From Horse Barn to Wellness Center, Part 10: Drop Ceilings and Concrete Flooring



Photos by Adam D. Bearup

Following the journey to remodel a horse barn into a commercial wellness center on a Midwestern property zoned for agriculture. This multi-part series recounts the considerations, pitfalls and ultimate successes of a green-building project with an ambitious scope to bring a defunct farm building new life as a natural health destination.

One of the big challenges that we faced when turning a horse barn into a wellness center was limiting the amount of sound that transferred from the upstairs to the main floor. (See the previous installment for more on sound-proofing in construction.) Anyone who has been in a repurposed building, especially an old building made into office spaces or apartments, will know that the biggest sound that they hear is people walking around on the floor above them. As I worked on the main floor of the project, I would stop and listen to whoever was working upstairs and try to focus my attention to where the person was and what it sounded like when they would walk around.

To my amazement, the footsteps and creaking would get louder with each piece of insulation that we put into the walls. I wasn’t sure how that could be possible, but I guessed that the more that we deadened the sound in each room’s walls, the more the sound from above was amplified.

The sound from above may not have been technically amplified, but it was definitely clearer and more noticeable. This is one of the reasons why we were looking for a ceiling that could help us to lower that sound of walking around upstairs. Several of the treatments at this wellness center would require the rooms to be as quiet as possible and footprints and creaking from above would be an annoyance that could not be tolerated.

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