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Simple Steps to Soundproof a Ceiling – How to Soundproof a Home Ceiling
At some point in our lives we’ve all dealt with noisy ceilings. Whether it’s the sound of someone walking around or vacuuming, it’s super annoying especially when you’re trying to get some peace and quiet. Depending on if you’re dealing with noise from upstairs in your own home or your upstairs neighbors, there are a few different solutions to soundproof your ceiling.
Airborne and Structure-Borne Ceiling Noise
It’s important to first determine if the most bothersome sounds from the ceiling above are airborne or structure-borne. Airborne noise is going to be the sound of someone above you playing their music too loud, while structure-borne is the sound of someone’s footsteps from upstairs.
For airborne noise, you’ll want to invest in a product that will block sound rather than absorb it. If you’re being bothered by structure-borne noise, you’ll want something that blocks sound as well as something that will decrease impact noise from footfall.
Soundproofing a Floor and/or Ceiling
There are two different forms of mass loaded vinyl you can use to soundproof your ceiling. If you’ll be doing this within your own home, you might get the best results from soundproofing the floor above you. For this type of project, our sister company Commercial Acoustics sells a product called Floor Blokker.
This product is made of a heavy-duty mass loaded vinyl and has a fluffy scrim layer so that it can both block sound and absorb the impact from footfall.
If you are unfortunate enough to live right below someone who plays loud music all day long, you’ll need to treat your ceiling. The most important thing here is to make sure you’re separating rigid material from rigid material. This is because sound travels farther through solid surfaces.
What you can do here is add a layer of mass loaded vinyl to your ceiling and then cover that with another layer of drywall. One of the myths of soundproofing is that more mass is going to help improve the STC (sound transmission class) of a wall when in reality, sound travels further through solid surfaces.
Learn More: Myths About Sound Blocking
Filling Holes in the Ceiling to Prevent Sound Leaks
As always, check for sound leaks coming in through the ceiling. If there are any holes in the ceiling including the ones for lights, fans or vents then you’ll want to try and fill those. If you want to fill these “cracks” aka the perimeters around the lights, fans, and vents you can use acoustical caulk. We recommend using green glue due to it’s ability to improve STC rating.
While you might not think the smallest cracks could let sound through, sound can leak through cracks just like light can. In fact, a 1% opening in a wall is going to allow 10% more sound into a room through that crack. This is why it’s so important to make sure there are not any sneaky cracks in your walls or ceilings.
Easy & Cheap Ceiling Soundproofing Options – Just Add Carpeting
The easiest and most affordable method to reduce some of that noise from people walking around upstairs is to add some carpet and carpet padding. This is probably only going to work if the sound is coming from upstairs in your own home and not from your upstairs neighbors (unless you want to buy them some new carpet).
Carpet works to absorb noise because it’s a soft and fluffy material. It can also help to cushion the impact of footfall from above and adding padding beneath it will improve this even more. This will be especially helpful when your kids or pets are running around upstairs while you’re watching your favorite show downstairs.
Hacks for a Soundproof Ceiling
There are a few factors that are going to come into play when you’re deciding on how to soundproof your ceiling. If the noise bothering you is coming from the second floor in your own home you have more freedom to treat the floor above along with the ceiling below. But, if the noise is coming from a loud upstairs neighbor you can only treat one side of that ceiling.
In summary, you have a few options when it comes to soundproofing a ceiling:
- Install a sound mat on the floor above the affected ceiling (if the noise is coming from within your own home)
- Install mass loaded vinyl to the ceiling in your home (if the noise is coming from noisy upstairs neighbors)
- Seal up sound leaks in the floor or ceiling using acoustical caulk
- Simply add some area rugs to the floors above, while this option won’t help block sound, it will help to cushion the impact from footsteps