Industry News

Soundproof Ceilings

What are soundproof ceilings?
Soundproof ceilings are ceilings that have been treated with materials to make them sound proof, or to limit the ability of sound waves to travel through the ceiling. Soundproof ceilings are a solution to the problem of airborne noise in created by television sets, home stereo systems, pets, and children in residences. Soundproof ceilings are also used in professional recording studios to prevent noise from disturbing neighboring tenants and in commercial structures where airborne noise is a problem.

How do soundproof ceilings work?
Soundproof ceilings work by absorbing noise. This is called "damping," and is achieved by adding density and layers to an existing surface, as well as adding points of disconnection to the surface. The process of damping ultimately serves to reduce the ability of a sound wave to vibrate, which is how sound travels. Thus, by obstructing the path of the sound wave, and reducing its ability to vibrate, the sound wave ultimately gets "absorbed" by the conducting surface before it has a chance to become airborne and audible on the other side of the ceiling.

Common methods of sound proofing ceilings
There are several ways to sound proof ceilings, depending on the budget available, the level of soundproofing required, and whether the ceiling is finished, in progress, or not started. To soundproof an existing ceiling, a mass-loaded vinyl barrier may be used. A mass-loaded vinyl barrier is a dense piece of black vinyl that can be installed on the surface of the original ceiling. If aesthetics are an issue, the vinyl barrier can be covered with an additional layer such as drywall. A second method of soundproofing ceilings is with soundproof drywall, also referred to as sound engineered drywall. Soundproof drywall is like regular drywall but it includes layers and special materials that work to absorb sound by impairing its ability to vibrate, and ultimately, to travel.

Additional Resources:
Audio Transients Modeling by Damped Delaed Sinusoids - Penn State
Acoustic Quieting

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Nora DePalma
Building Profits PR for Supress Products

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