Topic: How to Soundproof a Ceiling
Your basement can be your private sanctuary from the outside world, but if you don’t soundproof it, everyone in the house will know everything that goes on down there. Luckily, it’s easy to soundproof a ceiling, and all you need are some extra supplies from the hardware store and some free time over the weekend. In this article, we’ll talk about 10 simple ways to soundproof a ceiling—and make your basement much more comfortable in the process!
1) How to Soundproof a Ceiling: 11 Effective ways
We may often think of soundproofing as something that only musicians and recording studios need, but let’s be honest – everyone wants their home to be quiet. If you have neighbors close by or just have trouble blocking out noise from other parts of your house, you may want to consider soundproofing your ceiling.
That is, if you don’t mind spending a lot of money on it. But it doesn’t always have to cost an arm and a leg! In fact, there are plenty of simple and effective ways to create an insulated room without having to pay for professional installation. Here are ten great options that won’t bust your budget
1) Decoupling Material for Cheap
In order to soundproof your ceiling and have a quiet room, you’ll need decoupling material. Decoupling is a fancy word for sound isolation; it simply means that two objects do not vibrate together, or move in tandem with one another.
Many homes are built with very little decoupling material in between their walls and ceilings, which translates into less than ideal insulation. To make matters worse, sheetrock is incredibly thin when compared to traditional plaster; practically speaking, it doesn’t create much noise-canceling pressure against anything.
Fortunately, there are simple solutions that can help you soundproof your ceiling cheaply by adding more decoupling materials without compromising on aesthetics or comfortability. If you’re looking for cheap ways to soundproof a ceiling, consider using: Acoustic Foam Panels:
The first thing you should consider doing is hanging acoustic foam panels along all of your room’s walls. This will help keep all of your rooms quieter since most of our unwanted noise travels through our floors and walls before reaching our ears.
Since acoustic foam comes in many different sizes and thicknesses, be sure to choose something that fits perfectly along your ceiling line while still being visually appealing (i.e., no large gaping holes). You’ll also want to consider whether or not an adhesive backing would be best suited for hanging up acoustic foam panels as they tend to be heavy once installed.
2) Staple Foam Board in Place of Drywall
While it may seem counterintuitive, stapling acoustic foam board to your ceiling can help soundproof a ceiling cheaply. Think of it as an alternative version of hanging drywall. If you don’t have access to drywall or another material suitable for deadening sound, like green glue or fiberglass, consider hanging a layer of foam board under your existing sheetrock or paneling.
It may not be perfect, but as long as it gets you at least one step closer to ideal soundproofing conditions, it’s worth it. If you want something even cheaper and quicker, try using spray foam instead; its open-cell structure is better at absorbing sound than traditional insulation.
3) Use Dampening Material Between the Plates
To soundproof your ceiling cheaply, you may try adding some dampening material between your ceiling plates. The material should come with instructions on how it should be installed. The idea behind dampening is that it helps absorb some of the noise traveling through it.
With enough dampening material in place, you’ll notice an immediate difference in how much noise is traveling through your ceiling. If you plan on having construction done over your head, remember that you might need more than one layer of material.
Make sure there’s a thick layer between each plate and use plenty of drywall screws for support or mounting hardware like L brackets (for hanging drywall) or C hooks (for attaching plywood). You can even add additional support along joists by using long 2x4s. These will not only help keep things level but also provide extra weight bearing capacity. Remember, sound travels from molecule to molecule as vibrations.
A solid wall does not have any give so all those vibrations just bounce around until they get lost somewhere else in your house or apartment building. Or into someone else’s house next door! So make sure whatever you’re doing is safe and doesn’t harm anyone else living nearby!
Also, don’t forget about underlayment when it comes time to lay down flooring above your new ceiling if that’s something you want to do later on down the road. Underlayment will help reduce some sounds before they ever reach your new soundproofed ceiling too!
4) Hang Drapes to Cover Exposed Spots
Drapes are one of your best defenses against ambient noise. Because they’re fabric, they absorb sound waves as they pass through, making it difficult for noises from outside to penetrate into your room. Covering up exposed spots like ceiling light fixtures with sheer drapes will not only help soundproof your ceiling but also soften up your room and make it feel more inviting.
Choose a lightweight fabric, such as cotton or silk, so that they don’t add extra weight on top of already heavy building materials. For optimal performance, go for ones that have some lining in them—you can easily find inexpensive ones at second hand stores! Just be sure to pick neutral colors if you plan on leaving them up permanently.
You want your drapes to be visually appealing, after all. Don’t Forget About Walls: Like ceilings, walls are vulnerable to airborne sounds coming from within and without your home. Placing thick rugs in front of those windows will help block out unwanted sounds and improve insulation quality between rooms.
In addition, adding curtains over doors helps reduce reverberations from footsteps inside and out, providing a peaceful environment for you or whoever is sleeping next door. And if you’re still worried about what’s going on beyond these barriers? Just hang some decorative artwork over them!
5) Use Mass Loaded Vinyl Furring Strips (MLV)
A sound barrier in your ceiling can help soundproof a ceiling cheaply. The mass loaded vinyl furring strips (MLV) act as an insulation that helps deaden outside noise from coming into your home. This type of soundproofing is fairly simple and inexpensive, but often does not yield significant results for large rooms.
Vinyl already absorbs sounds at high frequencies, so be sure to select soundboard or hardboard MLV if you want maximum effectiveness. We have detailed overview on Mass Loaded Vinyl For Soundproofing.
You can find MLV at any hardware store and it’s easy to install as long as you have basic carpentry skills. All you need is two sheets of drywall, two sheets of 3/4-inch MDF and some nails. Nail each sheet of MDF to either side of each sheet of drywall, then cut out holes for outlets and switches with a utility knife.
To ensure proper installation, use glue along all seams before nailing down both pieces. Once everything is secured together, simply nail up the panels using 16d nails spaced every 6 inches on center.
If you don’t have access to power tools or experience with woodworking projects, hire someone who does! When properly installed, MLV is more effective than other types of soundproofing materials because it doesn’t absorb low frequency noises.
It also acts as an additional layer between your walls and floors, which are typically more porous than ceilings. If you’re thinking about how to soundproof a ceiling cheaply, consider adding mass loaded vinyl furring strips to your next project!
6) Line Walls with Mass Loaded Vinyl Furring Strips (MLV)
If you’re looking for a cheap and effective sound barrier, look no further than mass loaded vinyl furring strips. These are thin strips of dense material that can be easily installed on interior walls. The best part? They’re completely invisible—you won’t even know they’re there! They add mass to your walls without adding extra weight, making them an excellent option if you need something inexpensive.
Mass loaded vinyl is also an acoustic panel that helps keep noise out of your room, which is ideal if you don’t want noisy neighbors! For those in apartments with paper-thin walls, mass loaded vinyl will make sure that noise stays outside your living space.
And best of all, it’s one of the most affordable ways to soundproof your ceiling! Just grab some MLV from Amazon or your local hardware store and get started today. You’ll love how easy it is to install, as well as how well it works!
7) Fill Every Cranny with Foam
To soundproof a ceiling cheaply, start by filling any gaps between your ceiling and wall with foam. If you have attic access, you can also fill those voids with foam; it’s worth doing because air leaks can make big differences in how much noise is transmitted into your room.
You might also consider adding acoustic panels (available at home-improvement stores) or even painting your walls with flat paint that contains sound-deadening chemicals like titanium dioxide. The easiest way to soundproof a ceiling cheaply is by starting small; adding insulation should be one of your first moves when trying to deaden unwanted noise.
A thin layer of fiberglass batts will add about R20 worth of insulating value per linear foot—but don’t skimp on thickness just to save money. Foam or other sound-absorbing materials are best for treating larger areas.
Acoustic sealant is an easy way to get started—just apply a thin bead along joints where two surfaces meet (like your drywall and floor). Even better: Look for sealants specifically designed for damping down vibrations caused by heavy equipment like jackhammers and blenders; they contain recycled rubber particles designed to absorb impact sounds without sacrificing structural integrity.
8) Soundproof Acoustic Paint
It’s by no means inexpensive, but for small projects like soundproofing a ceiling in your bedroom or putting up drywall in an apartment where you want privacy from neighbors, it might be worth looking into. There are different types of sound-deadening paint and several brands, but most contain some combination of polyurethane and silicone.
This type of paint is durable (it’ll last through years of wear and tear) and easy to use; just apply as if you were painting regular paint on your walls. This will also cover up nail holes—just don’t try to staple anything directly onto it! On average, expect around $100 for two gallons of paint. Talk with your local store about how much coverage you can expect.
You may need more than one coat. You should let it dry overnight before hanging any heavy objects on your wall. And finally, remember that only deafness sounds, not eliminate it completely: If you have thin walls and noisy neighbors, they’re still going to hear you singing in the shower. Feel free to read our soundproof acoustic paint article for more detailed guide
For a permanent solution, you’ll probably want to hire someone who specializes in acoustic construction. But for quick fixes and general sound absorption? Paint works well enough. Just keep in mind that it’s generally meant for new construction—you shouldn’t add additional layers over existing paint without testing its durability first.
Also note that there are other options out there, including commercially available soundproof spray paints that cost around $20 per can, which work fine if you’re working with metal or wood surfaces. Just keep in mind that whatever method you choose to dampen noise traveling between rooms of your house will never be 100% effective—but given how affordable many options are these days, trying them out isn’t necessarily a bad idea either!
9) Space Blankets on Ceilings
If you’re willing to put up with temporary eyesores, space blankets are one of the cheapest and most effective ways to soundproof a ceiling. First, buy two 2-by-2 foot space blankets. Second, find an appropriately sized area on your ceiling and secure one blanket there using duct tape or other heavy-duty adhesive.
Third, move over roughly six inches and repeat. Finally, leave your new wall up for at least three days before removing it so that your ceiling can’t breathe properly. When you remove it after three days, you’ll see how well (or poorly) your makeshift wall has worked—and if it needs improvement.
For example, if you’ve covered a large enough surface area, but have only used one layer of space blanket per square foot, try adding another layer. You may also want to add additional layers along problem areas like doors and windows.
If your space blanket wall doesn’t seem to be working as well as expected, try covering more surface area with multiple layers. In any case, don’t be discouraged! A little trial and error is part of DYing. The key is to keep trying until you get results that work for you!
10) Cover The Ceiling With Acoustic Tiles
Most ceilings are made of wood and tile, which aren’t great at muffling sound. To soundproof your ceiling, install additional acoustical tiles—the same type used in recording studios and performance halls. (These are easy to find online or at any acoustic store.)
First, measure your ceiling’s dimensions and calculate how many tiles you need. If you can afford it, purchase extra tiles in case you make any mistakes when installing them; you don’t want gaps where sound could seep through.
Then start tiling! You should be able to do it yourself with some guidance from an expert if necessary. Use adhesive to secure each tile on top of existing ones, but try not to use too much as that could leave spaces for sound waves to slip through.
Finally, spread a layer of acoustic sealant over each tile for maximum noise reduction. The best part? Acoustic tiles will work for just about any room in your house—even bathrooms and kitchens! Not only that, but they’re super affordable and look professional once installed.
(Read: They’ll also make your place look nicer!) A 4-by-8-foot sheet costs about $35 and can cover up to 24 square feet of space. We recommend going big so you have enough left over for touch ups down the road! As always, follow all manufacturer instructions carefully before installation.
11) Try Styrofoam Ceiling Tiles
Sometimes, it’s just about what isn’t there. In order to soundproof a ceiling cheaply, some homeowners have turned to something that’s not typically used for that purpose: Styrofoam ceiling tiles. These lightweight and inexpensive panels absorb vibrations well (they’re sometimes used in recording studios), which helps reduce noise from upstairs or below.
And they can be painted over any color you want! However, foam tiles may not be ideal if they will be visible; depending on your decorating style, you might prefer something more attractive like acoustic plasterboard ceiling tiles. If you decide to go with foam tiles, look for them at home improvement stores or online.
They come in a variety of sizes and are fairly easy to install. You’ll also need an adhesive such as Liquid Nails Construction Adhesive ($5) per tile to affix them permanently to your ceiling. Once installed, simply paint them to match your walls.
Wrap on Up How to Soundproof a Ceiling
You can soundproof your ceiling in many ways; you just need to choose which method works best for your situation. For example, if you have a great deal of noise coming from underneath your space, consider adding some extra insulation under your subflooring. Alternatively, if you’re looking for something more direct, consider installing acoustic panels or even utilizing blankets and rugs in certain areas of the room.
In fact, if you have some spare time on hand and want to get crafty, making your own sound dampening materials is not that difficult at all. The key is being aware of how sounds travel through different types of surfaces—you can make use of that information when deciding how to soundproof a ceiling cheaply and easily!