the machine on a flat and sturdy surface or by not assembling the tool correctly.
Make sure you do not have any form of wobbling in the stand or table. Not only will this help reduce the noise, it will also lower your risk of injury because you do not want machinery on a surface that is not sturdy.
Maintaining a well oiled blade and a well maintained engine will keep your machinery running as new. When your blade becomes dull and old, it can cause excessive noise when you are using your machinery.
Create a sound barrier
You can create a sound barrier for your machine to lower the noise in your workshop. You can purchase a sound barrier, which will likely cost a lot of money, or make one yourself.
You will want to use a well-rated acoustic, or other sound proofing material, and effectively encompass the machine to reduce the sound.
This method is very effective but does have some notable downsides.
It requires a lot more space to encompass your machinery with sound barriers. I’ve seen this work in very large workshops and factories. However, I do have an alternative that I recommend to this at the end, in the bonus section.
Sound absorbing flooring
Cement floors are notorious for echoing sounds. Tile and wood flooring are both better, but are not the best option to limit echoing.
Soundproofing rubber and acoustic flooring are two off the better options to lower the noise in your workshop.
However, these options can be quite pricey. You can install interlocking tile flooring, non-slip mats, and acoustic paint.
I am not sure how well all of these options work in relation to each other, but almost anything is better than pure cement floors.
There are several ways that you can soundproof your walls. You can install thicker drywall, insulate your walls, or add acoustic paneling to your walls.
Most drywall is half an inch thick. However, getting thicker drywall, or drywall that is specified to reduce sound transfer, will help mitigate the amount of noise that is able to pass through
Another way to soundproof your walls is to add insulation. Insulation not only helps you keep your workplace at a reasonable temperature, it can also muffle some of the sound that is trying to pass through the walls.
You can even invest in a special insulation that is designed to prevent sound transfer, but any insulation is better than none at all
If you do not want to mess with your walls and insulation, you can purchase acoustic paneling. Some panels are more effective than others so you will want to get good quality paneling.
Thinner panels are designed for loud talking while thicker panels are designed for music, instruments, and machinery
Sound can easily travel through windows. I just throw a pre-cut piece of wood in the window frame when I am getting ready to work in my garage.
However, there are better options to soundproof your windows. You can throw an acoustic blanket over your windows or invest in sound proof windows if you still want the light and benefit of having a window.
Soundproofing the doors are essential if you are working in a connected workshop like in your garage or basement.
You can invest in soundproof weather stripping and door sweeps. You can also invest in acoustic paneling or an acoustic blanket to put over your door.
If you want, you can purchase a thicker, soundproof door itself. But I would still recommend the weather stripping and door sweeps because the sound will travel through every crack that it can find.
Bonus: Soundproof ceiling
If you are working in a basement or a garage where people stay directly above you, then you may want to invest in some form of soundproof ceiling.
Acoustic tiles and blankets are two very effective methods to prevent noise from traveling through the ceiling.
Since they are quite pricey, another option is to buy rubber matts and nail it to the ceiling or to use soundproofing paint. However, these options will not be as effective
Bonus tip: Isolated room
Before, I mentioned that you can create a sound proof barrier of your machinery to help mitigate the sound inside your workshop.
However, I have a better option to to help soundproof your shop in all. You can create an isolated room to limit the amount of sound that transfers out of your workshop.
Having a room inside of a room were you can do all of your woodworking, or at least operate your heavy machinery, will greatly reduce the noise that others can hear
In this article we went over the 13 different ways that you can reduce noise in your workshop. We learned about what makes every method effective and how much noise reduction you can expect for each.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article and I wish you luck on your woodworking journeys!
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