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I have done a lot of research and the results seem very varied so wanted some input from others as to what the best solution would be.

Problem: In a flat with existing ceiling and walls. Some walls are brick from which sound does not come through. However some are stud (wood) walls, and ceiling is concrete then wooden beams and then plasterboard. The ceiling has insulation however not sure if it is acoustic insulation or just normal.

I can hear footsteps from people upstairs. Through the wall I can sometimes hear the light switch being turned on and when they have the surround sound on I can hear muffled parts if it and the bass.

I want to be able to reduce the sound of footsteps and the music they have.

Ideas/ Solutions I thought:

  1. On the existing ceiling attach MLV and then another layer of acoustic plasterboard. Do the same for the walls.

  2. On the existing ceiling attach MLV with Green Glue and then new acoustic plasterboard to the MLV. (Green glue is very expensive and thought of using other products but not sure what)Do the same for the walls.

  3. Simply put on another layer of acoustic plasterboard.Do the same for the walls.

  4. Acoustic clips and new acoustic plasterboard. However, with this solution I loose considerable ceiling height and becomes very expensive. Do the same for the walls.

4b. Could I cut small strips of MLV and double the layers to create a void and then apply green glue to these strips and attach a acoustic plasterboard? Do the same for the walls.

I have also heard about using carpet adhesive instead of green glue however can not find any comparisons or information on sound properties for this use.

Not sure which solution is the best. I ideally don't want to do the acoustic clips as the loss of ceiling height is allot and so want to know the best solution that has minimal impact on the ceiling height or wall depth. If anyone has other solutions please do say.

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    Important question: Do you own or rent? You can't make serious modifications to a rental unit without the owner's permission. See also many past questions that have the tags you've used; odds are that your answer already exists in one of them.
    – keshlam
    Commented Apr 28 at 15:32
  • Best is going to verge on opinion. One things for sure: sealing air and adding mass are your two big wins. Can you rebuild the ceiling? Often they aren't insulated or aren't insulated particularly well, and redoing the ceiling with heavy insulation like rockwool can be a great path.
    – KMJ
    Commented Apr 28 at 16:13
  • @keshlam I own the flat myself. I have checked other solutions however all the solutions seem to vary so much that it's made me even more confused.
    – Rikhil
    Commented Apr 28 at 19:09
  • @KMJ I can rebuild the ceiling.. do I want to.. not really XD I might take the approach of cutting a few holes and stuffing in new insulation and then see the results
    – Rikhil
    Commented Apr 28 at 19:09
  • @kmj: good advice for heat insulation, less so for noise.
    – keshlam
    Commented Apr 29 at 0:06

1 Answer 1

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Basically, soundproofing takes a few forms.

One is to put more mass between yourself and the sound source. Blowing insulation into my walls made the house significantly quieter. In professional sound studios, this is sometimes done by filling walls with sand. This is most effective against high frequencies.

Another is to decouple the inside and outside surfaces. This can be done by offsetting studs and attaching one side to the even-numbered studs and the other side to odd-numbered so no stud is connected to both and transmitting vibration through. Using resilient mounts for the inside surface is a similar technique, easier to retrofit This works best on low-frequency sounds. Sound studios use forms of this too.

Ceilings are tough but subject to the same principles. Resilient mounting of the ceiling board can help.

But note that this will only reduce sound leakage. Preventing the switch noise is going to be tough. The only way to get complete sound isolation is to take these to extremes nobody but a serious acoustics lab can afford.

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  • Decoupling seems to be the best option however comes at a cost of reduced ceiling height and my room height is already not much. My option is going to be apply Tecsound to the ceiling and walls then apply another layer of acoustic plasterboard. Also change the insulation to acoustic insulation with high mass.
    – Rikhil
    Commented May 22 at 22:46
  • If you can use resilient suspension for the inner plasterboard, that will help reduce low frequency transmission
    – keshlam
    Commented May 23 at 1:07

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