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  • Writer's pictureEd Povey

Building My Voice Booth | Part 4 - The Floor and The Walls

Hello again,

With my ceiling complete (except for acoustic treatment) it was time to move on to the floor.

This turned out to be one of the easier parts of the whole build.

Using contact adhesive spray we attached a band of 5mm thick blue closed cell foam around the base of the room, this would keep the battens and eventually the cement fibre boards from touching the walls.

Then, after working out how many 46mm floor battens we would need (7), and cutting them to size, we set about laying the MuteCradle’s onto the concrete.

The MuteCradle is a proprietary product from iKoustic, but you can buy similar systems elsewhere. Essentially, it’s a piece of U shaped plastic with a dense neoprene base. You place several MuteCradles in straight lines across your floor, then you lay your floor battens inside the cradles. The battens are then ‘floating’ from your base floor on a lovely cushy layer of neoprene, which will help to reduce vibration/sound transfer.

By installing the supplied plastic packers we eventually got all of the floor battens level and we were ready to install strips of 100mm Rockwool inside the gaps. The Rockwool provided a secondary function here of keeping the floor battens straight and in place.

Once that was done it was time to cut the cement fibreboard to size and lay it on top of the battens. Remembering to glue the tongue and groove joints! For this task we were using No More Ply Slow Set Mega Adhesive Glue and a foil applicator gun.

My God, I hate caulk/glue applicator guns, I can never seem to get them to work properly, they end up spewing far too much caulk or glue where you don’t need it and loading them is total pain in the ass. Maybe it’s just me.

In our case we ended up with far too much glue on our joints, which oozed out and was nightmare to clean up, if you find yourself doing this job, go easy on the glue and spread it thinly.

Finally we had a floating floor !

Next job, the walls.

If I’d had more space to work with, I would have installed a wooden stud frame 5mm off the concrete shell, put my Rockwool insulation inside the frame and then screwed my MuteClips into the wood, as shown in Diagram 1.

With less than 3 metres squared to play with, that wasn’t really an option for me, unless I fancied standing in my booth with my arms fixed to my sides like a Soldier in front of Buckingham Palace.

Luckily MuteClips can be attached straight onto masonry walls, you don’t get quite get the same sound attenuation but it’s a trade off I had to make.

Then started one of the most tedious jobs of the build, drilling the holes and then screwing the MuteClips into the concrete walls. Big tip, if you decide to do this job yourself, get a pair of ear defenders (I didn’t) Wear goggles (I didn’t) and use the most powerful drill you can find ( I didn’t).

With a standard Bosch battery powered drill/impact driver this task seemed to take forever. I also got a bit confused by how many MuteClips I needed per wall and how to position them correctly.

If I were to do this job again, I’d use a very white, very sharp piece of chalk, a long sprit level and a measuring tape and I would mark out where all the clips needed to go before starting.

I did this to a degree, but I got bored and started drilling, ended up with clips in the wrong places and holes where I didn’t want them, so the job took way longer than it needed to.

Once I had MuteClips in diamond formations covering all of my walls, I began clipping in the metal channels, (Exactly the same process as the ceiling) although this time thanks to my wonky walls it was harder to clip the channels into place.

Then more Rockwool had to be inserted between the channels, it’s at this point that my already strained relationship with this building material broke down to an irreparable degree. It’s itchy, the dust and mess it creates when you cut is insane and I hate it.

Unfortunately its brilliant at its sound reducing job, so you just have to get on with it, use a mask, and gloves and take your time. Yuck.

Finally, it was time to install the plasterboard, far far easier than the ceiling, but challenging with the bent walls. Then the Tecsound, more of the same fun from the ceiling and one more layer of plasterboard.

And we had a booth !!! ish.

Somewhere in the middle of all of the above tasks a very helpful door installer came and fitted my huge metal firedoor, so I now had my airlock system up and running too.

I had intended to fit the door myself, but when it arrived and I quickly realised I’d bitten off more than I could chew. Paying £300 to have the door professionally installed was a no brainer.

Next time, turning a sound proof cupboard back into a recording booth.

Lining the walls, adding acoustic treatment and re-installing my gear.

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