Soundproofing the ceiling in an apartment under a suspended ceiling: how to properly arrange soundproofing

Alexey Dedyulin
Checked by a specialist: Alexey Dedyulin
Author: Antonina Turyeva
Last update: April 2020

Are you planning large-scale repair work or finishing an apartment in a new building? You must admit that a timely sound insulation of the ceiling in an apartment under a suspended ceiling, which is able to provide an acceptable noise level for a comfortable life, will help to maintain calm and good relations with upper neighbors.

Have you thought about soundproofing, but don’t know which option to stop at? We will help you deal with this issue - the article discusses the best ways to soundproof the ceiling space.

It also shows the main stages of installation with step-by-step photos, recommendations and video tips of experienced builders on how to perform work on their own.

Do you need a soundproofing ceiling tension type?

Have you long dreamed of installing suspended ceilings in an apartment and have you heard about the need for noise insulation? Or do you think that this is unnecessary expenses for which dishonest managers who are trying to make the most money on the client are “inciting” you?

Let's look at the feasibility of performing sound insulation under the design of a stretch ceiling -.

It is definitely needed in such situations:

  1. You constantly hear a neighbor swearing or talking on the phone with friends / relatives.
  2. At night you wake up from the fact that the neighbor coughed or rolled over on the other side.
  3. You have too high ceilings in the apartment that you want to "lower" by pulling the PVC canvas on the frame, fixed 20-25 cm below the ceiling plate.
  4. After installing the suspended ceilings, you began to hear well what was happening with the upper neighbors.

A competent soundproofing structure (ZIK), or as installers and ordinary users call it, will help to solve such problems.

Stretch ceiling in the room
Initially, you need to understand that the soundproofing of the ceiling space is not able to cut off all the noises and sounds entering the apartment.It can muffle them, prevent reflection from surfaces, which will provide a comfortable noise level for the human body

There is a separation of noise into 2 main types:

  • air;
  • shock.

The first includes sounds made by animals, as well as cries and cries of children and the voices of adults. And to the second type - sounds from the impact of furniture, heels, a punch and others.

The main objective of the ZIK mounted under a stretch ceiling is to reduce the level of air noise to a comfortable.

If you have troubled neighbors constantly dropping or moving furniture worn on heels at 6 in the morning, then such sound insulation will not help.

It will also be ineffective if the room has extremely low ceilings and there is no place for mounting a good sound-absorbing layer of several types of materials.

Even the latest and most expensive material with a thickness of 5-10 mm, alone attached under a stretch ceiling, will not be able to solve the task of eliminating the excessive audibility of extraneous sounds in the apartment.

High ceilings in the apartment
High ceilings allow you to realize the most effective ZIK by installing a “cake” of 3-5 layers. Moreover, the rule applies here - the thicker the better

Soundproofing Options

You may have heard that stretch ceilings on their own perfectly cope with the problem of noise isolation - after they are pulled, you will no longer listen to the news on the neighbors' TV? This is a myth - the tensile structure itself with a PVC film or fabric can not cut off sounds.

Bright color ceiling
The stretch ceiling allows you to realize interesting design ideas, which will cost quite inexpensively. Moreover, you can order a color option or a canvas with 3D printing

But the reverse situation can very much happen - if the ceiling is fixed too low from the floor slabs, the reflection of sounds may occur, the so-called “drum effect”. Such reviews can be repeatedly found on the network.

And the only solution to this problem is to dismantle the canvas, fill the space with several layers of soundproof materials, and reinstall the stretch ceiling.

Sound absorption systems perform frameless and wireframe technologies. Moreover, the latter can be carried out using vibration suspensions or according to the installation diagram self-supporting ceilingwhen the carcass is fastened in opposition between the walls.

Device circuit Knauf P131 (P 231)
The figure shows a schematic illustration of the design of a self-supporting ceiling of a German brand - Knauf P131 (P 231). It is made of superlists on one frame

And you can also apply the simplest option - fix sound-absorbing mineral plates and pull a PVC cloth under them at a distance of 2 cm.

This option will allow not to worsen the living conditions after the installation of suspended ceilings, avoiding the "drum effect". But with the absorption of noise from neighbors, you get a rather modest result.

Which technology to choose depends entirely on the characteristics of the premises and the expectations of the owner. The first is convenient and easy to install, takes up little space. But for the implementation of frame ZIK will require not only the experience of fastening profiles, but also more space under the ceiling.

As for the installation of the structure, then, having no experience in performing repairs, it is better to pay money to a company whose employees will perform professional installation in accordance with all the rules.

After all, if there is a violation of the technology for laying a soundproof cake under a stretch canvas, it will not work.

Material Overview

For reliable soundproofing of the suspended ceiling structure in the apartment, special materials will have to be used - with soundproofing and sound-absorbing properties.

The assortment presented on the market is very wide - here are also ready-made solutions of the type Knauf P 131 (P 231)sandwiches from several layers of materials of different densities. As well as certain types of materials that can be combined as you wish and taking into account the allocated budget.

Let's take a closer look at the most popular materials on the market.

Still for the arrangement of soundproofing you will need a vibroacoustic sealant, a vibration-isolating gasket strip and vibration suspensions.

The attention of customers is attracted by a rather interesting solution - RPG Comfort. This is a sandwich of wood fiber layer, expanded polystyrene foam, reinforced fiberglass mesh and polymer-cement composition.

Despite the claims of the manufacturer about the wonderful soundproofing properties, these boards must be used in conjunction with the blocks produced by this company to get a partition between rooms that meets the requirements of GOST in terms of sound insulation, but not ZIK.

Plate RPG Comfort
Comfort RPGs from Ruspanel are not a specialized material for creating ZI designs. Moreover, their installation under a suspended ceiling will contribute to the creation of higher resonant frequencies.

Also, do not choose foam materials in any design - this is a wonderful insulation, which is useless when arranging sound insulation.

No less critical acoustic engineers relate to such materials as cork, mounting foam, polyethylene foam, egg trays. Instead, they advise you to buy a special mineral wool - with soundproofing properties. Its thickness should be 40-50 mm, and density - not less than 40 kg / m3.

Soundproofing Installation Instructions

Having decided on the type of ZIK and the installation features, it remains to be decided: to do everything on our own or with the help of professional craftsmen from a company engaged in sound insulation works.

If there is experience in performing repairs, then it is quite possible to start creating a ZI design.In this matter, it is important to choose the right materials and fix them, according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Regardless of the option selected, it is important to prepare for the installation of the structure. That, in order to save, can be done on their own.

First do electrician - if you are not an electrician, then for these purposes it is better to invite a professional electrician. After all, sound insulation and suspended ceilings are installed for at least 7-10 years, until you want to make a new repair.

Soundproofing the ceiling in an apartment under a suspended ceiling: how to properly arrange soundproofing
Many companies selling ZI materials recommend using special sealant, adhesive tape - all soundproofing. But the cost of this solution is rather big, therefore, to reduce the cost of the general estimate, it is permissible to buy a neutral sealant, which in practice will be no worse

Then it is important to close up all the joints between the ceiling slabs - this work can be done independently by yourself, even without special experience.

Cement mortar can be used to seal joints of ceiling slabs. Although sellers suggest applying expensive soundproofing sealant, the consumption of which can be quite considerable if there are significant gaps and holes in your ceiling.

Therefore, for problem areas, it is more expedient to use the tow + solution design, densely filling holes and sealing them with a solution.

As for the sealant for processing joints of plates in the future, it is possible to use a neutral sealant instead of special equipment. It is neutral, because the basis of this tool can be acetic, acrylic and other, which may be completely incompatible with the metal.

When the ceiling is prepared, you can proceed with the installation of a suitable ZI design.

Option # 1 - wireframe technology

If the height of the ceilings in the room allows, then it is most effective to mount the frame ZIK under the stretch canvas. This is a multi-layer suspended ceiling, assembled from materials of different densities, mounted on a frame of profiles.

Such a pie will not only provide decent sound insulation, but also will not allow the panel to become a “drum membrane”, re-emitting all sounds coming from the ceiling.

Consider the step-by-step installation process in the next photo selection.

With the device ZI design, you can use another set of materials. For example, first of all, directly to the ceiling, fasten ThermoSoundIsol. This material is in bales - 14 mm fiberglass canvas. Mounted directly to the ceiling.

Then mineral plates laid in a metal frame. After them - soundproof panels with sand type Soundguard. This is a 3-layer corrugated cardboard with a thickness of 13 mm.

Plate edge sealing
Soundguard panels can be cut with a conventional mounting knife thanks to the cardboard construction.It is important to immediately correctly lay out the sheet in the required areas, and after cutting the edges, process it with paper tape so that the sand does not spill out

The next stage is complete tightness. all joints must be lubricated with a vibration-proof sealant that does not shrink. All seams and wall junctions too.

This is necessary in order to get a sealed structure that will work. You can use special equipment - vibroacoustic sealant. It is applied with a spatula, evenly distributed over the surface of the joint, capturing the plate, and glued on top with adhesive tape, paper.

Vibration insulation tape on pipes
It is important to wrap all profile structures and adjacent communications with a damping vibration-isolating tape, and preferably in 2 layers, including heating pipes passing next to the structure

Also, when arranging the pie, materials of different densities should be used, from 3, and preferably 5 layers. Only one cotton wool will give a minimal effect.

After arranging the suspended ZI design, you can mount the stretch fabric, departing from the suspended 2 cm. It is advisable to fix the frame for its installation even before the start of soundproofing work.

Option # 2 - frameless way

This method requires a more thorough preparation of the base, but to fix the structure a little easier. For a frameless version of ZIK, you will need: a sandwich plate by type ZIPS-III-Ultra and mounting kit included. As well as a type damper Vibrostek, sealant and drywall sheets, and preferably GKL + GVL.

After such a pie, you can safely mount a stretch ceiling made of PVC, fabric or an acoustic canvas and connect light bulbsinstallation sites which were also designed and prepared in advance. It is important when mounting the canvas to retreat 2 cm, and no more, so as not to provoke a “drum effect” by too large a gap.

Option # 3 - easy attenuation

Alternatively, so that the stretch fabric does not become the membrane of the drum, for noise absorption, you can use the fastening of wool on the "fungi". This method will not protect against existing noise, but will prevent the improvement in audibility after installation.

It is also good to build a frame from wooden blocks or from metal profiles. And then lay mineral plates in it, additionally fixing them with “fungi”. Or glue on a special adhesive on a gypsum / cement base.

Mineral plates
For the installation of a cotton pad under a tensile structure, it is better to use specialized plates - mineral, with a thickness of 50 mm and a density of 50 kg / m3

A good option - plates ACOUSTIC BATTS from Rockwool. This is a soundproofing dense stone wool slab. It is attached immediately to the ceiling, without the use of additional layers.

Also, as a noise absorber, you can fix a turnkey solution such as a self-supporting ceiling Knauf. For instance, KNAUF P231. For its installation, you will need to read the instructions and strictly follow it.

You can find tips on installing a self-adhesive membrane under a tensile structure. This material is easy to attach on your own, you don’t even need to buy special glue - the manufacturer has already provided for everything.

But the effect of its installation in terms of sound insulation will be almost imperceptible. It is best to use such material in combination with others - mineral wool, for example, and sheets of drywall.

Stretch ceiling in the bedroom
It should be remembered and understood that full sound insulation and suspended ceilings are incompatible things. Therefore, there is no need to hope for a miracle - the ZIK design is able to prevent the occurrence of reflected noise from the tension web, and to muffle a little airborne noise

If the room is fully insulated walls, floors, ceilings, and the neighbor has the flooring correctly mounted on top, then comfortable conditions will be provided and stretch ceilings will only please. True, provided that all work was carried out efficiently and in accordance with the technology.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

Video on self-installation of soundproofing materials for suspended ceilings:

Theoretical information on sound insulation and the optimal set of materials for its arrangement:

Video instruction for installing high-quality and expensive sound insulation by professional installers:

Having dealt with the popular materials presented on the building materials market and familiarizing yourself with the basic methods of soundproofing, you can make sure that the right ZI design is installed under the suspended ceilings in your apartment. And if you want and have installation experience, you can do these works yourself.

Do you want to talk about your experience with ceiling noise insulation or to supplement the above material with useful comments and recommendations? Please write comments on this article in the block below.

If you still have questions about the choice of material and you want to clarify the nuances that we did not mention in this material, ask our experts in the comments section.

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Visitors Comments
  1. Denis

    Those who came across noisy neighbors from above understand best of all how important it is to make good sound insulation of the ceiling in an apartment. Small children with their games, pets that rush about the apartment, and other noises are very disturbing, and sometimes just annoying, when you want to relax in a calm environment after a hard working day. Now I plan to repair and I will definitely do noise isolation. I am sure everything will pay off with my peace of mind.

  2. Dmitry

    Polyfoam still pretty much drowns out the sound. I once made soundproofing the front door for a long time. The effect was. But in general, the best way out is to have strong nerves and to establish normal relations with neighbors. Purely psychology. I fall asleep perfectly under a loud TV, but even the rustlings in the stairwell and the neighbors infuriate me. I just mask unnecessary noise with the TV.

  3. Denis

    The apartment for rent from above is constantly new tenants and hyperactive once in the evenings - music, laughter. I'm already tired of clarifying the relationship.Question - insulation completely drown out the extra noise or only reduce them? To what extent?

    • Expert
      Alexey Dedyulin

      Hello. The sound from the neighbors above can be complex in your case - it is shock noise and air. The problem is that noises spread not only over the ceiling, but also over the entire structure of the building - floors, walls. Therefore, in a good way, the “room in the room” would be the ideal sound insulator, but such a construction will eat a lot of footage, which is inappropriate for apartments.

      On your own experience - depending on what size and amount you are willing to sacrifice, the noise level with the ceiling insulation can be reduced from about 9 to 23 decibels. I can’t say for sure, it depends on the material of the supporting structures, partitions and ceilings, as well as the noise level from the neighboring one. The cost of construction will be from 2 to 4 tr per sq. meter. At the same time, specialized acoustic materials should be used. It will gobble up from 5 cm to 20 cm, respectively. What you can advise on the forums about polystyrene foam, mineral wool and so on is ineffective.

      But here you need the personal presence of an acoustic engineer as well, so that he estimates the noise level and chooses for you the best option for sound insulation according to your capabilities.