The primary issue residents of multistory apartments have noise from their above neighbors. For those who live below or on top of someone else’s level, having a tranquil room where they can hear no sound would be a dream.
Whether it’s the children running about, the usage of noisy machines like a washing machine, or the unkind neighbor’s loud footsteps, noises coming from above are annoying. These sounds significantly disrupt the calm and quiet in the space and irritate you to no end. Therefore, you must soundproof your ceiling to get your desired level of peace and tranquility.
In this post, we’ll go over all the alternatives available to you, the materials you may use, and how to soundproof different types of ceilings to decrease the noise that enters via them appropriately. We will also try to address some queries in your mind regarding soundproofing the ceilings.
So, let’s get going!
Can You Soundproof an Existing Ceiling?
Soundproofing an existing ceiling is possible, but there are some limitations, such as the fact that you can only use acoustic foam panels and MLV (Mass Loaded Vinyl).
Most homes have plasterboard ceilings attached to wooden joists and a wooden floor or chipboard floor installed on top of the joists, producing a void or cavity. Ensuring no gaps between the joists in your ceiling should be your priority. Sound can pass through holes and create disturbances in your room if any.
You’ll need to be resourceful and maybe construct a second ceiling if you currently have a ceiling that you don’t want to remove. Alternatively, you’ll need to remove the plasterboard if you’re working on an existing ceiling and have no other way of getting to it except the bottom.
Does Soundproofing a Ceiling Work?
To answer this question, we will need to apprise you about the two types of noise; impact and airborne.
Sounds made by the movement of air without any physical contact are known as “airborne.”
When they come into contact with a hard surface, they bounce back like a wave. Voices and music are examples of airborne noise propagating in waves across the building’s open areas.
Any hard surface that comes into touch with these vibrations absorbs the wave and then vibrates. After that, it transmits the vibration to the air on the opposite side of the surface.
Physical contact is necessary to produce impact noises, where the impact of two or more objects results in vibration.
When someone walks on the upper floor of your home, the floor and foot collide, causing vibration. Materials that link your ceiling to their floor are responsible for the tremor. Once the ceiling releases these vibrations, the sound travels from that room to yours.
Yes, soundproofing a ceiling works. So when you’re soundproofing a ceiling, you’re trying to eliminate these two kinds of noises.
Does Insulation in the Ceiling Reduce Noise?
Yes, since noise insulation absorbs sound waves to provide a barrier between your home and the outside world. Insulation reduces the amount of noise that comes into your home from the outside. It also minimizes the noise that travels between floors and rooms within your home.
Any house may benefit from installing insulation for soundproofing. Still, those who live in cities, busy neighborhoods, or apartment buildings, where noise levels are often much higher, will benefit the most. The greatest forms of insulation for sound suppression are loose-fill cellulose and glass wool made from fiberglass.
How to Soundproof a Ceiling?
Four essential things might prevent sounds from reaching your ears:
The most efficient techniques will combine all four of these factors to detect any sound drop. Each operates as follows:
Disrupting the propagation of sound waves through your building’s structure by separating pieces in your ceiling can help reduce the impact noise you hear. Drop ceilings do not connect with the structure above them; however, drywall ceilings need a construction activity.
Low-density materials like fiberglass and mineral wood in an open space will absorb airborne noise. This step is very crucial for drop ceilings.
If you want to reduce the amount of noise that reaches you, you may add a second layer of drywall or any other sound-absorbing material to your home.
Damping is the thermal dissipation of sound using the application of a chemical substance.
Types of Ceiling
Before attempting to soundproof, knowing what kind of ceiling you’re working with is also helpful. The type of ceiling will determine which option is most effective regarding soundproofing. Ceilings come in two primary varieties:
- Drywall / Plasterboard: The most popular form of the ceiling in residential structures is drywall, which some call custard board and plasterboard. It is simple to assemble and comprises gypsum wrapped in thick sheets of paper. You can easily soundproof this style of the ceiling.
- Dropped/ Suspended: Unlike a traditional ceiling, a drop ceiling consists of a hanging substructure. Dropped or suspended ceilings hang from the main structural ceiling. Covering concealing building infrastructure and improving acoustics and sound absorption are two goals of suspended ceilings.
- It’s possible that your suspended ceiling isn’t as soundproof as you’d want it to be due to the presence of things like light fixtures and duct systems. If your ceiling tiles are lightweight polystyrene, they may not be thick enough to offer soundproof.
Now, let’s tell you about the best tried and tested methods of soundproofing your ceiling.
Use Soundproof Drywall
If you want to reduce noise pollution in your home, you should choose soundproof ceiling drywall. Making drywall panels requires the use of gypsum.
Single-layer drywall makes it simple for sound to get through. However, soundproof drywalls are thicker than regular drywall and prevent sound from traveling from one room to another.
Double Layer Drywall
Double-layer drywall is another option if you want to increase the density. Fiberglass and two layers of drywall make up its construction. The more thickness, the harder it is for the sound to cause the surface to quiver.
Install Acoustic Panels
Using decorative acoustic panels is a terrific method to add beauty and reduce noise by up to 70%. There are several varieties available. Applying construction glue to the backs of the acoustic panels and then fastening them to the ceiling will hold the panels firmly in place.
Some may be relatively large and hefty, and the pricing and quality are excellent.
Install Acoustic Tiles
Acoustic tile installation is a reliable soundproofing solution for both dropped and drywall ceilings. These tiles comprise fiberglass, and more expensive tiles include mass loaded vinyl or sound-interrupting foil layer.
A metal grid, similar to the one you could find in situ if you have a suspended ceiling, holds the tiles in place. It is possible to use special clips to secure the acoustic tiles on a drywall ceiling, which you can screw into the drywall and back of the panels.
The other option is to apply construction glue on the back of each panel and attach it to the ceiling, which is much simpler to install on a drywall ceiling. Screw or nail the ceiling panels in place after you have installed them.
Put Mass Loaded Vinyl
You may also use mass loaded vinyl as an underlayment to place underneath the carpet, laminate, tiles, and other floorings.
The density of this soundproofing material also produces an additional layer of insulation to stop conditioned air from escaping and adds extra cushioning underneath the flooring covering.
Apply A Coating Of Acoustic Paint
Apply sound-blocking acoustic paint to your walls and ceilings to limit sound transmission. Soundproof paint is a thick, soft covering primarily intended to reduce noise.
Use Resilient Channels or Hat Clips
You can use resilient channels to decouple the ceiling before hanging the drywall. Twist the metal strip to provide plenty of space between the drywall and studs. The critical distinction is that double-leg hat channels are screwed into the joists, while you need to clip in single-leg resilient channels.
Floating ceiling joists have sound clips screwed into them. Hat channels are attached to these sound clips. That’s one more degree of isolation that resilient channels alone can give in the ceiling construction.
How to Soundproof Basement Ceiling?
For soundproofing basement ceiling, you can employ the following methods:
Insulation of Ceiling Joists
If you want to silence a room completely, you should begin by stuffing the wooden joists. Then, you can minimize noise transmission by adding bulk, which would obstruct most of the space that transmits it.
Fiberglass is a standard option for ceiling joist insulation. Still, mineral wool insulation has recently gained a lot of appeal owing to its three times the greater density and being environmentally friendly.
Before moving to the next step, you need to decouple the two surfaces, as decoupling entails putting another barrier between the two surfaces. For example, the decoupling procedure will be complete if you install robust channels at a right angle or 90 degrees to the timber joists.
Putting Up Drywall Sheets
Soundproofing using 5/8″ drywall may be pretty effective. You can lay this drywall sheet on the robust channel as an extra layer of protection, and it is the only place where you can drill the drywall sheet to work effectively.
You can also achieve double blocking by adding a layer of drywall on top of the existing drywall. Green glue, an inexpensive and commonly accessible acoustic compound, may be used to achieve this goal. Doing this will give you a dampening effect and reduce vibrations between drywalls.
Use Acoustic Caulking to Fill up the Gaps
Even the tiniest of air pockets may have a significant impact on the effectiveness of a wall’s ability to block out noise. To fill out the gaps in drywall, you can use the non-flammable rubber-like sealant known as acoustic caulk. It’s easy to find, and it’s not too pricey either. Moreover, after a thorough inspection, you should apply the sealant to the whole ceiling.
Use Acoustic Ceiling Tiles, Acoustic Panels, or Mass Loaded Vinyl Sheets
Sound absorption is the primary function of ceiling tiles rather than sound suppression. Installing them on your ceiling will provide you with an extra layer of sound absorption while enhancing your home’s aesthetics.
Another option to consider is the use of acoustic panels. In addition to the walls, you can also utilize them on the ceiling. For example, fiberglass, wood, and the most popular material, “acoustic foam panels,” are all options for these panels.
Mass-loaded vinyl sheets are an excellent alternative for reducing impact and airborne noise. They are thick sheets that you can place on the ceiling or the floor above the basement ceiling.
How to Soundproof a Concrete Ceiling?
To soundproof a concrete ceiling, follow the steps below.:
- Step 1: Attach metal bars to the concrete ceiling using C channels. To create an open area at least three inches deep, use C channels that are the proper size. Drill holes in the ceiling using a masonry bit and fasten the channels with masonry screws.
- Step 2: Reduce sound transmission by attaching metal isolation or sturdy sound clips to the C channels. These clips have attached bars known as drywall furring channels from where you can suspend the drywall or plasterboard. You must position the sound clips along the C channels with a distance of 7 to 10 inches between them every 48 inches across the ceiling.
- Step 3: Your furring channels should be attached using bolts or screws to the isolation clips on your C channels. As you put drywall and plasterboard on the new ceiling, ensure that you have fastened the furring channels properly.
- Step 4: You should hang the plasterboard using drywall screws attached to the furring channels.
- Step 5: In addition to sound-resistant plasterboard or ordinary drywall, apply drywall dampening compound. Install drywall or plasterboard on your ceiling, this time with the damping compound facing up so that you spread it evenly between the new drywall and the old plasterboard.
- Step 6: Make sure you have done the drywall to your satisfaction before painting it.
Noise is a phenomenon that is difficult to avoid altogether. You will find it everywhere; in the public spaces outdoors, in the building where you work, or even in your own house where ambient sound like that of TVs can irritate you.
Soundproofing is a relatively new development that has come to our rescue in this situation. You can now modify your houses and make your walls, ceilings, and floors more secure so that you may live in an atmosphere of tranquility. Soundproofing is customizable to most needs, and you can do it at a price that is accessible for any budget.
You can handle it yourself or get help from a trained specialist. You may even include the whole family in the activity, turning it into a fast and easy learning experience that the entire family will enjoy.
The process of soundproofing a ceiling is not simple, but it is well worth the effort in the long run. Every one of the approaches detailed here is practical and within one’s financial means. But of course, some are more efficient than others, but ultimately, it comes down to what will work best in your house.
Therefore, you need to make sure you spend the necessary time conducting a survey and planning out the whole project.
Also, if you want to learn ‘how to soundproof a door‘ to have a completely “silent setup”, check out our guide for the same!