Hotel Noise Case Study : Combining an indoor water park, arcade, and conference center with an exquisite 161-room lodge, The Tundra Lodge Resort and Waterpark seemingly had everything going for it on opening day. Just four blocks from the country’s newest pro stadium in a region famous for rabid football fans, many of whom travel long distances to attend games, The Tundra Lodge was perfectly situated to draw faraway fans and local families to its Lombardi Avenue address.
But then the complaints about room-to-room sound intrusion began. Melanie Novinska, the facility’s Managing Director of Engineering, remembers the impact the complaints over noise were having by the end of the first year of operation. “The cost of keeping people happy included discounts and certificates for people to try us again. “The sound transfer from one guestroom to another was unacceptable. Of course, when you first open any hotel property, business is slow. You don’t find the problems until you’re selling lots of rooms and guests are next to each other.” How bad was the actual performance of the resilient channel walls her original architect-builder designed-in? Before renovation began, the sound transmission of the old walls was measured. The best-performing walls were all of STC 37 and the worst yielded only an STC 34 rating-hardly above standard 5/8-inch drywall. Because the lodging business is so heavily impacted by word-of-mouth, Novinska estimates inadequate sound isolation in the original construction was causing some 50% of repeat business to evaporate. That’s a lot of revenue for any hotel to lose; As we had 160 rooms, this was a complete disaster. Something had to be done.
Novinska felt compelled to educate herself. “I read about a number of solutions on the internet and requested information. We chose to fix the problem using QuietRock, an internally damped soundproof drywall.” After receiving third-party validation from Patrick McCormick of Brandner Engineering about the proposed solution, contractor HJ Martin began the work of removing the now two-year-young drywall. While the new soundproof drywall could have simply been placed over the existing drywall, outlets needed to be moved as well, so it was decided to remove the drywall on the shared walls. The soundproof drywall was then used instead of the old RC/drywall wall. “With tape, texture and paint, we were able to complete about 6-8 rooms every 5 days”, Novinska recalls.
“Before we fixed it, the situation was really bad,” Jay Hussong of drywall contractor HJ Martin commented. “You could hear conversations right through the walls. After we were finished, we went back to measure the STC of the rooms and found they exceeded STC 50…we could clearly hear the difference.” “After fixing the rooms, the noise complaints stopped,” reported Novinska. “Our occupancy rates went up and the difference was amazing. This was the perfect solution for us. Factoring all the costs, including materials and labor, you’ll realize savings over the long term by addressing soundproofing upfront, she advised other building owners. “Start with the right products and properly position your outlets and any other openings on back-to-back guestrooms, and you’ll get quiet rooms.”