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Several employees complain about how well sound travels down the hallways in a newly constructed, two story office building.

The hallways form a 60' x 30' figure-8:

stairs
v     60'
=-+----+----+
= |    |    | 30'
= +----+----+

The walls and ceiling are drywall. The floor is 1' tiles.

  • The printer 60' feet away sounds like it's right outside my office.
  • I can clearly hear conversations on the other corner of the building.
  • I could hear you talking downstairs from the far end of the building.
  • Anyone walking down the hallway sounds like they are right outside my door.
  • Everyone can hear the water cooler chats.

What would be the most cost-effective methods to reduce the hallway noise?

We are considering decorative acoustic tiles and rug runners. If this is a cost-effective solution, how do we determine how much of the walls and floors to cover?

  • you'll have a lot of modes with integer-multiple dimensions like that, poor design. #1: add a plush rug to a bare floor. Then hit the ceiling with acoustical tile. Decorate the hallway with frames, plants, bookshelves, and other objects to eliminate parallel surfaces; you know how an empty house sounds "boomy"? Lastly, consider a cover-up like easy-listening radio, a fountain, a fan, or a white-noise machine. If that's not enough, then consider acoustical treatments. Furniture on the stair landing can help block travel. – dandavis Feb 6 '18 at 0:07
  • In addition to dandavis's good ideas, there are wall treatments that can reduce noise, especially traveling down a hallway. It's like cloth or textured wallpaper with a foam backing. It won't do much for sound traveling through the wall, but it will dampen sound reflections traveling down the hall. – fixer1234 Feb 6 '18 at 1:51
  • The most cost effective way would be to fire all the people working there. Quiet AND cheap. :) – Shimon Rura Feb 6 '18 at 15:11

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