Are you one of those people who have decided to do acoustical treatment using acoustic foam at your place but do not have an answer to the question, “HOW MUCH ACOUSTIC FOAM DO I NEED?” Don’t worry, by the time you finish reading this article I am sure that you will find the answer to this question.
Have you ever visited a café or restaurant or any certain place which has an optimum level of sound quality? Not too loud, not too quiet. It feels good to work in such an environment, right? What if I told you that you can create such an atmosphere at your place using Acoustic foam?
Acoustic foam is an open-celled foam that is made of polyurethane and melamine material and the main purpose of using it is to reduce echoes and reverberations.
Acoustic foam comes in different designs, shapes, sizes, and colors. Acoustic foam will absorb the sound depending upon its Thickness, Type, and NRC rating.
Now even if you know everything about acoustic foam, you can’t make full use of it if you don’t know how much to use it!
How Much Acoustic Foam Do I Need
It is always said that “Too much of anything is good for nothing.” Similarly, if you don’t know how much acoustic foam you need to apply on your wall, you will end up using too much foam and as a result, it will deaden the natural sound quality of a room.
Now you may be confused about the percentage of wall coverage that you need to do, right?
Let’s have a look on that too.
It is necessary to always go by the thumb rules. The thumb rule is that you should cover 25-50% of your wall in general. However, this is not always the case. There are 2 types of acoustical treatment that are related to the coverage of your wall.
One is Light treatment which is used in standard spaces where the distortion of sound is less and another one is Heavy treatment which is used where there are more acoustical needs.
These two treatments help in creating an optimum quality of the sound environment. Doing so might be tricky for beginners and sometimes even for experienced people.
How much acoustic foam do I need? The answer to this question depends on various factors. These factors are as follows:-
👉 Size And Shape Of Your Room
This is the first and foremost factor which is to be considered while finding the answer to our question. The size and shape of the room plays a crucial role in this. The rooms are designed according to one’s own needs and expectations. Hence in each house, rooms are different.
Large rooms produce more echo and reverberations as compared to small rooms because due to more space, the sound waves get more time to travel and hence they are amplified more.
Hence you will need more Acoustic foam panels to cover large rooms. Small rooms will need fewer foam panels as compared to large rooms. Also, the height of the ceiling plays a role in amplifying the echo more & more.
👉 Surface Material
You might already know that sound waves bounce back from flat and hard surfaces, causing an echo. Some walls of certain houses are thin and hence sound is passed in and out easily from these walls.
Hence these walls need to be treated first and generally need more quantity of acoustic foam as compared to broader walls. Also, these types of walls need to be covered with acoustic foam which is more thick and dense.
Acoustic foam reduces the echoes and reverberations to a great extent. Hence it reduces the overall sound of a room.
However, in the case of thin walls, acoustic foam is not enough to reduce the overall sound of a room. Also, it is not as effective as Rockwool insulation. So plan your ways accordingly.
👉 Purpose Of The Room
This is the most important factor amongst all of the factors. The purpose of your room will decide the quantity of acoustic foam that you’ll need.
Suppose you want to use acoustic foam in your recording studio, then the main goal here always will be the reduction of all the unnecessary echoes and reverberations.
Hence you’ll have to cover a major portion of a room with acoustic foam. As a result, you will have to opt for Heavy treatment. Therefore you’ll need more foam panels as well.
Similarly, proper placement of acoustic foam is very important. Proper placement of Acoustic foam will reduce not only the quantity of foam needed but also your time & efforts.
On the other hand, if you’re goal is to avoid outside noises from coming inside or restricting inside noises to go out, you will not need that many foam panels as compared to a recording studio. Hence you’ll have to opt for Light treatment in such cases.
Now that you have understood the factors which influence the quantity of acoustic foam needed. Now let’s move to our main topic,
How much Acoustic foam do I need?
First of all, a room is a combination of walls, Ceiling, and floors. Hence, you can apply foam panels on each wall & the ceiling too.
To identify How much acoustic foam you need on walls, follow the following steps:-
A. Calculate The Area Of The Wall
To calculate the area of your wall, you will have to measure the length and height of your wall. Now you might be confused between width and height, so in the case of a rectangular wall, the height and width will be the same.
Let me explain this with a diagram:-
Now as you can see in the image the line marked in blue will be the length of your wall, the line marked in green will be the width of your wall and the line marked in orange will be the height of your wall.
In case of a square wall, the length and height of your wall will be the same.
Now take a measuring tape, and measure the length and width of your wall in feet. Then calculate its area by multiplying the Length and Width of your wall.
Suppose the length of your wall is 20ft and its width is 15ft. Hence the area of your wall would be 20*15= 300sq ft.
Now that you have the area of your wall, you will have to calculate the area of your foam panel in the next step.
B. Calculate The Area Of Your Foam Panel
Now that you have the area of your wall, you first have to decide the size of the foam panel that you’re gonna use
Suppose 2ft*2ft foam panels can be used on a wall that is small or average in size. However, if your wall is too big you’ll have to decide the size of the foam panel accordingly and go for larger foam panels.
Here we are considering that you have a foam panel of 2ft*2ft. Hence its area will be 2ft*2ft=4sq ft. It means that a single 2ft*2ft foam panel will cover a 4 sqft area of your wall.
If you don’t know the measurement of your foam panel, just take a measuring tape and measure the length and width of the panel. Then multiply the length of the foam panel by the width of the foam panel.
As you can see in the above image the length and width of the foam panel are shown. The highlighted portion on the right side and upper side of the diagram shows the thickness of the foam. The foam panel should be a minimum of 4 inches thick in order to get optimum results.
You now have both the measurements i.e Area of the wall as well as the Area of your foam panel.
We will now calculate How much acoustic foam do I need with the help of a simple mathematical calculation.
Note down the measurements as follows:-
1. AREA OF YOUR WALL – 300 SQ FT.
2. AREA OF YOUR FOAM PANEL – 4 SQ FT (We are considering 2ft*2ft foam panel, hence its area is 4 sq ft)
Now the general thumb rule states that you should cover 25-40% of your wall if you want to do the light treatment.
Let’s consider as an example that you have to cover 40% of your wall. Let’s find out how much acoustic foam of 2ft*2ft will you need to cover 40% of your wall.
The 40% area of your wall will be 120 SQ FT. & i.e. (300 x 40%= 120 sq. ft.)
Where 300 is the area of our wall
Now it is cleared from the above equation that you will have to cover 120 sq. ft. area of your wall.
Formula = How much area of your wall do you have to cover/Area of your foam panel
= 120 sqft/4 sqft
= 30 FOAM PANELS.
So you required 30 foam panels per wall.
Where: How much area of your wall do you have to cover – It may be 40%, 30%, 50%, or 80% of your wall, it is according to your requirement/purpose. Here, we are considering 40% so the calculation will be according to that.
This is how you can calculate the number of foam panels that you’re gonna need on your wall by using just a simple calculation.
IMPORTANT – This is how you can calculate the number of foam panels needed on a wall. We know that a room is a combination of walls and ceilings. Hence if you want to use acoustic foam in your whole room, you’ll have to measure each wall and also the ceiling and then by using the same procedure, you will have to calculate the total number of foam panels that you will need.
The number of acoustic panels that you need will also depend upon your budget. Hence, plan your project accordingly.
Also, while choosing Acoustic foam make sure that you chose an acoustic foam which has a high NRC rating and is thick and dense,
I tried to explain “How much Acoustic foam do I need?” in the simplest way possible. I hope that all your doubts have been cleared!