Soundproofing ceilings is an essential practice for every commercial space where the business spans multiple floors or you have other offices above yours. From footfalls to music, dropped objects, etc, overhead noise can make any workspace a nightmare to work in. Soundproofing for ceilings isn’t always difficult and depends heavily on the existing ceiling style, type of sound you’re trying to diminish, and of course, your budget. There are many soundproofing materials available in the market, below are some of the best soundproofing materials for the ceiling.
Ceiling Noise Types
Before you jump to selecting the soundproofing material for your ceilings, you need to figure out what sounds your space is experiencing. Impact noise and airborne noise are two types of noise that can be treated using soundproofing of ceilings. Footsteps, chairs dragging across the floor, stomps, falling objects overhead are some of the examples of impact noise. Impact noise makes direct contact with the floor and is transmitted through the structure itself and reverberates its way down to you. Music, conversation, and crying are some examples of airborne noise. Airborne noise travels in waves and moves through open spaces within the structure.
Once you know what type of noise you’re dealing with, the next step is to figure out what type of ceiling your space has. Drywall ceilings and suspended drop tile ceilings are two popular solutions in commercial spaces and based on your conditions, your soundproofing strategy and material you use will vary.
There are four elements of soundproofing that can help disrupt the noise before it reaches you. To reduce sound, you will have to address multiple elements and the most effective method will utilize decoupling, absorption, mass, and damping.
Best Soundproofing Materials for Ceiling
If you’re working on a tight budget, then the best way to soundproof your drop ceiling is by adding mass to it in the form of drywall. A single or (preferably) double drywall in combination with a damping compound will help you soundproof your ceiling effectively. Increasing the density of the ceiling with acoustic insulation slabs (minimum of 60kg/m3) will help you reduce airborne sound and increase the insulation of the ceiling. Soft materials such as fiberglass insulation work best when it comes to absorbing noise, but heavy materials such as drywall, medium density fiberboard (MDF) or a layer of heavy vinyl sheeting do a great job as well.
If you’re looking for ways to interrupt sound, then creating a gap or inserting a non-conductive barrier can go a long way in preventing noise from vibrating through the ceiling and floor joists. Using acoustic hangers that fix the face of ceiling joists to reduce sound vibration through the ceiling gets the job done effectively.