Tips to Soundproof Ceiling in Condominium
LESLIE: Gloria in Massachusetts is on the line looking to soundproof ceiling in condominium. What can we do for you?
GLORIA: I live in a condominium. There are three floors. I’m in the middle floor. The person over me has put wooden floors in throughout her condominium. I feel like I’m living in a bowling alley. She gets up at 5:00 every morning – she’s a schoolteacher – and leaves at 6:00. There’s no way that I can sleep beyond 5:00.
GLORIA: I called MIT looking for some kind of guidance. They said they don’t know anything about how to soundproof ceiling in condominium.
TOM: Well, that’s a little shocking but OK. But I wouldn’t imagine that MIT usually takes tech-support help calls like that. But we know a little bit about how to soundproof ceiling in condominium, so I can give you a couple of ideas.
TOM: Now, because you’re in a condominium, I guess you probably need to get permission to do this. But there are two ways to soundproof ceiling in condominiumn, that I can think of. So, one of which is that – well, in both cases, you’re going to have to add another layer of drywall on top of the one that’s there now.
TOM: And there’s two ways to do this. There is a product called Green Glue, which is kind of like a silicone-looking greenish caulk. And you need an extraordinarily large amount of it. But basically, you apply it to the ceiling and the drywall gets put on top of that. And it creates sort of a damper that absorbs some of the sound.
The easier way to do it is there is, actually, sound-resistant drywall. One of them is called QuietRock. And it’s sound-deadening sort of built into the drywall sheet. You’ll find that it’s very heavy but it’s pretty effective. And that would be installed in a traditional way, again, probably screwed right through into the current ceiling. And then – and of course, you have to tape and spackle all the joints. But where most people miss an opportunity for soundproofing is around the fixtures that come through the ceiling or the walls, if that’s the case. So in your case …
GLORIA: I luckily have none.
TOM: You have none. So you have no lights or anything that comes through that ceiling? It’s just a plain, flat ceiling?
GLORIA: No. Uh-uh. Nope.
TOM: Well, then it’s pretty easy to soundproof ceiling in condominium, you know. And you could probably have a general contractor do this or a carpenter do this for you. But you’re going to have to re-drywall the ceiling with sound-resistant drywall, like QuietRock. And you’ll find that at Lowe’s.
There’s another one that’s called Quiet Fix and there’s one called SoundBreak. And just keep in mind, though, that you’re not going to completely silence those heels from your upstairs schoolteacher that gets up at 5:00 in the morning. But it will be a lot better if you install this properly. So, I think the easiest thing to do would probably be to pick up at Lowe’s, since it’s so readily available, and then have a contractor install it.
GLORIA: OK. I will do that.
TOM: And keep in mind you’re going to have to tape all of the seams, like you normally would, around …
LESLIE: Tape all the seams, paint the ceiling.
TOM: Yeah, paint the ceiling. And between the walls and the ceiling, you may have to either tape that or use molding to cover that seam. So, it’s a bit of a project and you’re going to want to move all your furniture while all this goes on. But I think it’ll make a big difference for you, especially since you’re so sensitive to that sound. Maybe you’ll get some better sleep that way.
GLORIA: Oh, wonderful.
LESLIE: Yeah. But make sure that your board approves everything. Whoever you’ve got to ask, make sure they’re OK with it before you invest this.
GLORIA: I will do that. Thank you so very, very much for your help.