How to Soundproof An Apartment Ceiling-No Construction

If you are looking for how to soundproof an apartment ceiling, chances are your ceiling is someone else floor. Unless you are living on the topmost floor of your apartment.

Living in an apartment comes with its Pros and Cons. Noise is one of the cons that come with living in an apartment. There are people from all walks of life that live in a building. You might find some people are not that considerate when it comes to noise making.

How to Soundproof An Apartment Ceiling

Even though there are rules and regulations in every building, things like heavy footsteps, stomping, kids running around, or other forms of noise are not easy to control with just rules.

If you are hearing your upstairs neighbors making a lot of noise a lot of times, then it is time to look for ceiling soundproofing solutions to have some peace.

But before we look at some soundproofing techniques, let us get to know the types of noise that you can hear from your ceiling.

Types of Noise

There are two main types of noise you can hear from your ceiling. These include impact also known as structural and airborne noise.  Examples of such noise include; footstep stomping, dropping dishes, a running washing machine, and any object that can make impact sound.

Impact Noise

Impact noise is created when an object makes a direct impact on the floor. This creates vibrational energy to travel along the structural pathway.

Airborne Noise

This type of noise is transmitted via the air. The sound waves travel by air and it can fill any space. That is why it can be a bit difficult to control airborne noise. Examples of such noise include; music, car horns, loud conversations, television sets, crying, and among others.

How to Soundproof An apartment Ceiling

Whether you are soundproofing ceiling footsteps, soundproofing ceiling impact noise, or soundproofing ceiling music noise, these soundproof techniques here will help you to reduce the noise levels in your apartment that is coming through the ceiling.

1.  Use Acoustic Panels

These types of soundproof panels. If you are willing to invest a little bit of money to get soundproof acoustic fiberglass panels like these ATS Acoustic panels, you will be able to dampen impact sound and airborne sound.

They look simple yet have great sound absorption. These acoustic panels have a noise reduction coefficient of 1.0 which is the highest of the NRC scale.

ceiling soundproofing panels

The panels are covered with attractively textured fabric, so your ceiling won’t be covered with some ugly panels that you can’t deal with.

These are great for walls and ceilings alike. ATS Acoustic panels can muffle some of those impact sounds and absorb the echoes and reverberations on the ceiling surface.

With these soundproof panels, you don’t have to cover the entire ceiling, isolate where the noise hotspots are, and place them there.

To install, you can use industrial glue or 3M general-purpose adhesive spray to spray the surface and stick them to the ceiling. These are great ceiling soundproofing panels.

2. Soundproof Foam Panels

The soundproof foam panels are probably the cheapest of all the different types of soundproof panels. They are affordable and most of the time come with self-adhesive.

These foam panels sometimes look like egg crates. Some are good for home walls, others are great for recording purposes in the studio and finally, there are foam panels excellent for the ceiling.

soundproof foam panels

 You have many different colors, sizes, and thicknesses to choose from. To install them, if they are self-adhesive you can peel the seal and stick them to the ceiling but if they don’t have self-adhesive, you need foam tape, glue or adhesive spray to stick them to the ceiling.
These soundproof foam panels are effective at absorbing echoes and airborne noise.

3. Seal Gaps and Cracks with Green Glue

Gaps and cracks are not usually found on ceilings. However, you might find in some apartments, cables may pass through the ceiling to link to the next floor. This is especially so in the older apartments. Whereby a lot of time wasn’t put into designing them.

Those holes and cracks are places sound can pass through into your ceiling to make the noise louder than usual.

To take care of them, you need a sound-dampening compound like green glue to take care of them. Green glue is one of the popular soundproofing compounds. Other brands can equally serve the purpose. But  I found green glue to work best.

4. Add Extra Mass with Mass Loaded Vinyl Mat

Mass-loaded vinyl mat is a great way to add extra mass to your ceiling. The good thing about the vinyl mat is that it is an effective sound blocker. It is particularly great for reducing impact sounds and does well with airborne as well.
If you are dealing with a lot of airborne sounds, then the soundproof foam panels will do the work for you.
Mass loaded vinyl mat is a great soundproof material that you can use to soundproof almost any noise.
Be it appliance noise or noise in the room.
Adding it to the ceiling is going to increase its mass of it. Plus mass loaded vinyl mat is not just any mat, but it has a high STC rating. This will depend on the vinyl mat. This Trademark Soundproofing mass loaded vinyl mat has an STC rating of 27. Which is good.
mass loaded vinyl mat
This product is versatile in use, it can not only soundproof ceilings but it can also do the trick with floors, walls, office cubicles, mechanical rooms, computer rooms, etc.
Mass vinyl offers great absorbing protection. Its installation is simple. You can install it by fastening it to the ceiling using nails, a pneumatic stapler, or gluing it.
You just need to cut the portion of the mat and with the help of another person, you install it. this is because it is slightly heavy and you can’t handle putting it up on the ceiling.
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5. Paint the Ceiling with Soundproof Paint

Painting your ceiling will not only make it appear renovated by it will be better at reducing upstairs noise. Soundproof paint is thicker and denser than the ordinary paint your buy.
Its made to provide soundproofing effects on whatever surface you paint it with. So soundproof paint ceiling to see its effect.
soundproof paint ceiling

Soundproof paint is much thicker than standard wall paints, this is because it is a very heavy-bodied water-based paint that gets its density from a combination of ceramic microspheres and sound-absorbing fillers.

The sound-absorbing fillers consist of thermals, these are tiny vacuum-sealed cells filled with soft pigment.

The way you can get the most out of this paint is to apply at least three or more layers and also implement some of these soundproofing tips discussed here. The more layers the better because the coat will be thicker and better noise blocking.
Soundproof paint on its own as a soundproofing product can only block mild noise but not loud sounds.
Thus, why I suggest you also implement some of the other tips here.

6. Soundproof the Floor Above You With a Floor rug Pad or Carpet

The best way to block noise is to tackle it from the source. The neighbors above you are the source of the noise.

If you could find a way to deal with it from the source, then the noise on your ceiling will be reduced. I am assuming you don’t have access to the upstairs floors. If you do, I suggest you fill and rearrange the room upstairs. Rearranging the room can change its acoustics.

You can get a floor mat that will cover the hard surface of the floor. This way, when sound is made, some of it will be absorbed by the carpeting and the furniture in the room. Therefore, it won’t leak through the floor into your ceiling downstairs.

The other scenario will be assuming you don’t have access to the room upstairs. You can offer to buy your neighbor a rug pad to cover their floor politely. This will only work if approached correctly because your neighbor owes you nothing.

rug pad

I found these rug pads by Rugpadusa to be beautiful and have thick pads that will cover any type of floor adequately to sounds from bouncing and also absorb impact noise like footsteps.

On How to Soundproof An Apartment Ceiling

Soundproofing an apartment ceiling can be a tricky one sometimes. This is because most people that live in apartments don’t own them. Therefore, rules and regulations are governing your stay there.

Any soundproofing method shouldn’t go against that. However, the soundproofing ceiling tips I shared above are non-invasion and do no permanent change to the ceiling.

You can always remove such materials or cover them up when you are leaving the apartment and need to hand over the plate the way it was.

to get effective soundproofing results, I recommend combining two or more methods here. You must remember the more mass you have the better.

But I will also advise that when placing anything on the ceiling it should be held securely in place. This will avoid materials accidentally falling on you.


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