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Home Soundproof Garage - Garage Conversion Stage 5 Soundproof a Room Stage 5 Part 4
Soundproof a Room Stage 5 Part 4

Fabric Finishing

The inner surfaces of the room cannot obviously be left with exposed Rockwool, so they will be covered with fabric. The fabric I used was the following:

  • For the ceiling, white cotton curtain lining.
  • For the walls, 12oz Hessian.

You'll need the following equipment for this stage of the construction:

  • A sewing machine
  • A compressor with a staple gun attachment
  • A large box of staples

fabric fix absorb ceiling

Fix the ceiling fabric in place first

Always start with the ceiling:

 

  1. Measure out the ceiling area, and unless you have a very large, or awkwardly shaped ceiling, try and sew together as many pieces as are necessary to cover the entire ceiling in one go.
  2. You need to ensure that the fabric has been sewed together straight, otherwise, you'll end up with a wiggly seam down the length of the fabric.
  3. Tack up the ceiling fabric in one corner, and then in the opposite corner on the same wall. You can afford to be on the generous side with the amount of excess fabric. Its always better to have too much, a trim it down, then try and stretch the fabric because you scrimped during the initial measurements.
  4. Get the basic tension into the ceiling fabric by tacking up the corners. You'll need to make sure that the fabric's weave is lined up square with the room.
  5. Once the corners are up, tension opposite sides, starting in the middle. You need to tension carefully so that any seams in the fabric remain straight.
  6. Keep tensioning each side, alternating from side to side, and subdividing each side in half. Start in the middle, then at the quarter and three quarter positions and then at the eigth positions etc.
  7. Once the ceiling fabric is up and tensioned, trim it back to within 25mm (1") of the ceiling.
fabric fix absorb ceiling After the ceiling fabric is up, fix the wall fabric up, starting with the top corners, then the bottom corners, then tension the edges, starting from the centres.

When upholstering in this manner, the following procedure should be followed for the walls:

  1. The fabric will be hung vertically on the wall, and each vertical section is known as a "drop". Work out how many drops you will need to cover all the walls.
  2. You need to calculate the lowest number of drops needed to cover a whole number of walls. You should avoid, if possible, cutting a drop vertically in order to make it fit a single wall (this is to minimise wastage). In my case, I sewed 4 drops together to fit onto 2 1/2 walls (the half wall being the one with the door in it).
  3. When cutting fabric across the roll, do not follow the weave of the Hessian in order to obtain a straight cut. The fabric will stretch and give, so you should lay it out on the floor, and with a chalk line, mark a line across the fabric. Then cut along the chalk line, not the line of the weave.
  4. When sewing the drops together, lay them out on the floor first to ensure that the top edges line up together. Only then should you sew the drops together! The important point here is that when the fabric is mounted to the wall, you want the warp and the woof to be vertical and horizontal.
  5. When offering up the fabric to the wall, fold the top edge over to make a neat border (the folded bit is known as selvedge). Do not leave the cut edge of the fabric showing. Now tack the top corner up directly in the corner. This will allow you tension the fabric, and still have a neat edge against the ceiling - which you have put up first!
  6. If the edges of two drops have to meet at an inside corner, then there's a trick here to getting it to look neat. When tensioning the first drop, staple it directly in the top and bottom corners, but leave about 40mm (just under 2") of selvedge to go around the corner onto the next wall. Then, when hanging the next drop, where the two drops meet down the vertical corner, fold the top and side edges under themselves, then staple it down as close to the inside corner as possible. Follow the same procedure for tensioning the drop in the corners first. In this way, you'll both form a neat edge and at the same time, tension the entire piece of fabric.
    fabric fix absorb ceiling Detail of the top corner showing the ceiling and one wall finished.
  7. Tensioning the fabric should be done carefully! Start by tacking up one of the top corners, then tack up the opposite top corner ensuring that the fabric is tight across the top and that the weave is horizontal. Now tack the bottom corners, again tensioning the fabric to ensure that it is both tight, and that the weave is close to horizontal and vertical. You need to align the weave carefully, but it does not need to be perfect at this point because you can still make adjustments during tensioning.
  8. Once you have the fabric mounted and tensioned at the corners, then start to tension evenly down the vertical of edges. Start in the middle and apply the correct tension to keep the weave vertical. Then move to the opposite edge and tension the midpoint here. Now the weave should be both horizontal across the width, and vertical at the midpoints.
  9. Alternate from side to side, tensioning and stapling at the same vertical point on opposite sides. Divide each half in half and tension again, keeping the weave vertical. Keep subdividing the vertical edges until you have staples every 25mm (1") or so. Again, you have to ensure that any seams formed when you sewed two drops together remain vertical during tensioning.
  10. Now repeat exactly the same process along the horizontal edges, but this time you are looking to keep the weave horizontal. Remember to tension equally from opposites sides, starting in the middle, and subdividing each section in half until you have staples every 25mm (1") or so.
fabric fix absorb ceiling Detail of the fabric tensioned around the door frame. Notice that the door lining has not yet been added.
fabric fix absorb ceiling The ceiling and one wall finished.
What to do about light switches etc.

fabric fix absorb ceilingYou'll have probably noticed that there are going to be several things that have to be mounted through the fabric:

  • The light switches
  • The plug sockets
  • The hooks for the low voltages lights

Before applying the fabric to the walls, make sure that all your wall fabric fix absorb ceilingplugs and light switches are already mounted to the wall. The just apply the fabric straight over top of them!

The next stage is to cut the fabric to allow the plug sockets and light switch through. There's a way of doing this that will ensure you get a neat finish. Whatever you do, don't cut a rectangular section out of the fabric, and then think you can fabric fix absorb ceilingjust screw the fitting over top. You can do this if you want, but the fabric will loose its tension at this point, and the whole thing will look like a botch job.

Make a horizontal cut starting from exactly the centre of the socket, and extending about two thirds of the way to each vertical edge. Then cut diagonally from each corner down to the ends of the first cut, so you have a widened X shape. The finished socket with the face plate remounted. This technique can be used for any surface mounted face plate that you need to come through the fabric finish.Small cuts made in the fabric for the low voltage light hooks fabric fix absorb ceilingAnother socket, and the light and fan switches have all been finished the same way.



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