4 Ways to Soundproof a Ceiling
You might have kids who rehearse noisily with their instruments, or simply need an area in your house that offers real peace and quiet. A soundproof ceiling can help you achieve this. There are multiple ways to soundproof your ceiling depending on your situation. The first one actually involves changes to another room entirely.
1. Add to the Carpet on the Upper Floor
One of the simplest ways to soundproof a ceiling is to add layers to the carpet of the floor above, thereby reducing the vibrations. A cheap option is to install thick, rubber matting under the carpeting, but you’ll get much better results by using mass-loaded vinyl (MLV).
MLV looks and even feels like a thick carpet, but it's a soundproofing material. For it to be effective, all of its seams have to be taped to reduce vibration. It also needs to be taped to the joists.
2. Soundproof Drywall
Soundproof drywall has become popular as a way to soundproof a room. This drywall, as you might imagine from its name, is specifically designed to reduce vibrations and noise. Overall, this method works well, but, on a cost-per-square-foot basis, there are cheaper options.
3. Ceiling Materials
Just as MLV is effective when added to the carpet of the room above, it can also work when attached to the ceiling of the room you're trying to soundproof. Foam, rubber, and even old carpet can also reduce sound transfer. There are acoustical ceiling tiles specifically made for this purpose, but they tend to be quite expensive. Take down all ceiling fans and lighting fixtures. These both conduct noise, and the ceiling fan even generates its own.
Since noise is vibration, to soundproof a ceiling is also to reduce its capacity for vibration. The space in between the joists is a common source of vibration, so filling this area will greatly reduce noise transfer. Fill the space with insulation, either blown-in or rigid-foam.
Resilient channels offer an even better solution. They're made of sheet metal and look like troughs. You attach them to the joists, and they reduce contact between the ceiling and the floor above it, cutting out virtually all sound.