How to Soundproof a Ceiling

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Apartment dwellers know that upstairs neighbors have a high potential to ruin any quiet night. The noise from parties, repairs, and sometimes even simple footsteps have the tendency to travel from floor to the ceiling beneath with ease. This is, of course, also the case in many office buildings and schools. If you have ever wondered how to fix this problem without having to grab your broom, you’re in luck. Soundproofing your ceiling is easier than you might think, though it does require time, effort, and some mechanical know-how. So grab the handyman closest to you and follow these simple steps to protect your personal air space from the sound of those living and working above you.

Things You'll Need

  • Fiberglass Insulation
  • Dense Foam Tiles
  • Acoustical Caulk
  • Isolation Clips
  • Ladder

How to Soundproof a Ceiling

  • Begin the soundproofing process with your ceiling completely exposed. Drywall needs to be removed and anything that might be underneath, leaving only the wood struts exposed. Keep drywall handy, as it will be easier and quicker to use than having to measure and cut new sheets. Once this is done, make sure you have all your materials handy. Now you're ready to go.

  • Use the foam insulation to tightly pack the spaces between the exposed wooden struts. R12 or R13 foam insulation works perfectly. the R index refers to the density of the foam and how well it wards off sound. This foam is the first line of defense your ceiling has against sound.

  • Look for any small openings that may need to be sealed. Even the slightest space can leak a large amount of sound. If any cracks or small holes are found, use a dab of the acoustical caulk to seal them.

  • Fit a layer of dense foam over your ceiling. The easiest way to do this is to purchase previously constructed soundproof ceiling tiles. There are a number of companies that offer these and they fit well into any ceiling without falling loose. Remember, though, that sound travels slower through denser objects, so make sure to purchase as dense as you think your ceiling will require.

  • Use acoustical caulk to seal any spaces or cracks that you see. Make sure the entire ceiling is airtight.

  • Replace your drywall using isolation clips if they were not already in place. These will separate your drywall slightly from the wooden struts and everything else underneath the drywall. Floating, as the technique is called, will help lessen noises caused by footstep vibrations that occur above.

Tips & Warnings

  • Fiberglass can irritate sensitive skin, so wear jeans and long sleeves before starting this work.
  • Never perform this work by yourself. Drywall, in particular, is very heavy and dangerous to work with alone.

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