My garage wants to be a studio!

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phantom power
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My garage wants to be a studio!

Post by phantom power » Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:52 pm

Image


So this is my attached garage. It measures about 11.5' x 18.5'. The walls are 8.5' high, and the roof is 13' at its highest point. It sits on a concrete slab that is separate from the rest of the house and the next door neighbors. Also, the house was built in 1948 and all the 2x4 are actually 2"x4".

House Wall: The door in the center is the door from the house. This whole wall up to the peak is plaster (while the other 3 just have painted plywood over the framing on the inside and stucco on the outside) on both sides and as you can see it has 2 steps that go down into the garage. The square above this door is currently the only access to the attic above the house. Also, you can see there's a hot water heater in the corner.

Backyard Wall: This is the wall to the right of the house wall. It has a door that opens to the covered back patio, a window, and it shares the hot water heater.

Neighbor Side Wall: This is the wall parallel to the house wall and it has a window. On the outside of this wall is a walkway to my backyard. The fence that I share with my neighbor runs the length of this wall and is 4'4" away. However, their house is at least 5-6' away from the fence. Also, their house is set closer to the street so that the back corner of it only sits about 5' in past my roll-up garage door. The rest of this wall just faces their backyard. The circle at the top of this wall is an existing vent.

Street Wall: This is the last wall and it has a small roll-up garage door and swinging door. This wall faces the street, and it has a covered carport that extends out from it.

Roof: It's open and it has a vent on the backyard side (denoted by a circle). The ceiling is unfinished, so I can see the 2x4 framing on 24"centers. On top of this framing are perpendicular 1x12's and what looks to be 1/2" or larger plywood sheathing over that (then of course roofing shingles). There are two 2x4 beams (pictured) that go across the top of the room that are stabilized by 1x4's.


First, I want to finish the whole garage as a single room that will serve as a practice space for my 4-piece band and a recording space. That being said, I'd like it to be as quiet as I can afford to make it for my neighbors. Perhaps even more importantly I want it quiet inside. Our street is a fairly busy one-way frontage road for a "sunken" freeway.

I plan to move the water heater to an outside enclosure. And the washer and dryer (not pictured) will go inside the house.

After that, I'm still trying to figure it out. I'm almost done with Rod Gervais' book and it's been a huge help. But, of course, it has raised many new questions.



Rather than make this post much longer than it already is, I'll start with one big question:

If I tear down the painted plywood from the 3 walls/the ceiling and fill the stud cavities with insulation, then hang resilient channel/ 2 layers of 5/8" drywall on the studs, will this still effectively be a 2-leaf system? Oh... and I'll have to frame a wall right in front of the garage door/ swinging door.

Thanks
-AE

norton
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Post by norton » Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:44 am

Good plan. You'll avoid the triple leaf by doing that, and get the most performance out of your efforts.

Good luck!

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Post by dwelle » Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:42 am

you starting soon?...

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Post by dwelle » Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:50 am

oh, HVAC? that's going to be one of the big challenges. that room is gonna get hot...

Bro Shark
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Post by Bro Shark » Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:41 pm

If it were me, I'd spare the hassle and rent a space. Your neighbors will thank you, and you'll have 25 fewer things to worry/stress about as time goes on.

Something about having your main music space be at home, at least for me... it doesn't really work.

phantom power
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Post by phantom power » Fri Mar 16, 2012 4:32 pm

Norton- Thanks. I was hoping that would be the case. I guess what I need to figure out next is whether I should put drywall pieces in between the studs of the existing walls to add some mass to the outside walls. Also, the wall that I'm putting up in front of the roll-up door; should it be built as a 2-leaf stand alone wall? I'm thinking I'll need that to keep out the street noise.

Dwells- Still planning for awhile. I haven't fully figured out what I want to do about HVAC yet. I'm thinking about using the attic access door as a starting point and just ducting in from the existing system (which is only about 20ft away in the attic). I'll have an HVAC guy look at it though.

Bro Shark- I'm on the opposite side of this. I need/want/like having a place at home. Renting kinda sucks.

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Post by zorf » Sat Mar 17, 2012 10:52 am

I get not wanting to rent a music space, but how much do you want to throw at this?
I could easily see 3 to 5 large in materials if you want to really reduce sound leakage.
You shouldnt assume that the next owner/tenant is going to see that as a benifit.
you may have to tear it all out when you move.

Also, can you guys play at reduced volumes for practicing and recording?
Or, do you need to play loud because youy don't get enough exercise? :)
that would help a lot with neighbor issues.

your in socal, so summers would be pretty hot.
You might need actual ac in that case.
otherwise, i have made simple air exchangers that snake through an insulated box.
one at the bottom for cooler air and one at the top to vent the warmer air.
that, and maybe a slow quiet fan might make it work, if you open the window now and then. If the space is insulated, that should help. Also a light colored roof helps.

i would make a wall a few inches back from the garage door.
I like to lay a roll of rubber or dense foam underneath my 2X4 plates to isolated them from the floor and ceiling. I make them a little tight and wedge them to get more of a float.

I tried the acoustical sheetrock, but it was kind of a pain for a small project.
i had good luck with conventional rock and green glue. And acoustical caulking.
I dont thing you need the resilliant channels, myself.

The biggest sound leaks are usually around the windows and doors.


:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
dont turn around

phantom power
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Post by phantom power » Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:47 pm

zorf wrote: Or, do you need to play loud because youy don't get enough exercise? :)
Not sure I get this :?:


Anyway, thanks for the reply. You bring up some good points.

I am indeed planning a budget of $3-5k on this (including treatments). We do own the house, and I'm definitely not assuming anything about future potential buyers. And right now I'm not thinking too much about what they might be seeing as a benefit (other than quality work).

Summers get ass-hot here. Sometimes up to 114. I'd like to see if it's possible to duct in to the room from my existing house system. I'll be consulting an HVAC person for that. The space will definitely be insulated, but unfortunately the roof is black.

I'm intrigued by the idea of rubber or dense foam under the wall that will go in front of the garage door. Could you expand on this?

I'll be going with conventional drywall for sure. However, I'm a little confused by the rest of what you said here. Rod's book makes it look like you can only really expect 3db or so for each layer of green glue. But it also looks like it helps a lot on the low end. On the other hand, the RC actually decouples the walls and ceiling from the framing. This seams like more of a benefit to me. I'd love to hear more about this.

Windows and doors are going to be a challenge. I'll be researching this a lot. And Rod's book covers it well too.

Thanks

-AE

zorf
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Post by zorf » Sat Mar 17, 2012 4:01 pm

A couple of thoughts...

you might want to be discreet bringing in materials and doing the work unless you are planning on pulling a permit.
busy body neighbors or inspector driving by could result in a fine and tear out.

you should really make a room within a room for real isolation, but that would make a pretty small room especially for 4 or 5 people.

you might have to limit the hours you use it and learn to practice at really low volumes to keep the neighbors happy.

make sure you have plenty of outlets, there are never enough. 2 20 amp circuits would be great. If you are really up for some work, star ground.
use extensions on the boxes to account for the extra layers of sheetrock

insulating the attic space with both soft insulation and ridgid on the inside of the rafters. Dormer vents and solar powered attic fans.

leave the original windows to not draw attention to the garage and then make some removable inside windows with rubber or foam gaskets.

you might want to keep the garage in stealth mode to avoid attracting thiefs.
Keep the outside looking unremarkable.

when your friends park their cars near your street, expect annoyed neighbors.
Maybe have some of them park a little farther away.
dont turn around

Bro Shark
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Post by Bro Shark » Sat Mar 17, 2012 4:16 pm

Recent comments back up my line of thinking as well. It's probably going to end up - all told - costing double what you expect, and then you're going to be left with a hot, tiny space that you still have to play "quietly" in. I've never been one to play music quietly, myself.

I hate playing in a tiny space. Kills my ears and boxes in my mind. At least in a room with a 12' ceiling and a bit of space around the players, the sound has somewhere else to go than straight into your skull.

Ambitious and potentially cool project, but costs and headaches look bound to spiral out of control.

OK, I'll shut up now. :oops:

zorf
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Post by zorf » Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:57 pm

i actually like practicing and playing really low volume.

but i know few people who can maintain that once they get swept up in the emotion of the music and just start playing louder and louder. they confuse focus, entensity, emotion, for volume and then dynamics goes out the window.

jazz groups in my neighborhood have practiced unamplified without pissing folks off too bad.

If you are playing " rock" at "sport" volume, ( hence my comment about exercise), then you should just get a big space at the edge of town.

i dont know why you have to be loud anymore. Clubs are under pressure to lower volume,
and in big touring productions, youll probably be playing with earbuds anyways.

work arounds include plugging directly into a pod and mixer and playing with headphones.
that might also mean an electronic drum set.

If you think you can moderate your volume, then using small amps up at ear level can help.

blankets on the drums can help.

You'll have to settle for having the bass player play through a single twelve at ear level perhaps.

why dont you set up in there as is on a weekday around 1 oc'lock. Try and keep it somewhat low and have somebody walk around the outside with a sound meter and take some readings.

then you will have a baseline.

the built in mic in your cell phone is not up to it, so buy one at rat shack.

the biggest problem for the neighbors is going to be low frequencies. they are the hardest to trap and they travel the farthest. So walk around the nearby houses and see how loud they sound.

Or, maybe just invite the immediate neighbors to be in the band. :)
dont turn around

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Post by percussion boy » Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:15 pm

A vague warning, based on harsh experience:

Make sure you get good information/professional advice about how to keep sound from moving in and out of whatever ventilation and air conditioning setup you choose.

A bandmate and I once rented a play/live space in Oakland, custom-built for musicians . . . and the builders neglected to do anything to soundproof the air vents to the outside world. So much for preventing leakage (and so much for late night sessions).

Pro studio designers have ways to deal with this, and those ways no doubt cost money.

Hope this helps.
"The world don't need no more songs." - Bob Dylan

"Why does the Creator send me such knuckleheads?" - Sun Ra
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zorf
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Post by zorf » Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:36 am

yes, ventilation often gets overlooked.
that should be designed in from the beggining.
Please don't take my previous comments as meaning you shouldn't attempt this.
just pointing out some challenges so you might not have thought about.
the good news is that you have a free standing building.
dont turn around

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Post by ;ivlunsdystf » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:25 am

say, what program did you use to do that image in your first post? it's nifty.

i have done the garage buildout thing once and i am about to do it again in the exact same garage. we had renovations such that it made sense to scrape it all out and start over. here is what i learned: i learned that i could have used half the material and gotten the same results. normally studs are 16 inches on center. i could have done 24 inches. my first go-around was overbuilt because it seemed like it would be "fun" to make everything really sturdy. the new version will not be overbuilt.

it seems like you can get something together, skimp on 'structural' crap that doesn't hold up the roof anyway, spring for extra insulation and ventilation, and maybe end up spending $1500 if you are smart about what you really need.

this is based largely on the assumption that interior walls for containing music making are going to be (a) temporary and (b) of absolutely no interest to future occupants of your house/garage [including, quite possibly, your future self!]

phantom power
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Post by phantom power » Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:18 am

The drawing is just from Sketchup.

As far as the HVAC goes, I don't mind noise in/out of the rest of the house. When we practice, the wife doesn't mind listening in. And when I'm recording, we usually schedule it so she's out doing something else.

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