Science proved that prolonged exposure to sounds of specific frequencies and volume can make us nervous and upset and even cause serious health problems. That’s why people try to minimize the noise in their homes.
When it comes to apartments or multi-story, some of the noise comes from the ceiling. Bat steps, the sounds of home appliances, furniture shifting, doors slamming – these sounds travel through the floor/ceiling and can really get on their nerves. For constructions where the floors are not insulated, this can be a big problem.
As seen here, it is possible to trap the sounds with some types of insulating materials. But in most buildings, ceilings are not soundproofed during construction (whether because of material savings or because no one thought about the noise issue). Fortunately, there are ways to solve this problem, at least to some tolerable level.
Fill the Gaps in Ceiling
Every repair should start with the tiniest (and least expensive) stuff. Has it ever occurred to you that a certain part of the sound goes through the holes in your ceiling? Even when it comes to holes smaller than an inch in diameter (for cables), this is enough room for the free flow of sound waves.
So the first thing to do is fill the gaps. If you live in a house, check both the upstairs flooring and the ceiling below. In case you are in an apartment, do your part of the job, and fix the holes above your head. Remediation of the smallest cracks will have a positive effect on the soundproofing of the ceiling.
Use adhesives specifically designed for sound insulation, such as green glue, that can be used on all surfaces. Don’t let the name ‘green’ fool you – the mixture is of that color, but make sure to ask the seller for an adhesive that can be painted.
Hardwood is the most common type of house flooring, so see here some tips on how to fix cracks in it:
Another budget-friendly and easy way of soundproofing is carpeting the upstairs floors. If you live in a house, the problem of noise coming from the ceiling will be much easier to solve. The problem may happen if you live in an apartment and have neighbors who don’t care about your noise issue (although they cause it). In this case, try to explain to them why this type of isolation would be suitable for them too.
Each carpet is a kind of insulation. How much it will manage to reduce the impact of noise depends on its material, weaving, layers below, etc. It is best to place carpet padding on the upper floor and then a regular rug over it. Each additional layer enhances the insulating properties.
Rugs should be placed at critical points in your house where the most noise comes from, such as the hallway or the children’s room. And if you don’t want to spend too much money on carpeting, or live in a rented house, you can get foam tiles with interlocking tabs instead of fabric-made carpets.
Vinyl for Everything
Soundsulate mass loaded vinyl (MLV) is a little more expensive, but the most durable of all ‘temporary’ solutions for your noise issues. It reduces the ceiling noise by up to 90 percent. You can place vinyl sheets both on the floor and on the ceiling and use it both as carpet and underlayment.
The main feature of this insulating material is its weight and density, which gives it excellent acoustic properties. This layer adds mass to the enclosed area, without compromising the space. This way, it prevents tones of different frequencies from passing through the ceiling.
Another benefit of MLV is that it’s highly customizable for almost any purpose. It can be cut and colored as desired. These sheets are thin, so their aesthetic value is not negligible. Some of them are self-adhesive, while for others, you need to use specific glue. But even if you have to place several layers or add things like glue, MLV will still look good.
Mass loaded vinyl is currently the best option for ceiling soundproofing, considering the ratio of quality and expenses per square meter. There are some alternatives, such as sound-deadening fiberboards or lead sheets. However, some of them are too thick or do not have the necessary density to absorb sounds. The best quality alternative to vinyl is as effective but significantly more expensive.
If you decide to soundproof the ceiling in your apartment or home, you need to know that this investment does not have a significant impact on the price of your property. It’s something you’ll do for your own peace. So the decision on whether and how much to invest in soundproofing of your home is entirely up to you.