How to Soundproof Ceiling From Footsteps and Impact Noise: 9 Quick Methods

In multistoried apartments, the most common problem that homeowners face is noise from neighbors upstairs. No matter it’s the kids running here and there or the heavy footsteps of the inconsiderate neighbor, noises from upstairs is frustrating. This calls for soundproofing ceilings from footsteps. That’s the only way you can enjoy peace and comfort in your apartment.

Apart from footsteps impact noises are another nuisance that poses difficulties for homeowners. What’s more saddening is that soundproofing materials can enable people to block airborne sounds and noises, but it’s quite tough to reduce impact noise.

Therefore, separating the ceiling from the central layer by adding an extra soundproof layer is essential. You can isolate your ceiling or block noises coming from upstairs by several means. Below enlisted are a few such ways:

  • Adding mass loaded vinyl
  • Installing acoustic foam panels
  • Adding a second layer of drywall
  • Adding a soundproof insulation slab
  • Creating resilient channels
  • Carpeting the floor above your ceiling
  • Adding soundproof blankets
  • Adding egg crates foam panels
  • Mutex soundproof material

Without wasting further time, let’s dive into the detailed study of each of the above-mentioned ways.

How to soundproof the ceiling from footsteps and impact noise?

How to soundproof the ceiling from footsteps and impact noise

When you proceed to soundproofing your ceiling from unwanted noises and sounds, the first thing you ought to check is whether or not there are cracks and holes in the ceiling. Noises easily travel through these gaps and disturb your peace. Therefore, the first step would be to seal the minute holes using a soundproof compound. If you are wondering whether sealing them would be useful, yes, this is your first step towards eliminating unwanted ceiling noises.

Now, if you are doubtful about which sealant to use, opt for the most popular and highly recommended soundproofing compound Green Glue. It helps in sound dampening, converting sound waves into kinetic energy, reducing noises in the process.

Once you have closed all exiting gaps and holes in the ceiling, you can now proceed to take any of these steps.

Adding Mass Loaded Vinyl

Adding mass-loaded vinyl is a stylish way to eliminate unwanted noise. Mass-loaded vinyl is an  effective additional layer that can be laid between two existing floors because they are thick.

A lot of people use MLV for reducing impact noise and airborne sounds. Impact sound waves travel in all directions of the space unless there’s a thick mass of soundproofing material that absorbs the sound waves, while they try to travel through the mass.

Mass-loaded vinyl acts as an effective barrier, preventing impact noise and sound waves from reaching other people. When you add a layer of MLV, sound waves hitting the mass bounce off easily, unable to pass through the thick mass. Current reports state that mass-loaded vinyls are being largely used as noise dampeners and have a noise-absorbing capacity of 85%.

The best part about this soundproofing material is that one can use it with the Green Glue compound and extra drywall to improve  the mass density of your ceiling. Doing so will further eliminate unwanted noises that try to pass through the ceiling and enter your room.

Installing Acoustic Panels

Installing Acoustic Panels

If your ceiling is made up of concrete and cement, acoustic sealants wouldn’t work. In that case, installing acoustic foam panels is necessary. Acoustic foam panels are designed to absorb sound waves and have a noise-absorbing capacity of 95%. This means that only 5% of the noise is reflected back.

Different types of acoustic panels are available in today’s market. One can choose a suitable type depending on their budget. The best ones are truly effective in muffling footsteps and noises coming from upstairs.

They also eliminate impact noises to some extent. This is possible because acoustic panels are of high density. They can easily dampen, deaden sound waves and act as an effective echo reduction, acoustic insulation material.

Acoustic panels don’t have any foul smell. It’s safe for pets and kids equally. The best part is installing acoustic panels is hassle-free. If you don’t have enough budget to cover the entire ceiling with acoustic panels, don’t worry. You can strategically install the panels at particular spots on the ceilings from where outside noises are likely to pass through.

Adding a Second Layer of Drywall with Resilient Channels

Adding a Second Layer of Drywall with Resilient Channels

If you are looking forward to soundproofing ceiling footsteps, the next effective strategy for you is installing two layers of drywall. Drywall has become an extremely popular soundproofing material. Therefore, it’s something you can consider trying.

Drywall panels are available in different sizes nowadays.  Choose the one that best suits your requirement. To enhance the effect of the drywall, we recommend you install two layers of drywall and block the maximum amount of noise coming from upstairs. However, remember to fill the holes in between two drywall panels that might exist after installation. Drywall not only increases the density of the ceiling but also reduces the height of the room by about 6 inches.

Some people directly screw drywall with joist or studs. This isn’t an effective solution at all. The best solution, as per our recommendation would be to use a resilient channel, on top of the joist and then screw another layer of drywall on top of the resilient channel. This would help you to enjoy guaranteed soundproofing effects.

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Adding Soundproof Insulation Slab

Instead of using acoustic sealants, people can also consider using sound-absorbing slabs. These slabs are attached exactly in the center of two existing drywalls. Attaching soundproofing slabs is a more elegant and sophisticated method of resisting sound, both impact noise, and airborne noises. You can also install the soundproofing slabs in between the drywall and the vacant space in the main ceiling.

These slabs are easily installed. They are mostly made up of fiberglass woven strands. If you can’t install the slabs on your own, call a professional for help and your work would be done in just a few seconds. Installing slabs in between the ceiling space and the drywall would increase the density,

The main idea of installing a soundproofing slab is to fill the vacant space on top of the drywall by using either batt insulation or spray insulation. Try this method once and you are sure to experience evident results.

Creating Resilient Channels

Wondering what are resilient channels? They are an air pocket of 1/2 inch that exists between the mail drywall and the second drywall. Resilient channels have become an excellent soundproofing solution nowadays and are widely preferred by homeowners. They work by creating a gap and suspending the mass of drywall away from the floor of the building.

Resilient channels work by dampening sound waves effectively. In the process, the energy is dissipated in the surrounding space. Needless to say, sound travels faster in a solid medium than in air. The air pocket created by resilient channels impedes the intensity of sound waves , reduces the impact of the noise as result.  By the time, the sound waves reach the second drywall, they have already become too weak to travel through the drywall.

As you can see resilient channels can effectively soundproof drywalls, ceilings, and walls. We have already explained how they function and help in weakening the intensity of sound waves. If you are willing to improve the effectiveness of resilient channels even that’s possible by adding another soundproofing material, like a sound attenuation blanket.

Carpeting the Floor Above Ceiling

Carpeting the Floor Above Ceiling

If you are tired of hearing footstep noise coming from upstairs the best thing to do is carpeting the floor above your ceiling. The floor mat or carpet will cover the floor space, reducing the impact of the footsteps.

As per reports, carpets can eliminate airborne sounds by 35%!  If the carpet is of good quality, it can eliminate noise up to 46%. With a proper underpayment, reduction to 70% is possible!

However, you must keep in mind that if the carpet backing is too impermeable, it would be difficult for the carpet to absorb sounds. To get the best carpet flooring results, homeowners are advised to use wool carpet and a wool underlay. This solution works because the next time your neighbor would be walking, he/ she would walk on the thick carpets. As a result, the carpet or rug will effectively absorb the sound, helping to reduce impact noise from ceiling to a great extent. To soundproof floors made up of hardwood, carpeting the floor is the best soundproofing solution.

Attaching Egg Crates Foam Soundproofing

Haven’t you seen people attaching egg cartons to their walls? Usually, they don’t yield effective results. But when improved with soundproofing materials, the same egg crates become very useful.

The modern-day egg crate foam panels are extremely effective when it comes to soundproofing ceiling impact noise.  Now, you must be wondering why do these work when the original egg cartons don’t? Actual egg crates do have a good shape but the material isn’t good enough to obstruct sound waves from passing through the ceiling. Original egg crates, in short, don’t have any soundproofing qualities.

That’s why manufacturers developed an improved version of egg crates with foam panels. These materials are shaped by egg crates but come with improved soundproofing materials. These crates are thicker than the usual egg crates we find. The best thing about them is that they work both ways, they prevent sound from going out of the room and entering another. The only downside is that they don’t look appealing, but again are highly effective in soundproofing your ceiling.

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Mutex Soundproof Material

If you have already tried out acoustic foam panels but aren’t satisfied with the results, you can try out the mutex soundproof material instead. It’s a kind of mat, that’s extremely lightweight and can be rolled. There are two types of mutex to choose from, vinyl mutex and high mass. To get the most effective results, we recommend using the high-mass element as a soundproofing barrier.

Mutex soundproofing material is a versatile material that one can use for soundproofing. Whatever material you have left behind, use it to soundproof your walls, floors, cars, etc.

To get ultimate results one must use mutex soundproof material with drywall. Glue them together. You can also staple them and install them together on the ceiling. The effect would be quite similar to that of mass-loaded vinyl.

Adding Thick Soundproof Blankets

The last solution you can try out is attaching a thick blanket to your ceiling. This option is cheap and easy to afford. The best part is the blankets of the right kind can even complement your home decor. Not just on ceilings, soundproof blankets can be used on a variety of surfaces including  walls, floors, doors etc. It’s an effective way to reduce footsteps noise coming from upstairs.

To add a blanket to the ceiling, you don’t require professional help. Just make sure you attach the blankets with big pins, so that they don’t fall off.

Also, try to buy the fluffiest of all blankets.  Remember, the fluffier the material, the more will be its sound-absorbing qualities. To get the best results, consider carpeting the floor above your ceiling and adding a soundproof blanket to your ceiling together.

Final Thoughts

The solutions we have listed above can be applied even to the walls as well. They are versatile and highly effective. Some of the solutions would also enhance the aesthetics of the room. With so many options available, it’s extremely easier for homeowners to get rid of unwanted noises coming from inconsiderate neighbors upstairs, without even bothering them.

However, the solutions are 100% effective. They do reflect some amount of noise back, though negligible. That’s why we suggest homeowners to use two solutions together. For instance, adding a soundproof blanket and carpeting the floor upstairs would enhance the soundproofing effects. Again, adding two layers of drywall would block more noise than a single layer. So, improvise upon these solutions and enjoy a peaceful and comfortable time in your apartment.