Good quality flooring combined with the right acoustic treatment can make for a great and natural sound flow in a music recording studio.
Every construction decision plays an important role in the final sound properties of a room.
But let me make one thing clear; there’s no limit to what you can invest in creating a specialized recording environment.
The best flooring for a recording studio is Vinyl Flooring because it is durable, easy to maintain and provides a relatively low level of acoustic reflection. In most high-end recording studios; the control room and vocal booth floors are usually also patched with a low pile carpet with a high-density cushion in addition to the vinyl floor to keep sound reflection and sound absorption low.
The Best Flooring Options For A Recording Studio
This type of flooring is sometimes referred to as Vinyl Composite Tile flooring.
It is basically installed for the purpose of delivering a static-free environment and it is found in most recording studios.
Vinyl flooring compared to laminate flooring is a great choice if you’re going for water resistance, lifespan and durability.
There are two ways in which vinyl tile floors can be made
- Inlay Vinyl tile
Inlay Vinyl tile is basically made up of multiple layers of vinyl of the same colour that are fused together. This colour goes all the way through to the backing.
Rotogravure vinyl tiles are made of thin layer of vinyl on the top that is coloured with paint and shielded by a protective coating.
The cost of vinyl flooring ranges from around $1 to about $4 per square feet, which makes it a much more affordable option.
Typically vinyl tile flooring has sound and heat insulation properties. That is why I recommend for your music recording studio.
The sound insulation will ensure that you are able to deal with a fewer sound reflections bouncing off the war,
while the heat insulation will make sure that the floor does not emit too much heat that can become dangerous to equipment or cables that you may have set on the floor.
From the aboveoptions of flooring you could easily narrow down why hardwood is the best when it comes to music studio flooring.
Nonetheless, the other alternatives will also work just fine, hardwood is pretty expensive, so you can go for a cheaper option for flooring then upgrade over time.
This flooring type is constructed using only the best type of wood for a recording studio setup.
It is usually installed on the substrate of a residence or basically on the floor by a facility stapled or nailed to the underlying sub-floor.
Engineered hardwood flooring is a good choice for a recording studio; it is the perfect choice for installation using a sub-floor made of concrete since it can be floated.
This type of flooring is the most common in recording studio setups, and most music stores with high-end acoustic rooms.
It is quiet an expensive option compared to other flooring options and has to be installed by a professional.
This flooring option is mostly preferred because of its acoustic properties.
Hardwood flooring costs may range from $5 to $20 per square foot or $12 to $20 per square foot installed.
Hardwood flooring is pretty expensive if you factor in the installation costs too.
But the acoustic properties that it offers are much more natural and easy on the ear, which makes it great for recording purposes.
It is also easier to control the sound waves that bounce off the hardwood with some diffusers and absorbers in the room.
Other than improving the acoustics in the room, hardwood is a cost effective option in the long run because it is durable,
long lasting and requires low maintenance; therefore it will save you a whole lot of money on things like repair costs.
Seeing that most music studios have lots of equipment,
you can invest in some rags that you can set your equipment on depending on how thick the hardwood is,
and the moisture absorption you need in the room.
If the room you intend to make your music studio in already has a hardwood floor with a considerable thickness then you’re all set.
You don’t need to have it replaced; you can use it as it is.
Also be reminded that you have to acoustically treat the other walls for optimal and maximum utility of the room.
Laminate flooring is a multi-layer synthetic flooring type.
Lamination is a basic technique that involves the manufacture of material in multiple layers in order to achieve a greater degree of strength, sound insulation, stability and other unique properties from the use of the differing materials such as plastic.
Therefore a laminate is just an object that is permanently assembled and is created from heat, pressure welding or gluing.
Laminate flooring is a really great choice and a great value for your money, and an alternatively cheaper option to hardwood flooring.
You won’t get the same sonic experience and warmth as you would get with hardwood, but it will still get the job done if it is installed the right way.
Laminate flooring costs around $3 to $8 per square foot including labour and materials, therefore your final cost will greatly depend on the size of your floor, the materials that you choose to use and the labour costs.
One advantage of laminate flooring is that it is quite easy to install and most people can do it by themselves.
Most laminate flooring comes in planks that are pretty easy to simply snap together, which makes installation pretty quickly and easy.
Other advantages are that it is easy to clean, able to resist moisture, comfortable to walk on and it is not resonant.
The only things that you would have to watch out for are things that may penetrate the surface like heavy stuff placed on top of the floor.
Cork flooring is made by carefully removing the bark of an oak. This makes it impermeable.
Cork flooring has great insulation properties, and it is comfortable to walk on.
More importantly, it has great noise insulation properties that make it ideal for music recording studio flooring.
I recommend this type of flooring for the sole reason that it has great noise deadening capabilities. It can also be used as a subfloor underneath another type of material.
Cork flooring approximately costs around $5 to $14 per square foot.
When it comes to installation, I highly recommend that you hire a professional that can get the job done with the necessary tools and has the right experience laying and cutting cork.
A professional will know how to properly prepare the floor and the seal the final product.
Cork flooring should definitely be one of the top considerations when it comes to music studio flooring.
Compared to hardwood floors, cork floors will give off warmer sounds and sound reflections that bounce off it will be much lower.
With that said, keep in mind that there are some disadvantages that come with cork flooring.
Cork floors are generally more sensitive to temperature changes and changes in humidity.
Cork floors, even with proper sealing can absorb liquids, and this is common for most floating floors because they all have a weakness, they are all susceptible to damage at the gaps where they are joined together.
One of the convenient advantages of using cork flooring in a music studio is that it can provide a soft underfoot because it contains millions of air-filled cells.
This makes it the ideal flooring for studio sessions that generally involve people standing for lengthy periods of time.
Factors to consider when choosing flooring for recording studio
- The size of your room matters a lot, a large room with a high ceiling will produce a good quality of a recording. So make sure your music studio is of an appropriate size.
- Recognize and become aware of the external noises that may affect your recording process and pick the right floor type to match.
- Usually rooms with low ceilings and bare walls have bad acoustics. With that said, acoustic treatment doesn’t end with flooring so make sure that you treat the walls of your music studio for optimal sound quality optimization.
The fundamental principle for studio flooring to consider is that; a heavy, hard surface is most preferable.
When you cannot afford expensive flooring options like hardwood or laminate flooring, even a bare concrete floor can work perfectly as long you acoustically treat the walls and the ceiling.
Bare walls are a recording nightmare and most of the time when we treat a room we tend to think that big reflective surfaces are bad,
but the trick is just to balance out the reflective hard floor with a treated ceiling and wall.
The room will sound much more natural and controlled than an untreated one.