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Acoustical Paint

Dear All,
 
I am the Director of Music Ministries for a large traditional Church. Many years ago, before my time here, a team of members decided to deaden the sound in the Church by installing acoustical tiles from midway up the wall to the ceiling, entire back wall of the choir loft, and the arches surrounding the choir loft. A few years ago, the flooring needed replacing so I insisted on wood as the two choices were wood or carpet. They then installed laminate wood. Now we have a new pastor who is making significant changes. Because of the current acoustics, if the choir returns to the loft, half of the congregation will no longer understand/hear the music and words of the choir. They come out muffled. Having all the acoustical tiles removed would cost a tremendous amount of money and will not be done so I am looking for alternatives. Some years back, I heard that there is a "hard shell" paint that when painted over acoustical tiles, would seal in most of the deadening issues. So far I have been unsuccessful in find this product. If you have any experience with this product or have other cost effective ideas, I would love to hear them.
 
Thanks very much!
Barbara
 
Barbara Pinto-Choate
on August 28, 2014 7:10am
Barbara,
 
I have no experience, but you might talk with an acoustician.  He/she should have that information if the paint still exists.
 
Good luck!
Lenora
on August 28, 2014 8:06am
There are two issues that I can think of: 
Fire code compliance, and the chemical interaction between the material of which the tile are made and the base chemicals in the paint.
See if the church has a sample of the tile, or a document listing the manufacturer and part number.  Query the manufacturer about the best paint to "bridge" the pores in the tile, make sure that there is no issue with the paint adding to the fire load, and roll on (the paint)!  :-)
In my experience, almost any enamel paint can harden the surface and fill in the porosity of the relatively soft material of which the tile is made - essentially, the objective is to achieve a shiny surface.
 
A better aid to intelligibility (besides what you're doubtless doing with enunciation)  would be acoustical diffusion - but that costs more than the paint>  :-(
 
As a fellow choral director, I would be interest in knowing more about the venue, and what the congregation would be willing to invest in providing for even better choral musiic...
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