Converting Garage into Studio


New member
Hello! Thank you for anyone who is reading/replying, This forum has been a hugely helpful, but the more I read the more I feel like I have questions... hopefully my homework has taken me half-way.

My wife and I recently bought our first home together. Having an environment for me to make music was an essential requirement. The house we bought has a detatched garage, which will be turned into my studio.
I appreciate there are limits to what I'll be able to achieve with this space, but I'm very excited to have a dedicated writing room, I never had this before.

Garage Specs (in cm)
I have posted a few pictures including a floor plan. Below is a bit more detail:
Room size: 310 x 520 x 250 (to the wooden beams - actual ceiling goes higher)
Garage door: 252 wide
The side doors 45 from the wall, and 84 x 193
Pillars on the long sides: 11 (sticking out) x 44 (length)
The workbenches and sink on the side are being removed

Garage Roller Door
Possibly the first thing to think about: the garage door. Either I do a great job at insulating it or I have the door removed with a wall being erected in its place. The latter is more expensive and I need to get builders in... but maybe it's worth it?

The roof is a also a concern. I'm assuming I need to look into insulating it, but I fear it will be tricky. The beams seem strong, I was hoping to put some panels resting on top of the beams, and insulating wool resting on the panels. I wonder if the actual wooden beams sticking out (at about 2.5m from the floor) will give any problems?

I found conflicting information about how much of the walls need to be covered to soundproof the garage. Some sites suggest every last inch needs to be covered in insulation, others suggest strategically placing acoustic panels on ~30% of the room will do the job. I'm currently planning on building a full "room within the room" (genieclip + stud wall), is this considered a good approach?

About half-way through the room there's pillars slightly sticking out (11cm) from the walls. I understand corners/irregularities need to be managed. Is it enough to add acoustic panels to the adjacent bits of wall, to even out those 11cm? This will leave that small section of the wall slightly less soundproofed.

The small door on the side will be my only way to access the studio. I plan on obtaining a soundproof door, although the size of the existing door seems to be non-standard so it might be tricky. Any advice on this?

The floor is currently concrete. Some studios have carpets to reduce the sound reflections, is that southing I need to consider at this stage or can I wait until later stages of the studio development?

Acoustic Treatment
I also appreciate that soundproofing and acoustic treatment are two related but separate topics... at the moment I'm focusing on the former, fully aware I will need to take great care of the latter. Any tricks I might be missing by compartmentalising the two too much?

Thank you to anyone who provides any insights!

studio layout 1 (1).PNGIMG_20230917_155733.jpg
A detatched garage...I'm already jealous.
I say keep the garage door, then it is all reversable, when you want to sell.
Build a soundproofing wall inside the garage door.
Line the space with thermal insulation, and a couple of layers of plasterboard, including a ceiling.
As it is, any noise will escape or enter easily.
Cover the floor with underlay/chipboard/underlay/carpet or a hard floor.
It is a good space.
That's a nice clean space to work with.
Looks like a typical grey UK sky there - If so I can tell you from experience to look forward to freezing winters and boiling summers in there. 😂

Sound proofing and acoustic treatment are often conflated.
It's important to establish what you'll be doing, and what you want, before committing to anything.

Sound proofing is the attempt to stop transmission of sound (traffic etc) from outside to inside,
and the reverse - Stopping your neighbours from hearing your drummer or amp or whatever.
Realistically you aren't going to do that.
You can take measures to reduce transmission each way but sound proof? No.

Acoustic treatment is where you're trying to make the environment play nice for your work - Trying to even out or reduce reflections that you hear, which will impair your ability to make critical decisions.
This really matters when you're mixing or mastering a project and expecting it to sound good on a range of unknown systems.

You've called it a dedicated writing room so I guess those are the first import things to clear up.
How much noise are you going to be making, how much does it matter if you hear a plane or car go by, and will you be making critical mixing/production decisions in there for public-release material?

Welcome to the forum!
Raymond mentions the best solution - build a stud and sheet wall across where the white plastic conduit comes down next to the door. A bit of useful storage still.
You said
I found conflicting information about how much of the walls need to be covered to soundproof the garage. Some sites suggest every last inch needs to be covered in insulation, others suggest strategically placing acoustic panels on ~30% of the room will do the job. I'm currently planning on building a full "room within the room" (genieclip + stud wall), is this considered a good approach?

That's rather messed up with sound treatment. If you want to keep inside sound in, and outside sound out, then you need to build a room within the garage - you can get away with 75x50 vertical stud work, and if you build in sections you can adjust each panel's it is slightly in, or out, so 90 degree corners are absent - which helps no end with standing waves - which parallel surfaces tend to produce - and make the classic boxy sound. EVERY surface needs to be layered - two sheets of plasterboard as a minimum - my builds standardised on 2 x 12mm PB and one 18mm MDF on the inside surface, because it's tough easy to finish and really dense. To maximise ceiling height, put the cross joists that hold up the ceiling sheets in between the timber preforms you have for the roof support. Ceiling needs exactly the same sheet material. Ducting can go up into the roof space with fans etc.

Sound escapes/enters through the weakest links - usually doors, and door frames in particular. So slicing off the end gives you an outer and inner door - double soundproofing.

I've put some pictures up of one I did for a friend a while back in his British single garage.


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I'd do it pretty much the way that Rob has described but change a few details. I would add a compliant layer under the studwork and under anything else in contact with the floor. In my studio I used rubber crumb carpet underlay made from recycled car tyres although other studio builders use neoprene strips.

I would also use different thicknesses of plasterboard for each layer - the plasterboard manufacturers suggest a layer of 19mm plasterboard plank with a layer of 12mm acoustic plasterboard (which is heavier than the standard grade) on top for sound resistant walls. One studio builder that I know suggests using a third layer of 15mm acoustic plasterboard on top of that although I didn't feel it was necessary in my build which already had 150mm blocks on the outside.

I used the same construction for the ceiling.
Wow, this is all incredibly helpful! Thank you all.
I feel the roof will be the most challenging aspect for me to wrap my head around, but you have given me a lot of food for thought.
This will take some time... and quite a bit of money, but I really look forward to having the space set up. I will share my progress as I go along!

Also... well spotted @Steenamaroo! I lived in London for a long time, then Leeds, 7 months ago I moved to Belfast for love (my wife is Irish) where we'll be settling for the foreseeable future.

Thank you all again, I am very inexperienced in this and the advice is really appreciated.
Another David here! Yes build a stud wall across the shutter door. That way you avoid any planning jobsworth problems (what they can't see?!) Stuff the void with GF or whatever insulation is cheapest. But mainly I want to talk about the floor and wiring.
I assume the floor is concrete and bone dry? If not dry you will need to get a professional in. I would lay 50mm of GF and then 50x50mm batons and then a chipboard or whatever you choose on that. You can then run low voltage cables, mic, tie lines, data under that and have boxes at strategic points for mics and other gear. In such a small space this helps to keep cable clutter at bay. BTW don't pay fancy prices for connector , XLR say boxes. You can get 4 XLRs in a 13A double box, buy some blank fronts and a cone cutter!

Have some tie lines back into the house including Ethernet, preferably CAT6 shielded. If there is a network installation company around they will probably sell you some 'odd ends' cheap or even give them to you. As well as internet, CAT cable can carry audio, VGA, usb, MIDI and HDMI.

For mains wiring you will of course have to get a sparks in.

Thank you Dave, that's an aspect I had barely thought about, really helpful to have it on my radar now.
Don't forget that small studios get really cold in winter and bake in the summer, although the sound insulation is actually pretty good for heating. What is essential I've found is being able to suck foul air out and bring in new. Duct fans, 8" ducting can work pretty well in between takes. Stick the fan in the exhaust, that's quieter.


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I use a combination of 4" and 5" acoustic ducting with an inline fan. There are 4 inlet ducts fed from just under the eaves and 4 outlet ducts which are combined into a single duct that feeds the fan. You need to be very generous with the duct lengths so that the duct can snake around in the roof space and attenuate the sound. Some people use baffle boxes to reduce the noise through the ducts but I find long, snaking ducts to work just as well. The fan is in a small entrance lobby to the studio together with the studio computer so that everything in the studio itself is completely silent - unless it is supposed to make noise.

I also find the insulation works well for heat as well as sound - the temperature can be sweltering outside but nice and cool inside. It also doesn't require much heating in the winter.
Temperature is indeed something I've been worried about, although I was thinking more about cold and humidity. The plan was to have a small heater (on a thermostat) and a dehumidifier to keep instruments healthy. I had not thought about the potential for heat, I'll need to keep that in mind!

I have two of the above. One in my bathroom and one in my bedroom. They are thermostatic* and switch between 1kW and 2kW. I have them both on a boggo S mech' time switch (outside the bathroom!) If you are on a cheaper night time tariff you can boost the heat a few hours before entry. I would say in a semi-sealed, well insulated room 1kW would be plenty.

De-humidifiers? Be wary of them around expensive acoustic guitars and similar instruments!

*That might cause an audible 'click' even a bang in audio circuits (as do fridges). I have never had a problem with that but then my gear is in a separate room but on the same mains circuit.

BTW, good idea to put a small, 100mm wide, shelf above the heater? Chucks the heat out instead of it going straight up!

Your recording gear should be enough to keep the damp and cold at bay.
I guess my setup may cunsume around 100W, and my little room is well insulated.
Consider just leaving it switched on all the time.
Even leaving a lava lamp on should dissipate 25W or so.
I bought a plug in power meter, which sits between the appliance and the wall socket to tell the voltage, current , and power consumption of the appliance.
Get to know what all your kit consumes.
I moved house in 2021 and had to build a new studio in my garage - which is almost exactly the same as yours, except I have a flat roof..

You are right to build a room within a room, it's the only way to achieve good soundproofing.

I used 9 x 3 floor joists for stud walls stuffed with loft insulation, skinned with double-thickness plasterboard. The floor is chipboard floating on polystyrene.

Up-and-over door: I left it where it is. I left about four feet at the front of the garage for storage (PA hire gear :D) and built a stud wall across the front with a second-hand double-glazed PVC external-quality door for the entrance.

I have a separate recording room and control room. (Another PVC door between them). Only the recording room is room within a room. The control room I just put 2-inch battens with insulation and plasterboard straight on to the walls, because the only sound in there is the monitors, so they don't need so much soundproofing.

Side door and windows: I just left them and 'stud-walled' over them.

Inside, I bought the cheapest duvets I could find and covered all surfaces, including the ceilings. Carpet on the floor.

It works. I can record drums in there and there is only a slight suggestion of a thud outside the studio.

Picks and video:

Hope that helps. Fire away if you have any questions.
My studio is in an extended single garage at home - normal width, but very long, and then there is a room with our washing machine and a sink, and then what was my video editing studio - 10ft x 10ft. Single skin of bricks with flat roof. Inside was the usual timber/plasterboard and MDF inner room I always use. However, for three years it's been unused, full of junk, out of the way. Looking for something I had to remove piles of junk to get to what I needed. There is really bad damp. The lack of heating means it got cold, and very damp in the winter over three years and the summer clearly did not dry it out. In one corner - the exposed to wind and rain one, the inner surface has white mould. Studios with the insulation are great when they're kept warm, but I did not realise how quickly a switched off and unused one would become damp. Maybe I should have treated the brickwork before building the inner room, and maybe the foil backed plasterboard would have been better, and perhaps going back to putting the timber at the bottom onto neoprene strip would have helped? I stopped this because I didn't detect any sound difference from doing this expensive isolation - but it probably let the damp travel from concrete to timber.

I've never has this happen on any of my used studios - but it made me think about how cold, damp and fungal things can travel. Worse I suspect is the humidity caused by us inside - that is also trapped, making venting important - but of course, in winter we suck IN damp air. My guitars are all in my studio on hangers and never seem to suffer, bar the strings - which on the unplayed ones, seem to be rough - which I guess is just rust?
Yes Rob, guitar strings do rust but a wipe with a cloth moistened with the merest tincture of WD-40 once a month will keep it at bay.

It is a complex subject but, all things being equal, WARM air can carry more water vapour than cold. Antarctica is very cold but also one of the driest places on earth.