According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics that are over 1.14M people employed in the Warehousing & storage Industry (based on 2018 data) and that figure is growing at over 9% per year.
Warehouses are rarely insulated, consisting of corrugated aluminum ceilings combined with concrete block walls they offer little protection against cold and sound.
Hard concrete floor and exposed walls creates flat surfaces which sound bounces straight off allowng it to reveberate around a warehouse making it sound louder.
Soundproofing your warehouse is well worth the investment as it creates a safer working environment which will improve communication, minimize hearing loss and increase productivity.
Whether you want to shield your workforce from outdoor noise or prevent your warehouse neighbors from hearing everything you do our guide below will help you soundproof your warehouse.
Warehouses are large industrial spaces that are typically located on the outskirts of cities where the land price per square foot is cheaper.
Their huge size presents a big problem when it comes to soundproofing; to properly soundproof an entire warehouse is going to be prohibitively expensive even if you use the cheapest materials.
Most warehouses are completely open plan too meaning noise can freely travel across them.
Every warehouse and workforce is different but here are a few strategies you could employ to soundproof your warehouse:
One of the main problems associated with warehouse noise are the huge expanses of exposed concrete.
These deflect soundwaves without deadening them at all, this can give warehouses a lot of echo and can make sound seem louder than it is.
Any easy and relatively affordable way of dealing with this is to hang soundproof acoustic curtains against the external walls.
The best type of curtains for a warehouse are theatre curtains.
They are thick and multilayered, this traps air and helps dampen the sound that hits it.
To get the most out of your curtains you should ensure that they are fitted as close to ceiling as possible, have plenty of loose folds and that it drags on the ground to close the floor gap.
Warehouse floors are also concrete so sound bounces off them with ease.
Fitting carpet to your warehouse or at least the high traffic areas can make a huge difference to the acoustics.
Noisy footsteps will be a thing of the past.
Carpeting such a large area can be costly so look out for used carpet (which is often given awa for free) to get this done on a budget.
Ceiling clouds are designed to minimize reflected sound in big open spaces like warehouses.
You may have seen them hanging from the ceiling in trendy offices or large restaurants and bars.
They can be made from a range of different materials however the best material to is fire-rated foam as this is both safe and very good at dampening sound.
They are hung horizontally from ceilings, allowing them to absorb sound as it travels up from the floor and also when the sound waves are reflected back down.
They can make a huge different to the acoustic of buildings with high exposed ceilings so are well worth installing in your warehouse.
Most warehouses have high rotation areas where employees will spend the bulk of their time.
Segmenting off the high rotation areas in your warehouse will make it far more affordable to soundproof.
Once you have identified an area to segment you can fit a false wall that traps air inside it.
This will prevent airborne sounds from traveling through to that section of the warehouse.
If your warehouse suffers from a lot of impact sound then you will also need to add sound dampening elements into your wall to prevent the vibrations from traveling through.
When employees need to travel to the medium and lower distribution areas they can be encouraged to wear headphones.
If your warehouse is stocked full of thousands of boxes you can significantly change the acoustics just by repositioning boxes in a way that traps dead air.
Most warehouses have lower rotation products on the outside areas of the warehouse with high rotation products in the middle.
If you put the outermost shelves close to the wall (about one foot away) and try to keep them as full as possible (you can fill gaps with empty boxes if necessary) to get complete wall coverage then this will help isolate airborne sound to a degree.
Be aware though the more gaps there are in the box wall the less effective this will be however it can take the edge off loud industrial noise, especially if you prioritize ensuring that the wall closest to the noise is fully covered.
Never ever use hay bales to soundproof your warehouse.
Yes, hay bales are actually very effective at blocking sound due to their density and the fact that they trap a lot of air creating air pockets which is great at blocking sound.
However, it is incredibly dangerous to fill a warehouse with hay bales and then put your employees in there too.
Hay bales are highly flammable and, particularly during the summer months, temperatures can soar to a point where just one small spark can set them ablaze.
Using hay bales is a major health and safety risk that puts your employees' lives in danger so do not do it ever.