When people see a concrete ceiling, they instantly feel like they are a step ahead of the rest of the people when it comes to handling noise. Cement does a decent job of killing noise and making everything sound better in most rooms.
With that said, there are still ways to soundproof a concrete ceiling properly. This is for people who really want a quiet atmosphere, and want to ensure that they have a recording area that has the right acoustics.
The good news is, a lot of the steps in soundproofing is relatively easy. With a little bit of hard work and time, a path towards better sound is possible.
How Soundproof Is a Concrete Ceiling By Itself?
As one of the most common building materials used, most people at some point have come across concrete walls and ceilings. There are plenty of positives when it comes to concrete, such as providing a sturdy, durable ceiling that can last for years and years.
Although it might seem like concrete is amazing in killing sound, it actually does a subpar job at best. People automatically look at the thickness of concrete and assume that it can kill the sound, but the concrete could use some help.
The hardness of the cement actually works against it, making a lot of noise on impact. The rigidly of concrete makes any type of movement above make a sound. It also reflects sound coming from other parts of the room, which could distract people from living the quality of life they are wanting.
Handling Other Concrete Surfaces
If the room has a concrete ceiling, chances are it very well could have concrete on the walls and floors. To get the most out of simply soundproofing a cement ceiling, there also needs to be work done on other parts of the room as well. Otherwise, similar issues are going to pop up.
Perhaps the easiest surface to treat is the floor, as a simple rug or mat can help significantly. It just needs to be laid on the ground, and it becomes part of the room without any additional effort.
The walls are a little trickier, but a lot of the same tricks used on ceilings apply here. Some people also make sure that they keep their design somewhat in check because completely bare walls will not catch much attention at all.
The one great thing about treating a ceiling is that there are so many people who want the ceiling to look very uniform. That is perfect for anyone going through soundproofing and trying to keep some level of design in check still.
Why Is Soundproofing a Concrete Ceiling So Important?
The goal of soundproofing a concrete ceiling is to improve the mass and absorb energy and vibration at all times. Soundproofing is necessary for a variety of reasons, but some people
simply want a better living experience. Others might be trying to soundproof a room completely so that they can record, or enjoy the silence inside.
A room made up of nothing but cement feels very dull by design and loud for people in it. Think of a parking garage, a warehouse or something similar to that. The advantage is that it is effortless to clean up anything, but for sound purposes, it is not worth it at all.
How to Soundproof a Concrete Ceiling Yourself
It is time to soundproof a concrete ceiling. Don’t be intimidated! It is a lot easier than it sounds. Some people will opt to do it themselves, especially if it is just a single room.
The instructions below are basic and straightforward, but more information is also available in video form for visual learners.
Initial Prepping Steps
The first step is to invest in resilient channels, which are metal bars that will help create a little bit of open space between the ceiling and what will eventually be the drywall. These bars help to make a substantial amount of free space to soundproof the ceiling properly.
The open space doesn’t need to be any more than 3 or 4 inches deep, so look for resilient channels in that range. Drilling holes into the ceiling and connecting the channels should be pretty straightforward with masonry bits and screws.
At this stage, some people will use additional sound resistant insulation and place it between the resilient channels and the cement ceiling before moving forward. This is for ceilings that might be incredibly noisy and isn’t a requirement. It is something worth thinking about if there are any significant issues.
Once the resilient channels are appropriately attached, next comes the sound isolation clips. These clips help to allow the drywall and plasterboard to hang from the ceiling properly because they will support the drywall furring channels.
One sound clip needs to be about three or 4 feet across the ceiling, and 7 to 10 inches apart. They need to run close to the resilient channels, but not connected. (Source)
The final preparation stage is connecting those furring channels to the resilient channels. This happens by attaching them to the sound clips with bolts or screws.
The furring channel needs to be extremely secure because it is responsible for supporting all the weight added on the new ceiling set up.
After wrapping up all the steps above, they are out of view going forward. It is still essential to make sure that all the steps are followed perfectly, but don’t be afraid if it doesn’t look perfect. As long the time is spent on doing everything correctly, it will last for years and years.
Creating the New Ceiling
Once everything finishes up behind the scenes, it comes down to attaching the plasterboard and drywall. The first step is to hang a piece of sound resistant plasterboard.
This happens by using drywall screws, connecting to the furring channels. It can be a pretty basic layer of plasterboard because there will be more layers added later on.
After that, apply a drywall dampening compound. The compound should always be facing up so that it is between any new drywall and that first layer of plasterboard. Each time a new layer is added, cut the drywall plasterboard so that the seams don’t overlap that original piece of plasterboard.
When the final layer of drywall is hanging, it is strong enough to be finished and painted just how a person wants. Before putting the finishing touches on it, it might be worth seeing if it kills enough sound as-is. If it still seems like it could use another layer or two, it’s much easier to do it now than to add later on.
Tips on Soundproofing a Concrete Ceiling Yourself
A lot of people will try to tackle any type of soundproofing job on their own. It might seem like a huge risk for some, but it usually works out just fine. As long as a person is willing to put in time and effort, it can generally come together nicely.
To go along with the walkthrough above, here are some additional tips to keep in mind.
High Mass and Density Products Work Best
The goal in soundproofing a ceiling is to add a fair amount of material, but not so much that it severely shrinks the room. Something that is a very high mass with a ton of density works best.
Fortunately, products to kill sound are better than ever. It will only reduce the height of a ceiling by a few inches. That’s great news if the ceilings in the room are already a bit low.
Consider a Mixture of Materials
Some materials will work better for different types of sound frequencies. Each ceiling is going to be slightly different, so don’t think that certain materials will work for everyone.
Try out a few different options early on to see what type of impact they make. Also, read up on certain scenarios people have found themselves in, and see if they can give any suggestions from their perspective.
Allow for Some Space to Disburse Sound
Unlike the walls and floors, there needs to be some space created between the concrete and the soundproof insulation added. Without that space, there might be a bit too much vibration going on that will cause audible sound.
Not having that space is one of the most common mistakes out there. Simply applying soundproofing material directly to an existing concrete ceiling is only going to make minimal changes for people.
Hiring Professionals to Take Care of Concrete Ceilings
If it seems too challenging of a task, there is always a way to hire a professional to take care of soundproofing concrete ceilings. They will in many cases use some of the same techniques that are in do-it-yourself walkthroughs, but they can do it more efficiently, and it might last a little
longer. People who are really particular about how the soundproofing material looks after everything wraps up might want to go the professional route as well.
Another advantage is if they have all the material needed to reach higher ceilings. Some people might not have a ladder ready to handle the high location of the work. It also might be difficult to access different parts of the ceiling, so having a professional do that could save some people time.
Final Thoughts on Soundproofing a Concrete Ceiling
Despite all the steps it takes to soundproof a ceiling made of concrete, people should still view it as a solid building choice overall. It just needs some additional help to really make each room quiet.
It is fairly easy for sound to travel down into a room if a concrete ceiling supports it. With a few additional steps, it can make a huge difference right away.
The good news is that it is pretty straightforward, and if a person can soundproof their walls, they can definitely soundproof their ceiling. The only major difference is using a ladder. Some people feel like other than that, it is easier to soundproof ceiling in the end.