Creating Soundproof Ceilings
Soundproof ceilings aim to control of noise bleeding in or out of a room through a ceiling system. This could be sound transmitting through a common floor/ceiling assembly, from upstairs to down, or downstairs to up, or it could be targeting the elimination of noise bleeding from room to room through an open plenum ceiling tile system. In any case, the goal is to produce more privacy within the room, and more protection against noise being heard in adjacent rooms. If you are wondering how to soundproof a ceiling, even soundproofing an existing ceiling, welcome to your sound solution!
How to Soundproof a Ceiling
The goal when creating a soundproof ceiling is to force a break in your connection points to the floor up above, line your ceiling with additional weight, and force the collapse of up to 80% of your transmitting noise. There is a layering system that is available to you that can deliver the sound protection you seek. The acoustic treatment targets both the density and the disconnection you need in your formula. The density portion of your project delivers to your project site in the name of our mass loaded vinyl called dB-Bloc. This is an ultra thin, ultra dense sound barrier membrane that impedes vibration. Tack it direct to your ceiling. The disconnection portion of your project comes in the form of a channel system that easily anchors over the dB-Bloc to prepare for a new finished drywall surface. See demo below showing you how to soundproof a ceiling.
Questions? Call 1-800-638-9355See dB-Bloc
Demo: dB-Bloc + Disconnection
Ceiling Noise Control & dB-Bloc
Whether you are soundproofing an existing ceiling or you are building or remodel a new project, if your goal is to put a drywall finished ceiling system in place, your goal is twofold. To create a soundproof ceiling, first layer dB-Bloc direct to your existing surface, whether that’s finished drywall or exposed joists, and second, install a set of furring strips across the ceiling to force a break in the connection points from down stairs to up. This combination of “density + disconnection” will combine to help force the collapse your noise leak from either direction.
Isolate Ceiling Noise: RSIC Clips
While the dB-Bloc component to your assembly will deliver the density you need in your layering sequence, the disconnection component presents some choices for you. NetWell does not sell the resilient channel systems, as these you can pick up from your local contractor who will be performing the installation. One upgrade to consider, however, is the use of our RSIC Clips to help produce a stronger break in the contact point over a standard resilient channel. RSIC Clips anchor to your ceiling once the dB-Bloc is installed, and then a set of hat channels are snapped into the RSIC Clips, with new drywall then anchor to your hat channels.See RSIC Clips
Why Customers Love dB-Bloc
dB-Bloc has been a staple acoustic product for Netwell Noise Control clients for more than 25 years. The density of this ultra thin membrane will aid in deadening the resonance of your structure, impeding sound wave transfer, and protecting one adjoining space from another. We ship the product in 54″ x 30′ rolls. Note each roll will weigh close to 150 pounds, so anchoring into your ceiling will require cutting the barrier into manageable lengths as you install it.
Questions? Call 1-800-638-9355dB-Bloc Online dB-Bloc by Phone
Creating a Soundproof Ceiling: Q&A
Is it really possible to block sound through a common floor/ceiling assembly?
Of course! But only to a point. Remember that sound waves travel both structurally and air born. Any two rooms that share common contact will deliver sound waves back and forth regardless of your best attempts to block it from happening. The perimeter walls upstairs and downstairs are connection points that will bleed noise structurally around your treatment. Air born leakage points include light canister cutouts, fire detector cutouts, ventilation systems, plumbing fixtures inside your surfaces, anywhere that air can travel, the noise will come with it. Due to these mediums, there is no “cure” to soundproof a ceiling. But better control over it? Absolutely.
How much noise will be eliminated?
This depends on how much you minimize the leakage points. By adding dB-Bloc and a disconnection in your assembly, using RSIC Clips or other, you could elevate your rating to luxury grade STC Values of 55 or greater. You could block up to 90% of the bleeding noise, but if you have cutouts in your ceiling, or soffits carrying plumbing or HVAC, your sound values will begin to decay. Results will vary from treatment to treatment based on leakage. And that’s ok, as every soundproof ceiling treatment will have some form of leakage. The goal is to better “control” the bleed of noise, not “cure” it.
Do I need batting insulation in my ceiling?
For thermal purposes, yes! For acoustic purposes, not so much. Remember that the goal is to attack the joists connecting upstairs to downstairs, as that is where the energy path is bleeding your structure born noise. Stuffing anything between the joists is actually ignoring the true path the noise is taking. Batting insulation might offer a 5% drop in sound bleed, while the “disconnection + density” formula could deliver up to a 80-90% drop in noise bleed. Every single treatment will deliver varying results back depending on flanking paths and leakage. Old school contractors were taught to stuff insulation in the wall or ceiling, but the reality is the treatment is ignoring the problem and results are minimal.
Can I soundproof an existing ceiling?
Soundproofing an existing ceiling is most definitely possible. Simply layer dB-Bloc to the finished surface, add your RSIC Channels or another resilient channel option, and new drywall. The treatment might lower your ceiling height by 1-2″ is all. And minimize your light can cutouts. Use track lighting if you can.
Is it better to treat the floor up above?
Yes. If the primary issue is foot noise coming from upstairs down through the floor and spilling into the room down below, the better alternative is to layer a floor underlayment beneath the finished surface upstairs. Move the soundproofing treatment closer to the noise source. Keep the vibrations from foot steps from coming into contact with the joists. But the reality is that most floors are finished surfaces, making the underlayment option not viable. In this case, move the treatment down below and apply the treatment to soundproof the existing ceiling.
What if I have light can cutouts in the ceiling?
Stuff batting insulation up above into the cavity space above the light cans. It will at least slow down the bleed of the noise. But any cutout in the ceiling will decay your values, and batting insulation can only do so much, but better to do it than not.
Do I need dB-Bloc?
dB-Bloc is a mass loaded vinyl, and the most popular way to layer density into your equation. So yes, without the density, your ability to combat structure born vibrations is compromised. Your results will collapse.
Do I need RSIC Clips?
No. But RSIC Clips are a clever and effective method for producing the “disconnection” you want to introduce into your assembly. In their place, you could use other versions of channel systems, resilient channels, hat channels, furring strips and the like. The RSIC Clips are a popular upgrade that helps to elevate your results.
Should I install double drywall for soundproofing?
Once the dB-Bloc and your disconnecting channel system is in place, the final step is to layer up new drywall to finish off your soundproof ceiling treatment. At a minimum, use 5/8″ drywall at this point. For those who ask about doubling up on the finishing layer of drywall, we recommend doing just 1 layer and gauging the values back. You might be satisfied with the results at that point and forego the need for the second layer. At that time you can make the decision to add a second layer if you think you need it. But here, we recommend going with 1/2″ for your second layer.
Drop Grid Ceiling System?
If your ceiling is not a drywall finished surface, but instead a drop grid ceiling tile system, the treatment is super easy. By definition, the ceiling is already disconnected as it is floating off the structure of the building. The missing component is density. NetWell offers a specific product for this application called a Ceiling Cap. Order them in either 2’x2′ or 2’x4′ panels, and simply rest them atop your existing ceiling tiles to help place an acoustic “lid” over the top of the room. This combats noise that would other wise transfer easily in either direction through your ceiling tile system.See Ceiling Caps 1-800-638-9355
Contractor's Sign Up
For contractors in the building trade, interested in the state-of-the-art techniques for soundproofing a common wall, foor, or ceiling assembly surface in today’s market, we invite you to sign up for our Contractor’s Corner. This is a free online newsletter designed specifically for the building trade as we share our knowledge base with you and your clients. For you drywallers, architects, framers, and general trade contractors out there, we welcome you to our family of third party noise insulation experts. We look forward to supporting you and your customers with our noise protection products and procedures!