Have you ever felt like someone upstairs always drops something in the middle of the night? Or maybe they deliberately walk heavily to annoy you? Well, I know the experience is common for many of us! You frantically Google "soundproof apartment ceiling" looking for answers.

Even with concrete and whatnot, the ceilings tend to be very light in the apartment buildings. Even the sound of regular footsteps travels past it. We may not notice the sound during the daytime with all the noise around us; it is more evident at night!

So, before you become convinced that the water noise or walking noise from the upstairs is actually from a ghost, you should soundproof the apartment ceiling!

That's, of course, as long as you don't expect something sweet or magical to happen between you and your neighbor! We indeed love how some TV shows, neighbors could hear every noise from each other, the awkwardness and competition.

Well, guess what? You are probably stress dreaming from not being able to sleep right because of the up-stairs noise! With having a soundproofed ceiling, you can even shout, sing, play drums, or any musical instrument without having to worry your neighbor might be complaining to the police about you! So, want to know how you can prevent them from happening?

Noises That Make You Want to Soundproof Apartment Ceiling

There are two types of noises that you might hear coming from the other side of the wall or ceiling.

1. Airborne Noises

These noises are the sound of talking, engine noises, or sounds in general. Such noises get cut a lot when it comes in contact with any concrete surfaces. Still, some portion of the noise gets through to the other side.

I am sure you become well aware when your neighbor starts some heavy machines, maybe an air blower or age-old vacuum cleaner! Even high pitch singing or snoring might come through the apartment ceiling and wake you up!


2. Impact Noises

These are the most annoying ones. As the name suggests, impact noises are only generated when there is an impact. That is, two surfaces scour against each other.

Impact noises travel the most through the ceilings, as the noise itself is created due to someone walking heavily or pulling, pushing heavy appliances on the opposite side of the roof. The opposite side of the ceiling, by the way, is someone's floor.

 

Solution 1: Drywall

Drywalls have become increasingly popular all across The States. It looks more like a board panel or plaster panel. The forum contains a mixture of fibers within the thick boards, such as paper, fiberglass, or both, and is mixed with plasticizer and foaming agent to bring within the boards' shape.

Typically, drywalls are used for low-cost houses and to hasten the construction. Since drywalls are virtually dry, there is not any waiting period. However, some special drywall is very good at diverting the airborne and impact noises.

Acoustic Foam

$73.99

 

Soundproof Drywall

Normal drywalls are so popular because of the incredibly cheap pricing. With that pricing, you can reasonably expect that the sheets are thin and have little fiber in them. So, they are not as effective.

As we mentioned earlier, superior drywall is available explicitly made to reduce the passing of noises, both impact and airborne. They will soundproof the apartment ceiling to some extent. Yes, soundproof drywalls are expensive too. A single sheet will cost upwards of $40!

 

Use Insulation

Another effective method of using drywalls is by installing insulation between the ceiling and the drywall. Insulation has long been used to prevent heat and cold from passing through the roof. They are also good at breaking up the impact of sound waves and absorb airborne noises.

To install insulation within the drywall, you will need hat channels and sound isolation clips. These clips decouple the drywall and the ceiling, creating space for the insulation. If you are on a tight budget, opt for using resilient channels, as they are cheaper.

For insulation, any fiber may work. However, fiberglass is the preferred choice by most since it is cheaper while also insulating the noise and temperature.

The Green glue company offers an interesting compound to attach the drywall with the clips. They claim that the adhesive itself cuts noises by a lot even without using insulation. However, for the best result, try using both since you will need a bond to attach the drywall.

 

Solution 2: False Ceiling

So, you know how ceilings are made, right? You can't just replace the ceiling without well breaking up the whole building! However, there is a workaround! We can build a ceiling underneath the original one.

That is the false ceiling. If you want to soundproof the apartment ceiling, you will want to construct a suspended extra ceiling from the main one. False ceiling is by far more visually pleasing and matches the aesthetic of apartment buildings.

Decorative Acoustic Panels

$19.99

 

Plaster of Paris Ceilings

Plaster of Paris is the same compound used to mold statues' shape, and often to the application is broken arms or legs. The concrete showpieces you buy from the shops are also mostly made using plaster of Paris.

Once the plaster dries off, it doesn't usually crack or shrink. As you have probably guessed, you can use the dressing in any shape, design, aesthetics you want. You can even make it extra thick to isolate noises better.

Plaster of Paris

$10.99

 

Plaster of Paris Ceilings

Plaster of Paris is the same compound used to mold statues' shape, and often to the application is broken arms or legs. The concrete showpieces you buy from the shops are also mostly made using plaster of Paris.

Once the plaster dries off, it doesn't usually crack or shrink. As you have probably guessed, you can use the dressing in any shape, design, aesthetics you want. You can even make it extra thick to isolate noises better.

 

Drop Ceilings

When we say false ceilings, often we mean the drop ceilings. Most offices have drop ceilings, as it gives a more luxurious look. Even though such ceilings are often used to hide tubes, wires, ducts, etc., of the central ceiling, they can reduce the sound to a lot if used right.

However, ensuring no connection lies between the false ceiling and the main one is a challenge itself. If there is somehow a link like ductwork or even fixtures, then it will serve no purpose.

The idea is that there will remain a hollow space between the drop ceiling and the main so that the sound vibration can't pass the 2nd layer, achieving a soundproof apartment ceiling.

Offices use acoustic or foam tiles on the drop ceilings to further ensure total sound isolation. These tiles are most effective in meeting rooms as they also reduce echoes.

Conclusion of Soundproof

We would suggest using a combination of both worlds to effectively and efficiently soundproof apartment ceiling! While drywalls on their own might be inexpensive, but when combined with sound isolation clips, green glue, insulation, they become pretty expensive.

If you want to blunt the sharp impact noises, only using soundproof drywall might do the trick. For drawing rooms, drop ceilings are the better as you might use them just as well for the aesthetic!

Ian Warner

Ian founded Habits of Success Podcast and wanted to improve his audio since three young children constantly scream in his house. He always questions how he soundproofed noisy rooms in his house and created an audio studio. SoundproofTips is Ian's way of sharing all he has learned. Ian is also a 2012 Olympian that was an All-American at Iowa State University.

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