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Old 01-04-2013, 09:26 AM   #1
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Sound Proofing DryWall Ceiling to Alleviate Impact Noise


Hello,
I am really going to consider sound proofing my ceiling to alleviate airborne sound and impact noise. One of the most common ways to sound proof that I come across on the web is to use roxul safe n sound insulation, rc-1 resilient channel and a thick like 1/2 inch or 5/8 layer of sheet rock. From what I have read this seems to be a much cheaper alternative and very effective way to sound proof. I have been dealing with this impact noise for years now and really want some relief. It literally sounds like the people that live above want to tear down my ceiling when they just walk and I have to believe it's not intentional and they have thick padding with a carpet which does not help much. I understand not all noise will be gone but hopefully less of a bother. I really would appreciate some feedback and advice. Thank you in advance.

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Old 01-04-2013, 11:19 AM   #2
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Sound Proofing DryWall Ceiling to Alleviate Impact Noise


Hi,

I am a professional acoustical consultant. The construction you propose for "soundproofing" (there really is no such thing, just varying degress of sound isolation) is the bare minimum I would expect for a ceiling designed to have some acoustical benefit.

I assume this is a wood frame building you are dealing with. Sound that flanks around your sound-isolating ceiling, and is transmitted through the building structure, will always limit what you can accomplish. For airborne sound isolation, professionally we recommend avoiding resilient channel. Original resilient channel worked well. Contemporary products tend to be stiffer (i.e not as resilient). Contractors also tend not to pay attention the product and wind up driving screws through the open part of the channel and into the rigid building elements. For a DIY job I would hope you could at least avoid doing that. A better option than resilient channel is resilient isolation clips, such as Kinetics ISOMAX (http://www.kineticsnoise.com/arch/isomax.html), PAC International RSIC-1 (http://www.pac-intl.com/rsic.htm), or the GenieClip by Pliteq (http://pliteq.com/products/genieclip.php).

For drywall, you want two layers of 5/8 inch material. The first layer should be tape and spackeled even though these joints won't be visible. When the second layer goes up, stagger the seams from the first layer. Don't put any holes in your ceiling (for lighting, loudspeakers, etc.).

This construction will primarily help with airborne sound isolation, but should aid in impact isolation as well. The best way to improve impact isolation is to have carpet on top of the flooring above. You say this is already in place, in which case it surprises me that you have any impact concerns at all.

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Old 01-04-2013, 12:10 PM   #3
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Sound Proofing DryWall Ceiling to Alleviate Impact Noise


Thank you for getting back to me. I also wanted to mention that I took a look at my current ceilings to see how far from the ceiling joists I was and my ceiling has been dropped and no insulation. I have a very thin layer of sheet rock as my current ceilings being held of my some custom built system of wood to hold up my current ceilings. I cannot explain why this was done but I am sure that adds to the impact noise I experience and I have about 6-8 inches of dead air space.
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:12 PM   #4
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Sound Proofing DryWall Ceiling to Alleviate Impact Noise


Disregard this one

Last edited by MT76; 01-04-2013 at 12:17 PM. Reason: I already posted this.
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:55 PM   #5
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Sound Proofing DryWall Ceiling to Alleviate Impact Noise


The deeper the airspace, the better the airborne sound isolation will be. If you fill some of the airspace with insulation (say 6 inches) it will get even better.

Ceilings are sometimes hung on furring strips in order to compensate for unlevel joists. See if your joists are level before beggining any work, and this might dictate the ease of building a new ceiling.
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:31 PM   #6
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Sound Proofing DryWall Ceiling to Alleviate Impact Noise


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Originally Posted by MT76 View Post
It literally sounds like the people that live above want to tear down my ceiling when they just walk and I have to believe it's not intentional and they have thick padding with a carpet which does not help much. I understand not all noise will be gone but hopefully less of a bother. I really would appreciate some feedback and advice. Thank you in advance.
is this an apartment? if so are you the property owner? I ask because typically occupants are not allowed to modify existing structure without permission of the owner.

secondly depending on your building code and use group there are certain code requirements that may be affected by the opening of the floor assembly, which may require a building permit from the local jurisdiction.

just want to make sure you've look at things other that just sound reduction.
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Old 01-05-2013, 08:28 AM   #7
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Sound Proofing DryWall Ceiling to Alleviate Impact Noise


Hi, Yes this is an apartment and I am not the owner. The owner did give me the ok to look into this and move foward ofcourse at my expense. I have a great size apartment and because it really does work well for my-self and my family. I did factor in the cost of moving versus sound proofing and sound proofing seems to work out cheaper. This would be a task that I'd work on with someone who has experience with drywall.
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Old 01-05-2013, 03:41 PM   #8
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Sound Proofing DryWall Ceiling to Alleviate Impact Noise


Moving might not be cheaper - but if you move out of an apartment you won't have a stranger's impact noise to bother you. It's different if it's your own kids running around or if you can say "honey, keep it down". Also, paying the funds to improve an apartment ceiling's sound isolation is pouring money into something that you don't own, so I can't see how it would be money well spent.

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Old 01-05-2013, 08:59 PM   #9
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Sound Proofing DryWall Ceiling to Alleviate Impact Noise


JKeefe you have a great point. I have about 5 years in this apartment and have been pretty comfortable in it. I guess I was trying to hold on to it versus moving since it suits my family and I except for the impact noise which I can do without. I may have to part from it and look for a better place that is more structurally sound and even consider a second floor.

Last edited by MT76; 01-05-2013 at 09:00 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:35 AM   #10
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Sound Proofing DryWall Ceiling to Alleviate Impact Noise


the only real way to get quality insolation is to build a ceiling under, and separate, from the current ceiling.
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:38 PM   #11
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Sound Proofing DryWall Ceiling to Alleviate Impact Noise


NO! Never sandwich one dry wall layer between two other layers, with airspace on either side of the middle layer. Unless very deep airspaces are involved (at least 12 inches and preferably multiple feet), this will drastically reduce the sound isolation that you would get if you only used two layers. There is something called a mass-air-mass resonance (basically the ntural frequny of the enclosed volume between two layers of a floor-ceiling or two sides of wall) that reduces sound isolation. If you have three layers and two airspaces you wind up with teo mass-air-mass resonances to contend with.

If for some reason you want to build a new acoustical ceiling a few inches below an existing rigidly-attached drywall ceiling, your best course of action is to punch holes in the existing ceiling between all ceiling joists and between all blocking in order to acoustically eliminate the middle layer.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:02 PM   #12
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Sound Proofing DryWall Ceiling to Alleviate Impact Noise


YES ! you also fill the space with roxul.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:22 PM   #13
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Sound Proofing DryWall Ceiling to Alleviate Impact Noise


Im sorry but your upstairs neighbors apparently don't give a damn about you. Impact Noise means dropping stuff on the floor if I read you correctly. Talk to your landlord, maybe you can trade with your neighbor and drop stuff on them for a few years, see how they like it.

" One mans ceiling is another mans floor" Paul Simon

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Old 01-06-2013, 08:24 PM   #14
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Sound Proofing DryWall Ceiling to Alleviate Impact Noise


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Originally Posted by Fix'n it View Post
YES ! you also fill the space with roxul.
Not going to spend any more time arguing this point with you, if you don't want to believe me. There are many people here who know more about home improvement, construction, etc. than I do. I promise you that I know more about acoustics than most everyone else here. Don't build double-air-gap constructions for sound isolation - ever.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:38 PM   #15
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Sound Proofing DryWall Ceiling to Alleviate Impact Noise


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Im sorry but your upstairs neighbors apparently don't give a damn about you. Impact Noise means dropping stuff on the floor if I read you correctly.
"Impact noise" is an acoustical term for structure-borne noise on the top of a floor-ceiling. The primary cause of impact noise in multi-family residential construction is walking. With kids upstairs you could get running and the "pitter patter of little feet" as well (which can often sound like the proverbial "herd of elephants" downstairs even if children are making the noise). Impact noise can also result from bouncing balls, stacking chairs, etc. in institutions (such as an urban school where a gymnasium, auditorium, cafeteria, etc. are located above noise-sensitive areas). Technically dropping books an such is impact noise, but hopefully upstrair neightbors do that a lot less than waling around. The important distinction is that impact noise is structure-borne, while noise like talking, most noise from televisions, etc., is airborne noise. Solving a structure-borne noise problem and solving an airborne one often take two different approaches. Airborne noise isolation is classified according to something called STC (sound transmission class) - this is tested via a loudspeaker in one room and a microphone in the other. Impact noise is classified according to something called IIC (impact isolation class) - this is tested by placing a standardized tapping machine, that drops metal weights on the floor 10 times per second, on the floor above and placing a microphone in the space below the ceiling.

Quote:
Talk to your landlord, maybe you can trade with your neighbor and drop stuff on them for a few years, see how they like it.
I understand that this is a joke, but it does solidify one of the things I swore I would never do after becoming an acoustical consultant: purchase space in a mutli-family or mixed-use building (typically this comes in the form of a condo or townhouse). It is too easy and cheap for builders to only meet minimum STC and IIC requirements when building these structures (and we have seen multiple instances when the minimums are not even met), and it is significantly more expensive and more difficult to introduce building elements that significantly improve the sound isolation. The problem is, like many things that are minimum code these days, these minimum code requirements generally aren't good enough to satisfy the general population. I lived in a downstairs apartment once and I tolerated the noise from upstairs (the worst of which was an elementary schooler running around). When renting this situation is unavoidable. When buying I know never to sink my money into property that shares wall or floor-ceilings with other owners (unless perhaps if I was the acoustical consultant for the project, the architect implemented all of our recommendations, and I saw the construction company building things properly).

Quote:
" One mans ceiling is another mans floor" Paul Simon

Sucks.
Also "your wall is also your next-door-neighbor's wall" (though that doesn't sound nearly as elegant). This concept is always important to keep in mind when living in multi-family residential structures such as condos and apartment buildings, as they can go a long way towards keeping people happy even when sound isolation is relatively poor.


Last edited by JKeefe; 01-06-2013 at 08:42 PM.
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