Transforming your basement into a recording studio can be an expensive activity, especially if you have to hire a professional to help you set up. You can bring down the cost of this transformation by handling certain tasks on your own instead of leaving everything to the professional.
Installing acoustic panels on basement walls and on the ceiling is among the simple tasks that you might be able to handle on your own. Here are two things to have in mind if you choose to follow this route.
The Two Types Of Acoustic Panels
Acoustic panels are categorized according to how they work. As a result of this categorization, the panels you intend to install will either be acoustic absorption panels of acoustic diffusion panels. Absorption panels are given this name because they use friction to absorb energy from sound waves and to transform this energy into heat. On the other hand, diffusion panels will work to scatter (diffuse) sound energy so as to give you greater control over the quality of sound in the studio.
Absorption panels are often made of mineral-wool or foam tiles while diffusion panels are often made of plastic or polystyrene. Absorption panels will help to reduce (if not to completely eliminate) echoes in your studio while diffusion panels are often meant to improve the quality of sound.
Depending on what you intend to achieve with the installation of acoustic panels, you may find it necessary to install both types of panels in an alternating manner along the basement walls/ceiling. You can also work with a builder to add some architectural acoustics if you plan to remodel your basement as part of the project.
Adhesives that are glued onto an acoustic panel (solvent-based) often have better binding properties than those that are sprayed onto the panel. As such, they're more likely to hold your panels firmly in place for longer. In order to safely apply a solvent-based adhesive onto acoustic panels, you'll need a skeleton gun.
It's a good idea to outline sections of the wall/ceiling where acoustic panels will be installed a pencil before installation. When applying a solvent-based adhesive, be sure that you apply the adhesive several inches away from the boundary created by your outline on the wall/ceiling surface. This reduces chances that the adhesive will smear on the outer side of the panels once installed.
When applying an adhesive onto the back surface of an acoustic panel, strive to ensure that the pattern you create using the skeleton gun is opposite to the pattern created by the adhesive applied on the wall/ceiling. This will enhance adhesion between the panel(s) and the wall/ceiling surface.
In conclusion, remember that the chemicals contained in solvent-based adhesives may react with polystyrene. If you're installing diffusion panels made of polystyrene, it might be a better idea to use a water-based adhesive in order to prevent the likelihood of damage to your panels.
Panels up? Now play that home record!