What to Consider When Planning a Gym: Sound Suppression 

A thoughtfully planned fitness center provides value and convenience, therefore it is important to proactively design your fitness space for the current, and future, needs of everyone who will use it.

The most important questions to ask to avoid the most common mistakes on gym installs include;
What is the best strategy to invest in your fitness space for the long-term?
What do you need to consider when planning for scheduled maintenance programs, and unexpected repairs?
Who will you work with to fulfill warranty issues or capitalize on trade-in opportunities? 

Luckily, we can act as your strategic partner to plan the right fitness equipment product assortment and amenity management plan. Working with Gym Source means you never have to compromise on quality, selection, or immediate access to expert advice. 

We create tailored solutions that equip you with the right fitness products, and design strategy, to support your goals.

Our process starts with facility design and planning, then we use our product experts to curate the best product assortment for your goals and space, followed by our expert in-house delivery and installation team who ensures your equipment is installed correctly.  

In short, we create well-thought out systems that strategically think through every decision’s cause and effect, and both the impact on the people located near the fitness facility AND individuals using the fitness solutions. 
For example, noise suppression. 

What are the most important considerations to address when planning for suppression of noise?
How will you dissipate energy, and what will be the result in your approach in regards to sound moving out of your fitness space and into the surrounding spaces? 

Thomas Jackowski Commercial Consultant with Gym Source explains:

“We tell our partners that it’s imperative they think through solutions that suppress both types of energy - audible and vibrational - and often communicate that you need a sound suppression system as there is not a single solution that will suppress both types of energy."

This is because noise is comprised of a few physical components - audible noise and vibrational noise. 

  • Audible noise is the sound you can hear within a certain range. For example, older people's audible hearing range is far less than younger people who are more sensitive to audible noise.
  • Vibrational noise is very different from audible noise in that it is what we feel.

One of the most important things that people do not understand is that because “noise” is comprised of multiple components, that there is not ONE SYSTEM that can absorb all the energy.

“Minimization of sound or vibration must be built as a system. Often we use the comparison of an onion. You must have a MULTI-LAYER approach to reduce noise. It’s important to consider many factors including, flooring system, how you will minimize transfer of energy through surfaces (example; walls, cracks, floors, beams through the ceiling, and columns that the sound can travel through), layout strategy impacting where people are living and working (example; treadmills placed near a shared wall and how you will handle noise that will transfer between the walls)."

So what are the most important considerations when creating your noise suppression system? 

First, and most important, the correct noise suppression system works in tandem with a well-thought out equipment layout. It’s important to consider not just WHAT equipment you select, but also WHERE you choose to place it. 

The assortment and location of your fitness equipment needs to work hand-in-hand with sound reduction tactics to ensure you do not create any quality of life issues. 

Tom Kyme, owner of Skyline Amenity Group, known for creating the finest amenity and fitness spaces, shares the best noise suppression considerations to build the most effective sound suppression system: 

“In the building boom of the 2000’s developers were just starting to make Amenity Spaces the focal part of they property. During this time they were more driven about looks than functionality. Many of them didn’t fully understand that a simple layer of rubber floor would be enough. By placing these spaces on marquise floors like mid level or top floor, they didn’t anticipate the level of usage or the potential for the traveling over many floors noise and vibration. Those that did, didn’t account for the changes in the fitness user and the technology advancements in noise and vibration remediation. Resulting in a multitude of complaints to solve these issues. Sound and vibration suppression is a huge consideration when building new, renovating, and expansions of fitness spaces.”

It is very important to understand that fitness spaces will create noise and vibrations but equally all can be done correctly as to not disrupt the residents nearby.

Proper planning and investment in the early stages always make the end product more desirable and successful. 

The first consideration should be to look where residents or employees are located in relation to the fitness space.  Are there apartments or offices above, below, or across? Then it’s a certainty that some level of noise and vibration will be disruptive. 

Next it’s important to assess what fitness equipment is being selected for the fitness activities. The biggest culprits for audible noise are treadmills, dumbbells, kettlebells, Olympic weights, and medicine balls. 

One helpful hint we often share is when there are apartments close by, try not to compete with commercial gyms. Leave the Olympic weights to the professionals and keep it simple

Lastly it’s important to understand it’s not thickness of the rubber that reduces the risk, but more importantly the density and impact of the materials. 

For new construction projects we at a minimum suggest a sound and vibration underlayment product like Ecore QT vibration and noise control rolled rubber that gets glued down to sub floor then the top finished later gets placed over that. The QT is softer, absorbs the energy, and in addition increases the life of any top layer product it also comes in different sizes depending on the space. 

This is a very affordable solution that in many cases is sufficient for most residential fitness rooms. It must be used as an underlayment and does not work if laid over a surface alone. It’s a layering product. 

Our approach is to analyze the severity and consider a staircase of solutions each one being more substantial but typically involving multiple products to find the resolution.

You can always explore thicker rubber products, that also have air pockets under them,  to trap the noise or vibration. It’s also important to remember to keep all flooring off the walls so that no energy is transmitted to the walls. 

Perhaps the top of line most successful remedy is called a sound suppression platform. 

This is where the space is elevated by using double impact isolators, supporting a wood platform w sound insulation and multiple layers of qt and rubber on top. Essentially the most you can do to a floor outside of pouring what’s called a Jacked concrete slab on springs. 

This is typically an extreme measure done on new construction buildings. The sound suppression platform is done under treadmills, free weight areas, and entire spaces. 

Lastly, assess the noise quality in the space to see if there is any absorption within the space. 

Concrete spaces tend to have very pronounced echoing from weight stacks or TVs are turned loud. We treat this by using sound panels on ceilings, walls, or try to soften the walls with heavy curtains. 

Additionally, we look at sound pricing caulking ceilings floors, look for wall, ceiling, or floor penetrations such as pipes, air ducts, vents, and electrical conduits. Lastly, we can look to seal off doors w kits that prevent noise traveling into hallways. 

Ultimately, every decision comes with a cause and effect on people living or working next to, above, and below the gym. We help you work through through that process. 

Together Gym Source and Skyline Amenity Group - two of the top names in fitness center construction - offer our clients a premier concept-to-completion experience to maximize your investment and desirability of your fitness space. 

We want to help you plan the perfect solutions for your project (new construction or in an existing space) with custom fitness solutions perfect for any type of facility including health clubs, hotels, schools, medical facilities, corporate fitness facilities, and property management groups. 

Get started today. Schedule a consultation with your local Gym Source commercial sales representative.

Share this story: