HomeArticle12 Methods How To Soundproof A Ceiling

12 Methods How To Soundproof A Ceiling




Soundproofing a ceiling offers several advantages, regardless of whether you live in a house or apartment building. Not only will you be able to reduce the amount of noise, but you will also benefit from the improved sound quality. So, how to soundproof a ceiling?

Ceiling soundproofing would help ensure that those living above you are not disturbed by any noise coming from your space. Thus, it is important to understand how to properly soundproof a ceiling.

Before implementing any soundproofing techniques, it is important to be aware of the fundamental principles of soundproofing ceilings. Consideration of these principles should be taken into account.

How To Soundproof A Ceiling

Learn the basics of How to soundproof a Ceiling

To achieve effective soundproofing of your ceiling, it is essential to be familiar with the fundamentals of soundproofing. There are materials and methods that provide the most effective noise reduction for the type of noise you are trying to block out.

Before beginning a soundproof ceiling project, it is essential to thoroughly evaluate the surface being treated.

The type of ceiling you have

It is important to note that conventional ceilings, which are typically constructed by nailing drywall to wooden joists, are not the only ceiling types that may be present in a home. Other potential ceiling structures include but are not limited to, those that could potentially benefit from soundproofing methods.

Nonetheless, most of the available soundproofing techniques should be effective in dampening noise on conventional ceilings.

In addition to conventional and suspended ceilings, most of these options are installed for their attractive appearance. Of course, to maintain the look, one would have to begin the project from the floor above.

Identify the type of noise you’re dealing with

Next, make a distinction between airborne and impact noise. Airborne noise occurs when sound waves are transmitted through the air, possibly penetrating any gaps in the ceiling, while impact noise is created by vibration traveling through the building’s structure.

Generally, airborne sound encompasses a wide range of sources, including conversation, animal noises, music, and television audio. If the ceiling is not adequately sealed, these noises may travel in and out of the space.

Conversely, impact noise is typically composed of lower-frequency vibrations such as bass. You may be able to discern this type of noise when a large vehicle passes by your building.

The most significant form of sound transmission is due to objects falling from the floor above.

Stop Impact Noise by Decoupling Surfaces

To reduce the impact noise emitted from the ceiling, decoupling the drywall from the wooden joists to which it is secured is the most effective solution. Securing resilient channels to the joists and the drywall to the channels will allow for the two surfaces to be completely separated.

Image Credit : www.tmsoundproofing.com

Consequently, vibrations will be lessened through the connection between them.

The installation of resilient channels can provide effective shock absorption from impacts from the floor above, preventing vibrations from traveling through the wooden core and down to the ceiling below.

For optimal results, soundproofing the floor above should be considered in addition.

Block Airborne Noise with Mass

It is important to be familiar with the principles of soundproofing to effectively reduce the amount of airborne and impact noise that passes within your ceiling. Adding mass to the surface can help fortify it against these two main types of noise.

When soundproofing ceilings, one must use heavy, thick, and dense materials to prevent sound waves from passing through the surface. Improvising with bulky furniture is not an option. These materials can strengthen walls and ceilings alike, ensuring soundproofing is achieved.

When constructing walls, bookshelves and wardrobes can be employed to add a sense of mass, but for ceilings, materials that remain in place during installation are a necessity.

consider using sound-absorbing materials

Utilizing damping and decoupling techniques can effectively reduce noise transmission through ceilings. If further acoustic improvements are desired, sound-absorbing materials may be incorporated to take advantage of the available surface area.

Image Credit : www.kineticsmiddleeast.com

If sound waves are blocked from passing through the ceiling, they will continue to reflect off the walls of the room. In large enough, empty rooms this will create an echo and reverberation effect.

It is advisable to eliminate any hard surfaces from the environment, as they cause reverberations that can amplify noise.

The sound absorption principle necessitates the use of absorbent materials such as acoustic foam and fabric panels that are soft, dense, and thick. As an alternative, several types of ceiling tiles are available. For a more economical yet creative solution, one can suspend blankets as a sound-reducing measure.

Check the air vents

Carefully considering the necessary soundproofing techniques for your ceiling is a time-consuming task. However, it would be unwise to overlook a key feature of the room such as ventilation.

In most edifices, ventilation outlets are often located on the walls; however, it is not atypical to observe them in the ceiling.

Be mindful that an open ceiling opening creates more than just a noise issue; ventilation systems are often linked to other rooms on the same level.

The hole in your ceiling could potentially increase the acoustics of the room adjacent to yours.

It should be noted that the sound transmitted through the air duct would be softer than the original noise, albeit more audible than if it were to be heard through a wall.

It is important to recognize and soundproof any air ducts located on the ceiling when implementing acoustic treatment.

Should we soundproof an existing ceiling or soundproof it during construction?

At this juncture, you should have a satisfactory understanding of the concepts involved in soundproofing your ceiling. Nonetheless, there remains one element to be taken into account – the commencement of the task.

What are the benefits of soundproofing a ceiling during its construction versus adding materials to a completed surface?

To effectively soundproof walls and ceilings, it is best to do so during the construction process. If one is familiar with the soundproofing process, then this should be a simple answer. When done correctly, the structure should be able to effectively reduce noise, all while creating a seamless look.

If you would prefer to have a conventional drywall ceiling, you may need to soundproof it to achieve optimal results.

An alternate option, if you choose not to deconstruct your ceiling, is to affix soundproofing materials from the underside. If access to the floor from above is available, there are several methods you can use to soundproof the area.

Soundproof a Ceiling with 12 Effective Ways

This guide provides helpful advice for soundproofing a finished ceiling, and the methods are presented in the order to be implemented when beginning with exposed joists. Therefore, the information located in the latter portion of the guide is particularly useful.

If necessary, one could always remove the existing drywall and begin anew if it appears to be beyond repair.

Insulate the Ceiling Joists

To achieve soundproofing from within, the initial step is to obtain insulation. There are various types of insulation available, which can be chosen depending on requirements and budget. Nevertheless, the simplest and most cost-effective option is to use fiberglass batt insulation.

Insulation serves as a barrier to help maintain the desired temperature in a building or home by trapping air within walls and ceilings. This helps prevent cold air from entering and warm air from escaping.

Insulation has numerous advantages, one of which is its ability to retain air and, therefore, sound waves, providing noise control. Its dense structure is essential to this purpose.

When considering insulation for a ceiling, it is important to first measure the spacing of the joists and calculate the total square footage that needs to be covered. This will ensure that the correct amount of product is ordered; batt insulation typically comes in 16 or 24-inch wide rolls and rectangular batts.

Upon receipt of your insulation, you can easily insert it between the ceiling beams, where it should remain in place without further adjustment.

If you are concerned that the insulation may not remain in place before you install your drywall, consider an option with paper facing. When adding insulation to the ceiling, carefully remove the paper edges and secure them to the joists using staples.

As an alternative, you could choose other types of insulation such as expanding foam insulation or loose-blown insulation. If you are planning to fill the ceiling after most of the drywall has been installed, then loose-blown insulation may be a viable option.

If you opt for the expanding foam option, make sure to thoroughly mix it to achieve a fast-setting result.

Decouple the drywall from the joists

Before installing drywall, one may opt to decouple the ceiling using single- or double-leg resilient channels. Single-leg resilient channels can be affixed to the joists via screws, while double-leg hat channels are clipped into place.

When attempting to achieve the highest degree of vibration reduction, hat channels are often suggested as the best option. They are attached to sound clips, then securely fastened to the joists.

The use of resilient channels alone is not sufficient to achieve the desired degree of separation in the ceiling’s structure. However, once the ceiling is complete, any subtle differences in sound should not be apparent.

When installing channels, ensure that the first row is no more than six inches away from the edge of the wall and is positioned perpendicular to the joists. Subsequent channels should be spaced approximately 16 inches apart.

Before installing the drywall, it is necessary to mark the positions of the channels on each sheet. Additionally, the joists should be noted to avoid them. Connecting the drywall to the wooden structure of the ceiling eliminates the need for this step.

Construct a suspended ceiling

Suspended ceilings provide an acoustic solution, significantly reducing both impact and airborne noise transmission. The exact height of the dropped ceiling can be determined based on the height of the original ceiling; however, it is important to note that a few inches of the original ceiling will be lost.

Suspended Ceiling
Suspended Ceiling

The effort put into the construction will be rewarded; the plenum space created by the gap between the original structure and the newly built one will be sufficient to block out any sound. This area is pressurized more than the rest of the room, providing an effective buffer.

The primary function of this device is to facilitate air circulation in the room, while additionally serving as a passive sound attenuator or trap.

To initiate construction of the suspended ceiling, a level T-bar grid must be established just below the existing ceiling. This process begins by mounting L-shaped channels near the top of the walls that encompass the room.

Once you have determined the size of your ceiling tiles or drywall, you must formulate a design for the grid layout in the room.

The installation of a drop ceiling typically coincides with the use of acoustical ceiling tiles; however, this is not a requirement. Other decorative finishes may be employed as desired.

If you seek a matte finish for the surface, we suggest that you direct your search accordingly. Additionally, you may find the accompanying video to be of assistance.

Install soundproof drywall

It is important to select the appropriate drywall for the ceiling when considering a drywall finish. A regular plasterboard is an option, however, mold-, moisture-, and fire-resistant options should be taken into consideration.

You may choose to use soundproof drywall, which is thicker than regular gypsum board, as an option.

The cost of using soundproof drywall as a solution is unfortunately more expensive than traditional drywall. The ultimate cost of the job depends on the size of the ceiling, with individual sheets of soundproof drywall potentially costing more than $40.

When considering the dimensions of 4 feet wide and 8 feet long (or larger), one can determine the number of pieces required as well as the cost-effectiveness of the project. As an alternative, standard drywall could be used in a doubled-up fashion.

Doubled up on the drywall

If it is cost-effective to purchase twice the amount of regular drywall than the number of soundproof panels, two layers of drywall can be installed. Connecting them may seem like a challenge, but this can be done with the help of a Green Glue damping compound.

The principle of damping involves the use of materials that can absorb sound waves and transform them into thermal energy. This method of soundproofing can be effective in reducing both airborne and impact noise.

In regards to the application of Green Glue, it must be used between two solid surfaces. This adhesive is known to be highly effective, and will securely bond the two pieces of drywall.

Should you opt to utilize this option, it would be prudent to plan ahead and carefully consider the installation process. One approach would be to secure one sheet of drywall to the joists or resilient channels, followed by a second sheet that is coated in Green Glue.

If that is the case, drywall lifts may be necessary to ensure that the adhesive has been set before installing the second layer. Alternatively, green glue and drywall sandwiches could be created and installed simultaneously.

Ensure no cracks between drywall sheets

Once the drywall has been affixed, any cracks or imperfections should be sealed. Construction professionals typically use gypsum joint compounds to conceal the screws and seams between the drywall panels. Alternatively, acoustic caulk can be utilized in the same regard.

This product could be beneficial for soundproofing an existing ceiling, even if it has already been completed. Over time, walls and ceilings may develop cracks which can allow sound to travel into and out of the room.

If an occurrence of this nature has occurred in the room in question, transparent acoustic caulk may be utilized as an alternative to joint compound.

When applying the product, direct your attention to the edges of the room where the ceiling meets the walls. Using a gloved finger, press the material into the crevice to ensure a seamless, flexible, and paintable result.

Paint with soundproof qualities

Soundproof paint cannot be relied upon as the sole solution to improve the acoustics within a room. However, its thick and pliable nature can help seal up any small gaps in the ceiling.

If you have reconstructed your ceiling, it is suitable to use regular paint. The solidity of the newly applied layers should be sufficient to inhibit any airborne noise penetration.

If you would like to proceed with sealing the entirety of the ceiling before other methods, this product may be suitable for you.

Increase the Mass of the Surface With MLV to 8

For an effective soundproofing solution without removing drywall, Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV) is a significant investment. It provides an acoustic barrier to insulate against sound waves, while still limiting the impact of noise from the underside of the ceiling.

To reduce airborne noise and enhance shock absorption, the use of MLV as a carpet or floor underlayment above the ceiling would be more advantageous than using it directly on the top.

Attaching the MLV directly to the ceiling can increase the mass of the surface, creating a soundproof barrier. However, due to the black color of the material, it may be advisable to cover the MLV with fabric or ceiling tiles after installation.

Cover the ceiling with acoustic tiles

The use of acoustic tiles is an effective soundproofing technique for ceilings; they can be installed into a suspended ceiling grid or adhered directly to the existing ceiling.

Irrespective of the situation, both mass, and absorptive properties will be added to the surface, thus mitigating sound transmittance through the point of entry.

Ceiling tiles come in a variety of sizes, hues, and designs, making them an ideal decorative choice when renovating a room. It is important to note, that dropped ceilings can also serve to reduce impact and airborne noise, even if they are composed of various types of tiles.

In this instance, acoustic tiles are not obligatory unless sound absorption is desired.

Use Styrofoam Ceiling Tiles

Ceiling tiles are commonly manufactured from vinyl, fiberglass, clay, or materials such as metal, glass, and wood. These materials are reflective, providing acoustic benefits; however, they may come at a higher cost.

If you’re searching for an economical option, I suggest exploring styrofoam tiles.

The porous nature of materials such as styrofoam means that they can help to reduce sound waves reverberating in a room, however, they lack the mass necessary to provide adequate sound-blocking properties. To address this issue, it is necessary to combine styrofoam with another material to provide the required mass.

An effective course of action would be to install a Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV) barrier on the ceiling and conceal it with styrofoam tiles or adhere them directly to the drywall with Green Glue.

Use acoustic foam

If an acoustic enhancement is your priority for the soundproofing of a particular room, using acoustic foam panels over ceiling tiles is recommended. While the material cannot prevent sound from traveling, it is capable of absorbing any unwanted sound waves.

Should you desire to increase the sound absorption properties of the surface, Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV) can be installed between the foam and the ceiling drywall, as previously suggested. However, acoustic foam is not the only sound-absorbing material available for professional use.

Try acoustic fabric panels

If one’s ceiling has not been adequately insulated, then batt insulation can be installed on the surface. Acoustic fabric panels should be hung using impaling clips, L-brackets, or Z-clips.

Another option is to construct multiple items and place them strategically around the ceiling.

To construct a wall panel, one would need insulation batts, a wooden frame to house them, and plywood for the backing. The panel should then be assembled, covered in fabric, and secured in place with staples.

This solution is an ideal option, as it not only improves sound quality but also provides a pleasing aesthetic. Furthermore, if the ceiling is particularly tall and has an echo, suspending the panels in a vertical orientation will act as an effective sound baffle.

Footsteps can be soundproofed against a ceiling in the best way

The elimination of impact noise can be a challenging undertaking. To soundproof a ceiling against footsteps, decoupling the surface is an option. However, the most efficient solution is to soundproof the floor above.

Install carpets and underlays

The most cost-effective solution to block out the sound of footfall is the installation of carpets on the floor above. If the existing carpets are too thin, they can be layered or carpet underlay can be utilized.

Memory foam underlays offer superior shock absorption, ideal for foot traffic or objects falling on the floor. If a foam option is not available, felt or rubber can still provide a satisfactory level of protection. As an economical alternative to purchasing a new product, an old exercise mat can make a suitable substitute.

The reverberations of footsteps will be significantly attenuated in the chamber underneath.

Stabilize the floorboards

Flooring that experiences heavy foot traffic may become less secure over time, resulting in increased sound transmission. If this is a problem you are currently facing, there are several potential solutions available.

An effective remedy for this situation could be to rearrange the furniture in the room. While this is only a temporary solution, it can have a positive impact on the flooring.

If you have wooden floorboards, you can address the problem by fastening them securely to the subfloor.

Install Underlayment for Acoustic Flooring

Deconstructing the floor above you will provide a layer of acoustic underlayment between the subfloor and flooring, which will fill up and soften the floor while reducing airborne and impact noise.

When selecting floor underlayment, it is important to consider the type of flooring you have and the purpose of the room, as there are various materials to choose from, such as foam, cork, rubber, and felt. This decision is similar to the selection of carpet underlays, as there are various kinds to choose from.

In areas such as bathrooms or laundry rooms, it is recommended to use water-resistant options to avoid any potential water damage.

Regardless, sealing the individual sections of underlayment must be completed with tape once the material is unrolled. There is also the option of using an underlayment that has adhesive applied to one side.

Once the installation is complete, ensure that the flooring is re-laid at a 90-degree angle. Alternatively, this may be an opportune time to install new flooring.

How much does one have to pay to soundproof a ceiling?

The degree of completion and quality of this project is contingent upon how comprehensive one desires to be. Additionally, the existing state of the ceiling should be taken into consideration.

Irrespective of the route chosen, it is possible to acoustically insulate the area, though allowances should be made in the event of a limited budget.

You have likely formed an opinion regarding the cost of implementing the soundproofing methods discussed. However, it is worth noting that the prices available on the market are quite varied. As an example, you can find a wide selection of prices for underlayment.

The cost per square foot of your chosen base material may range from $0.40 to $2.50.

Fiberglass insulation should cost approximately $0.65 per square foot. This must then be covered with either

When factoring in the cost of materials, it is necessary to consider engaging contractors for some of the proposed projects. Outsourcing the job would increase the cost of acoustic tiles from $1 per square foot to $5.


When considering soundproofing, ceilings are often overlooked compared to floors and walls. Special attention should be paid to windows and doors, as they can often be major sources of sound leakage.

If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to live with loud individuals, having a soundproof ceiling can be a great asset.

It is thus suggested that a mutually beneficial agreement with those living above should be sought, to obviate the need for soundproofing the ceiling, which can then become a further acoustic asset within the room.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recent posts