Soundproofing Challenge: Control Your Echo!
Restaurants are designed with glass, wood, brick, stone, marble, tin, metal, granite and drywall surfaces in mind. Architects and designers take great care to produce a visually appealing space, with surfaces that are easy to wipe clean. What is often ignored, however, is the impact these surfaces will end up having on the acoustics within the room.
When guests assemble in a restaurant, their voices begin to carry. The hard, reflective surfaces will absorb on average less than 5% of the echoes in the room. Conversations begin to raise up over this level of background noise, as 95% of the echoes continue to carry throughout the space. This forces the discomfort and strain in conversation, and threatens the repeat clientele. Once a restaurant setting is deemed to be "too loud", repeat business is threatened, and the long term viability of the restaurant is also. Not because of the food, or the design of the space, but because of the noise.
Soundproofing Treatment: Sound Panels Absorbing Echo
To offset the hard, reflective surfaces found in a loud restaurant setting, sound panels can be introdued to increase the level of absorption in the space, which in turn will collapse the perimeter background noise and restore the room to good quality interior room acoustics. Sound panels are able to absorb up to 80% of the noise found in a restaurant or bar, which in turn delivers back greater clarity to conversation within the room. Within a restaurant or bar properly treated with sound panels, guests seated across a table top or bar stool are better able to converse in normal conversational tones. Soundproofing a restaurant will deliver a more user friendly space that will help lock in the satisfied repeat client, not to mention a happier, more dedicated staff. All thanks to a set of sound panels that can be introduced into the room, and look fantastic.
Sound Panels: Wall or Ceiling Mounted Soundproofing
The sound panel systems available for a restaurant soundproofing treatment can be wall or ceiling mounted. They can be placed where the client wants them to go, so long as they are exposed to the room and not hidden. Sound panels can be custom cut to size and color. They can be custom paint matched to camouflage into a perimeter space, or wrapped in accenting colors. Sound panels can be flush mounted to perimeter walls, flush mounted to the ceiling, "floated" from the ceiling as a cloud, or suspended vertically as a baffle.
Sound panels can also be custom imaged with graphics, logos, images, vintage images, fine art, or most anything the client wants. In today's soundproofing market for restaurants, sound panels can be used as designer panels to help brand the space. Whether retrofitting an existing restaurant, or specifying for new build or remodel projects, designer panels in today's soundproofing market are the state-of-the-art method for soundproofing a restaurant.
Ceiling Clouds can suspend as "floating" sound panels across the expanse of a ceiling. Wall mounted murals can be created by stretching images across multiple panels to create a wallscape. Ceiling tiles can be dropped into an existing grid system, each sound tile carrying a "piece" of an overall image that is produced across the expanse of a grid system. Or panel systems can be custom paint matched to install undetected within a restaurant setting.
Custom Designer Sound Panels: Brand Your Restaurant With Beauty
Soundproofing panels no longer compromise the design of restaurant space. In today's market, sound panels can be used to brand space, produce a visual WOW factor, or the opposite. They can aso be designed to blend into existing wall or ceiling space undetected through paint matching.
As for location, so long as your soundproofing panel system is spread around your room's perimeter, they will combine to deliver the sound values you are seeking. The biggest mistake a client can make lies not in "where" the panels are to be located, but in the "quantities" of panels being shipped to the project site.
The key to the success of the soundproofing treatment is to get the calculation right. NetWell Noise Control safeguards for our clients that they neither over-treat, nor under-treat, their space with sound panels. We offer a free Room Analysis to determine the square footage of our sound panels that a cleint should target based on the size, shape and surface textures in their restaurant before we get started. It is that calculation that will deliver the acoustic success to your project. And of course, the panels are class A fire rated and approved for use in a commercial space.
With less background noise to compete with, normal conversational tones return as the decibel levels in the room subside. This helps build a repeat customer base and generate long term success for what used to be a noisy restaurant. Sound panels can absorb up to 80% of the echoes within the interior of a room, where without the panels, absorption rates collapse to 5% and produce the unwelcome noise that will drive business away.
A Recap on Soundproofing a Restaurant:
Restaurant noise is background noise. If you can absorb more voice reflections in the room, you clean out the background interference and deliver a more favorable dining environment for your guests. Rather than raising their voices above the level of the background noise, customers can converse across a table in normal, private conversational tones.
Most restaurants call us after the fact. Architects spec in hard, reflective, cleanable surfaces on the floors, walls and other surfaces in the room. What is often left alone is the ceiling, which becomes the focal point for many of our soundproofing treatments in a loud bar or restaurant setting. Target the use of our Ceiling Clouds, which can suspend horizontally from the ceiling and float out over the room. Panels can be custom cut to size and color, or wrapped in images, graphics or your logo.
If your ceiling is black, and you want a black soundproofing material, see SelectSound. This material rolls out onto a ceiling and adheres/pins to the surface to soften excessive echoes.
If you already have a grid system in place, consider our Thumbnails. These are decorative designer sound panels that stretch an image across the expanse of a ceiling tile grid system.
Do not be concerned with placement. The reverberations in the restaurant travel like a pebble wave in a pond at more than 770 miles per hour. What will trigger your result is the quantities placed into the room, not the location. Simply spread them throughout the room in even site lines as best you can and you will be satisfied with the results.
Thanks to the dye sublimation printing techniques used to generate our PicturePanels, restaurants in today's market are also moving their sound panel treatments off the ceiling and around the perimeter wall space, dressing out the restaurant with large imaged murals and staggered sound panel systems. Clients feed us their own graphics, or shop our library of images or licensed artists to "brand" their space for beauty as well as great quality sound.
As we define in the Academy and simulate in our Sound Chamber, our goal is to collapse your reverb time down to under 2 seconds. We are after better acoustic control, not a cure. Our treatments will deliver the results you seek, with a decorative ness and a class A fire rating that are both a must.
The products for this treatment are listed in the Product Bin for soundproofing a Restaurant, and be sure to sign up for the complimentary course on avoiding the 8 biggest mistakes in soundproofing!
Myths in Soundproofing a Restaurant:
Gluing foam to the under side of your tables will absorb echoes and produce good acoustics inside your restaurant. False.
We hear from clients continually who have been fed this information, primarily by foam-only suppliers. Yes, we too offer a full compliment of foam panels, but no, do not put them in a restaurant....for several reasons. The majority of foam panels, first of all, are not class A fire rated. And for those who install melamine foam (which IS class A fire rated and approved for use in public buildings), you also have the issue of the foam flaking and dusting out. Foam does not belong in a room where people are consuming food because foam decomposes over time, emitting dust particles out into the air. OK for an industrial plant, or a recording studio, but not where people are eating. Third, there are appropriate ratios between your coverage and the size of your restaurant. Placing this material beneath your tables will not produce enough coverage to trigger enough of the affect you are seeking. And finally, your sound panels need to be exposed to the noise in the room. All you get with treating the underside of your tables is partial absorption of noise reflection off your floor. You are better to treat the perimeter walls or ceiling, where you pick more first-wave reflections out of the room. For these reasons, do not follow this myth and treat the underside of your tables with foam!