Noise is a big problem in apartments. The sound of your upstairs neighbor’s footsteps can keep you awake at night, and the sounds of the city are never too far away.
Soundproofing your apartment ceiling is a great way to keep the noise down from upstairs neighbors.
The first thing you need to do is figure out what type of sound (music, talking, snoring) is bothering you.
Once you have figured this out, it will be easier for me to recommend solutions that will work best for your situation.
Can You Soundproof An Existing Ceiling?
Yes, you can easily soundproof an existing ceiling. You don’t have to take down the existing ceiling to install soundproofing materials.
If you don’t have a budget for a new ceiling, you can reinforce your old one with soundproofing material.
At times, reinforcing an existing ceiling with soundproofing gives better results than tearing the ceiling and starting all over again.
If you need a new ceiling, there is no harm in tearing the drywall and installing the ceiling of your choice.
While this project may cost you much more, you will enjoy your new ceiling, and you are not limited to specific soundproofing options.
How To Soundproof A Ceiling In An Apartment
There are many ways to soundproof the ceiling in your apartment. However, you first need to identify the kind of noise that you are dealing with.
There are two types of noises, and they include:
This noise is produced when an object directly impacts the structure. The collusion sends sound waves through the surface.
In the case of a ceiling, such noises come from footsteps, dropping objects on the floor above your apartment, or dropping dishes.
Airborne noise moves through the air and comes from different sources. While your ceiling may prevent these soundwaves from flowing freely, it may not absorb all the sound.
This explains how the sound still manages to get into your space.
To block the noise, you can add soundproofing material to your existing ceiling to enhance its sound-absorbing ability.
Below are five ways to soundproof a ceiling
Use Insulation On Your Existing Ceiling
This is a common ceiling soundproofing method that involves spraying soundproofing insulation between the ceiling joists.
All you need is to identify the beams using a stud finder and drill small holes where you will spray the insulation.
This method will only work if there is no insulation blanket between the ceiling layers.
If there are any barriers in this space, the spray insulation will not have the coverage needed to create any notable difference.
You can also apply insulation paint to your existing ceiling.
This may not block all the noise, but it will take it a notch or two lower.
Insulation paint will take care of noises like crying babies or the sound of drums on the upper floor.
However, it will be effective where impact noise is involved.
A can of this paint costs between $250 and $280.
Install Acoustic Foam Panels
Foam panels are ideal if you are looking for an effective yet affordable soundproofing solution.
Installing these panels is easy, and they come in various colors, so you can find the right shade to match your space.
Since foam panels come with different thicknesses, you have to choose the right thickness for your ceiling.
Generally, thicker panels cost more, but they also produce better results.
For extra soundproofing, you can use adhesive spray to install the foam panels.
The adhesive spray adds an extra layer of defense while ensuring that the foam panels stay in position.
Install A Drop Ceiling
A drop ceiling is basically a second ceiling over your old one.
It is a perfect solution if you have a high ceiling that you do not mind bringing down a bit.
On this new ceiling, you can choose to add soundproofing material between the joists. You can also include a layer or two of drywall for enhanced soundproofing.
Drop ceilings are favored for their aesthetic appeal. They are also easy to remove, making them ideal for rental apartments.
While installing a new ceiling is not cheap, the fact that you don’t take down the original ceiling means saving on costs.
The new ceiling is easily attached through the joists supporting the old one. Still, you may need professionals to help install it properly.
Hang Soundproof Curtains Or Blankets On The Ceiling
If you are not worried about aesthetics, you can hang soundproof curtains or blankets over your ceiling.
While these blankets and curtains are not an eyesore, finding one in the right color or texture to match your space can be challenging.
Fortunately, soundproof curtains and blankets are easy to install and takedown.
You are also free to use as many blankets and curtains as you need to block most, if not all, the noise.
This method is ideal if you are looking for a temporary solution before coming up with a permanent one.
You can enjoy your quiet space today by installing a blanket or two over your ceiling.
Since soundproof blankets can be heavy, you may need an extra pair of hands when installing them on the ceiling.
You also need to ensure that your existing ceiling is strong enough to support them. If the ceiling is not sturdy, use lighter soundproof curtains.
Soundproof The Floor
If your apartment is on two levels, you can always soundproof the floor above to minimize the noise getting into the rooms downstairs.
You can also request your upstairs neighbors to soundproof their floors to reduce the noise getting into your apartment.
Soundproofing floors is easy, and at times, you don’t have to do anything elaborate to get the desired results.
A thick rug on the floor is usually adequate, and you can use more than one rug to cover all the problem areas.
If the sound problem is too much, you can also install underlayment on the floor. Soundproofing the floor primarily works for impact-related noises.
How Much Does It Cost To Soundproof A Ceiling?
The cost of soundproofing your ceiling will depend on the material you use.
The acoustic foam may cost anything between $10 and $100, depending on the size and quality.
The cost of acoustic tiles is $10 for each 20-inch square, while soundproofing materials like acoustic paint may cost anywhere between $200 and $300.
To get a rough estimate, just find out how much a square foot of the soundproofing material you want to use costs.
You can then multiply this cost by the size of your ceiling.
Do not forget to include the cost of installation materials such as glue, drills, and nails.
If you choose to take down the old ceiling, this also adds to the cost of soundproofing your ceiling.
Depending on the room size, you may need two or three soundproofing curtains or blankets to cover your space.
Just ensure that you have the ceiling size in mind when you go shopping and check this against the curtain or blanket size. (Source)
Does Soundproofing Ceiling Really Work?
Yes, soundproofing your ceiling works, and it is a great idea.
If the noise from your above-floor neighbors is becoming a nuisance, you can enjoy your quiet space again.
The soundproofing method you choose will determine if your efforts will be worthwhile.
Adding some extra mass and a soundproofing material will do the trick for both structural and airborne noises.
Conclusion on Soundproof Apartment Ceiling
The above solutions are practical when you want to soundproof the apartment ceiling.
Some of them are easy to incorporate into your space, while others will require professional help.
Whatever your budget, you will find a solution that is sure to deliver the results you want. For extreme noise, you can use two or more soundproofing solutions.
Remember that soundproofing the ceiling will mostly take care of the noise getting in through the ceiling.
You may have to also soundproof your windows, doors, floors, and walls if you have more noise getting in through these areas.
Meet Mike O’Connor, (a DIY enthusiast), living in Cincinnati, a city ranked as the noisiest in the USA.
As a work from home dad, I have a first hand experience of how noise can truly affect your well being.
Soundproofing isn’t something that should be taken as a hobby, it should be a skill that every homeowner should be equipped with.
Most of the work documented on this blog comes from purely first hand experience, and the products recommended work as indicated.