LaSalle Studios Build Thread

How thick should my walls be, should I float my floors (and if so, how), why is two leaf mass-air-mass design important, etc.

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christophercarr86
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Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2022 6:56 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

LaSalle Studios Build Thread

Post by christophercarr86 »

Happy Friday everyone, I have made a couple small posts in here as an eager new member and didn't realize there was an Instructions Post and Reference Post so I do apologize for those previous uneducated posts. However, now I have been reading through all of that over the past week as well as dozens of other build posts, and I must say, this is an incredible community and wealth of knowledge here. Now after doing my homework and getting all of my ducks in a row I thought I was finally prepared enough to now make my own post.

I do have my profile up to date, but just to introduce myself here as well to kick off this thread, my name is Chris and live in a small town called Lasalle, in Ontario, Canada. I am a firefighter and mix albums as a side gig. I do a ton of woodworking and build cars so do have some know how and plan to build nearly all of this studio myself.

OVERVIEW:
I am building a 2 room studio in the basement of our family home. My primary goal is sound isolation from the rest of the house. My wife also works for the police, so we have very strange schedules as well as 2 young boys. So I hope to be able to work in the studio any time that I am able to and not have to worry about scheduling around sleeping hour and shift work. I primarily work on mixing projects that have been tracked elsewhere, however with the new space I intend on being able to track bands here as well and be able to jam the drums for some fun sessions.
I have purchased Rod Gervais' book and read it twice and have gotten on to about my 5th layout plan for the studio on how I want to have it setup. That was about a year of planning, but I was finally ready! So my current stage of the build is that I gutted the previously finished portion of the basement that will be used and a friend mentioned this forum, so wanted to get a thread going before I get too far into the project.

This is the original room that I started working with.
original%20room.jpg
This is the room from the same angle after I gutted it.
gutted%20room.jpg
So at this stage it is pretty much a blank slate! Very exciting!


HOW LOUD:
Drumming in that room right now I am at about 110 dB. Peaking around 115 dB. (C weighting) :shot:
The dream results would be to get 70 dB of isolation.
Realistically, maybe I should be shooting for 60 dB of isolation?
So the goal would be to get the volume to somewhere under 45 dB outside of the studio. If I could accomplish that I would be ecstatic. :yahoo:


EXISTING CONSTRUCTION:
As for the space configuration, our house is a 2.5 story home, studio will be in the basement, bedrooms are on the second floor. On the first floor, directly above the studio is the kitchen and dining room. 2 of studio walls are exterior, 1 is adjacent to a hallway and the other is adjacent to the mechanical room and bathroom. The opposite side of the mechanical room is the other half of the basement which is setup like a living room for watching movies and playing pinball. So I would be looking for isolation to the rest of the basement as well as the upper floors.
As for the space materials, the existing ceiling is 10" I-Joists at 16" OC, with 3/4" plywood subfloor above the joists and 3/8" finished oak hardwood flooring on top.
The 2 exterior walls are 10" poured concrete foundation.
The 1 interior wall adjacent to the hallway is 2x4 wood framing at 16" OC, with 1/2" gypsum in the hallway.
The 1 interior wall adjacent to the mechanical room and bathroom is a supporting wall and is 2x6 wood framing at 16" OC, with 1/2" plywood as the walls in the mechanical room and 1/2" gypsum in the bathroom.
The floor is a poured concrete floor.
The overall studio space is 24' long, 11' wide on one half and 13' wide on the other half of the room. The height is 7'6" from the concrete floor to the bottom of the I-joists. My plan is to put the dividing wall at the 12' mark which would make the control room approx 12'x11' and live room 12'x13'. (Based on my calculations those are not ideal sizes, but I am hoping to make the investment needed to make the best out of what I have.)


OBSTACLES:
1. The first obstacle is that the ceiling does have a bunch of utilities passing through it. Electrical, data, central vac, gas, plumbing, HVAC. But the good news is that I have gotten most of it up higher than the bottom of the 10" I-Joists so would be in the outer ceiling.
Here is a picture of the open ceiling.
open%20ceiling-resized.jpg
2. The second obstacle is that the electrical panel for the house is located in the live room of the studio. The framed closet around it in the picture was part of the old room. That closet has been removed. Will need to build some type of box with a hatch on it or something to cover the panel as part of the studio build.
Here is a picture of the existing 200A electrical panel.
electrical%20panel-resized.jpg
3. The third obstacle is a supporting post that is 12' from each end wall. The existing wall on the 11' wide side is only 10' long, so my current plan for that post is to incorporate it as the corner of the control room so that is is built into the dividing wall of the rooms instead of having a post in the way. That will give me a 2'x2' area of dead space backing onto the mechanical room that I plan to incorporate into the ventilation system.
It is very hard to describe so hopefully this picture shows it better.
supporting%20post-resized.jpg

BUDGET:
I do not have a specific budget, and am being realistic and realize that this will not be cheap. Luckily I am not in the situation that if it hits $5000 or something I have to stop. But ball parking, I am hoping to hit around that $10,000 mark. Mind you at the moment the CAD dollar is not great, so things are very expensive over here right now, so we will see.


THE PLAN:
The plan is a RWAR. I realize that this is not the easiest thing to accomplish due to height restrictions in a basement but hoping with my plan I can maintain a 7' finished ceiling height. But I will break down in detail what my plan is for each wall to incase you guys find anything wrong or room for improvement on any of them.

Ceiling:
For the outer leaf of the ceiling, based on Rod Gervais' recommendation I will be adding 3 layers of 5/8" fire rated drywall so a total 1-7/8" beef up of new gypsum + 1-1/8" of 1st floor wood flooring, for a total of 3" thick outer ceiling leaf (remember, the main priority is isolation to the upper floors of the house)
Then I plan to fill the rest of the 8" of space between the joists with fiberglass insulation and work it around all the existing pipes and duct work of that outer ceiling.
For the inner ceiling, I plan on using 2x6 lumbar as the joists for the inner ceiling and staggering them between the joists of the outer ceiling so that they do not touch. I planned on them sitting ontop of the inner walls, 1" to the side of the existing joists and 1-1/2" lower than the existing joists, in order to leave me room for my inner leaf and maintain that 7' ceiling height. I would then fill the 2x6 inner ceiling with mineral wool.
The inner leaf on the ceiling would be 3/4" Sonopan (this is a Canadian product I have used for theatres, wanted to at least try it in the studio: https://www.homedepot.ca/product/sonopa ... 1000441119 ), 2 layers of 5/8" fire-rated gypsum and 1/2" T&G pine wood for the finished ceiling for a grand total thickness of 2-1/2" for inner ceiling leaf.

2 Exterior Walls:
The outer leaf of the 2 exterior walls is the 10" poured concrete foundation, so did not plan on doing anything additional to those.
Then build the inner walls with 2x4 lumber with a 1" gap from the concrete walls. Filling the 2x4 inner wall with mineral wool.
The inner leaf would be 3/4" Sonopan, 2 layers of 5/8" fire-rated gypsum (+ 1/2" T&G pine on the walls of the live room), will just finish and paint the gypsum in the control room.

2 Interior Supporting Walls:
The outer leaf of these 2 walls only have 1/2" gypsum facing the hallway and bathroom, and 1/2" plywood facing the mechanical room.
These supporting walls are 2x6 lumbar, I will fill with mineral wool.
I planned on building these 2 inner walls with a 2" gap instead of the 1" on the exterior walls hoping for even more isolation to the adjacent rooms of the house. These inner walls would be built with 2x4 lumber and filled with mineral wool. I also planned on filled the 2" gap with fiberglass between the 2 walls.
The inner leaf would be 3/4" Sonopan, 2 layers of 5/8" fire-rated gypsum (+ 1/2" T&G pine on the walls of the live room), will just finish and paint the gypsum in the control room.

Floor:
I am not overly worried about the isolation of the floor because it is a concrete floor in the basement, I am more concerned about the comfort of it. As it is a basement floor and we live off a creek right in the woods, there is moisture in the area we live and it is a big no no to lay your finished floor directly on the concrete, so I planned on putting 1" insulated subflooring down which allows for air movement incase there was ever any moisture issue below the finished floor, as well as make the floor more comfortable instead of hard and cold. Then on top of that planned on 1/2" finished engineered hardwood flooring. Additionally, for the control room I kind of want to put in a 120V heated floor system for those long mixing sessions in a Canadian winter. (This isn't a need to have by any means, more of a nice to have).

Dividing Wall:
As being a drummer and coming from small studios I have never had good drum isolation, so always heard the drums while tracking, instead of just through the monitors, so I did not worry too much about isolation between the live and control room. This was also an attempt at having a single door between the rooms, but I am not 100% married to this plan. (And could be a major mistake, so would love to hear feedback), but my original plan was:
2x6 top and bottom plates, with 2x4 staggered studs at 16" OC to decouple the 2 leafs. Each leaf would be 3/4" Sonopan, 1/2" resilient channel, 2 layers of 5/8" fire-rated drywall.

To make this all easier to visualize I did do a mock up in Sketchup, which is new to me. (Luckily I am a better mixer than CAD artist lol)
- The red walls are the supporting indoor party walls.
- The blue arrows referred to question #1 about framing the outer walls.
- The pink square is that 2'x2' space I mentioned about utilizing for the ventilation.
- The room on the top would be the control room (11' wide), the room on the bottom would be the live room (13' wide).
Let me know if there is anything I should add to this sketchup drawing.
studiolayout-resized.jpg

QUESTIONS:
I thought I had a good plan, but after reading a ton of these posts and seeing the knowledge this community has, I am second guessing and very excited to hear the advice you guys come up with. I am confident in my construction capabilities and have alot of experience with a touch of OCD so I plan to be careful with the small details and do it right the first time. I anticipate my main questions will be around room modes, REW graphs and treatment, but I wanted to focus on the construction portions I am working on now before I get too far ahead of myself.

1. Do I need to do anything extra to the exterior concrete walls ? Originally I thought I needed to put 2x4 framing against them with mineral wool and no gypsum just to get that second cavity of mineral wool there, but upon more reading, now I am thinking I do nothing with the concrete wall and build the inner wall 1" inside of it ?

2. Will 2x6 joists for the inner ceiling, spaced 16" OC, spanning 13' at the longest part be sufficient to support the weight of the mineral wool, 3/4" sonopan, 1-1/4" fire rated drywall, 1/2" T&G pine and a couple clouds for sound treatment ?

3. As I am adding 3 layers of 5/8" gypsum between the ceiling joists to the outer leaf, should I be doing something similar to the outer leafs of my party walls to the house ? The issues with these walls is I do not have access to hang additional drywall in the bathroom or mechanical room because of built in vanities and shelving. I would have to cut the gypsum between the studs, the same as I did for the joists. Or would I get the same result of adding a 3rd layer of 5/8" gypsum on the inner leaf ? And leave the outer leaf of these walls as is with only 1/2" gypsum ?

4. I planned on 1" gap from the concrete walls and 2" gap from the indoor party walls with the assumption that extra 1" would improve isolation into the adjacent rooms of the house ? Is that true ? Or will that 2" compared to 1" gap not make a difference for isolation ?

5. I hoped for only 1 door between the control room and live room with a window in it, is it possibly to have 2 separate walls between the 2 rooms and only put a door on 1 ? I am assuming that will complete destroy the isolation of that wall. So that is why I was thinking only 1 wall between the 2 rooms and using resilient channel on to achieve my decoupling on this wall. This dividing wall is a major grey area for me right now, so wide open to suggestions for this part.

6. The room studio will be tied into the HVAC system for the house (with baffle boxes) but do I need a ventilation system in addition to the HVAC ? Just to keep air circulating in an air tight space like this ? My original plan was just to put 2 fans, 1 intake and 1 exhaust connecting to the adjacent mechanical room, basically just circulating conditioned air between the 2 spaces, the way that it does now when this room was used as a home gym.

7. I wanted to run conduit in the wall to areas that I will have alot of my audio connections, so that I can change or add cabling if I ever need to. What is the proper way to do this ? Just use normal 3/4" electrical conduit connected to electrical boxes and pull the cables in there ? Or is there a better way to do that with bigger conduit ? and how would that box connect to some type of face plate to make any connections ? Have not found any good pictures on how this is accomplished.

8. As Rod Gervais suggests isolated grounds for the studio, this is not achievable in our area because to have a proper isolated ground it needs to have its own ground rod, if it ties back to the main panel it will still have a bonded ground. So to achieve this I need an independent ground rod installed and in our area we are not allowed a second ground rod on our house, only for a detached structure. So my plan was to run a 60A subpanel off the houses main 200A panel, the 60A subpanel would have 8 circuits, 2 of which being 20A circuits for nothing but gear, and keeping the lights, network gear, computers, fans, standard 15A plugs, everything else on its own 5 circuits, and running wires for an isolated ground to the 8th circuit, just so that the wiring is in place should I be able to do isolated grounds in the future. Thoughts ?

9. With the added thickness of the walls, a standard electrical box will not sit out far enough, so I planned on adding blocking to the inner wall framing to sit the boxes out far enough to accommodate the 2-1/2" inner leaf. Is there a "proper" way to be doing this instead of my blocking idea ?

10. I saw a great post in this forum called "Gigalittle Studio Build Thread" and saw him build boxes around each recessed light and electrical switch and outlet. I love this idea! I wanna assuming I would use 3M putty pads, but I think I like the boxes better. I have not been able to find a thread specifically about building these though ? Is there any safety concerns enclosing electrical boxes so tightly like that ? Is there any proof showing that these boxes are more effective for isolation than putty pads ?


Anyways, thanks everyone, that is everything I can think of for now and hope that all the needed information is there. I really look forward to seeing as much feedback and comments on this as possible and am happy to provide as much more information as needed. I am very excited to have this project moving forward.

Thanks in advance everyone and enjoy your weekends!
Chris
gullfo
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Re: LaSalle Studios Build Thread

Post by gullfo »

lot's of questions. on the existing closet - would that be a good place for the HRV unit to support air ventilation in the studio?
Glenn
Sinclair
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Re: LaSalle Studios Build Thread

Post by Sinclair »

That looks like 20 grand in the blink of an eye especially if you're hiring help for any specifics, like a electrician, some drywall help or HVAC guy. This coming from a guy who is finishing up a garage studio 10 grand over budget. Careful, it goes quick. Materials are more expensive than ever. Don't let that stop you. Looks like a great space. Good luck with your build.
DanDan
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Re: LaSalle Studios Build Thread

Post by DanDan »

A project of that scale would probably benefit greatly from the full professional help of a good Acoustician.
christophercarr86
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Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2022 6:56 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: LaSalle Studios Build Thread

Post by christophercarr86 »

gullfo wrote:lot's of questions. on the existing closet - would that be a good place for the HRV unit to support air ventilation in the studio?
Yes, lots of questions! I tried to be as thorough as possible as I found the threads that had the most details seemed to have the most interaction and help with them. So I was hoping I would be as lucky.

In the progress part I listed about the demo, part of the demo was removing that existing closet to make the live room 13' wide instead of 11'.
The one party wall backs onto the mechanical room for the studio, so that was where I was going to tie in the HVAC and ventilation and house the baffle boxes.

Do you have any other questions for me that I could help clarify for anyone to try and get some interaction going on this build ?
christophercarr86
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2022 6:56 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: LaSalle Studios Build Thread

Post by christophercarr86 »

Sinclair wrote:That looks like 20 grand in the blink of an eye especially if you're hiring help for any specifics, like a electrician, some drywall help or HVAC guy. This coming from a guy who is finishing up a garage studio 10 grand over budget. Careful, it goes quick. Materials are more expensive than ever. Don't let that stop you. Looks like a great space. Good luck with your build.
Hey Sinclair, thanks for the response. To be honest I dont really have a budget for it, there is no total end price I need to hit. One of the rules said that I had to put a budget, so I just put a ballpark guess. It doesn't really matter, but the one rules said I had to follow all the rules to get a response, so just wanted to make sure I was following the rules so we could get some interaction going on this thread. If the build exceeds $20k, no problem.

As far an as electrician I have a close friend who is an CSA certified electrician as well as friends with ESA inspector. So I will be doing 99% of that work and they will come at the end to look it over and put a stamp on it before we close it up.

As far as HVAC I have a good friend who is an HVAC guy and he came by to give his opinions on the system when I showed him my plan. Around this area there is no trades that have seemed to have worked on a "studio" project before so they are struggling to see the details involved in the isolation part of it. But he did go through on what is needed to maintain return air and vents to the existing HVAC system as well as vent sizing for the ventilation. He suggested consulting with you guys regarding the specifics of a studio side of things with the sound proofing and sealed rooms. I put those ventilation questions in the opening post.

For drywall, I am doing that myself, I have hung thousands of sq/ft of drywall. No issue. Will definitely be using my drywall lift for this project though. Those 5/8" sheets are serious weight!

Thanks for the well wishes Sinclair! Good luck on your project as well. I am very excited about this space. It was one of the pros when we looked at this property as it also has separate access from the back of the house, so good entry/exit for bands without disrupting the rest of the house using the front door :).
christophercarr86
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2022 6:56 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: LaSalle Studios Build Thread

Post by christophercarr86 »

DanDan wrote:A project of that scale would probably benefit greatly from the full professional help of a good Acoustician.
Yes! That would be awesome, I have reached out to a couple in Detroit, neither have come through with any sort of help and very difficult to maintain contact with them. So I was really hoping to be able to tap into the wealth of knowledge I have seen on this forum, it is truly incredible the help that you all provide to people.

I am curious about what you mean "a project of that scale" ? It is a little less than 300 sq/ft ? Compared to what I have seen on here I kind of thought it was small. Is there something specific you are referring to ? I would love to be able to provide more information here to clarify anything to hopefully get to the answers of some of my questions.

Thanks!
Chris
christophercarr86
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Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2022 6:56 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: LaSalle Studios Build Thread

Post by christophercarr86 »

Hey everyone, I just popped on here to see if there was any responded to my original post last week so thought I would give a quick update as I already hit my first setback in the project.

Upon more demo in the room, I found 1 of the poured concrete foundation walls had a 9' vertical crack.
foundation crack1-resized.jpg
So I had a couple foundation guys come out to verify if there was any structural concerns and multiple site visits confirmed that it was a water concern only, still structurally sound. As the opposite side of that wall was poured concrete and the basement was now already gutted they suggested tackling this repair from inside.

I ended up doing a full hydrophobic polyurethane resin injection. Worked perfect and passed a water tight test, so great news to get that obstacle resolved and can focus back on the build!!
foundation crack2-resized.jpg
foundation crack3-resized.jpg
foundation crack4-resized.jpg
As a second part of the water issue, I also did a full indoor sil seal and will be installing a full wall water membrane tied into the tile drain you can see at the bottom of the wall incase we get any overland flooding from the creek that we back onto.
The foundation companies in this area quoted me $6,000 to complete this full job, I was able to get the contractor material from one of my suppliers shipped down from 4 hours away and get it done for only $1,000.

So that was nice to not put a big line in the budget before we even got started! Now back to the studio build!

Chris
christophercarr86
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2022 6:56 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: LaSalle Studios Build Thread

Post by christophercarr86 »

Hey everyone, just popping on here for a build update, hoping if I keep showing the progress that my thread eventually gets some interaction.

I just recently finished up add the ceiling mass to the outer leaf on the underside of the sub floor above between the joists. I was able to add 3 layers of 5/8" fire rated drywall, took 28 sheets! Took down all the HVAC ducts for access, going to be redoing a portion of the home HVAC system to accommodate the studio build as well as replacing and relocating 4 water lines and a drain that cut through the studio.

Here are a few pics of the ceiling mass I added.
drywall1-resized.jpg
outer ceiling mass done-resized.jpg
3 layers-resized.jpg
Next on to the plumbing!

Cheers!
Chris
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