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While sound and light proofing are the most salient examples of sensory deprivation involved with float tanks, we receive questions regarding the elimination of low-rumbling noises caused by vibrations from the surrounding environment. Since it’s important that float tanks don’t let any of the outside world in, vibrations can be a problem.

A float center will need extensive soundproofing of each float room to keep external sounds from disturbing floaters. However, even with regular soundproofing, you may fall susceptible to vibrations. Vibrations travel inaudibly through solid materials (such as the concrete foundation your float center might rest on) until they eventually reach your tanks. The stronger the rumble, the further and more intensely it can travel. The hollow shell of a float tank makes an excellent resonating chamber, causing these vibrations to become audible for anyone floating inside.

These dastardly vibrations are everywhere in metropolitan areas. Heavy machinery from neighboring businesses, traffic from a nearby roadway, or nearby trains and subways can all lead to disturbances in a float tank.

Opening up a float center in one of these locations doesn’t have to be a problem thanks to some handy little friends…

Vibration Isolation Pads

vibration isolation pad in the city

Occasionally, when I describe vibration isolation pads to people, they envision something like a large foam mat you’d want to bring with you on a camping trip. To clarify, vibration isolation pads are small squares of foam (3”x3” are commonly used).

Many of the vibrations which might plague a float center can be lessened or eliminated if the tank is set up using vibration isolation pads. These pads sit underneath the tank and absorb the surrounding vibrational energy before it can be transferred to the tank itself.

There are many different types of pads, and many pad suppliers (some manufacturers even offer them as tank add-ons), but the most important thing is that you get heavy enough pads to insulate against the noise of the surrounding environment.

A GRAIN OF SALT – Vibrations get weaker when they have to pass through materials with differing densities. Certain vibration isolation pads are layered with different density materials for just this purpose.

vibration reducing isolation tankThe reason to use many smaller pads as opposed to one larger one is simple. On top of offering a buffer material between the float tank and incoming vibrations, they also serve to limit the surface area which is in contact with the rumbling floor. Less surface area in contact with the floor means less vibrations transferring into your tank.

The Basic Arrangement

The basic arrangement can be described as follows:

Your float tank will rest on a flat surface (such as a piece of HDPE board), which in turn will be supported by an arrangement of 10-15 vibration isolation pads. The pads are arranged to distribute the float tank’s weight and provide a stable support for the float tank to rest on.

A GRAIN OF SALT – While depending on your area you might benefit from a thicker pad, getting a pad with a thickness of at least 1 inch should do the trick.

If you’re having troubles with remodeling and/or build-out of your float tank center (or just want to make sure that you don’t have any troubles down the road), get on the list to be notified when our comprehensive guide to float center construction launches.

Don’t forget, if you have any questions or comments about this article or about floating in general,
feel free to send me an email me at frank@floathq.com.

Frank Ciavarello
Float Tank Solutions