A noisy room is one of the most common complaints among hotel guests. In fact, more people complain about this issue than they do about their room’s cleanliness.
To keep hotel guests happy, we recommend taking proactive measures to reduce the sound transmission from adjoining rooms, hallways, and outside. We’ll give you some tips on where to start and what materials to use, whether you’re looking for a quick fix or a complete property overhaul.
Hotel Soundproofing – The Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep
We all know that sleep is vital for health, and it’s arguably even more important for hotel guests. Take a moment to think about the guests staying at your hotel. Are they primarily vacation travelers? Are they families? Or are they there for business? Each of these groups is going to have different motivations for needing sleep, and they’re all equally important:
Vacationers: They want to rest and relax, especially after a long day of sightseeing. The last thing they want is to be kept up by a blaring television from next door.
Families: People traveling with little ones need a quiet place at night where their children can rest easy and not be jarred awake by loud noises.
Business travelers: Professionals traveling on business need a full night of quality rest to perform at their best. Considering that business travelers tend to be repeat guests, one negative experience can cost a hotel thousands.
Hotel Soundproofing Materials & Methods
Sound travels in waves, and soundproofing acts to provide a barrier that stops those waves from going into someone else’s room.
There are four ways to accomplish this effect:
Absorption: Adding insulating materials like fiberglass or mineral wool to absorb the sound and prevent it from passing through.
Damping: Soundwaves tend to create vibrations, but damping reduces or eliminates this by creating a barrier or “dead panel” that doesn’t vibrate.
Decoupling: This method separates the walls. Traditionally, the two layers of drywall would be connected as a single panel. With decoupling, the two pieces of drywall are separated, and a layer of insulation stays between them.
Mass: Using thicker and heavier materials also serves to block sound.
There are several types of materials to use in a soundproofing project:
Damping compound: This is a glue-like substance that isolates sound and vibration between two layers of material. It’s most often used in drywall applications.
Resilient sound clips: These clips are used in decoupling, and they serve to prevent sound vibrations from traveling.
Insulation: Depending on your preference and budget, you may choose fiberglass, mineral wool, cellulose or other materials.
Gaskets: Gasket tape, door gasketing, and a door bottom can all help to reduce noise coming in from outside, especially hallways.
As you select materials for your project, don’t forget to check the STC rating. STC is short for “Sound Transmission Class,” and it will provide you with a reference of how effectively materials such as interior partitions, ceilings, floors, doors, windows, and exterior wall configurations attenuate airborne sound.
Each material has a different STC range. For example, windows have ratings ranging from 18 to 38, while doors can range from 20 to 60. The lower the number, the less sound will be blocked, so when it comes to this measurement, the higher the number, the better.
How to Soundproof a Hotel Room During Renovation Periods
A property renovation is a perfect time to consider soundproofing. The benefit is that you get a newer, more modern look and feel and you’ll get an upgrade to your acoustics at the same time.
Here are some areas to consider in your soundproofing renovation:
Floors: If you’re replacing your flooring, consider adding soundproofing underlay on the hotel floor. A suspended ceiling in the lower levels can also reduce sound transfer.
Ceilings: In a multi-level structure, one guest’s ceiling is another guest’s floor. We suggest resilient sound clips or dual-layered drywall and a layer of Green Glue between the sections.
Doors: Hotel doors get a lot of wear and tear and tend to look dated. A new door style can enhance the look from both the hallway and inside the room. Look for a solid core heavy door, and ensure that you add a seal before installing the moldings. Also, adjust the hinges so that the door doesn’t slam shut.
Walls: You have a few options here. The first is adding layers of drywall. The second is to insulate between walls with something like mineral wool. If the hotel is undergoing major construction and it’s in your budget, you might consider doing both. However, if you do not want to demolish or alter existing shared walls, you should consider a non-invasive and easy to apply solution like soundproofing paint.
How to Soundproof a Hotel During Maintenance Periods
Identify where the noise is most likely to be coming from and focus soundproofing efforts there first. For example, if the exterior of the hotel is being repaired, make sure you’re equipped with windows that block sound, or, at the very least, thick curtains that serve as a dampener.
Ideally, you should keep the rooms adjacent to and adjoining the maintenance areas vacant. When that’s not possible due to property-wide maintenance or a fully-booked property, your last resort will be to dampen the sound near the source.
Soundproofing a Hotel
There are unique considerations when it comes to hotel space that might not apply to residential, especially considering the close proximity of guests to each other and the relatively smaller size of the rooms compared to an apartment or condo.
Here are some tips we recommend that will give your property an extra edge when it comes to soundproofing:
Doors: At a minimum, look for a door with an STC rating of 50. If you own or operate a luxury hotel, then your STC rating for your doors should be 60.
Windows: If your hotel faces a busy or noisy road, we suggest double pane windows with laminate glass.
Soundproof paint: This type of paint is ideal for hotels because it’s designed to muffle mid-range frequencies like voices. Sounds from conversations and the television frequently travel through hotel walls, so this paint provides an extra layer of protection.
Don’t wait for negative reviews to address noise issues. Instead, take a proactive approach to battle noise before the online reviews start showing up and it becomes a public relations nightmare. You don’t need to invest a ton of money to notice a difference. Adding SoundGuard’s acoustic coating and a fresh layer of paint is the fastest, easiest, and most cost-effective way to block an additional 8-12 dB of sound transmission between rooms.