Ceiling soundproofing (everything you need to know)
Can you really soundproof a ceiling?
Yes, you might be surprised to learn that making a soundproof ceiling is a common upgrade to many people’s homes. Many soundproofing systems available are successful at lowering impact and airborne noise, usually created by noisy neighbours.
In this blog, we’ll review three of the most popular techniques to save you from the stress of listening to your neighbour’s questionable singing, drum practice or dance lessons! Or perhaps you’re a producer, movie buff or music lover and you want full volume enjoyment without a knock at the door from the police!
Ceiling sound insulation - Option 1
The best way to soundproof a ceiling is to drop an independent frame within the room. Think of this as flipping a stud wall onto your ceiling. This is built off the adjacent walls so does not touch the original ceiling.
If you have a large ceiling, then you will likely need ceiling ties, these do connect to the original ceiling. The ceiling ties need to be acoustic ceiling ties like the MuteClip MP to brace the ceiling. These clever ties use dual impedance silicone to keep the points of contact and vibration transfer to a minimum. You can then attach acoustic plasterboards (soundproof plasterboard) to the independent frame.
If you’re really trying to reduce the sound you can use a layer of ‘Tecsound’ between two layers of soundproof plasterboard this high-density rubber-like material adds mass to absorb more vibrations. With this solution, you could expect to see a 57 Decibel reduction in airborne noise which is the equivalent of turning the volume of standing right next to a noisy vacuum cleaner down to the peaceful buzz of the countryside. An incredible result!
Ceiling sound insulation - Option 2
Option 2 is to drop the acoustic plasterboards into the room with the MuteClip systems. This option will take up less ceiling height than the fully independent framework above. Here you are essentially connecting those clever little isolation clips right to the existing ceiling joists. The silicone dual impedance barrier makes it harder for vibrations to travel through your ceiling.
Once your clips are attached you can run metal channels called mute channels through the clips and attach soundproof plasterboard straight to those.
The Standard MuteClips drop the soundproof plasterboard layers by 40mm from the ceiling to keep the ceiling high and still de-couple the ridged layers of plasterboard from the joist.
Ceiling sound insulation - Option 3
Option 3 is to add layers to the current ceiling, this is the lowest-performing but cheapest way to soundproof a ceiling as you are not de-coupling the acoustic plasterboard from the ceiling joists so the vibrations will still transfer through.
The best way to do this is to first install the sticky-backed high-density rubber link material ‘Tecsound SY70’ . After you have stuck down the Tecsound you can overboard the ceiling with the acoustic plasterboard. This adds vibration dampening to improve the ceiling soundproofing whilst keeping the current ceiling in place.
You can only expect airborne sound reduction from installing this method, impact sound reduction would have a minimal effect. So it’s a good solution if you can you’re your neighbour’s tv but not so great if they are stomping around all day. https://www.ikoustic.co.uk/acoustic-glossary
1 or 2 layers of acoustic plasterboard for ceiling soundproofing?
We mentioned using two layers of soundproof plasterboard above, often people ask why they need to use two layers? This is for a number of reasons:
- This will add more mass and when this is efficiently de-couple will perform higher
- You get a better airtight seal with staggered joins between each layer
- It reduces the chance of plaster cracking between ceiling plasterboard over time as the joins of plasterboard have a ridged surface behind them.
Can you use soundproof insulation in a ceiling?
Soundproof insulation does work in a ceiling, we recommend the RW3 or the RS60 as the acoustic cavity insulation. These are 60kg/m3 mineral wool which is placed between the ceiling joist to reduce cavity resonance. You can lift the floorboards to install soundproof insulation in a ceiling cavity. The other way is to remove the ceiling to treat this cavity. Either way, we would always recommend a cavity is acoustically treated as a cost-effective way of soundproofing a ceiling. Remember to always wear appropriate PPC when handling any type of mineral wool.
Can you soundproof an existing ceiling?
You can soundproof an existing ceiling with any of the options stated above. Ideally, you need to lift the floorboards to add soundproof insulation if you are leaving the current ceiling in place. You will also need to use a joist scanner to mark out the ceiling to make sure all fixings go back into the joists. Mute Clips can be installed in this way, again the existing ceiling will need to be marked out for the MuteClips to be installed.
How much does soundproofing a ceiling cost?
Ceiling soundproofing doesn’t need to cost the earth. Prices will vary when soundproofing a ceiling depending on the performance of the system you are having installed. A good guide would be £1000 for a room for all the materials in the MuteClip system. I would always advise you to upgrade a ceiling a little further rather than splitting the budget between the floor and ceiling as the ceiling is far more cost-effective to upgrade once you have committed to re-decorating.
The difference between the cost of using MuteClips -> resilient channels -> no isolation mounts is minimal in comparison to the improvement you achieve. If you are looking for a more accurate quote for your specific needs our acoustic consulants will be able to offer expert advice for free. Call 01937 588226 today.
Soundproofing a concrete ceiling
When soundproofing a concrete ceiling you will commonly need to build a stud frame. This is because fixing into a concrete surface can be more difficult, and you usually want to anchor bolt a frame onto the ceiling before adding the plasterboard layers. The MuteClip system achieves an exceptional improvement on concrete ceilings with test data achieving upwards of 70dB. https://www.ikoustic.co.uk/systems/timber-ceiling/muteclip-double
Soundproofing a timber ceiling
You can remove the plasterboard from a timber ceiling or go over the top of the existing ceiling when there is a timber frame ceiling in place. Timber frame ceilings are always going to be lighter weight but you can still achieve high performance for both impact sound and airborne sound. Installing the MuteClips into the timber frame de-couples the acoustic plasterboards from the original structure to reduce the vibrations transferring through the partition.
We have a low profile option call the MuteClip LP, this is commonly used in basement ceilings and on the home studio ceiling to receive the performance of the sound isolation clips without losing the height. These allow you to fix the plasterboards floating off the joists but only drop the ceiling by 5-10mm!
The MuteClip XP is the ‘extended partition’ option. This allows you to level an uneven timber ceiling quickly and efficiently. These are commonly used for soundproofing Victorian ceilings where the joists are no longer level.
Soundproof ceiling panels
Ceiling soundproofing panels are a viable way to quickly install a noise reducing system. We have the MuteBoard 2 as our all-in-one soundproof ceiling panel. This is 18.5mm of high mass acoustic plasterboard and vibration dampening membrane to reduce the airborne sound from transferring through the ceiling. These are the simplest installation and a good option to upgrade any lightweight ceiling. They can also be used to replace the Tecsound SY 70 and 1 of the layers of 15mm acoustic plasterboard in the MuteClip systems to speed up the installation.
Soundproof ceiling panels can get confused with absorption ceiling panels which will achieve a different result. These will reduce the echo within the room rather than the amount of sound travelling out of a room. You can see our sound absorption range here.
How can iKoustic Help?
iKoustic can advise on a wide range of ceiling soundproofing systems from fully independent frames to soundproof panels to be added to the existing ceiling. These systems will range in performance depending on the starting point as sound reduction is logarithmic. This will change for each property with different amounts of flanking but we can talk through the particular issue you are experiencing and guide you to the best solution that fits your needs. Please do call us on 01937 588 226 or email us at [email protected]