Having your own studio space in your home is an excellent way to spark creativity and take advantage of inspiration the moment it hits. Finding the right balance between aesthetics and functionality is crucial to ensuring that you get the studio space you need.
Here are 6 cheap recording studio flooring options that’ll give you a professional sound on a budget:
If you’re thinking about building a floor in your recording studio, you’re in luck! Keep reading as I discuss these different options in detail to help you make the best choice for your studio needs.
When it comes to recording studio flooring, the first material inevitably brought up is concrete.
No matter what material you use, you’ll probably have concrete as part of that system. Even though so many valuable materials can assist with sound quality, they’re too lightweight to insulate sound independently.
Basements make an excellent spot for recording gear for several reasons. One example is basements typically already have concrete floors installed. This gives you automatic sound insulation that can be improved upon by adding another material on top of it.
If you have a basement with a dirt floor, laying concrete will be your first step. Likewise, if you have concrete already down but have carpet installed, you’ll want to pull it up before doing anything else.
Once you have your concrete flooring, you can decide if you want to leave it as it is or add any of the options listed in this article over the concrete to give you a richer sound.
The average cost of concrete is $10 per square foot for medium-range quality. It can be as low as $2 or as high as $30, making it a budget-friendly option that depends entirely on what you want to put into it.
Keep in mind that laying concrete is, while labor-intensive, relatively easy to pour yourself.
There are plenty of guides and videos on the web to teach you to do it. It takes time to do it right, so be prepared to put effort into it.
If you don’t feel confident in laying it yourself, you should plan for the additional labor costs. With materials and a contractor, the price can range around $900 at the low end and $1,200 at the high end.
Remember, you can choose to lay a concrete slab instead of pouring the concrete fresh!
Once you have your concrete, it’s time to go for your overlay.
Hardwood flooring is the most sought-after type of wood for a recording studio. Most lumber types are acceptable for the job. Oak is a popular option because it’s a strong and readily available wood that comes in many different varieties.
The grain detailing is stunning, with rich colors, giving your studio a warmth that other flooring materials lack. On the lumber scale, it can be a bit pricier than other options. However, you can find more affordable versions if you stick with red oak, white oak, or jasper oak.
Elmwood Reclaimed Timber wrote a great article about white oak and the unique benefits for flooring. In it, you can see various examples of how that particular lumber has been used.
What stands out in the example is how truly versatile the look is. White oak is only one type, yet it’s used in so many different forms that you wouldn’t even know it was the same oak species.
All 3 versions are half the price or less than more expensive varieties. The average cost is around $10 per square foot but can be as low as $6.
If you’re in a damp area (or prone to spills), you’ll want a moisture-resistant flooring option.
Given the amount of sweat that can come from an average recording session is all the more reason to consider keeping your flooring dry. Vinyl is an excellent choice to keep wetness away from your recording space.
Some people prefer laminate to vinyl because it looks better. It’s often made to look like hardwood; it’s a cheap and easy-to-install alternative to actual lumber. However, when it comes to sound, vinyl is a clear winner.
Vinyl is excellent for insulating sound, a must for recording space.
Sound waves reflect off the floor, assisted by the concrete laid beneath to give you a crisp, clear sound without an echo. Many professional studios choose this flooring, even when they have a higher budget to work with.
It also regulates temperature better than any other material, keeping the room from getting too hot or cold. When dealing with expensive musical equipment, it isn’t hard to see why climate control is crucial.
Another popular wood type, maple, is fantastic for cheap recording studio flooring, though the pricing is relative. The initial cost of maple is higher because it’ll probably require someone to install it for you.
The price of the lumber itself falls around $9 per square foot, and it has less variety than oak, so you’re less likely to find a more affordable version.
However, maple is extremely tough. It doesn’t scratch easily, you don’t have to worry about it rotting, and it can withstand flooding better than many other kinds of wood.
So, you may pay between $1,300 and $2,000 to install a maple floor, but it’s less prone to damage and won’t need as much upkeep (polishing and waterproofing only have to be done around once every 5 years, versus the usual 2 or 3 of other wood floors).
Maple is also comfortable to stand on. Musicians can work for more extended periods, enjoying the softer wood under their feet.
Foam is a bit of a controversial material for recording studios. It insulates sound well and offers a different level of soundproofing than many other flooring types.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t always provide the best sound quality outside of that initial dampening. Because of that, many musicians will choose foam mats to place at strategic points rather than do the entire floor with it.
The plus side is that these mats are cheap, and you can buy them just about anywhere locally. They’re dense and come in different thicknesses to meet your specific needs.
You can buy them in pieces that connect to expand or limit them at will or buy an entire foam roll. So, you can cut out foam for louder instruments that you might not use regularly and so don’t always need to be prepared for.
Look for it at hardware stores, gym stores, or even child supply stores. You can get dozens of mats for less than $50.
Are you going to be working with acoustic recordings? Then tile may be your best bet.
Offering a beautiful, crisp sound to acoustic guitars, particularly the unique way that tile bounces sound waves, makes it a solid choice and an inexpensive one to boot.
One benefit is that tile tends to be easy to stand on without slipping.
If you want to adjust the sound quality for different tasks, songs, etc., it’s simple to throw a rug, foam cover, wooden plank, or anything else onto the tile. It’s nice and customizable without affecting the sound in ways that lumber is more prone to.
Tile studios have become a favorite of Youtube and Twitch performers. It’s an affordable option that’s easy to install.
Tiles can also be used on walls, creating a box effect that promotes a richer sound. Since Youtubers often start with less than stellar equipment, tiles are a major consideration when designing their recording room.
- Gearspace: What About Tile For My Studio Floor?
- Acoustic Geometry: Acoustic Flooring For Your Recording Studio
- Home Music Producer: What Is The Best Flooring For A Music Studio?
- Everything About Concrete: Concrete Slab Cost
- Homewyse: Cost To Install Maple Flooring | Cost to Install Cement Slab
- Range of Sound: Best Flooring For a Recording Studio
- Sweetwater: Purpose of Hardwood Floors in Studios
- OakBroad: How Much Does Hardwood Flooring Cost to Install?
- Bob Villa: How Much Does Hardwood Flooring Cost?
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