Sound Proof Access Panels - What You Need To Know

Sound Proof Access Panels - What You Need To Know

Access Doors and Panels on 23rd Jan 2018

Sound Proof Access Panels - What You Need To Know

A general contractor always enters a new construction build with a few goals in mind. Creating a structure that is physically sound, stable, safe, and up to code is already a given. Making sure that certain features of a specific area should work, is another. 

Take a baby’s room, for example: the  paint used on the walls and ceiling should be odorless, and all electrical sockets are either at an elevation that is out-of-reach or covered. Another common example for all kinds of rooms is the ventilation and how air circulates, say, in a bathroom.

Then there’s that one feature which is important for spaces that require utmost privacy such as courtrooms, schools, libraries, hotels, residential dwellings, hospitals, and control over the quality and amount of sound present in recording and performance areas.

Soundproofing is as important to corporate and government entities as it is to ordinary citizens who want to build the ultimate home theater system. In fact, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any old construction work that, at one time, did not consider having soundproofed spaces and they have either pushed it to completion, or let it go because of budget concerns.

Where do access panels fit in?

Whichever the intent and goal, the sound or acoustic quality of a building or room space is always being considered. Walls and ceilings must be composed of a certain material or installed in a certain way to become soundproof. Having said that, what is the relevance of having the right kind of access panel or door that won’t disrupt the soundproof quality of a wall or ceiling surface once you install it?

Yes, there will be many special instances where an access panel is needed right where a soundproof wall is installed – who’s to say the electrical system or some sort of important plumbing valve won’t run through that area? When it does, an access panel is needed. And that factor alone is sufficient enough to negate the purpose of restricting any sound going in or coming out.

Access panels are, inherently, not soundproof. So, you might as well be placing a huge hole on your soundproof wall if you use a standard door that you just chose because you thought the build quality was enough to suppress sound. It’s never that easy.

Unless you have a  sound proof access panel, one that is specifically made to match and support your wall’s sound-suppressing qualities, you’ll hear even the tiniest whisper come through that wall like a hot knife through butter.

Sound off

Ordinary access panels have no, or very little, sound suppression qualities. That’s because sound can still slip through the narrow gaps between the door and the frame. And since a flat access panel door is not normally insulated, even when closed sound can still vibrate through the metal or plastic material and penetrate to either side.

Properly rated sound proof access panels are the answer. These panels work alongside similar sound-rated walls to plug any holes to the sound-suppression barrier. Mostly made of thick or low-gauge metal, proprietary sound-blocking door assembly for insulation, heavy duty rubber gaskets, and sealed by a special sound-absorbing sealant on the surface it’s mounted on, sound proof access panels provide the same, if not better, kind of acoustic suppression that an appropriate sound proof wall provides.

Most good sound proof access panels carry a sound transmission class (STC) rating of 47, which is quite up there between not hearing a loud person talk and a stereo blaring out the latest Linkin Park song.

This is due to the sound proof access panel’s thick door – around 2-inches or thicker than normal access doors – which contains a layer of sound blocking insulation. The frame surface which meets the door is covered with a layer of heavy duty ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubber that provides an airtight seal. And finally, as is proper with any soundproof installation whether it be a wall or access panel, that the entire assembly is mounted with a layer of acoustic blocking sealant such as Green Glue.

All these elements combined make for the perfect sound proof access panel. But remember, this is only as good as the wall it’s installed on and vice versa. Both wall and access panel need to be special-rated for soundproof qualities to make the overall build effective against acoustic issues.

As always, never forget to check if your sound proof access panel carries a seal from the usual regulatory bodies – such as Intertek Warnock Hersey – to be assured of the proper level in quality assurance of the product. Most sound proof-approved access doors are also recognized by the  General Services Administration (GSA) Acoustic Isolation Ratings or courtrooms and judicial settings, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Requirements for Patient Privacy in medical institutions.

Listen for the facts

You can’t afford to be lax when it comes to constructing the perfect sound proof room. Go to any recording or performance space and even their regular doors, meaning the people-sized ones, are either thicker and heavier than a normal door. Look carefully and you might even find ones that have a layer of rubber insulation surrounding the frame or attached to the bottom of the door itself, dragging on the floor. It’s the same principle with sound proof access panels only on a slightly smaller scale.

Make it a rule of thumb to always match whatever qualities your wall is composed of to any additional utility such as an access panel. If a normal access panel was paired to a fire-rated wall, for example, it stands to reason that heat will penetrate that one point of weakness and will destroy everything. The same goes for sound. And having a regular access door on a sound-rated wall will render the entire thing useless for its intended purpose.

So, sound proof rooms equal sound proof access panels. And where can you find these amazing products? Just click on over to you’ll find the right kind of sound proof access panel that meets your special requirements. If needed, our friendly call agents can answer any remaining questions you may have. Visit us and feel free to sound off!

23rd Jan 2018 Access Doors and Panels