How to Select the Right Type of Acoustic Foam

There are a lot of options for treating a room with acoustic foam. While an acoustician familiar with your space can identify the best solution, these tips can help you select a SONEX® product to reduce noise in a room.

What Makes a Room Noisy?

Sound is created when there are changes in air pressure, called vibrations. Speaking, playing an instrument or running a jumbo jet engine create vibrations. Rooms get noisy when sound energy reflects on surfaces — creating echo and adding to the noisiness of the room. Rooms with too many reflective surfaces can make speech hard to understand.

Reduce Echo

To reduce echo, you need materials that absorb vibrations so that less sound energy is reflected on the surface. Many pinta acoustic products, including SONEX Panels and Baffles, absorb a high percentage of sound energy. Maximum noise reduction potential when treating a room with SONEX is from 4 to 6 decibels, resulting in a noise level reduction of 20 to 30 percent.

Every surface can be a potential sound reflector. Hard surfaces like drywall, concrete or even office furniture can be culprits for sound reflection. Carpeting and rugs are common materials that absorb vibrations on the floor. These fibrous surfaces help absorb sound in residential and commercial uses. SONEX acoustic foam helps treat remaining surfaces in a space.

Hanging vs. Wall-Mounted Foam

Choosing between hanging and mounting foam depends on many factors including desired aesthetic, ceiling height, room size and budget.

Foam Baffles

Baffles can be hung in open air spaces to help absorb sound. Because the baffles are hung, more than one side is exposed — offering more surface area for sound absorption. These can be hung using baffle corkscrews to provide a sleek appearance.

Mounted Foam

Mounted foam affixes directly to a wall or ceiling using an adhesive like acouSTIC glue. Affixing acoustic foam directly to a surface helps absorb sound energy on that surface.

Ceiling Clouds

Ceiling clouds reduce echo and sound reverberation in interior spaces with many hard surfaces and tall ceilings. Decorative ceiling clouds deliver effective noise control with style. They can be a focal point for the room or blend into existing elements and are installed using corkscrew hangers and a cable system.

Ceiling Tiles

SONEX ceiling tiles include glue-up and ceiling grid installation options. Glue up ceiling tiles are affordable and can be installed on most ceilings, making them ideal for any home project. These products are also great for classrooms, conference rooms, offices and more.

Foam Quantity

In most cases, a little acoustic foam can go a long way. Adding more acoustic panels to a room has diminishing returns. Typically, some SONEX Panels on the ceiling and on the walls will reduce the noise level by 20 to 30 percent.

Download our whitepaper to learn how to calculate the amount of foam needed based on the size of the room.

Other Considerations

No matter what type of space you add foam, keep these tips in mind:

Use high-quality fire-resistant materials.

Cheap acoustic foam is often not fire resistant which isn’t just a hazard, it could be against some municipal fire codes. SONEX WILLTEC® foam is Class 1 fire-rated according to ASTM E 84 for flame spread and smoke density.

Spread out panels when possible.

In most cases, it’s best to place acoustic foam panels throughout a surface rather than bunching them together in a single area.

Don’t hide acoustic foam panels.

Placing acoustic foam under tables, chairs or other low surfaces aren’t very effective at reducing echo in a room. It’s best to place it in a location that has a line of sight from the sound source.

Still not sure what product is best for your room? Feel free to contact us with any questions regarding SONEX products.