If you’ve ever taken a look at our construction materials or gotten advice on soundproofing, you’ve probably heard of the importance of including “air gaps” when building out your center. What that means and why it helps can be a bit of a technical question, and the practical implementation can seem daunting and unreasonable.
Basically, all an air gap does is add additional space between your drywall to help soak up sound. This can eat into your floor plan pretty quickly, especially if you plan on putting them between every wall. How realistic is that for float centers with limited square footage? Most centers want to maximize their space to offer as many float rooms as possible, and even if it’s a best practice, it can be a luxury not everyone feels they can afford. Naturally, not every float center can afford to sacrifice 2 feet of padding between float rooms to make sure that your soundproofing is up to snuff, as square footage is one of our most important assets, especially in metropolitan areas.
Because of this, we’ve based a lot of our construction design in our own center as well as in our materials around the design philosophy of a “Room Within a Room”, including having double studded walls, a drop ceiling in the float room, and even separate doors between the two systems (although that’s admittedly a bit extreme). The larger the air gap between these two walls, the more effective your soundproofing will be.
We’ve found that it’s helpful to strategically lay out your float rooms prior to construction, so as to maximize space in your center and to build it out intelligently and creatively. If you set your showers on adjoining walls, you can have a small access between the two rooms for plumbing that even doubles as a small storage closet for cleaning supplies or anything you might want for your transitions. With this design, the plumbing for the showers is easily accessible without having to cut into your expensive soundproofing too, since you don’t need these rooms to be waterproof or saltproof.
You might consider this design and worry that you’re leaving a potential weakness between your rooms — especially since showers can be so noisy, it inherently seems like a bad idea to place them next to an open room. However, at Float On, we have this exact setup and have never had any issues of one floater hearing their neighbor while showering, so it has proven to be effective in the field too.
There are definitely other layouts that can work really well, too, but we know all too well the value of maximizing space and this solution has worked well for us in providing excellent soundproofing without sacrificing the utility in our square footage.
If you have other creative float center layouts that have helped you utilize space and manage your soundproofing, send them our way. We’d love to see them: firstname.lastname@example.org
And for more best practices of everything we’ve learned about float center construction over the years, check out our Construction Packet.