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Insulating & Soundproofing a Ceiling

I live in a 1st floor condo, and have some issues with blocking the sounds from above and keeping my winter heat inside my own place. I want to insulate and soundproof my ceiling, but have concerns because they are already less than 10' high. They are also currently popcorn ceilings (I hate the popcorn, even though I keep being told how useful and wonderful they are).

Any recommendations on soundproofing and insulating without having to make the ceiling that much lower? I'm sure that I could live with it, but I want to get rid of the popcorn anyway, so I figure that (while I'm up there) I should take care of the other 2 things at the same time.

Re: Insulating & Soundproofing a Ceiling

there are a number of ways you can do it. you wont acheive complete sound proofing but you can reduce the noise

1) remove the ceiling, have spray foam sprayed in between the joists, then install 5/8 type x drywall

2) remove the ceiling install "safe and sound" insulation, reguler fibreglass insulaton does virtually nothing for soundproofing, from there install resiliant channel then hang 5/8 drywall off the channel

the spray foam works the best as its increasing hte mass of the space is how sound proofing works.. by eliminating the dead space in the ceiling you effectively reduce sound transmission

Re: Insulating & Soundproofing a Ceiling

Surprisingly, foam is not great to use in a sealed cavity for sound isolation. It's the best there is for thermal, however bad for acoustic. The issue is that there is insufficient surface area to interract with the sound waves. Also, the foam is so dense as to actually conduct a vibration. Not at all what we want. Again, surprising.

Better to use the least expensive fiberglass available. See the report from the NRC here: http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/obj/irc/doc/pubs/ir/ir693/ir693.pdf

In a sealed cavity, you are not looking for added mass. You want open absorption.

I would agree to remove the ceiling, however if there's cellulose, fiberglass or mineral wool there currently, don't add more. You will risk conduction (as with the foam).


#1 remove the drywall as suggested.

#2 Install resilient clips and Drywall Furring Channel.
Resilient channel (RC-1) is a liability.

#3 Install double 5/8" drywall

#4 Damp the drywall with a quality damping compound.

Ted White

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