How to Soundproof a Ceiling

There are five levels of isolation that you can consider. We discuss each briefly below and give objective comments about the cost, difficulty and performance of each. Because ceiling isolation is a combination of airborne and impact noise, a general numerical Performance rating is assigned. This rating is simply a guideline to help assess the likely performance relative to the ceiling you have now.


For this Performance Rating System, your existing ceiling is given a score of 1.


BEST CEILING SOLUTION

Two layers GG/DW on Subfloor + Clips/Drywall Furring Channel + DDW & GG

spc-ceiling-solution-5

SPC Ceiling Soultion 4 Performance

Ease and Cost Performance
  • Highest performance Ceiling Solution
  • More expensive than the other ceiling solutions
  • Still simple and straightforward
  • Slower than the other ceiling solutions
  • Primary labor issue is associated with the removal and disposal of the original ceiling.
By directly addressing the vibration at the source (the subfloor above) we are best able to reduce the vibration before it travels into the side walls. This is the most massive and damped solution. This option is chosen by those who want the most relief.

This is the highest level of isolation generally performed for residential noise levels. This solution is chosen about 30% of the time. It is the most effective solution for stopping vibration from footfall noise overhead as well as airborne sound from below. Far less vibration will make it through the subfloor to the side walls because the subfloor is now much more massive and thoroughly damped.


BETTER CEILING SOLUTION

One layer GG/DW on Subfloor + Clips/Drywall Furring Channel + DDW & GG

spc-ceiling-solution-4

SPC Ceiling Soultion 4 Performance

Ease and Cost Performance
  • More expensive than the other ceiling solutions Still simple and straight forward
  • Slower than the other ceiling solutions
  • Primary labor issue is associated with the removal and disposal of the original ceiling.
By directly addressing the vibration at the source (the subfloor above) we are able to reduce the vibration before it travels far.

The Better Ceiling Solution addresses the noise vibration right at its source by applying mass and damping to the underside of the problematic subfloor. Because this method directly addresses the vibration, there will be much less sound available to travel to the joists as well as your walls below. Keep in mind that your walls are holding up his noisy floor above.

This method adds Decoupling, Mass, Absorption and Damping, four of the 4 Elements of Soundproofing.


GOOD CEILING SOLUTION

Clips/Drywall Furring Channel + Drywall + Green Glue + Drywall

Adding Mass for damping

SPC Ceiling Soultion 2 Performance

Ease and Cost Performance
  • Inexpensive
  • Simple
  • Moderately
  • FastPrimary labor issue is associated with the removal and disposal of the original ceiling.
While this SPC Ceiling Solution is less massive than our Better Solution, it introduces the highly effective aspect of decoupling. Consequently it is more direct and effective specifically against impact (footfall) noise.

This method adds Decoupling, Mass, Absorption and Damping, four of the 4 Elements of Soundproofing.

This solution requires the removal of the existing drywall or plaster ceiling if remodeling. Doing so will allow you to install R19 fiberglass insulation if there’s none there already. If there happens to be insulation up there currently, consider leaving it and not adding more. You have to take care never to compress the insulation, as compressed insulation can conduct a vibration quite effectively. This BETTER Solution introduces the important element of decoupling with the use of resilient clips and channel. By physically disconnecting the ceiling drywall from the existing joists, we significantly frustrate the passage of vibration from the joist to the ceiling drywall. We then add two layers of 5/8” drywall and damp the drywall with Green Glue.

 


GOOD CEILING SOLUTION

Two extra layers of 5/8″ drywall + two Green Glue damping layers on existing ceiling

spc-ceiling-solution-3

SPC Ceiling Soultion 2 Performance

Ease and Cost Performance
  • Inexpensive
  • Simple
  • Fast
  • One remaining issue is accurately finding the existing joists
Our Good Solution is chosen by customers about 40% of the time. It is our single most common choice. It does not address the vibration that remains in the subfloor and joists overhead, however there is a great deal more thoroughly damped mass than the original ceiling had. While this solution does not reduce the vibration that may flank from the upstairs floor directly into your walls, it is an effective means to simply and inexpensively reduce considerable airborne noise and a good deal of the impact noise.

not-recommended
This solution adds an additional TWO layers of standard 5/8” drywall to the existing drywall or plaster ceiling. This make the ceiling quite a bit more massive (an additional 8 pounds per square foot) and again utilizes standard $8 drywall. Install a medium coverage of Green Glue between layers. This will damp more vibration, but still not all, since the vibration is still racing through the framing (joists) above the new drywall layers, with some of this energy still available to enter your ceiling as well as walls.

This method adds Mass and Damping, two of the 4 Elements of Soundproofing.


 

FAIR CEILING SOLUTION

One extra layer of 5/8″ drywall + one Green Glue damping layer on existing ceiling
spc-ceiling-solution-1

SPC Ceiling Soultion 1 Performance

Ease and Cost Performance
  • Inexpensive
  • Simple
  • Fast
  • The only issue is accurately
    finding the existing joists
SPC Solution 1 is a basic level of improvement. It does not address the vibration that remains in the subfloor and joists overhead, and therefore does not reduce the vibration that may flank from the upstairs floor directly into your walls. It will reduce airborne noise more than it will reduce the impact noise.