Monday, August 07, 2006

Soundproofing your ceiling from noisy upstairs neighbors

With more and more people living in multi story condominiums and lofts, noise from above is becoming nearly unbearable. The majority of the irritating noise comes from footfall or walking on a hard wood floor above. This noise is what is known as Impact noise and it is transmitted through the sub floor and into the floor joists, which are generally spaced an even 16 inches apart. This noise is then ultimately transmitted into the ceiling and to the neighbor below. The evenly spaced joists can actually enhance the noise by acting as tuning forks that prolong the noise and can actually amplify to the person living below. Ceiling soundproofing is becoming a very popular upgrade in many condos and loft buildings.
There are many ways to deal with impact noise issues from above; one is to float an entirely new ceiling using sound clips (Americlips) and 7/8” metal furring channels. This system suspends a new drywall ceiling from the ceiling joists and the existing drywall. The floated ceiling is now isolated from the existing ceiling structure above and ultimately breaks the circuit or the path for the impact noise to reach the neighbor below.
This isolation works for both impact and airborne noise, thus preventing both from reaching the ears of the neighbor below.
Many soundproofing companies tell their customers to simply staple or nail up a layer of mass loaded vinyl (mass loaded vinyl is a vinyl designed to emulate lead sheeting) directly to their drywall ceiling and then to drywall over top of it. We have found through experience that this does not work very well especially for impact noise. If the MLV is sandwiched between t hard surfaces it is not able to more or to resonate with the sound and therefore a great amount of it soundproofing ability is compromised.
If you decide to use MLV on a ceiling, then it is best to either remove the old drywall and attach the MLV directly to the ceiling joists or if you want to leave the remaining drywall up, simply attach furring strips to the existing ceiling making sure the screws for the furring strips actually go into the joist. You would then attach the mass loaded vinyl to the furring strips then seals the seams and the perimeter with an acoustical caulk, and then finally tape the seams only with our MLV seam sealer tape. Once this is complete, simply screw up your final layer of drywall directly over top of the MLV membrane and you are done. Now remember, mass loaded vinyl does little or nothing for impact noise, but it is very effective for airborne noise.
Now, there is a final method we recommend for soundproofing a ceiling from both impact noise as well as airborne noise. This method employs a soundproofing product called Green Glue. Pretty simple name for a remarkable product that stops both impact and airborne noise from the floor above. Green glue is a visco elastic dampening compound that is used to dampen the drywall and the structure above. Dampening the ceiling or wall structure helps to soundproof those areas both impact and airborne sound. You simply apply 2 tubes of the Green Glue to each 4’ X 8’ sheet of drywall, then simply screw in the Green Glue treated drywall directly up to the existing drywall ceiling. This will sandwich the Green Glue between the existing ceiling drywall and the new drywall that you are adding to the ceiling. The Green glue both dampens and isolated the drywall sheets and gives the ceiling the same affect as if it were floated on sound clips and furring channels. Green Glue is revolutionizing the soundproofing industry because if it’s effectiveness and ease of installation.
For more information on soundproofing a ceiling from both impact and airborne noise, contact the professionals at they have all of the answers to your soundproofing questions and will always recommend the most effect and economical noise reduction products to meet your individual soundproofing needs.

Dr. Bob O.
Soundproofing a ceiling
Call toll free (877) 530-0139
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