Soundproofing from loud upstairs neighbors in condo or apartment by SoundProofing America | Soundproofing with Dave

11.14.2006

Soundproofing from loud upstairs neighbors in condo or apartment by SoundProofing America



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Soundproofing from loud upstairs neighbors in condo or apartment by SoundProofing America



One of the most common soundproofing questions I hear most is "How do I soundproof my condo or apartment from those noisy neighbors who live above?" Generally the most annoying noise is what is known as "foot fall" or "impact noise" Impact noise is noise that is caused by heavy walking on the floor of the neighbor above. It can also be caused by chairs dragging across a hardwood floor above or simply the impact of a fork or plate that is dropped on the floor above.



Impact noise is transmitted through the structural members of the floor/ceiling assembly and generally travels down through the floor joists and into the ceiling below at lightening speed. Impact noise is the most annoying noise you will ever have to deal in your condo or apartment. Sometimes it can actually feel like you neighbor is living in your unit. Sound familiar?



When dealing with impact noise, it is always best to completely remove the existing ceiling and start from scratch. This can be a real chore especially if your ceiling is plaster and not drywall. (For plaster ceiling consult local drywall contractor) Once the ceiling has been removed, it is then recommended that you fill the joist cavities with sound batt insulation such as rock wool, mineral wool, or cotton batt insulation. Roxul and Greensound are common brand names for these batt materials. It is always best to completely fill the cavities with one of these materials, but if you don't have enough of these materials you can always fill the remainder of the cavity with common fiberglass insulation. Just make sure that the first layer of insulation (the layer against the sub floor above) is cotton, mineral wool, or rock wool.



Now that your joist cavities are filled, you will then want to "float your ceiling" on sound clips and furring channels. Float my ceiling? What are you talking about dude? I'm glad you asked; a floated ceiling is a ceiling that is connected to the ceiling joists using a device called a sound clip. Sound clips isolate the joists from the new drywall that will become your new ceiling. Here's how it works. You will screw the sound clips onto the bottom face of the joists and they will run parallel to the joists. The sound clips are then fitted with a metal furring channel also known as "hat channel" because it looks like a Dick Tracy hat if you look at it from the side. Furring channels come in 20 and 25 gauge steel, you can use either gauge with the Americlip sound clips. The furring channels will run perpendicular to the joists as they are fitted into the sound clips. Once you have all of your rows of sound clips and furring channel installed, you are ready to drywall. There is a trick to floating a ceiling and that is to make sure that your new ceiling drywall does not touch the adjoining walls and is completely independent of the ceiling joists.



You will screw in your new drywall using self-tapping drywall screws that will screw through the drywall and into the metal furring channels. Once you are finished screwing the drywall to the furring channels, you will make sure that you have maintained a ¼" gap around the entire perimeter of the new ceiling. This gap will be filled in with acoustical caulk that is designed to remain pliant throughout the life of the caulk. Now that the new floated ceiling is installed and you have caulked in the ¼" gap around the perimeter you'll then tape mud and paint the new ceiling as normal.



Now if you are looking for the ultimate in soundproofing from impact noise as well as airborne noise from above, it is recommended that you float 2 layers of 5/8" drywall on the sound clips and furring channel, and between the layers of drywall you will apply a product called "Green Glue". Green Glue is a visco elastic damping compound that when applied between 2 layers of drywall or any rigid wall board, acts to deaden both layers of wall board thus not allowing the drywall to resonate or transmit sound. When the sound is unable to pass through the drywall it dissipates rapidly and turns into heat energy.



To sum this up, the absolute best way to soundproof your ceiling from the noisy neighbors above is to float the ceiling using the Sound clips and furring channel, and then installing 2 layers of 5/8" drywall suspended from the sound clips and furring channels with Green Glue sandwiched between the 2 layers of drywall.



Now if space is an issue or money is a concern, you can get some great soundproofing and impact protection by simply adding another layer of 5/8" drywall to your existing ceiling, applying the Green Glue to this new layer of drywall and then simply screwing the drywall over top of you existing drywall or plaster ceiling. This method will not be quite as effective as the complete floated ceiling system using Green Glue, but if you are on a budget and need effective protection from the impact noise from above, Green Glue is a great way to go.

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