How to soundproof ceilings and stop noise entering your home

soundproof ceilings noise sleep

This guide outlines the steps to soundproof ceilings and alleviate upstairs or external noise that disturbs you.

Sounds coming from above can be some of the most annoying in your home or apartment. From storms with pounding rain to attic creaks to noisy upstairs neighbors, they all make for some sleepless nights or interrupted quiet time.

Steps to soundproof ceilings

Luckily, you don’t have to put up with noises any longer because we have the information you need to soundproof ceilings and get the peace and quiet you deserve.

Materials needed to soundproof ceilings

When learning how to soundproof a ceiling, the first thing you’ll need is a list of materials. Here are some of the most common and what they do.

  • Mass-loaded vinyl – a thin, flexible layer sandwiched between the ceiling and the drywall or soundproofing panels.
  • Sound isolation clips – These are attached to the resilient panels for another separation layer.
  • Insulation (if needed) – This can help with noise and improve energy efficiency.
  • Soundproofing panels or drywall – It’s your choice here, depending on personal preference and desired level of acoustic soundproofing needed.
  • Acoustic sealant – This fills the gaps in the ceiling joists and in the final installation.
  • Resilient channels – These channels provide an isolation layer between the ceiling and the isolation clips.
  • Drywall screws – Needed to attach the drywall or soundproofing panes to the isolation clips.

Step by Step Instructions to Soundproof Ceilings

The good news is that steps to soundproof ceilings are not that hard to do. If you follow the steps below, with a little time, the right materials and a few common tools, you’ll have your new ceiling ready in no time.

Step 1: Get the Ceiling Ready

Remove the existing ceiling, whether that’s drywall or ceiling tiles. Clean the area well and seal any gaps with acoustic sealant. Make sure any fixtures or junction boxes are lowered to accommodate the lower ceiling.

Step 2: Install Resilient Channels

These are metal strips you screw into the ceiling joists. They allow space and separation between the ceiling and the drywall or panels. Make sure you install them perpendicular to your joists to soundproof ceilings, as shown here.

Step 3: Add Insulation as Needed

If your ceiling or roof needs added insulation, now’s the time to do it. Consider blown-in options for larger spaces. It will help reduce vibration noise.

Step 4: Install the Sound Isolation Clips

These clips are attached to the resilient channels at around 2-foot intervals. They provide another separation layer between the ceiling drywall and the joists above. Make sure they are aligned properly to allow the drywall or panels to attach easily.

Step 5: Add a Layer of Mass Loaded Vinyl

Mass-loaded vinyl, or MLV, is a thin, flexible material used between layers for additional sound deadening to soundproof ceilings. After cutting it into pieces that fit, install this directly over your sound isolation clips and attach it with screws to the resilient channels. Make sure you don’t overlap the pieces or leave any gaps between them.

Step 6: Install Drywall or Soundproof Panels

If you’ve purchased specially-made soundproofing panels, this is the time to install them. If not, a layer of drywall is also suitable. Whichever one you choose, connect them with screws directly to the isolation clips, not the resilient channels and install them perpendicular to the channels. The drywall will need mudding and taping as usual.

Step 7: Seal Any Joints or Edges

The job to soundproof ceilings isn’t complete if you leave open joints or edges. Use the acoustic sealant around all openings and edges, applying it with a putty knife. Be sure to scrape it smooth for a clean, professional-looking finish. After the sealant is dry, the drywall can be painted as usual.