Improving acoustics in the church

The sound problem: the hallmark reverberation in churchesAcoustics in churches
One of the few places where a certain amount of reverberation is desired is in a church or prayer room. Thanks to well-balanced reverberation (and speaking tempo), the voice of the predecessor of a service reaches quite far into space. This principle has been known since the Middle Ages when the first cathedrals were built. Even then, the correct acoustics were taken into account. Good church acoustics give a full sound to the voice. This means that there is some reverberation in the room, but no echo.

The difference between reverberation and echo is that with reverb a hollow sound is created, while with an echo sounds will sound double. For example, consider a tunnel. Too much reverberation makes the intelligibility of people in a room worse. This is especially the case for people with poor hearing. This noise problem is a common complaint in churches. Even if the church is given a different function, such as a conversion into a meeting room or concert space, the acoustics must also be addressed.

The right solution for improving church acoustics
By placing sound-absorbing materials, the reverberation in a room can be reduced. To determine the correct amount of materials and the correct placement, we recommend that you make an inventory of the complaints about the acoustics. You should be able to answer these questions:

  • Who are the complaints coming from? Is that the organist, choir, pastor or visitors to the church?
  • What is your budget? The budget may not be sufficient for a reverberation measurement or advice on location. This does not have to be a problem, but it can prevent the sound problem from being solved in phases by placing more material or testing with its placement.
  • Do the complaints occur when the church is filled or when it is empty? An empty church will have more reverberation than a full church.
  • For what purposes is the space (most often) used? Do you mainly want to improve the intelligibility of the predecessor or do you want the music to sound better? Will the space be given a new function, such as conversion into an office space or meeting room?

Rule of thumb acoustics
If the acoustics are poor while the room is full, you can assume that at least 50% of the floor area of absorption material still needs to be added to the room. So if your room has a floor area of 100 m², then you add 50 m² of absorption materials to the room, spread throughout the room. The ceiling and the wall opposite the pulpit or podium are the places where the first sound reflections take place. These are the so-called 'reverb hotspots'. Start by providing these surfaces with sound absorption.

Practical example
In this example, photo, it was decided to place flat, white Flamex Basic plates on the ceiling. The advantage of these plates is that they hardly stand out against the white ceiling. Processing was also very easy thanks to the Stauf Extreme Tack Glue. It was decided to provide 70% of the ceiling with Flamex Basic. These panels are effective at absorbing sound in the medium and especially high-frequency range. In this frequency range, sounds such as coughing, voice, sliding of chairs and tapping heels occur.

Below you will find a selection from our range that can be used to solve acoustic problems in churches.


Project guidance 
If you need help choosing products and applying them, we can help you in three ways:

  1. Contact us via the Contact page.  Email/App in advance or via the page at least three photos of the room to us.
  2. Visit the Shop. In this case, please bring some photos/drawings of space.
  3. Become a reverberation measurement carried out on site by one of our specialists and receive a report and a plan of action (a measurement is cost-free and is carried out exclusively with business customers).